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Overcame Faith

Top Ten Reasons Not To Fear Biblical End-times Scenarios

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Yes, and for everything that remotely, maybe, perhaps reminds of a "fulfilled prophecy" there are hundreds of other things those don't make sense, contradictions, errors, unfulfilled prophecies and all. All the "fulfilled prophecies" are rather vague (and are very few).

 

As a Xtian I have always taken the historic credibility of the Bible as a given. Even if someone would dispute the supernatural aspect, I thought it accurately recorded historic events. I have only learned about the history of the Bible after my deconversion. I have to say I was pretty surprised that there is hardly any outside source supporting most of its stories! As a Xtian I never knew that even the existence of Jesus is disputed because there's no source mentioning him outside of the Bible (that Josephus Flavius mention turned out to be a falsification, I read). If he was really this wonderful miracle man, there should have been at least some mentions by others outside of the Bible....

 

And then there was David and Solomon and how everything that is claimed about them in the Bible is very, very questionable historically! In the Bible it's claimed Solomon had this huge, flourishing empire, while it's incredibly strange that there's no mention of this huge empire anywhere else outside of the Bible. And there is no archeological evidence either. Strange that such a great empire would disappear basically without a trace (other than the Bible)....

 

It's amazing to me. Seems like the writers of the Bible were the ultimate history revisionists!

 

Yes, I agree that the writers of the NT and gospels tried to build up Jesus's figure so that it would "fulfill" some OT prophecies and verses. BTW, I have just read the Book of Zechariah was probably written by two people, possible three - not one.

 

 

 

 

 

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As a Xtian I have always taken the historic credibility of the Bible as a given. Even if someone would dispute the supernatural aspect, I thought it accurately recorded historic events. I have only learned about the history of the Bible after my deconversion. I have to say I was pretty surprised that there is hardly any outside source supporting most of its stories! As a Xtian I never knew that even the existence of Jesus is disputed because there's no source mentioning him outside of the Bible (that Josephus Flavius mention turned out to be a falsification, I read). If he was really this wonderful miracle man, there should have been at least some mentions by others outside of the Bible....

 

Same here. One interesting thing regarding Josephus is that I bought a copy of his works when I was a believer and getting into apologetics, since I had been told that it was external verification of the historicity of Jesus. I remember looking up the passage (often referred to as the Testimonium Flavium) and being shocked by what I read. Josephus supposedly never became a christian, so why in the world would he write such a glowing passage about Jesus? How could someone acknowledge Jesus in such a praising fashion and yet refuse to accept him as savior? It made no sense to me at all, but since I was unaware of the way early christians tampered with texts and I didn't know what to make of it, I just wrote it off as a strange anomaly. Now I understand that it simply wasn't written by Josephus, it was added later by christian zealots.

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Overcame Faith, it's interesting to read what you're saying about Revelation possibly being about Rome in the first century. Years ago a christian friend of mine told me that his parents believed that Revelation was about things that had already happened (I think it was even thought to be about Nero), but of course we were not open to such an interpretation because we were devout believers and that's not a standard christian understanding of the text. While I'm still not sure that I'm on the same page as you in the interpretation (since it involves speculation), it's interesting to see such a perspective laid out in detail, and it at least seems to possibly be a realistic understanding. (And for clarification, I fully agree with all your other points so far in the thread.)

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Overcame Faith, it's interesting to read what you're saying about Revelation possibly being about Rome in the first century. Years ago a christian friend of mine told me that his parents believed that Revelation was about things that had already happened (I think it was even thought to be about Nero), but of course we were not open to such an interpretation because we were devout believers and that's not a standard christian understanding of the text. While I'm still not sure that I'm on the same page as you in the interpretation (since it involves speculation), it's interesting to see such a perspective laid out in detail, and it at least seems to possibly be a realistic understanding. (And for clarification, I fully agree with all your other points so far in the thread.)

 

Thanks, Citsonga. I take what you say as a compliment. And coming from you, a good one.

 

And I think you read my interpretation of Revelation correctly. Yes, there is speculation and I could be wrong about the details, of course. But as I have tried to say, and as I am sure you understand and agree, my interpretation is a whale of a lot more probable than what the end-timers say. And that's all I think I have to do to debunk the end-timers. Give a more plausible explanation than they offer.

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Overcame Faith, it's interesting to read what you're saying about Revelation possibly being about Rome in the first century. Years ago a christian friend of mine told me that his parents believed that Revelation was about things that had already happened (I think it was even thought to be about Nero), but of course we were not open to such an interpretation because we were devout believers and that's not a standard christian understanding of the text. While I'm still not sure that I'm on the same page as you in the interpretation (since it involves speculation), it's interesting to see such a perspective laid out in detail, and it at least seems to possibly be a realistic understanding. (And for clarification, I fully agree with all your other points so far in the thread.)

 

Thanks, Citsonga. I take what you say as a compliment. And coming from you, a good one.

 

And I think you read my interpretation of Revelation correctly. Yes, there is speculation and I could be wrong about the details, of course. But as I have tried to say, and as I am sure you understand and agree, my interpretation is a whale of a lot more probable than what the end-timers say. And that's all I think I have to do to debunk the end-timers. Give a more plausible explanation than they offer.

 

Yes indeed, it was a compliment. Your interpretation is definitely much more plausible than the standard view that John actually had visions from God (depicting things that John couldn't quite comprehend).

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I am grateful for this post and have been checking it regularly--and like the information that is provided. I still am working through some of my endtime fears as they relate to Israel and the temple, etc. I have apprecidated all of the information provided by others on this topic-- but still find myself struggling not to worry about this area. I guess most of it centers around the fact that we had a number of end-time evangelists who loved to bring the topic of the temple up, along with stories about the ashes of the red heifer and the ark of the covenant. I have heard several stories about the red heifer even some as recently as 2010-- from what I can tell, the "Temple Institute" is behind these-- and it seems like they have been working with fundamentatist Americans to genetically raise one or two of these creatures. Apparently they are saying that they have a few kosher ones, but won't disclose there location or really any other information. They have declared a number of other cows kosher in the past, and then had to retract, so I don't know if that will be the case with this one as well or not-- but it does bother me only in the sense that I had heard that this was a sign of the end times.

 

I tried to read up a bit on the red heifer and really only found one reference in the bible about it in Numbers where Moses was instructed to sacrifice one. Everything else comes form other Jewish law books written much later than the OT. So, I wondered what all of you thought about the red heifer. Manmoinoides wrote that the 10th heifer would be sacrificed by the Messiah. Not neccesarily that there would only be 10 red heifers ever!! It seems it might be another of those man-made laws that the Levite Priests came up with, and then wrote about in later times, in order to keep their positon of power in play. I also think that the Temple Institute is working really hard to force the hand of building a new temple, and that by saying that they have one, or artificially manufacturing one, they can say that the temple area can be cleansed, etc..

