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Overcame Faith

Top Ten Reasons Not To Fear Biblical End-times Scenarios

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Overcame Faith

 

Your post #69 is very interesting. I'd like to read more about this. Can you recommend anything for further reading? Maybe something that examines all the prophecies?

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Overcame Faith

 

Your post #69 is very interesting. I'd like to read more about this. Can you recommend anything for further reading? Maybe something that examines all the prophecies?

 

I've been thinking about a book entitled, "Prophecy and the Prophets in Ancient Israel: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar (Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies)." It's a scholarly work and doesn't include all the hoopla of the end-timers, but it appears to discuss the prophecies and prophets from an interesting perspective. The book contains a number of articles written by different scholars and I don't believe any of them actually believe that any of the prophecies are actual true predictions of future events. It's a little expensive, but might be worth it if you would like to do some hardcore studying.

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Overcame Faith

 

Your post #69 is very interesting. I'd like to read more about this. Can you recommend anything for further reading? Maybe something that examines all the prophecies?

 

I've been thinking about a book entitled, "Prophecy and the Prophets in Ancient Israel: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar (Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies)." It's a scholarly work and doesn't include all the hoopla of the end-timers, but it appears to discuss the prophecies and prophets from an interesting perspective. The book contains a number of articles written by different scholars and I don't believe any of them actually believe that any of the prophecies are actual true predictions of future events. It's a little expensive, but might be worth it if you would like to do some hardcore studying.

 

Thanks, I appreciate that.

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I'm not sure what the rules for pinning a thread are, but I just wanted to thank whomever is responsible for pinning this thread. I think (and dearly hope) that people are benefitting at least to some small degree from the various posts on this thread. By it being pinned, others for some time to come should have ready access.

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Reason Number 3 (Part 1 of 7).

 

The Book of Revelation is not a book of prophecy about end-times events that we or anyone else will ever experience.

 

If the end-time soothsayers who believe (or at least want to make others believe for a profit) that the Book of Revelation is some kind of recorded vision of John of Patmos which vision was given to him by god for our benefit were exposed as being wrong about the view they espouse about Revelation, that alone should go a long way toward helping those who have them overcome their end-times fears. That is what I am telling you now. Revelation is not in any way a prophetic work. And I will share with you my theory which I have thought through very carefully, though not completely yet, about what Revelation really is. As far as I know, much, though not all, of this theory is original with me and I want to share it with you.

 

Revelation was written probably in 65 CE during the Roman persecution of Christians under Caesar Nero. It was written by someone who called himself John and whom I will call John of Patmos for clarification. It seems that John of Patmos was, to some degree, involved among the Christians who were being persecuted in Rome at the time of the writing of Revelation. And it seems that John of Patmos may have had some influence among Christians. He may even have been punished as part of the persecution by being exiled to the Island of Patmos.

 

John of Patmos wrote Revelation in a necessary style given his message and what was happening at the time. And Revelation was written for at least three important purposes, though, for reasons I will explain, these purposes had to be hidden so that those unfamiliar with the Christian religion could not understand them. The first purpose was to inform and warn Christians outside of Rome about what was happening to Christians within Rome. The second purpose was to instruct Christians whom John of Patmos thought may be arrested in the future, how to avoid arrest and, if arrested, how to act to avoid implicating others. The third purpose was as a call for a two stage attack against Rome. The attacks John of Patmos called for were against the city of Rome itself and against the Romans in Jerusalem.

 

My explanation of Revelation may seem somewhat fantastical to you because you have never heard of Revelation being explained in this fashion before. But after you finish reading what I have to say, I believe you will at least agree that it is a plausible view of what Revelation is. And I truly hope you will agree with me that it is a far more plausible explanation than the one presented by the end-timers.

 

Let us begin by examining what was going on in Rome at the time John of Patmos wrote Revelation. In 64 CE there was a great fire in Rome. I don’t think it is entirely clear who actually started this fire, but there were persistent rumors that Caesar Nero had his hand in causing the fires because of a building program which he wanted to implement in Rome and for which he needed to clear away some other structures. These rumors were so intense that Nero felt he had to divert the adverse attention away from himself. One way he did this was to institute a very intense persecution against Christians in Rome. It wasn’t so much that he actually blamed the Christians for the fire, though it was certainly suggested by him and his minions. Rather, he accused them of many other crimes and put on a great spectacle of torturing and killing them. His goal was to take the pressure from himself and to focus it on the Christians.

 

This was documented by a man named Tacitus, a Roman Senator and historian of the Roman Empire. Tacitus was alive and wrote during the time of the great Roman fire and the Christian persecution. Set forth below is his account of these events.

 

Yet no human effort, no princely largess nor offerings to the gods could make that infamous rumor disappear that Nero had somehow ordered the fire. Therefore, in order to abolish that rumor, Nero falsely accused and executed with the most exquisite punishments those people called Christians, who were infamous for their abominations. The originator of the name, Christ, was executed as a criminal by the procurator Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius; and though repressed, this destructive superstition erupted again, not only through Judea, which was the origin of this evil, but also through the city of Rome, to which all that is horrible and shameful floods together and is celebrated. Therefore, first those were seized who admitted their faith, and then, using the information they provided, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much for the crime of burning the city, but for hatred of the human race. And perishing they were additionally made into sports: they were killed by dogs by having the hides of beasts attached to them, or they were nailed to crosses or set aflame, and, when the daylight passed away, they were used as nighttime lamps. Nero gave his own gardens for this spectacle and performed a Circus game, in the habit of a charioteer mixing with the plebs or driving about the race-course. Even though they were clearly guilty and merited being made the most recent example of the consequences of crime, people began to pity these sufferers, because they were consumed not for the public good but on account of the fierceness of one man.

Translated by Richard Hooker

 

You can find this quote here:

 

http://www.wsu.edu:8..._1/tacitus.html

 

Whether the following part of Tacitus’ quote was actually written by Tacitus or added later by Christians, I am not sure, though I am dubious about the authenticity of it since it really serves no purpose in Tacitus’ narration and Christians would have a motive for adding the language as a non-Biblical “source” for the propositions stated in the quote:

 

The originator of the name, Christ, was executed as a criminal by the procurator Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius; and though repressed, this destructive superstition erupted again, not only through Judea, which was the origin of this evil, but also through the city of Rome, to which all that is horrible and shameful floods together and is celebrated.

 

Still, none of that really matters. If it was original with Tacitus, then it is evidence that Tacitus had some information about someone referred to as “Christ” being executed by Pontius Pilate. That Pontius Pilate may have executed people is no surprise given his reputation. If you are interested, I recommend reading some of the accounts of the First Century CE historian, Josephus, who wrote a good deal about Pontius Pilate.

 

My point in bringing up the above-quote from Tacitus about “Christ” being executed is so those of you with end-times fears, do not take this quote from Tacitus as evidence that the end-timers’ interpretation of Revelation as being a vision of our modern world and our current times is somehow helped by the quote. It is not. At most, the quote is neutral and provides no evidence that Jesus was the son of God, that he arose from the dead, that he gave any visions to anyone or, most certainly, that Revelation relates to our modern world because it does not.