 

Lastly, it seems like there may have been lots of "red heifers" born on the earth-- some may have even been eaten by one of us! I am not even sure if the fact that it is written that there were only 9 previously sacrificed is correct, or even if those people identified are the ones that sacrificed them.

 

Is this all bunk as well?

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Overcame Faith, it's interesting to read what you're saying about Revelation possibly being about Rome in the first century. Years ago a christian friend of mine told me that his parents believed that Revelation was about things that had already happened (I think it was even thought to be about Nero), but of course we were not open to such an interpretation because we were devout believers and that's not a standard christian understanding of the text.

 

It's called preterism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preterism

 

 

When I was a Xtian I used to attend Christian Forums for a short period of time and I remember preterists weren't allowed to comment escatology subjects, it was considered a heretic view....

 

 

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I am grateful for this post and have been checking it regularly--and like the information that is provided. I still am working through some of my endtime fears as they relate to Israel and the temple, etc. I have apprecidated all of the information provided by others on this topic-- but still find myself struggling not to worry about this area. I guess most of it centers around the fact that we had a number of end-time evangelists who loved to bring the topic of the temple up, along with stories about the ashes of the red heifer and the ark of the covenant. I have heard several stories about the red heifer even some as recently as 2010-- from what I can tell, the "Temple Institute" is behind these-- and it seems like they have been working with fundamentatist Americans to genetically raise one or two of these creatures. Apparently they are saying that they have a few kosher ones, but won't disclose there location or really any other information. They have declared a number of other cows kosher in the past, and then had to retract, so I don't know if that will be the case with this one as well or not-- but it does bother me only in the sense that I had heard that this was a sign of the end times.

 

I tried to read up a bit on the red heifer and really only found one reference in the bible about it in Numbers where Moses was instructed to sacrifice one. Everything else comes form other Jewish law books written much later than the OT. So, I wondered what all of you thought about the red heifer. Manmoinoides wrote that the 10th heifer would be sacrificed by the Messiah. Not neccesarily that there would only be 10 red heifers ever!! It seems it might be another of those man-made laws that the Levite Priests came up with, and then wrote about in later times, in order to keep their positon of power in play. I also think that the Temple Institute is working really hard to force the hand of building a new temple, and that by saying that they have one, or artificially manufacturing one, they can say that the temple area can be cleansed, etc..

 

Lastly, it seems like there may have been lots of "red heifers" born on the earth-- some may have even been eaten by one of us! I am not even sure if the fact that it is written that there were only 9 previously sacrificed is correct, or even if those people identified are the ones that sacrificed them.

 

Is this all bunk as well?

I don't know about the red heifers, but I think that of course there are religious nuts who work hard on making prophecies "fulfilled". I don't think it's incredibly hard to find some red heifers and then breed them. Of course religious nuts would do this, but does it really mean anything? They can breed as many red heifers as they want to that won't make Jesus come back.

 

 

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Overcame Faith, it's interesting to read what you're saying about Revelation possibly being about Rome in the first century. Years ago a christian friend of mine told me that his parents believed that Revelation was about things that had already happened (I think it was even thought to be about Nero), but of course we were not open to such an interpretation because we were devout believers and that's not a standard christian understanding of the text.

 

It's called preterism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preterism

 

 

When I was a Xtian I used to attend Christian Forums for a short period of time and I remember preterists weren't allowed to comment escatology subjects, it was considered a heretic view....

 

Since it is considered a heretical view, I am proud to be counted among them. LOL

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I am grateful for this post and have been checking it regularly--and like the information that is provided. I still am working through some of my endtime fears as they relate to Israel and the temple, etc. I have apprecidated all of the information provided by others on this topic-- but still find myself struggling not to worry about this area. I guess most of it centers around the fact that we had a number of end-time evangelists who loved to bring the topic of the temple up, along with stories about the ashes of the red heifer and the ark of the covenant. I have heard several stories about the red heifer even some as recently as 2010-- from what I can tell, the "Temple Institute" is behind these-- and it seems like they have been working with fundamentatist Americans to genetically raise one or two of these creatures. Apparently they are saying that they have a few kosher ones, but won't disclose there location or really any other information. They have declared a number of other cows kosher in the past, and then had to retract, so I don't know if that will be the case with this one as well or not-- but it does bother me only in the sense that I had heard that this was a sign of the end times.

 

I tried to read up a bit on the red heifer and really only found one reference in the bible about it in Numbers where Moses was instructed to sacrifice one. Everything else comes form other Jewish law books written much later than the OT. So, I wondered what all of you thought about the red heifer. Manmoinoides wrote that the 10th heifer would be sacrificed by the Messiah. Not neccesarily that there would only be 10 red heifers ever!! It seems it might be another of those man-made laws that the Levite Priests came up with, and then wrote about in later times, in order to keep their positon of power in play. I also think that the Temple Institute is working really hard to force the hand of building a new temple, and that by saying that they have one, or artificially manufacturing one, they can say that the temple area can be cleansed, etc..

 

Lastly, it seems like there may have been lots of "red heifers" born on the earth-- some may have even been eaten by one of us! I am not even sure if the fact that it is written that there were only 9 previously sacrificed is correct, or even if those people identified are the ones that sacrificed them.

 

Is this all bunk as well?

 

Hi, Kris. I am very aware of the Temple Institute. They are the same group which are making the garments and other implements according to their undestanding of the scriptural requirements which the priests will need to conduct their ceremonies when (the when is what they believe, not if) the temple is rebuilt. The red heifer is just one of many of the requirements they see, not some especially important one, but just one of many. The Temple Institute is not Christian. They are doing nothing because Revelation says it is needed to be done to convince Jesus to stop his 2,000 year long silence and refusal to return to earth. To them, Jesus was no Messiah. They want what they see as the "real" Messiah to come. They gladly accept monetary and other support from Christians, but they are not in accord with the Christians and, because they get so much Christian assistance, they may not say so publicly, but privately they do not believe any of what the Christians preach.

 

Everyone has an agenda in this area. The theological view is if they set the stage according to how they view prophecy requiring the stage to be set, then it is as if god has no choice but to cut loose with all the things they believe he will do. That is so silly if you ask me. That's like saying if I could just look like a millionaire, I would suddenly find a million dollars in my bank account. It doesn't work that way. First I have to have the million dollars in my bank account, and then I can look like a millionaire. Because until I have the million bucks, it doesn't matter how I look, I am no millionaire.

 

The red heifer, the implements for use in the temple, all the incense called for, and even priests ready to go, mean absolutely nothing. None of it will ever cause the end-times to begin to happen nor does it mean the end-times prophecies are being fulfilled. The biggest reason for this is because there are NO END TIMES PROPHECIES AT ALL. NONE.

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Reason Number 3 (Part 6 of 7)

Revelation 12
The Woman and the Dragon
1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.”[a] And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.
7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
11 They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.”
13 When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. 15 Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.

Beginning with Chapter 12, we really get into the parts of Revelation in which the end-timers have the most fun making up their prophecies that they try to convince people have been fulfilled in our own time or soon will be. But do not get nervous over what these people teach you. They are wrong.

The first question is who is the “…woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head?” Revelation 12:1. This woman represents Israel, the Hebrews, god’s people. Now be careful here. I am not saying it represents modern day Israel. Not in the least. It represents ancient Israel, the “perfect” Israel as ruled by King David when all twelve tribes were united and strong and wealthy. It is the crown with twelve stars that gives this away. The crown represents King David and the twelve stars on the crown represent the twelve tribes of Israel. And so the symbol of the crown with twelve stars is meant to emphasize King David because it was through King David’s line that the Messiah was to be born and that line, the tribe of Judah, is the only line left fully intact at the time of John of Patmos’s writing.

As we go on with the description, it becomes even more obvious that the woman is the one remaining star in David’s crown, the Jewish people. She is pregnant and as she is about to give birth, the red dragon is flung to earth from heaven. As the woman gives birth, the red dragon stands ready to devour the child the moment he is born. The child is born and snatched up to god and his throne. But then the woman flees to the wilderness where she will be kept safe for a period of time.

The child is Jesus and the story of Jesus is told with no fanfare whatsoever. Once Jesus ascends into heaven then a great war is waged in heaven by Michael and his angels against the dragon and his angels. Finally, because the Messiah, Jesus, sits on the throne, heaven can win against the Dragon, or Satan, and his angels and they can be cast out of heaven once and for all. But, unfortunately, as we shall see, the victory in heaven causes problems on earth because Satan is thrown to earth permanently and all on the earth are in jeopardy from the dragon Satan.

Verses 13 through 17 tell the story of what happened once the dragon was hurled to earth. He pursues the woman who gave birth to the child. As we have seen, the woman represents what is left of the Hebrew people at the time John of Patmos is writing – the Jewish people. So Satan is depicted as pursuing the Jewish people. But the Jewish people managed to survive the numerous assaults on them. These historical assaults, captivities, wars and so on are represented by the water being spewed from the mouth of the serpent. At this point, the serpent represents all the various kingdoms who have attempted to trample on the Jewish people and who dispersed them and who conquered them. But through it all, they survived and, at the time of John of Patmos’s writing, they have their own country with a temple and, even though they are controlled by Rome, at least they are alive and relatively safe.

Satan, who is symbolically all the earthly powers who attacked and tried to destroy or otherwise control the Jewish people, having not been completely successful against them, in Verse 17 turns his attention to something new. He now focuses on the “…the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.” And so we know that the “rest of her offspring” who are now under Satan’s attack, in this case Satan is Rome, are the Christians. And this is where John of Patmos leaves us at the end of this chapter.

In depicting the Hebrews (or the Jews) as having given birth to Jesus and the Christians as the “rest of her offspring,” we see John of Patmos’s view of the relationship between the Jewish religion and the Christian religion. To John of Patmos, Christianity was a natural off shoot of Judaism. Christianity was the child of Judaism because Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, was conceived and born through the line and tribe of David, the tribe of Judah, the one tribe left at the time John of Patmos wrote Revelation. We see John of Patmos’s connection to Judaism through his numerous Jewish references in Revelation, and for him the connection between Christianity and Judaism is strong and important.

To fail to understand this connection of Christianity as a descendant of Judaism is to fail to understand John of Patmos’s central message. And that message is that the then current attacks on Christians are not something new. Rather, they are another of many attacks that have historically been launched against all that is Jewish. And there is encouragement in this message because just as the Jewish people have survived these attacks, so, too, will the Christians ultimately survive and even prevail. John of Patmos thus closes this chapter with hope and encouragement, but not before everything has played itself out as we shall see in the next chapter of Revelation.
Revelation 13
The Beast out of the Sea
1 The dragon[a] stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. 4 People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?”
5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.
10 “If anyone is to go into captivity,
into captivity they will go.
If anyone is to be killed[c] with the sword,
with the sword they will be killed.”[d]
This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.
The Beast out of the Earth
11 Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. 14 Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man.[e] That number is 666.

I believe that discussing this chapter is my most important task if I am to offer help to those who suffer fears of end-times events. For it is from this single chapter with its symbolism that has unfortunately provided the fertile ground for the end-timers to plant and cultivate their most destructive crop of misunderstanding and lies that have lead to such fear in so many innocent people.

It is from this chapter that all the talk about the Antichrist comes with the harsh accusations against modern day leaders that they are the Antichrist of Revelation 13. It is from this chapter that there are unwarranted fears of people being marked with some sort of microchip or other method and if they take this mark they and their families are doomed to eternal punishment in hell. It is from this chapter that there are fears of a one-world government that will lead to our total destruction and devastation and eternal suffering in hell. It is from this chapter that fears of some sort of super computer system that will be used to track the movements of people by a sinister satanically inspired government. It is from this chapter that there is a wide-spread belief that some sort of new religion will arise in which we and our children will be forced to worship Satan and which, in turn, will lead to torment and suffering directed against us from god.

Before I begin to explain Revelation Chapter 13, I want to take some time to speak against those in our society who capitalize on the fears of our brothers and sisters. Untold wealth has been accumulated by those who offer their shoddy and untrue interpretations of Revelation in general and Revelation 13 in particular. Something like 62 million copies of the “Left Behind” books have been sold, making the authors best sellers beyond the dreams of even such great authors as Faulkner, Wolfe, Harper Lee, Vonnegut, and so many others who write so brilliantly and beautifully. And the authors of the “Left Behind” series are not the only ones who have capitalized on the lies about Revelation. Just go into any Christian bookstore and you will see the many books in which the authors extol their own versions of fear and paranoia of the end-times. It is sickening to see and to think about.

I do not begrudge anyone who makes money in a legitimate way. And if these fear-mongers were to write what they do about end-times events as fiction and clearly say it is fiction even though loosely based on the Bible, I would have no problem with what they write. But they do not. Though they may use some fictionalization for dramatic effect, underlying all that they write is this voice which the reader hears which says, “All of what I am saying will really happen and it may just happen during your lifetime.” They capitalize on their own central message that the Bible is the word of god and that Revelation in particular is a prophecy of events that will soon unfold and if the reader fails to take appropriate precautions they will be subjugated by Satan and eternally punished by their god.

What I say is, I can only hope, though I highly doubt that, they will see the error of their ways and repent as their religion requires of them and stop the fear-mongering now and forever.