 

There are some things about Tacitus’ account that I want you to pay particular attention to because they will become important as we go through Revelation. I will quote specific portions of Tacitus’ account and then comment on the specific sections.

 

Yet no human effort, no princely larges nor offerings to the gods could make that infamous rumor disappear that Nero had somehow ordered the fire. Therefore, in order to abolish that rumor, Nero falsely accused and executed with the most exquisite punishments those people called Christians, who were infamous for their abominations.

 

Here we see that Tacitus provides the motivation for Nero’s assault on the Christians. What is more, Tacitus believed that the Christians did not start the fire in Rome. However, Tacitus did think that the Christians had engaged in some sort of “abominations.” Christians like to say that these “abominations” was a misunderstanding of what the Christians were doing. They say that in communion, for example, when the Christians ate the bread and drank the wine that the Romans misunderstood the ritual and believed that the Christians were actually engaged in a form of cannibalism.

 

I find this explanation completely unbelievable. The Romans were quite sophisticated. They had a form of government which was enviable. They built aqueducts which were a marvel and which brought so much water that a population could live in splendor, including decorative fountains using water. They had sophisticated laws. They ran their world with such efficiency that it is amazing. They had a road system second to none. They had structures that we still hold in wonder, some of which survive to this day. Their architecture was magnificent. Their art was beautiful. And they were fully aware of religion and the symbolism that existed in various religions.

 

To think that this sophisticated group of people could not tell the difference between a ritual act and actual cannibalism is preposterous. No, there was far more to what the Romans saw as Christian “abominations” than this. And, as we shall see, John of Patmos listed some of these “abominations” in Revelation.

 

Therefore, first those were seized who admitted their faith, and then, using the information they provided, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much for the crime of burning the city, but for hatred of the human race.

 

Tacitus gives us some insight on Nero’s method for finding and arresting Christians. The first arrested were those who were outspoken about their faith. That part was easy. But how to go about finding and arresting the rest? Tacitus does not give us details about the method. But it is not hard to think this through and come up with that methodology. Undoubtedly, the first arrested were either tortured to turn in their fellow Christians or possibly made some promises of leniency (perhaps an easy death or possibly being told they would be set free). John of Patmos has a lot to say about the methodology which I will discuss later. But it was betrayal on a grand scale. It was Christians betraying other Christians. And John of Patmos tells us other methods, like infiltration of Christian groups and similar ways of finding the other Christians.

 

And the methods for finding the other Christians were wildly successful. According to Tacitus “…a vast multitude were convicted….”

 

And perishing they were additionally made into sports: they were killed by dogs by having the hides of beasts attached to them, or they were nailed to crosses or set aflame, and, were used as nighttime lamps.

 

It was a horrible death that the Christians faced. Note especially the use of hides of beasts attached to the Christians which caused dogs to kill them. We will see that John of Patmos uses this very same type of description in Revelation which I will discuss. And also note carefully the use of Christians as “lamps.” John of Patmos also uses this very same way of describing things Christian.

 

Nero gave his own gardens for this spectacle and performed a Circus game, in the habit of a charioteer mixing with the plebs or driving about the race-course.

 

Nero’s profile was very high in connection with the executions. Everyone knew he was at the heart of these actions. And this fact was not lost on John of Patmos. If for no other reason than this, it will become clear that the beast of Revelation, the Antichrist was none other than Nero.

 

Even though they were clearly guilty and merited being made the most recent example of the consequences of crime, people began to pity these sufferers, because they were consumed not for the public good but on account of the fierceness of one man.

 

Tacitus felt that the Christians were guilty of something though he is not specific about exactly what they were guilty of. Again, John of Patmos provides more information on this. It was also clear that Nero was the cause of this suffering and that it was not just. And the “one man” Tacitus wrote of was Nero.

 

Stepping back for a second, I want to point out how prominent a role fire plays in this historical event. It was the fire that Nero was accused of having some role in starting in Rome that ultimately led to the Christian persecution. And a prominent part of the Christian torture involved fire as I have already discussed. John of Patmos makes much of fire in Revelation and this is why he did.

 

In part 2, I will go through major portions of Revelation and will make my case in more detail.

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Just a side note:

 

This era of persecution of xians was probably the only time this was done. Later this religion of theirs became adopted by the holy roman empire and the persecution turned to torturing those that would not convert.

 

This carried on for a very long time with replays as different dictators rose and fell. To make this book of revelation relevant today, one has to assume that this was intended for today. Of course this is all BS as if this was prophetic in any way, it's influence would have definitely been in the era when it was penned. Somehow, the fear of persecution in this regard is feared by xians and with it goes the magic carpet ride with jesus to miss all this, the carpet ride being wholly dependent on believers application of faith and not the death on the cross in any form aka the rapture.

 

The idea of some fearful leader rising up and leading the entire globe in a revolt against the jewish nation is so frigging ridiculous, it is laughable. Based on the fear factor that the Americans have and are still exposed to, the chances of this apocalyptic fear will not go away any time soon. The doomsayers are now resorting to a pagan culture of Mayan's to predict the end of the world and trying to make this fit into their apocalyptic time frame. I have touched on this already in this thread.

 

The idea that any leader can deceive so many nations to willfully go out and persecute, destroy their places of worship and send them underground, is the meme of Hollywood movies and nothing more. Were this even remotely plausible, most folk would deny their faith and go along with the flow anyway. This is never going to happen. It assumes that non believers who ironically will believe in an antichrist, will be coerced into ignoring human kindness and go out murdering women and children merely for having an imaginary friend. That scenario seems to have played out already, oh wait, it is there in the bible and was god's chosen that carried out these atrocities.

 

I think this pic sums up what I am trying to say;

 

85.jpg

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She is making fun, but it was hard not to laugh......

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAJg8AVRgN8

 

I watched the video and she handled it in a very funny way. And I don't like to make fun of people who believe this way, but maybe a little comedy will calm people who take this stuff too seriously.

 

And I will say with 100% certainty that Obama is not the antichrist. He didn't live 2,000 years ago and his name is not Nero.

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She is making fun, but it was hard not to laugh......

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAJg8AVRgN8

 

What is so scary about this is that people actually watch Beck and take what he says as fact. I was sick the first day of that series and I turned on Beck that afternoon for kicks. He started with a good premise, that the US has created its own mess in foreign affairs by supporting dictators in the name of stability. From there though, he went down hill into bat-shit crazy land fast, talking about a Muslim, socialist calaphate conspiring to take over the world.

 

I laughed at her statement, that this kind of nutso rhetoric used to be only heard on pre-dawn AM radio next to the UFO sightings.

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She is making fun, but it was hard not to laugh......

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAJg8AVRgN8

 

What is so scary about this is that people actually watch Beck and take what he says as fact. I was sick the first day of that series and I turned on Beck that afternoon for kicks. He started with a good premise, that the US has created its own mess in foreign affairs by supporting dictators in the name of stability. From there though, he went down hill into bat-shit crazy land fast, talking about a Muslim, socialist calaphate conspiring to take over the world.

 

I laughed at her statement, that this kind of nutso rhetoric used to be only heard on pre-dawn AM radio next to the UFO sightings.

 

And all of this is why, frankly, it is good to debunk all of the end-times horror scenarios. The Muslims could not take over the world if it were handed to them. They can hardly handle their own countries. But all of that sort of talk sells books and gets people watching the television to hear it because, out of their ignorance, so many people believe it all. And when I say "ignorance," I am not being desrespectful. I mean it in the truest sense of the word - lack of knowledge.

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The Muslims could not take over the world if it were handed to them. They can hardly handle their own countries.

The muslim societies match the USA but are waay more repressed. They have their deer leeders like the king of Jordon with a British education and all. If you look at their wiki profiles, they no way look anything like the traditional semites. His mother was an English woman so daddy already was into non semite women. He looks more like a Brit politician than a ME king.

 

The parallels are there and the situation of have and have not is global.

 

Folk are under a false illusion that "we the people" have any influence on global leadership and events. Aristocracy is dead, long live the new Aristocracy.

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I think Glenn Beck is interesting and sometimes gives some good food for thought. I thought maybe the woman spun what he was saying a little bit, although I believe Glenn Beck is a Mormon and would believe in endtime scenarios so it's probably not too far off. It is obvious, however, that she has never been truly exposed to fundie dogma.

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Reason Number 3 (Part 2 of 7)

 

The Book of Revelation is not a book of prophecy about end-times events that we or anyone else will ever experience.

 

 

It has been quite a while since I last posted on this topic. The reason it has taken me so long is because I have been busy in real life and because I have been studying Revelation so I can share with you my understanding of the book.

 

I intend to go through the entire Book of Revelation and debunk the notion that it is a prophetic work and demonstrate that it is, in fact, about what was happening in Rome in the period 64 to 65 CE. With this post, I attempt to explain the first eleven chapters of Revelation. In Part 3 of 3 I will attempt to explain chapters 12 through 22.

 

Unfortunately, this is so long that I must break it up into several different posts.

 

I will now go through the entire Book of Revelation to point out the reasons for my view that the book is not a prophecy about future events, but, rather, a writing about what was happening in the period 64 – 65 CE when Caesar Nero ordered the severe persecution of the Christians in Rome to take criticism away from himself because so many people thought he was responsible for the burning of Rome. Though I submit and will demonstrate that Revelation is no prophecy at all, there were some predictions which John of Patmos made, but those predictions did not come to fruition.

 

Follow my thinking carefully as you read my interpretation of Revelation. I interpret Revelation using the following principles:

 

• Revelation was written in approximately 65 CE when Nero was persecuting Christians as a way to divert attention away from himself because influential Romans believed he may have caused the great fire in Rome.

 

• Revelation is not a prophecy. Rather, it was a warning and a message to Christians outside of Rome about the persecution of Christians in Rome in the period 64 to 65 CE and what may be coming their way.

 

• The only prediction that John of Patmos made was that the persecution of Christians taking place at the time of the writing in 65 CE would spread throughout the Roman Empire.

 

• John of Patmos saw no visions of any type, neither induced supernaturally nor induced by the ingestion of drugs.

 

• John of Patmos wrote so the Romans would not understand the true meaning of his words, but in a way he hoped his fellow Christians could understand. The reason he used this “code” was because he was afraid that the Romans would arrest, torture, and kill any Christians they found reading such messages as he wanted to convey.

 

It is through applying the above principles that I have attempted to come to what I think is a reasonable understanding of the Book of Revelation. In this post, I will share my understanding of Chapters One through Eleven, roughly half of Revelation, with you. After a little while as I am able through my work and home obligations, I will post my interpretation of Chapters 12 through 22.

 

Finally, I do not claim that I have discovered the one and only understanding of Revelation. I readily admit that I may very well be wrong with some of what I say or even with most of what I offer as an understanding of John of Patmos’s book. But I will steadfastly stand behind this: What I offer as an explanation of Revelation is far more likely to be true than what the end-timers offer. Because what they offer, that Revelation speaks to our future, is total balderdash.

 

Revelation 1

Prologue

1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

Greetings and Doxology

4 John,

To the seven churches in the province of Asia:

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits[a] before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,”

and “every eye will see him,

even those who pierced him”;

and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”[c]

So shall it be! Amen.

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

John’s Vision of Christ

9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,[d] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels[e] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

 

We need go no further than the first Chapter of Revelation to know without doubt that the book does not apply to our time, but to the time in which John of Patmos lived and wrote Revelation. John of Patmos made this point very clear if we but read the words he wrote. The first Chapter divides the time period about which John wrote in two parts. The two parts are clearly delineated in Verse 19, “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.” The word “now” lets us know in no uncertain terms that part of what John of Patmos wrote about was what was taking place at the specific time in which he was writing. And we know historically that what was taking place was Nero’s persecution of the Roman Christians.

 

What seems to cause problems for the end-timers are the following words in Verse 19: “…and what will take place later.” The end-timers argue that this “later time” is our time or our soon-to-be future. However, again, John of Patmos emphatically tells us that that is not the case at all. In Verse One, John of Patmos deals with the time period of “what will take place later,” by writing, “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.” Note carefully the word “soon” used in Verse One. To believe the end-timers, we must accept that John of Patmos used the word “soon” to mean events that are to take place at least two thousand years in the future from when he was writing. That is an absurd reading of Verse 19 coupled with Verse One.

 

Taken together, Verse 19 and Verse One mean that John of Patmos is writing about events that were taking place at the time of his writing Revelation and events which he predicted might very well take place “soon” after his writing. And by “soon,” he did not mean two thousand years or more hence, but a very short time, undoubtedly within a year or less, of the time he was writing. We will see this played out by the urgency with which he wrote later portions of Revelation to the Seven Churches.

 

Another part of this first Chapter which tells us that John was not writing to us is clearly shown by noting to whom he addressed the writing. That is found in Verse Four in which John sends his greetings to “…the seven churches in the province in Asia….” As we go through Revelation, we will see that never does John quit addressing these seven churches. They, not we, are the audience for whom he wrote. And these were seven real churches that actually existed at the time John of Patmos wrote Revelation.

 

9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

 

Revelation 1:9.

 

In Verse Nine, John tells his audience that he has suffered. Though I cannot be certain of this, it seems that John of Patmos suggests that he may have been a part of the persecution under Nero and part of his punishment was to be banished to the Island of Patmos. If he was persecuted by Nero, then he would have had a first-hand view of what was happening to the Christians in Rome.