I will begin explaining Chapter 13 by identifying the players. Once I identify them, I will explain how I reasoned my way to these conclusions.

• The Dragon: The Roman Empire.
• The Beast out of the Sea: Roman Emporers and, depending on context, Nero.
• The Head of the Beast who survived a wound: Nero.
• The Second Beast Coming out of the Earth: The Worship of Roman Emporers as a god.
• The Image of the Beast who survived a Wound (Nero): A 120 feet tall bronze statue of Nero which was actually erected.

Revelation 13 opens with the dragon standing on the shore of the sea. I will explain this later, but the dragon represents the Roman Empire. We then see a beast come out of the sea. This beast has ten horns, seven heads, and wears a crown on each of the horns. The crowns on the ten horns are symbolic of leaders who lead a nation or, in this case, an empire. That is, the horns with crowns represent the various Roman emperors. The seven heads are probably symbolic of the city of Rome since Rome was said to be on seven hills and it is in Rome that the emperors resided. But additionally, the heads also represent specific emporers.

In Verse Two, we learn that the dragon gave the beast his power. It is this which makes the strongest case for the dragon being the Roman Empire. What John of Patmos is saying is that none of the Roman Emperors were anything whatsoever without the great power afforded to them by the mighty Roman Empire with its great Army, wealth, technological know how, and infrastructure. Once in command of that great empire, the emperors had command of this awesome power. Thus, it was true that the dragon, the Roman Empire, gave the beast, the various emperors, their power.

In Verses Three and Four, John of Patmos begins to focus in on one particular emperor. He identifies this emperor by focusing in on one of the heads of the beast from the sea and noting that the head had suffered a great wound but had survived the wound. John of Patmos tells us that people began to worship the dragon, that is, the Roman Empire, because it had given power to the beast and that people were asking who could possibly wage war, or defeat, the beast.

If we accept my thesis that Revelation is actually discussing what occurred in Rome in the period 64 to 65 CE, then one can come to no other conclusion than this beast with the wound is Nero. But one does not have to accept my thesis to come to this conclusion. Rather, a look at history will confirm that this beast who suffered a wound yet survived is none other than Nero.

After the great fire in Rome and into 65 CE, it was quite clear to the Roman senate that they had been virtually stripped of any real power by the emperors and Nero was one of the worst at taking away their power. Thus, a plan, or conspiracy, was hatched to assassinate Nero. Modern historians call this event the Pisonian Conspiracy. Nero found out about the conspiracy and variously punished the co-conspirators by ordering them to commit suicide, executing them, or exiling them. In all, forty-one co-conspirators were involved, and nineteen of them were Roman senators. All of this took place in 65 CE, the precise time when John of Patmos was writing Revelation.

For more reading, see the following:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pisonian_conspiracy'>http://en.wikipedia....nian_conspiracy

The great wound was the conspiratorial plot to assassinate Nero. But Nero survived the “wound” and, having dealt with his enemies, arose with great power because now there was no one who could “wage war” against him. Not even nineteen Roman senators could stop Nero. His power seemed boundless.

As a side note, I will offer some food for interesting thought. I am not claiming this to be true nor do I claim to have any evidence to support this. It is merely something to consider one late evening while you are enjoying a glass of good wine and would like to ponder something. It deals with the possible identity of John of Patmos.

We know that John of Patmos claims to have been exiled to the Island of Patmos for the word of god. We also know that some of those involved in the Pisonian Conspiracy were exiled. The various co-conspirators had differing motivations for their parts in the conspiracy. It is at least somewhat plausible that John of Patmos may have been one of these co-conspirators. His motivation would have been to have gotten rid of Nero in hopes of bringing an end to the Christian persecution.

If John of Patmos were one of the Pisonian co-conspirators, it would explain a lot about him. It would explain his exile and it would explain his great, almost insider’s, knowledge about what was happening in Rome and his knowledge of Nero. It would also give John of Patmos an added incentive to hide his words through the use of symbols so no Roman authority would understand what he was really writing about as that would certainly have led to his execution. Again, I do not claim this to be true, but it is fun to think about.

In Verses Five through Eight, John of Patmos describes Nero’s power once he overcame the “wound” of the assassination attempt. Now he was worshipped and he blasphemed god more vigorously than ever by proclaiming himself to be a “god.” The power to wage war against god’s people is a description of the persecution of the Christians conducted by Nero. Having been given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation, refers to Nero’s uncontested control over the Roman Empire which, from their perspective, did control the entire earth, at least all the earth they knew about.

In Verses 11 through 17, John of Patmos writes of a second beast who is religious in nature and the various signs it performed, a statue, and people receiving the “mark of the beast.” It is from these verses that the end-timers see some sort of a world-wide religion, one-world government, microchips being implanted, great computer system controlling everyone and so on. There is, of course, a much more probable explanation.

The second beast “…had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon.” The reference to a lamb means it was something similar to Jesus, but much different because it spoke like a dragon. Thus, it is religious in nature but had to do with the dragon, the Roman Empire. It exercised all the power of the first beast and made everyone worship the first beast whose fatal wound had been healed. The first beast whose fatal wound had been healed was Nero and it also exercised all the power of Nero. That is, it was Nero himself. But only a different aspect of Nero. It was the religious aspect of him. It was the part of Nero who demanded to be worshipped like a god.

This religious part of Nero performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. This could describe some sort of trickery that Nero performed in full view of the people to make them believe that he had some sort of supernatural power. However, I think the fire that is referred to is the belief that Nero may have had something to do with the burning of Rome. Thus, it would have been done in the full view of the people.

This religious part of Nero is said to have deceived the inhabitants of the earth and this deception probably had to do with punishing Christians to take the heat from himself with the accusations that he had something to do with the fire to further his own building plans. It was also said to have “…ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.” Revelation 13:14. This image was said to be able to speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.

This image of the beast, that is, the image of Nero most probably refers to a 120 feet tall bronze statue of Nero which Nero ordered to be built referred to as the Colossus of Nero. It was a statue of the sun god, but in Nero’s image. It could talk in the sense that it “said” Nero was divine. It may not have been completed when John of Patmos was writing Revelation in 65 CE, but no doubt the plans were known and so John of Patmos may very well have known that this statue was to be built.

For more reading on the Colossus of Nero, see the following:

http://www.romereborn.virginia.edu/ge/MA-018-PA.html'>http://www.romerebor.../MA-018-PA.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_of_Nero'>http://en.wikipedia....olossus_of_Nero

In verses 16 and 17, John of Patmos writes of one of the events that end-timers use to terrify more modern day people than should be allowed. It is the part in which all people are forced to take a mark before they can buy or sell. This has nothing whatsoever to do with our time or with any time in our future. Rather, it brings to mind the rider of the third horse of the apocalypse in Revelation 6:5-6, “…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!”