 

In Verse 11, John of Patmos informs his audience that he is writing on a scroll and that he intends to send what he writes to the seven churches. This fact becomes important as we go through Revelation to help us distinguish between the various scrolls to which John of Patmos refers.

 

In Verses 12 through 16, John has the first “vision” in which he purports to see seven golden lampstands, someone “like a son of man” who held seven stars in his hand and had a double edged sword coming from his mouth. In typical apocalyptic style, John of Patmos is given an interpretation of what he sees. The one who looked “…like a son of man…” was clearly identified as Jesus in Verses 17 and 18. In Verses 19 and 20, John of Patmos, through the apocalyptic literary device of the words of Jesus, informs his readers that the seven stars in Jesus’ hand are the angels of the seven churches and the lampstands are the seven churches.

 

The fact that the seven churches are symbolically depicted as seven lampstands is a great clue as to what John of Patmos was really writing about. Recall that one of the things that Nero did to the Roman Christians as part of his tortuous execution of them was to burn some of them at night. These are the words of Tacitus:

 

. And perishing they were additionally made into sports: they were killed by dogs by having the hides of beasts attached to them, or they were nailed to crosses or set aflame, and, when the daylight passed away, they were used as nighttime lamps.

 

Some of the Christians were burned and used as nighttime lamps. John of Patmos would have known about this. It is no mere coincidence that the seven churches were symbolically represented as lampstands. The frightening message is that each individual Christian in the seven churches was in danger of literally becoming nighttime lamps by Nero. Thus, we get the first hint of what John of Patmos meant by warning the seven churches about what was “soon” to come. Undoubtedly, John of Patmos was fearful that the persecution of Christians in Rome was not to be limited to Roman Christians, but could spread as far away as the territories in which these seven churches sat.

 

It was this real fear of John of Patmos that sets the stage for the remainder of Revelation. It explains many of the things he said and his sense of urgency and importance of what he had to say.

 

Revelation 2

 

To the Church in Ephesus

 

1 “To the angel[a] of the church in Ephesus write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

 

To the Church in Smyrna

 

8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:

These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.

To the Church in Pergamum

 

12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

 

These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.

14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

To the Church in Thyatira

 

18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:

 

These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.

20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, 25 except to hold on to what you have until I come.’

26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— 27 that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give that one the morning star. 29 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

 

In the second Chapter of Revelation, we begin the letters which Jesus dictated to John to write to the seven churches. I have heard many pastors preach sermons based on one or more of the messages found in these seven letters to the seven churches. They take the language and generalize it and use it to make various theological points. End-timers like to say that these letters are messages generally to the Christian churches throughout history but have special application to Christians of today. They claim that the message is that all Christians must do the things set forth in the letters to prepare for the events leading up to the end-times.

 

I do not read the letters like modern pastors do nor, especially, the way end-timers do. I read them as specific messages directed at the churches to educate the churches on what was taking place in Rome and how those associated with the churches could protect themselves when the persecution spread to them.

 

Remember what Tacitus described about how Nero went about finding Christians. They began by rounding up those who openly proclaimed themselves Christians and from them found the others. Tacitus did not give details, but you can be sure there were very brutal forms of torture used and every form of trickery you can imagine to find the Christians. I am confident that this included infiltration of Christian groups to learn the whereabouts of others. Remember also that Tacitus said that though the Christians were not actually charged with burning Rome, they were guilty of various crimes and it was this guilt that gave Nero the legal excuse he needed to kill the Christians in the terrible way he did. This was Rome and Rome was an empire of laws so even Nero needed at least the appearance of following the law.

 

Now, let’s see what John of Patmos is really saying to the seven churches. I will quote specific portions of each letter and then comment.

 

To the Church in Ephesus:

 

. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.

 

This discussion of wicked people is probably a reference to those among them who do things which Rome would consider to be illegal. John of Patmos cautions the church against those people as they can give Nero what he needs to “legally” persecute the church. The part about having “tested those who claim to be apostles but who are not” is, in my opinion, an instruction about being careful about who is in the church because in Rome there were those who infiltrated the church, possibly acting as if they were apostles as a way to find Christians

 

To the Church in Smyrna:

 

I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

 

“Those who say they are Jews and are not” is probably another reference to those who infiltrate the churches in Rome and so serves as another warning of the type of infiltration Nero probably used to locate other Christians. John of Patmos warns the Christians that some of then may be put in prison and “will suffer persecution for ten days.” This is probably a reference to the torture they will endure as Nero’s henchmen try to find out where other Christians are located. When John of Patmos tells them to “be faithful, even to the point of death” he is telling them not to turn in other Christians to the Romans.

 

To the Church in Pergamum:

 

13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.

14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

 

Where Satan has his throne is in Rome. This does not mean that that is where the Church in Pergamum is located, but rather it is a means to draw the reader’s attention to Rome and the atrocities being committed there at the time of this writing. The church and thus all Christians are encouraged not to renounce their faith despite the fact that Christians are being killed. The part set forth in verses 14 through 16 are warnings about possible crimes that Rome could use as a pretext for their tortuous executions. What John of Patmos is telling Christians is to stop doing such things, which at least some of the Christians were undoubtedly doing, but with the persecution it can cost Christians their lives.

 

To the Church in Thyatira:

 

20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, 25 except to hold on to what you have until I come.’

 

Verses 20 through 23 are examples of the kinds of things the Christians do which could be used as an excuse by Nero to arrest, torture, and kill them. When John of Patmos writes as if in Jesus’ voice, it is just a way to hide what he is really saying by using religious jargon. The bed of suffering and striking children dead are probably all references to what has happened to Christians under the hand of Nero and what could happen to other Christians if they are not careful not to give Nero the legal excuse he needs to arrest and execute them. And verse 24 is John of Patmos’ way of saying that if you do not do these things, there is a chance that you will not be arrested and executed by Nero.

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Reason Number 3 (Part 3 of 7)

 

Revelation 3

 

To the Church in Sardis

 

1 “To the angel[a] of the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. 6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To the Church in Philadelphia

7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To the Church in Laodicea

14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

 

Chapter three of Revelation continues on with the final three letters to the churches. I will quote the relevant portions as I did above and comment on what I quote.

 

To the Church in Sardis:

 

2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.

 

Verse two is a dire warning of what may be coming from Nero. John of Patmos is telling these Christians that they may very well be about to die. And when he uses the phrase about coming like a thief, he is most likely referring to how Nero’s henchmen would come without warning to arrest the Christian victims.

 

Verses four and five speak of being victorious and wearing unsoiled, white garments. Undoubtedly, John of Patmos is praising those Christians who, though tortured, do not tell Nero’s torturers where to find other Christians.

 

To the Church in Philadelphia:

 

9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.

 

John of Patmos again speaks of infiltrators which he describes, as he did before, as those who claim to be Jews but are not. I believe that a careful reading of this letter reveals a warning from John of Patmos to the Church in Philadelphia that they may already have been infiltrated since he tells the Church that Jesus will make these false Jews come and fall down at their feet. This implies that they may actually be there at the time of the writing, or at least John of Patmos has reasons for thinking they are in the church.

 

To the Church in Laodicea:

 

17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

 

John of Patmos’s message here is quite simple. He is telling the Christians that they cannot buy their way out of the persecution if it comes to them. Again, note the reference to white clothes which means that if they are arrested, they must not to turn in other Christians. The salve for the eyes “so you can see” means to open their eyes to see the reality of the persecution.

 

Revelation 4

 

The Throne in Heaven

 

1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. 4 Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits[a] of God. 6 Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

“‘Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty,’

who was, and is, and is to come.”

9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for you created all things,

and by your will they were created

and have their being.”

 

With Chapter Four, the scene changes. John of Patmos writes as if from the perspective of heaven. The thing to remember as you read Revelation is that John of Patmos probably had no visions at all. Rather, he was writing an important message to Christians outside of Rome about what was happening to the Roman Christians and what John of Patmos thought might happen to other Christians within the Roman Empire as well. John of Patmos tried to hide his message within religions language in the well known style of apocalyptical writings. But by understanding the historical context within which John of Patmos was writing, we can surmise what John of Patmos may actually have been trying to convey.

 

In Verse One a voice tells John of Patmos to, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” After this must mean after what is happening at the time of the writing, and that is the persecution of the Roman Christians.

 

Verse Five speaks of “seven lamps were blazing” in front of the throne. As we have seen, the lamps represent the Christians who were killed by Nero as Tacitus told us some of their burning bodies were used as lamps at night. John of Patmos described the seven blazing lamps as the seven spirits of god by which he probably meant that those who were killed had the spirit of god within them.

 

Verses Six through Eight speak of four living creatures. Notice that each of the living creatures is like a wild animal and one of them is said to have a “face like a man.” This is John of Patmos’s description of one of the methods of torture of Christians that Tacitus described. Recall that Christians were covered with animal skins and the dogs would attack and kill them. So they looked like animals, but they had “faces like a man” meaning they were not actually animals. And notice that these four creatures praised god. That is probably a description of what some of those who were tortured may have done during their torture. They may very well have given praise to god in defiance of Nero’s terrible torture.

 

Revelation 5

 

The Scroll and the Lamb

 

1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

 

6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits[a] of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:

 

“You are worthy to take the scroll

and to open its seals,

because you were slain,

and with your blood you purchased for God

persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.

10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,

and they will reign on the earth.”

 

11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:

 

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,

to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength

and honor and glory and praise!”

 

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

 

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb

be praise and honor and glory and power,

for ever and ever!”

 

14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

 

In this chapter of Revelation, John of Patmos makes a very big deal about opening the seven seals on a scroll. The lamb “looking as if it had been slain” is Jesus. And it is only Jesus, after having suffered at the hands of the Romans himself, who is worthy to open the seals. So John of Patmos’s point in this chapter is that what is to come is very important and he is telling his audience to pay close attention to it.

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Reason Number 3 (Part 4 of 7)

 

Revelation 6

The Seals

1 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2 I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.

5 When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6 Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds[a] of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds[c] of barley for a day’s wages,[d] and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

7 When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8 I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters,[e] were killed just as they had been.

12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us[f] from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their[g] wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

In Chapter Six, Jesus begins opening the seals. The first four seals are probably the most well known parts of Revelation because it is when Jesus metaphorically opens the first four seals that the four horsemen of the apocalypse, as they are commonly called, are released. There have been many interpretations for the four horsemen, and, as you can imagine, the end-timers always try to relate them to our modern times. But they are wrong. They relate to the times in which John of Patmos was writing Revelation.

 

The Four Horsemen do not tell of any events which will unfold for us. Rather, they tell the condensed version of Roman history.

 

2 I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

 

The rider of this horse is a leader who conquers. That is what Rome did and that is what John of Patmos meant by this rider.

 

4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.

 

Rome was a warring empire and that aspect of Rome is represented by the rider of the red horse.

 

I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6 Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds[a] of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds[c] of barley for a day’s wages,[d] and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

 

The rider of the black horse holding a pair of scales represents Rome’s control of the economy and virtually all aspects of the lives of individuals within the empire.

 

!” 8 I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

 

The rider of pale horse represents Rome’s ultimate power over people, including its power over the Christians who are being persecuted. Note that power was given to kill by the wild beasts, undoubtedly a reference to how many of the Christians were killed as described by Tacitus. The other methods, sword, starvation, and disease, may also have been used against the Christians.

 

The fifth seal is opened in Verses Nine through Eleven and depicts the souls who had maintained their testimony. These are representations of those Christians who to the point of John of Patmos’s writing had already been killed. But note that they ask how long before their tormentors are judged and their blood is avenged. The answer reveals what John of Patmos believes is going to happen very soon from the time of his writing. They were told to wait until those who were still to be killed were killed. This is John of Patmos’ prediction that those to whom he is writing, the seven churches, are in danger of the wrath of Nero.

 

The opening of the sixth seal begins John of Patmos’ urging for a counter attack against the Romans. He talks of great destruction in symbolic terms. His point is that if the Christians act together, they may have a chance to prevent the Romans from coming after more of them.

 

Revelation 7

144,000 Sealed

1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3 “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

5 From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,

from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,

from the tribe of Gad 12,000,

6 from the tribe of Asher 12,000,

from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,

from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,

7 from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,

from the tribe of Levi 12,000,

from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,

8 from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,

from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,

from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.

The Great Multitude in White Robes

9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,

who sits on the throne,

and to the Lamb.”

11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:

“Amen!

Praise and glory

and wisdom and thanks and honor

and power and strength

be to our God for ever and ever.

Amen!”

13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”

14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”

And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore,

“they are before the throne of God

and serve him day and night in his temple;

and he who sits on the throne

will shelter them with his presence.

16 ‘Never again will they hunger;

never again will they thirst.

The sun will not beat down on them,’[a]

nor any scorching heat.

17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne

will be their shepherd;

‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’

‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’[c]”

 

Revelation Seven is an interlude between the sixth and seventh seal in which the sealing of the 144,000 takes place. The 144,000 are clearly Hebrews and not just Jews. Only twelve thousand of them are Jews, those from the tribe of Judah. John of Patmos was well aware that all the tribes except for Judah, some Levites, and some Benjamites were lost to history. So this sealing is not to be taken literally.

Many end-timers love to point to the 144,000 and try somehow to make it literal and then apply it to events that are yet to happen and which we will experience. But for the end-timers to be correct, remember what must take place. Living members of all twelve Hebrew tribes must be identified because, contrary to what end-timers say, the 144,000 are not just Jews. Even assuming that there really were twelve tribes at some point in the past, and there are reasons to doubt this, how after more than 2,500 years could members of these lost tribes possibly be identified if there are any alive today? The only way would be for some type of DNA study. But even that would require DNA samples of known members of all of the original tribes from thousands of years ago. Such samples do not exist.