John’s description of the rider of the black horse in Revelation Six was in preparation for Revelation 13:16-17. All this part of Revelation 13 means is that Rome had control over the economy and to thrive in Roman society one had to go along with the system. If one tried to buck the Roman system, then the tightly controlled Roman economy would not serve them. The idea of people worshipping Rome is symbolic language meaning that if one is a part of Roman society, one is effectively worshipping evil but also it is John of Patmos’s warning that it will be difficult to not be a part of the Roman economy since Rome controls everything so capably.

The chapter ends with one of the most famous puzzles ever invented. It is the puzzle of trying to figure out what the number 666 means. John of Patmos wrote, “This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, fir it is the number of a man. That number is 666.”

End-timers spend endless hours trying to use this number to identify various modern people as the Beast of Revelation 13. One of the attempts I recall the most vividly was President Reagan. President Reagan’s full name was, Ronald Wilson Reagan. Since each of his three names had six letters, putting them together yielded 666 and thus the identity of the beast, or the Antichrist. I was a Christian then and still believed that Revelation had some relevance for our modern times. But I could not understand how Reagan could possibly be the Antichrist given his outspoken Christian message. And, of course, history has proven that he was not the Antichrist. And history will continue to prove there is no antichrist whatsoever other than the “Beast” known as Emperor Nero.

I am not qualified to give you my independent interpretation of the 666. But I have provided what I think are convincing arguments that the Beast of Revelation 13 is Nero and thus 666 must refer to Nero in some form or fashion. If you do a Google search, you will find any number of interpretations of 666, including how some scholars believe that it clearly leads to Nero. Personally, I do not believe one must solve this mystery to have the correct interpretation. The evidence that the “Beast” is Nero is so strong, that interpreting the number 666 becomes nothing more than an interesting intellectual exercise.

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More interesting food for thought there, Overcame Faith. Your thesis may indeed be true.

 

What leaves me scratching my head, though, is this: If this message was encoded in this way so that the (educated) Roman authorities couldn't understand what it meant, then why would we suppose that the actual recipients of the message (the 7 churches) would be able to understand it?

 

On another note, I have heard that some early manuscripts have the number "616" instead of "666," so some believe that "616" is the actual number of the beast originally used.

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What leaves me scratching my head, though, is this: If this message was encoded in this way so that the (educated) Roman authorities couldn't understand what it meant, then why would we suppose that the actual recipients of the message (the 7 churches) would be able to understand it?

 

Your question is spot on, Citsonga. It shows you have your thinking cap on. Good for you. I like that.

 

Indeed, why would we suppose the recipients understood the message? I'll take a stab at this, but I would also like to hear your thoughts.

 

For the sake of attempting to answer your question, let's assume that I am at least partially correct in what I am saying. Maybe I don't have all the details ironed out, but generally speaking the thesis is correct. That is, that John of Patmos was not writing any sort of prophecy at all, but was relaying information about what was happening to the Christians in Rome and providing a warning to the seven churches of what might also happen to them and providing them with some suggestions for protecting themselves and possibly even going on the offensive and that all of this was done using symbolism to hide the message from the Romans. With the assumption that I am at least partially correct, what did it take for me to understand that which I understand in John of Patmos's encoded book?

 

I think it took the following:

 

1. A willingness to set aside the notion of prophecy altogether.

 

2. Discarding the notion that John of Patmos had some sort of vision and accepting that he carefully and skillfully wrote every word in an effort to convey something.

 

3. Understanding that John of Patmos was using symbolism and then searching for what those symbols would have meant to John of Patmos.

 

4. Some level of understanding of Christianity and Judaism so I can see and understand the religious symbolism.

 

5. Some level of understanding of what was taking place in the Roman Empire at about the time John of Patmos was writing.

 

I think that about covers it. So, if the recipients had something along the lines of what I describe above, I think they could have understood what John of Patmos was saying.

 

Of course, we really can't know for sure that they did understand the message. Or, for that matter, whether I understand it. LOL

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What leaves me scratching my head, though, is this: If this message was encoded in this way so that the (educated) Roman authorities couldn't understand what it meant, then why would we suppose that the actual recipients of the message (the 7 churches) would be able to understand it?

 

Your question is spot on, Citsonga. It shows you have your thinking cap on. Good for you. I like that.

 

Indeed, why would we suppose the recipients understood the message? I'll take a stab at this, but I would also like to hear your thoughts.

 

Well, I'm not a scholar on Rome or early christianity, but I can throw out some thoughts.

 

For the sake of attempting to answer your question, let's assume that I am at least partially correct in what I am saying. Maybe I don't have all the details ironed out, but generally speaking the thesis is correct. That is, that John of Patmos was not writing any sort of prophecy at all, but was relaying information about what was happening to the Christians in Rome and providing a warning to the seven churches of what might also happen to them and providing them with some suggestions for protecting themselves and possibly even going on the offensive and that all of this was done using symbolism to hide the message from the Romans. With the assumption that I am at least partially correct, what did it take for me to understand that which I understand in John of Patmos's encoded book?

 

I think a better question is: What would it take for the 7 churches to understand the message and the educated Roman authorities to not be able to figure it out?

 

I think it took the following:

 

1. A willingness to set aside the notion of prophecy altogether.

 

In relation to christian prophecies, I would expect that such willingness to set aside the notion would be easier for the Roman authorities than the christian communities. On the other hand, maybe the early christian apocalyptic writings were typically symbolic of current events and were not taken so much as futuristic prophecies. I'm not sure if the Roman authorities would have known how the christians took such texts, but if they had people infiltrating the churches (as you had suggested), then it would seem to me that such understandings of apocalyptic writings would have been found out by the Roman authorities.

 

2. Discarding the notion that John of Patmos had some sort of vision and accepting that he carefully and skillfully wrote every word in an effort to convey something.

 

Would the Roman authorities have thought that he really did have a vision?

 

3. Understanding that John of Patmos was using symbolism and then searching for what those symbols would have meant to John of Patmos.

 

If the Roman authorities had spies in the churches, wouldn't they have thought of searching for the meanings of symbols?

 

4. Some level of understanding of Christianity and Judaism so I can see and understand the religious symbolism.

 

Generally speaking, the christians and Jews would have had the best understanding of such. However, wouldn't the Roman authorities have been informed at least to some degree on christianity and Judaism, especially if they had spies in the churches?

 

5. Some level of understanding of what was taking place in the Roman Empire at about the time John of Patmos was writing.

 

Which, of course, the Roman authorities most certainly would have known.

 

I think that about covers it. So, if the recipients had something along the lines of what I describe above, I think they could have understood what John of Patmos was saying.