 

The remainder of Chapter Seven features “…they who have come out of the great tribulation…..” End-timers see this as those in the future who may have been raptured or possibly those who endured some portion of the seven year tribulation period, which they see as in our future, and who were killed during that period of time but were true to god. They are partially correct in that they do represent those who were in the tribulation, but they misidentify the tribulation. It is not some future tribulation, but the tribulation that the Christians were facing then, the one brought on by Nero in the period 64 to 65 CE.

 

Revelation 8

The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer

1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.

3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

The Trumpets

6 Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.

7 The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

8 The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, 9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

10 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— 11 the name of the star is Wormwood.[a] A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

12 The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”

In Chapter Eight, Jesus opens the seventh seal. The first thing John of Patmos reports seeing are seven angels with seven trumpets. Recall that there were also seven angels, each associated with one of the seven churches. So this may very well be John of Patmos’s way of speaking with the Christians associated with those churches about what they should consider doing in an affirmative way.

 

Prior to the angels beginning to blow their trumpets, John of Patmos sees another angel who was given incense to offer and which incense was filled with the prayers of all of god’s people. That incense most probably represents the smoke from the fires that consumed the Christians who were burned alive by Nero and the prayers mixed in with this smoke, or incense, is their request for revenge on their tormentor. The incense and prayers may also represent those who, John of Patmos believes, will be killed by Nero in his immediate future.

 

This same angel, who offered the incense, takes fire from the altar and filled the incense holder with this fire and hurled it down to earth where it caused thunder, lightening, and an earthquake. I have seen end-timers describe this fire being hurled to earth as some sort of modern day warfare or possibly an astronomical phenomenon like a giant meteor or asteroid plummeting to earth and causing the subsequent earthquakes described in Revelation. But this is nothing of the sort. Rather, it is a symbolic action in which the fire hurled toward earth is in retribution to Nero for his misdeeds to Christians. It was the fire in Rome which started Nero on his path to Christian persecution and it was through fire that at least some of the Christians were tortured and killed. Therefore, for John of Patmos, it is only just that the retribution against Nero should be from fire.

 

After the fire is hurled down by the angel, the seven angels begin to blow their trumpets and further destruction is visited on the earth. Here is the sequence of the first four trumpet blows by the first four angels.

 

First Trumpet: Hail and fire mixed with blood causing a third of the earth to be burned up.

 

Second Trumpet: A huge mountain of fire was thrown into the sea, killing a third of the sea life and a third of the ships.

 

Third Trumpet: A blazing star falls and turns a third of the fresh water bitter and undrinkable.

 

Fourth Trumpet: The sun and moon were darkened so each gave only a third of their usual light.

 

Now, notice the sequence. There are three attacks with fire which cause massive destruction (first three trumpets) followed by a darkening of the sun and the moon. This darkening is undoubtedly from the smoke that filled the skies because of the fires.

 

I believe a reasonable reading of the first four trumpet blasts is John of Patmos’s encouraging, as retaliation against Nero, the use of fire. This would not require a large army but could be done by what we would call guerilla warfare. John of Patmos is undoubtedly aware that at the time of his writing Nero is suffering from political problems because of the fire in Rome since many Romans believe he had something to do with it. Tacitus also tells us that the Roman people were becoming sympathetic to the Christians who were being murdered in the outrageous fashion he described. It could be that John of Patmos saw that if the Christians were to attack Rome with more fires that it could spell the political doom of Nero and thus bring a halt to the persecution of Christians, especially those outside of Rome that John of Patmos feared may be next on Nero’s terrible agenda of death and destruction.

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Reason Number 3 (Part 5 of 7)

 

Revelation 9

1 The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. 2 When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. 3 And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. 6 During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

7 The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. 8 Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. 9 They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. 10 They had tails with stingers, like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. 11 They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).

12 The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.

13 The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God. 14 It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number.

17 The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. 18 A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. 19 The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.

20 The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Revelation Nine contains the first two of three woes brought on by the trumpet blasts of the last three angels. The first woe begins when a star falls from the sky to the earth and the star is given the key to the shaft of the Abyss and opens it. This “star” is obviously not to be understood literally as a star in the sky. Rather, it is symbolic for a male being because it is referred to in the masculine pronoun “he” in Verse 2. We will read more about the Abyss in Revelation 20: 1-3 when an angel captures Satan and throws him in the Abyss for a thousand years.

 

This Abyss is kept locked until needed. In this instance, what is needed is what is kept inside the Abyss. For when it is opened, John of Patmos sees “smoke from a gigantic furnace.” Revelation 9:2. And from this smoke comes creatures that are like locusts with the sting of scorpions and other detailed descriptions but whose task is to torture for five months, but not kill, “…those who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” Revelation 9:4-5. The torture is so great that those receiving it will “…long to die, but death will elude them” Revelation 9:6.

 

These locust-like creatures whose job is to inflict terrible torture are led by a king. This king is said to be “…the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).” Revelation 9:11.

 

The end-timers are fond of saying that the first woe describes an actual torture from god to those who, at some time in the future, worship the Beast. Thus, many people have been scared that they, too, may feel the wrath of god and be one of those who are tortured like this. This could not be further from the truth and if you are worried about an interpretation of the first woe, or any of Revelation, that may include you stop now. None of it is about you or anyone else since around 64 or 65 CE.

 

Notice that the theme of this first woe is torture so harsh that the recipient of the torture wishes to die but is not allowed to die. And the place from which the torturers come is the Abyss which is kept locked until needed. The symbolism of keeping something locked until another who has a key to open it represents secrecy to be revealed at an appropriate time. John of Patmos is, therefore, telling the Christians to keep secret all the things he is telling them until the time is right to “open the Abyss” and put their plan into action. Yes, it is hidden in religious language that can be difficult to understand, but that is the whole point. John of Patmos did not want the average Roman to be able to read his manuscript and understand what he was saying.

 

The use of the description of torture was probably meant to tell the Christians in the seven churches what their fellow Christians were enduring at the cruel hands of Nero. Note how these “locusts” had the features of other animals, but had faces that “resembled human faces.” Revelation 9:7. This is, again, brings to mind the torture of the Christians who were wrapped in animal skins and attacked by dogs.

 

The second woe is brought on by the sixth angel sounding his trumpet. This woe calls upon two hundred million mounted troops to kill a third of mankind. Most end-timers love to say that these troops are the Chinese Army who will invade Israel or some such. They like to bellow on about how China boasts an Army of two hundred million. They take the descriptions of the horses and riders as having breastplates, their heads spewing fire, smoke and sulfur and the horses having power in their mouths and their tails which were like snakes that inflict injury and try to use these to show that John of Patmos was seeing modern day weapons of war that he could not possibly understand. Somehow the end-timers reach deep down within themselves and turn these descriptions into some sort of modern day weapon of war, maybe a tank, or a troop carrier, or some sort of cannon firing chemical weapons or whatever they fancy to try to make two thousand year old description seem modern.

 

But it is not that at all. This description is purely symbolic of the time period in which John of Patmos wrote, which is 64 to 65 CE. Notice that the nature of the damage done by the two hundred million mounted troops was essentially fire damage. This is, again, a message, hidden within religious looking symbolism to confuse the Romans, that the weapon of choice to use against Nero is fire. The second woe is that and nothing more, most certainly not anything about today or our future.

 

Revelation 10

The Angel and the Little Scroll

1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. 2 He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4 And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.”

5 Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6 And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! 7 But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”

8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”

9 So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’[a]” 10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”

Chapter Ten is an interlude before the third woe which is the sounding of the trumpet by the seventh angel. In this chapter, we see a series of events which seem out of place given the nature of the narrative to this point. Chapter Ten is an instruction manual for communicating during this period of persecution when trusting the wrong person might lead to one’s betrayal and subsequent torture and death.

 

The angel introduced in Verse One is holding a “little scroll” in his hand. This angel then shouts which causes the seven thunders to speak. John of Patmos was about to write down what the seven thunders said, but was told not to by a voice from heaven.

 

The message here is that Christians must be careful not to write down too much information which can come back to harm them. The written word can be used as evidence to convict them of some crime or the other to justify their torture and execution. What is more, keeping written records of who the Christians are can lead to the Romans identifying them and thus result in their arrest, torture, and execution.

 

In verses five through seven the angel holding the scroll raises his hand and swears an oath that there will be no more delays and that the mystery of god will be accomplished in the days before the sounding of the seventh trumpet. This is John of Patmos’s way of telling his readers to pay close attention to the third woe, the seventh trumpet.

 

The chapter ends with the voice from heaven which told John of Patmos not to write down what the seven thunders said, telling John of Patmos to take the little scroll from the angel who is holding it. When John of Patmos asks for the scroll, the angel holding it tells him to eat it and when John of Patmos does so, he discovers that it tastes as sweet as honey in his mouth but turns his stomach sour.

 

This is John of Patmos’s way of telling his fellow Christians that during the great tribulation period they were then experiencing in Rome and which he felt was coming to all Christians throughout the Roman Empire that when they do write something down, they must do so in a type of code or symbology so the Romans do not understand it. Their written words must have double meanings, much like John of Patmos’s writing of Revelation does. That is, when the Romans read what is written it will be as sweet as honey to them but the true meaning of what is written may be terrible and thus turn sour in the stomachs (metaphorically speaking) of those who understand it.

 

Revelation 11

The Two Witnesses

1 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. 9 For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.

11 But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.

13 At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.

The Seventh Trumpet

15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

“The kingdom of the world has become

the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,

and he will reign for ever and ever.”

16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying:

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,

the One who is and who was,

because you have taken your great power

and have begun to reign.

18 The nations were angry,

and your wrath has come.

The time has come for judging the dead,

and for rewarding your servants the prophets

and your people who revere your name,

both great and small—

and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.

The two primary events in Chapter Eleven are the testimony, death and resurrection of the two witnesses and the sounding of the seventh angel’s trumpet which begins the third woe. The end-timers just love the two witnesses. They are gleeful over them because to them it proves beyond any doubt that what John of Patmos describes is an event that could only unfold in our time because the only way “…some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their [dead] bodies…” is through modern television with satellites that beam the live broadcast straight from Jerusalem to all the world’s watching eyes. In an earlier post, I have debunked this notion and so will not spend time now repeating what I have earlier written. But what I will do now is to offer an alternate interpretation of the two witnesses which is far more plausible than what the end-timers propose.

 

For this interpretation especially, you must remember that John of Patmos is writing with symbols and in a way that he hopes the Romans will not understand. As we discussed with Chapter Ten, he wants his writing to be sweet as honey in the mouths of the Romans even though it will be sour in the stomachs of the intended Christian audience. So we must get into John of Patmos’s mind and put ourselves as well as we can in his place and then try to discern what his true message is with respect to the two witnesses.

 

The first thing to note is that for the first time in Revelation, the scene dramatically changes from a focus on Rome to a focus on Jerusalem. It is clear that Jerusalem is where the two witnesses are because John of Patmos measures the temple and the temple is in Jerusalem. It is further clear because John of Patmos refers to the location as “…where their [the two witnesses’] lord [Jesus] was crucified.” Revelation 11:8. And that was Jerusalem.

 

The next thing to note is how John of Patmos refers to these two individuals. He calls them “witnesses.” A witness is a person who sees something and then tells others what he or she saw. Therefore, to combine these two noteworthy parts of John of Patmos’s writing, it seems that the author wants to convey to the seven churches within the Roman Empire and their Christian members something about what he learned from two witnesses that happened in Jerusalem.

 

So let us look at what happened to the two witnesses. They are described as prophesying and presenting testimony. Therefore, they were probably Christians who were very vocal about their beliefs. Then John of Patmos tells his readers that the beast that comes up from the abyss will attack and kill them and their bodies will lie in open view in the square and the people will rejoice. Revelation 11:7-10. The language is cloaked as if it is a prophecy of some future event to fool the Romans, but this was a past event that John of Patmos wanted to relay to his Christian audience. Therefore, what probably happened to these two Christians is that because they were being so vocal about their religion, they were arrested by Romans and, as far as everyone knew, were executed. The reason John of Patmos wanted to convey this information is because he is fearful that Nero has also begun his persecution of Christians in Jerusalem and so it is no longer confined to the borders of Rome itself.

 

John of Patmos’ narrative about the two witnesses continues with his writing that after three and a half days lying dead in public, the breath of life from god entered them and they were alive again. All the people who saw them were fearful and then the witnesses went up to heaven. What I believe to be a very plausible message from all of this with the two witnesses is that though people thought the two witnesses had been killed by the Romans, somehow they managed to escape with their lives and when their fellows, possibly also including John of Patmos himself, saw them, they were greatly surprised because they thought the two were dead.

 

John of Patmos’ point with the two witnesses is that he heard from what he considers reliable sources that there is a Roman persecution of Christians in Jerusalem because the two individuals he met and spoke with were victims of such persecution. When John of Patmos speaks of plagues, earthquakes and other disasters taking place in Jerusalem, what he is saying is that the Christians must also consider attacking the Romans in Jerusalem and not just in Rome.

 

The idea of John of Patmos suggesting some sort of counter insurgency in Jerusalem in 65 CE is not as outrageous as it may seem at first blush. Remember, that only five years hence the Romans will destroy Jerusalem completely, including the temple. And the reason they did this was because the Jews rebelled against Roman authority. There is little doubt that there were those rebellious instigators even in 65 CE within Jerusalem who would love to have a go at the Roman soldiers. It is even possible that John of Patmos may have been sympathetic with this movement, particularly in light of the Christian persecution then taking place.