 

And if the Roman authorities likewise had such understanding, wouldn't they have been able to figure it out just as well as the christians?

 

Of course, we really can't know for sure that they did understand the message. Or, for that matter, whether I understand it. LOL

 

I don't know if anyone could fully understand something like Revelation, especially a couple millennia removed from its writing. It's even possible that the author was high on something and that it can't make sense and didn't make sense even when it was written. I don't really know.

 

You could be on the right track with your interpretations, though. Maybe if a Roman authority skimmed over it he would have thought it was silly nonsense and wouldn't have tried to decipher a hidden meaning. I really don't know.

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OvercameFaith, are we going to get reasons 2 and 1 anytime soon? I've thoroughly enjoyed reading what you've posted so far, so I'm interested in seeing what direction your final installments take. ;)

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OvercameFaith, are we going to get reasons 2 and 1 anytime soon? I've thoroughly enjoyed reading what you've posted so far, so I'm interested in seeing what direction your final installments take. ;)

 

Yes, definitely. I apologize for the long delay in my posting. I have been extremely busy IRL and, as I warned early on, I have to work this in between all of that. But here's what I plan:

 

1. I plan one last installment of the Book of Revelation in which I will deal with Chapter 17. I will do my best to have my discussion of Revelation 17 posted within two weeks or less. I think that will be enough of Revelation for these purposes, because I will have dealt with the major elements of the book.

2. I will do reasons 2 and 1. I already know what they are, but I don't want to spoil any surprises. ;)

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Here is a video I just came across that may be interesting to those reading this thread:

 

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Here is a video I just came across that may be interesting to those reading this thread:

 

I really enjoyed this video! But what happened to this thread? It was AMAZING!

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Reason No. 3 (Part 7 of 7)

 

I am sorry for the long delay in adding to this thread. In this post, I will address the final part of Revelation with which I am going to deal and that is Revelation 17.

 

I have found this chapter in Revelation to be the most difficult part of the whole book to interpret. It introduces some of the same concepts I have discussed earlier, but is full of new and confusing parts. I spent a lot of time thinking about Revelation 17, made many notes, came to conclusions only to change them and think the whole thing through again and again. I have finally come to my final conclusions on this difficult chapter and am ready to share my thoughts.

 

Before I share my thoughts and interpretation of Revelation 17, the reason I felt like I had to tackle this chapter is because from it comes some of the most well known end-timers’ interpretations that they say lets us all know that Revelation applies to today, rather than the time period of 64 to 65 CE as I posit it does. As I go through the chapter, I will explain some of the most popular end-time interpretations and then give my own. But remember this important point. I do not claim that mine is the only correct interpretation. Rather, as I have said before, my task is to develop an interpretation which makes more sense than that of the end-timers and that has been my goal all along.

 

Revelation 17

 

Babylon, the Prostitute on the Beast

 

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

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

BABYLON THE GREAT

THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES

AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

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

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

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

12 “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. 13 They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

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

 

We are aided in our quest to understand these complicated verses by the literary device of an angel who gives an interpretation. The beast on which the woman sits is Rome. We know this because of the angel’s interpretation. The angel says, “This calls for a mind of wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits.” Revelation 17:9. Rome is traditionally associated with seven hills. See the following article in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia....n_hills_of_Rome .

 

One of the things that creates confusion is the identity of the woman who rides the beast (Rome). I have read from end-timers that this woman represents a number of things, but one of the more popular is that she represents the Roman Catholic Church. For an exposition on this interpretation, you can read here:

 

http://www.born-agai...velation-17.htm

 

But she is decidedly not the Roman Catholic Church. Rather, and this is what causes so much confusion, she is also Rome, but not the same Rome on which she rides. She represents the Rome of John of Patmos’ time. Note that she is dressed in purple and scarlet. Revelation 17:4. These are the colors of royalty and the image of royalty atop Rome is symbolic of the Roman Empire which sits astride of the former Rome – the Rome which was the Roman Republic.

 

Notice something else about the woman who sits on the beast. She wears gold, precious stones, and pearls. Revelation 17:4. This represents the great wealth the Roman Empire had accumulated by, in John of Patmos’ view, improper means. That John of Patmos views her gains as ill-gotten is symbolized by the fact that she holds a golden cup, another symbol of great wealth, but which golden cup is filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. Revelation 17:4.

 

Further evidence that the woman represents the Roman Empire can be found in Revelation 17:6, “I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.” This verse is a reference to the persecution of Christians which was taking place at the time John of Patmos wrote Revelation and discussed in more detail in previous posts. And it was the Roman Empire, under the leadership of Nero, which was causing this persecution.

 

The final piece of evidence that the woman represents the Roman Empire is what was symbolically written on her forehead: “BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:5. In addition to the reference to Babylon the Great found in Chapter 17, there are five other references found in the Book of Revelation with language very similar to that found in Revelation 17:5. And in all of those passages it is clear that the reference is to Rome. For example, “A second angel followed and said, ‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.’” Revelation 14:8. What the angel is proclaiming in this passage is that Rome has fallen and it is supposed to be a joyous message to Christians. See also, Revelation 16:19, Revelation 18:2-3; Revelation 18:10; and, Revelation 18:21. Read in context, in all of these passages, Babylon the Great is the Roman Empire which existed at the time John of Patmos wrote Revelation.

 

So what is the portrait John of Patmos wants his readers to see? The portrait is one of Rome which has become corrupted. The woman, the Roman Empire, rides atop what was the Roman Republic and has subdued it for her own gain and has done so at the expense of many people all over the world, but, most of all, at the expense of the persecuted Christians. The woman rides atop the Roman Republic because that was Rome’s true foundation and without it, the Roman Empire would never have arisen to have such great power and wealth. The Roman Empire is a prostitute who sold her former self and high ideals symbolized by the Roman Republic for wealth through its commerce with other nations. And, at least from John of Patmos’ perspective, what is worse is that she is “…drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.” Revelation 17:6. The reference in Revelation 17:6 is, of course, to the persecution of Christians then taking place in Rome.

John of Patmos has caused much confusion with his symbolism in the minds of many end-timers. The following verse is a core source of that confusion:

 

8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.

 

It is the language about the beast having once existed, now is not, and yet will come which has caused many end-timers to say the beast represents the resurrection of the Roman Empire in our times. They point to the European Union as being the resurrected Rome since it is largely comprised of what was ancient Rome. But they are wrong in their interpretation.

 

The reference to the beast which once was and now is not is to the Roman Republic. At the time John of Patmos wrote Revelation, the Roman Republic once was but then was not. It had been replaced by the Roman Empire with its emperors. The reference to the stated fact that it “…yet will come up” is further explained by the verses that follow. It refers to a plan, of which John of Patmos was undoubtedly aware, to rid Rome of the emperors and to establish a form of shared power among eleven people. The plan was to end rule by emperors and, thus, to reestablish a form of the Roman Republic. What follows are the verses which explain this. But it is difficult reading for reasons which I will explain.

 

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

 

Revelation 17:9-11

 

These verses are speaking of the beast on which the woman, the Roman Empire, sits. I have already explained that the seven hills tells us that that beast is Rome. But the device of the angel which John of Patmos uses to explain the symbolism informs us there is another explanation for the beast’s seven heads. This explanation is confusing because John of Patmos suddenly changes direction.

 

Suddenly, the beast who once was but now is not becomes an eighth king. The fact that it becomes an eighth king means that the beast discussed earlier, the Roman Republic, now in John of Patmos’ symbolism becomes an individual and it is on that individual that we must focus to understand the passage.

 

This eighth king is said to belong to the seven. The seven are represented by the seven heads of the beast. Five have fallen, one is, and the other had not yet come at the time John of Patmos wrote Revelation. The one that is, is the sixth one and is in power at the time of John of Patmos’ writing. So the sixth must be Nero. And since we know that the eighth one “belongs to the seven” and one of the seven, Nero, is an emperor, they all must be emperors, including the seventh and the eighth, both of whom were yet to come at the time John of Patmos wrote Revelation. The seventh that is to come is the emperor who is to succeed Nero. But Nero’s successor “…must remain for only a little while.” Revelation 17:10.

 

The following verses teach us about the eighth emperor:

 

12 “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. 13 They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

 

Revelation 17:12-14

 

To understand these verses, you must remember that in Revelation 17:11, our view of the beast was transformed from the Roman Republic into an individual in the form of the eighth king. Therefore, when Revelation 17:12 speaks of “the beast,” it is speaking of this eighth king. The eighth king, of course, will be an emperor, but he is different from the other seven. He receives his authority from some source along with the ten kings who presumably receive their authority from the same source as will the eighth king.

 

My interpretation is that there was a plan, of which John of Patmos was aware, to rid Rome of emperors. The original plan was to depose Nero. Nero’s successor was to be a friendly emperor who would agree to rule Rome for only a short time and then to cede his power to some sort of eleven person ruling counsel thus effectively reestablishing a form of the Roman Republic. Thus, the source of the power given to the eighth king and the ten other kings was to be the final Roman emperor, the seventh king.

 

Somehow John of Patmos learned of a counter-plan to thwart the original plan. One of the eleven, the eighth king (or the beast), was apparently able to convince the other ten that when they all received their divided powers, they would cede their collective powers to him undoubtedly in exchange for some sort of reward. This is illustrated by the following verse which explains that the ten kings have but “…one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast [the eighth king].” Revelation 17:13. The ten who were to cede their power to the beast [the eighth king] would be figureheads only. This arrangement of which John of Patmos learned would effectively create a de facto emperor despite the plans for divided power. See Revelation 17:17 (“For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority, until God’s words are fulfilled.”)

 

John of Patmos was apparently quite concerned over how this plan and counter-plan would unfold. The new ruler, the eighth king and the ten figurehead kings “…will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them… and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” Revelation 17:14. In other words, John of Patmos was afraid that if the beast, the eighth king, became a de facto emperor, he would continue the persecution of Christians.

 

John of Patmos must have known about this plan and counter-plan and was fully aware that all of the intrigue which was planned would place Rome in a temporary state of political turmoil. He was concerned that if the plan and counter-plan were allowed to be carried out, Christians would be in grave danger. John of Patmos was revealing the whole sordid mess to his fellow Christians and was essentially telling them that when they saw these things happening they would be in a unique position to mount a united attack and topple the new but temporarily weak government. But they had to act quickly, before the eighth king (the beast) consolidated his power. This attack, if successful, would effectively conquer Rome and bring it to its political destruction. In undertaking this attack, John of Patmos was telling Christians that their persecution would end once and for all.

 

This interpretation of Revelation 17 may seem somewhat far-fetched given that the events I describe never actually played out. But it does not matter that they never played out. All that matters is that John of Patmos thought they would and saw an opportunity for Christians to topple the Roman Empire if they did. Further, this interpretation is supported by a reasonable reading of the text of Revelation 17, as it allows all pieces of that chapter to fit together and tell a coherent story. In any event, this interpretation of Revelation 17 is most certainly more reasonable than what the end-timers offer and so should be a comfort to those of you who fear the alleged end-time events.

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Quick question, (wait until you finish this to answer) but what about the prophecy of the statue in the Book of Daniel?

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Quick question, (wait until you finish this to answer) but what about the prophecy of the statue in the Book of Daniel?

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Reason Number 2: There are no prophets and no prophecies; never have been and never will be. (Part 1 of 3).

 

I say with 100% confidence that there are no prophecies and no prophets, nor have there ever been and nor will there ever be. This portion will be made in several parts. In Part 1, I will deal with the issue of how illogical and wrongheaded it would be for a sovereign, all powerful god to rely on a person, a prophet, to pass on to other people his message. In subsequent parts, I will discuss some, though not all since there are too many of them, alleged prophecies contained in the bible with the goal of exposing them for the frauds they are

 

Let’s begin with two definitions:

 

Prophet: A prophet is a person to whom god speaks with a message god wants this person to pass on to others. The message may be about current events, how to conduct one’s life, or about future events. We are concerned here with future events.

 

Prophecy: The prophecy is the message itself.

 

With these definitions in mind, let’s begin by asking ourselves a question. Why would god depend on a person to pass on his important message when he could do it himself?

 

One of the bible’s primary characteristics is that is contains accounts of alleged prophets and the prophecies supposedly spoken by them. Though god is occasionally portrayed as speaking directly to individuals about something that will affect them, when he is portrayed as wanting to communicate something to a large number of people, he does so through prophets. Moses is considered to be the greatest of all Old Testament prophets.

 

Moses, with his brother’s help, was instructed to inform Pharaoh of god’s demand to let the Hebrew people who were in bondage in Egypt go free. Exodus 3 and 4. Moses was understandably concerned about whether Pharaoh would believe him when he said he had come on god’s behalf. In response, god gave Moses the ability to perform some signs designed to convince Pharaoh of Moses’ credentials. These signs included turning Moses’ staff into a snake and back to a staff. Exodus 4:1-5. The second sign was for Moses to turn his hand “…leprous, like snow” and then normal again. Exodus 4:6-7. Finally, the third sign was for Moses to take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground and it would “…become blood on the ground.” Exodus 4:8-9.