 

The chapter ends with the seventh angel blowing his trumpet and thus ushering in the third woe. Upon blowing his trumpet, we are made aware of thanksgiving being spoken in heaven and then we are told that god’s temple in heaven is opened and the Ark of the Covenant is there. The chapter ends with “…flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.” In other words, John of Patmos is telling his audience to be ready to read what follows very closely because it is important.

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Overcame, I cannot read this whole post tonight because of time right now - but I do want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the work you have put into this whole post - to help us understand Revelation in the proper context, of looking at when it was written and to who it is written.

 

I will definitely be back to read the rest! It is so interesting the way you have laid this all out for us!

 

Just wanted to say thanks right now! You deserve a medal for this! :Medal:

 

Sincerely, Margee

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Good stuff OF--- you mentioned that the UN Declaration in 1917 called for a state for Israel AND a state for Palestine? Why are we still struggling with the State of Palestine then? I have to assume that some of this has to do with the Judeo-Christian philosophy of Israel having rights to all of the land. I have a sneaking suspision that Israel may end up being in some serious trouble over the next couple of years in the sense that there are many dynamics changing in the Middle East. I don't believe that Egypt will be in their corner as much as they have been in the past. I think that they should have made a two-state deal when they had a chance--but they were greedy. I think there is a strong possiblity that they may lose even more of their "biblical land" over time. If that happens, it just goes to show how invalid some of these biblical prophecies really can be.

 

Actually, the UN declaration was in 1947, but that is a trivial issue.

 

But your issue is a really good one. Yes, it did call for both a Jewish state and a Palestinian state. That is why I support the creation of a full-fledged Palestinian state which would be just as legitimate under international law as the State of Israel and that, frankly, is the solution to the incredibly difficult problem there. As to why this hasn't happened, I'm not well versed enough to provide a meaningful answer. But I do know enough to know that the fundamentalist Christians in America who so vocally support Israel, would never support requiring Israel to give up land in order to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state. And, as you know, America has a great influence over these issues and the fundamentalist Christians have a great influence over America's position on these issues. So, at least part of what is keeping a Palestinian state from being created is the fundamentalist Christians' incorrect belief that modern day Israel is the fulfillment of prophecies. I hate to say it, but those guys would love to see some kind of all-out war develop involving Israel to help Israel to have even more autonomy (assuming they would win), thus build a temple and do all the other things they see as necessary for end-times issues to arise, and thus usher in Jesus' return. That's how damaging these end-times beliefs are to peace in the Middle East.

 

 

Interesting. I have never really studied the history of this area, though I got a little fundie brainwashing about it. For example, I have seen videos claiming that the Palestine state is Jordan. Which is obviously false, since Jordan's independence was declared in 1946 and this UN declaration is dated 1947, so they clearly meant it on the area of recent Israel.

 

Or I have heard claims that the reason why there isn't a Palestine state is the Palestinians's stubbornness. Because they don't just want a state, they want Jerusalem. And they don't accept any deal that doesn't include Jerusalem - which is obviously unacceptable for the Jews.

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Interesting. I have never really studied the history of this area, though I got a little fundie brainwashing about it. For example, I have seen videos claiming that the Palestine state is Jordan. Which is obviously false, since Jordan's independence was declared in 1946 and this UN declaration is dated 1947, so they clearly meant it on the area of recent Israel.

 

Or I have heard claims that the reason why there isn't a Palestine state is the Palestinians's stubbornness. Because they don't just want a state, they want Jerusalem. And they don't accept any deal that doesn't include Jerusalem - which is obviously unacceptable for the Jews.

 

One's view of these matters often depends on one's point of reference. For the fundies, the formation of Israel was the fulfillment of a prophecy and so a work of god. Being such, Israel can do no wrong and anyone who opposes Israel's goals oppose god. Obviously, I don't see it that way. Both sides have some faults, for sure, and both sides contribute to the problem. But to state that the reason why there isn't a Palestine state is the Palestinians' stubbornness, is the same as my saying that the reason I don't have a million dollars is Bill Gates' stubborness in not writing me a check.

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Overcome, do you think the Palestinians would accept a state without Jerusalem?

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Overcome, do you think the Palestinians would accept a state without Jerusalem?

 

I really don't know. But I do know they don't yet have a true state and I think that the issue of Jerusalem is a major stumbling block for both sides. And I seriously doubt that Israel is going to divide the city of Jerusalem in some form to share its sovereignity with anyone.

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I think that the issue of Jerusalem is a major stumbling block for both sides

 

Hmmm.... Isn't there a prophecy saying just that? That God will make Jerusalem a major stumbling block for nations? I'm not sure, I may mix it up with something else. Not that it means anything Jerusalem was probably a major source of conflicts for nations for much of its existence.

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I think that the issue of Jerusalem is a major stumbling block for both sides

 

Hmmm.... Isn't there a prophecy saying just that? That God will make Jerusalem a major stumbling block for nations? I'm not sure, I may mix it up with something else. Not that it means anything Jerusalem was probably a major source of conflicts for nations for much of its existence.

 

This might be what you were thinking of:

 

1 A prophecy: The word of the LORD concerning Israel.

The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: 2 “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. 3 On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. 4 On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the LORD. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. 5 Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the LORD Almighty is their God.’

 

6 “On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume all the surrounding peoples right and left, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.

 

7 “The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. 8 On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD going before them. 9 On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.

 

Zechariah 12:1-8.

 

I guess god failed in his promise. He certainly didn't strike down the Romans in 70 CE when they captured and destroyed large parts of Jerusalem and destroyed the temple completely. And he didn't protect it for the next 2,000 years when Jerusalem and the rest of Judea went into the hands of many others and the Jews were dispersed around the world. Maybe this "prophecy" only has applicability to our modern times -- NOT!!!

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That was it, thank you! Yeah, in the context it's pretty vague and it can mean pretty much anything, as so often with Bible prophecies.

 

What dou you think of Zecharia 12:10?

 

"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."

 

Obviously Xtians point at this as a prophecy about Jesus because of the pierced and the only son part.

 

 

 

 

 

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That was it, thank you! Yeah, in the context it's pretty vague and it can mean pretty much anything, as so often with Bible prophecies.

 

What dou you think of Zecharia 12:10?

 

"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."

 

Obviously Xtians point at this as a prophecy about Jesus because of the pierced and the only son part.

 

Anything in the OT that even remotely resembles the story of Jesus as presented in the NT, the Christians latch hold to and claim it as a fulfilled prophecy. I disagree with them wholly and completely. If anything, the authors of the four gospels drafted their mythological story to reflect these "prophecies." In other words, they engineered their story to some degree to try to make it "fulfill prophecies." But here's what I consider to be very important in not giving weight to the Christian claim that passages like Zecharia 12:10 and others are prophecies fulfilled by Jesus: the Jews do not buy into it at all. As a group, their scholars are totally unconvinced and as a people they do not accept it. I think they serve as a good barometer for the veracity of Christian claims. After all, who more than the Jews are looking forward to the Messiah? If it was so clear that Jesus filled the bill, they'd be all over it. Yet they're not.

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