 

When Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and made their demand on god’s behalf, Pharaoh refused to let the Hebrews go and instead made their burden of making bricks even more difficult by requiring them to get their own straw which had previously been supplied to them, yet keeping their quota of bricks they had to make the same. Exodus 5:1-14. In response, Moses and Aaron went back to Pharaoh and again asked Pharaoh to let the Hebrew people go free. Exodus 7:1-6. When Pharaoh again refused, Aaron threw the staff down and it turned into a snake. Exodus 7:10. Pharaoh’s sorcerers were able to duplicate the feat. Exodus 7:11-12. However, the snake from Moses’ staff swallowed the other snakes. Exodus 7:12. Still, Pharaoh was not convinced and refused to let the Hebrews go.

 

The story of Moses speaking on god’s behalf and trying to convince Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go free perfectly illustrates the first problem with the method of communicating to people chosen by the god of the bible. The great issue confronting prophets is their credibility. Before prophets can be effective, they must convince their audience that god actually told them to say the things they have to say. If the intended audience is not convinced that the prophet speaks on god’s behalf they will not listen to the prophet and god’s important message will go unheeded and god’s purpose will be thwarted. If you really think about it, the god of the bible’s method of using prophets to communicate to people is a very poor way to deliver a message and surely a sovereign, all powerful god could think of a better way to deliver a message than through the use of people.

 

The second problem with the use of prophets is the most important one, because we see the consequences of this problem too many times in our modern life. And that problem is false prophets. Using the bible as their cue, any person can attempt to fool others by simply declaring that they are god’s prophet and then manipulating those who believe them into doing what the false prophet wants.

 

There are too many modern examples of this kind of chicanery going on simply to dismiss it as not being a real problem, sometimes with deadly consequences. Think of Jim Jones, a self-proclaimed prophet, who in 1975 while in British Guyana orchestrated the murder of a United States’ Congressman and the deaths of 912 of his followers. Some of the 912 were shot dead and he convinced the remaining adults to drink poison and murder 280 of their own children.

 

Think also of David Koresh, another self-professed prophet who led a group called the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas. Under his leadership, eighty Branch Davidians, twenty-five of whom were children, died in a fiery conflagration after a confrontation with the BATF and FBI.

 

Though with possibly more benign results, many mainline church leaders claim that they are prophets. Pastors and priests will often say things like god told them the church should build a new building or engage in some other expensive project. When a pastor, priest or anyone within the church does this, they are claiming to be a prophet and speaking on god’s behalf. They do this to give themselves great credibility. After all, who are you to disagree with god?

 

The same thing often goes on at the family level. I have heard many stories of parents who want their children to do something specific with their lives tell their children that god told them they should be a pastor, priest, missionary or enter some other profession. Though they may not think of it this way, when they do this, they are claiming to be a prophet because they are claiming to speak on god’s behalf.

 

Consider these questions very carefully. Why would god tell one person to tell others what he wants them to do? Would it not make more sense for god to tell these people directly? By so doing, he could cut out the middle man and go right to the intended recipient of his message. If he did this, there would be no issues of the credibility of the alleged prophet and no way for false prophets to attempt to pull their scams.

 

Think as objectively as you can about the story of Moses taking god’s alleged message to Pharaoh. It is obvious that Pharaoh did not believe that Moses truly spoke on god’s behalf (not to mention that god allegedly hardened Pharaoh’s heart and prevented him from complying). According to the story, it took Moses turning his staff into a snake and ten plagues before Pharaoh finally got the message and relented and let the Hebrews go. Rather than sending Moses, god could have gone directly to Pharaoh and surely could have convinced Pharaoh that he meant business much easier than Moses and Aaron apparently could. What is more, god could have done the job without the terrible tragedy of the plagues which included the deaths of the first born of Egypt. If the story is to be believed, this carnage and those deaths were needless and only made necessary because of the use of a prophet rather than god taking his message directly to Pharaoh.

 

The story of Moses, Aaron, and Pharaoh demonstrates that the use of prophets is a poor way for god to try to get a message to people. Frankly, if I were grading this method of communicating, I would give it an “F.” The very fact that god is not portrayed as using the best way to communicate with Pharaoh, directly rather than through a prophet, should give you some important insights into the truth about prophets. And that truth is that no god as powerful as the god of the bible would ever use people to communicate his message in the way the god of the bible is portrayed as using them in the bible. If it were truly god at work, he would not have chosen this flawed method of communication.

 

If a god had a truly important message to communicate to a group of people, surely he would use the most effective means possible to do so. He would not send another person who would face the credibility issue discussed above and, most importantly, he could eliminate the appearance of false prophets. Rather, it is just common sense that a powerful god would communicate directly and thus avoid these deadly problems.

 

The bottom line is that, assuming there is a god who wants to deliver a message, that god would not rely on prophets to do so. It is a foolhardy system and, in our modern day, the belief in prophets has caused tragic death and destruction.

 

There are no prophets and, therefore, no prophecies, including those alleged prophecies contained in the bible. And in my next post, I will address some of the so-called prophecies in the bible.

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Reason Number 2: There are no prophets and no prophecies; never have been and never will be. (Part 1).

 

There are no prophets and, therefore, no prophecies, including those alleged prophecies contained in the bible. And in my next post, I will address some of the so-called prophecies in the bible.

 

Overcame Faith...You are bloody well brilliant!! I have never thought of these facts before!!!!!! :twitch: This just gives me more information to help in my deconversion. This makes so much sense to me that I am almost embarrased for believing what I did all these years. Bring on the rest of the remaining lessons my friend and...... thank you!

 

Your post gets 5 stars from me! ***** Brilliant!

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Overcame Faith...You are bloody well brilliant!! I have never thought of these facts before!!!!!! :twitch: This just gives me more information to help in my deconversion. This makes so much sense to me that I am almost embarrased for believing what I did all these years. Bring on the rest of the remaining lessons my friend and...... thank you!

 

Your post gets 5 stars from me! ***** Brilliant!

 

Thank-you, Margee. I appreciate your kind words.

 

But don't feel embarrassed. I used to believe we are living in the end-times and I soaked all of it up like a sponge. It was only in finally leaving the religion that I was able to take a hard look at the issues and begin to see it for what it is. My only hope is that those who are living in fear of end-times are helped if only to some small degree.

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Overcame Faith...You are bloody well brilliant!! I have never thought of these facts before!!!!!! :twitch: This just gives me more information to help in my deconversion. This makes so much sense to me that I am almost embarrased for believing what I did all these years. Bring on the rest of the remaining lessons my friend and...... thank you!

 

Your post gets 5 stars from me! ***** Brilliant!

 

Thank-you, Margee. I appreciate your kind words.

 

But don't feel embarrassed. I used to believe we are living in the end-times and I soaked all of it up like a sponge. It was only in finally leaving the religion that I was able to take a hard look at the issues and begin to see it for what it is. My only hope is that those who are living in fear of end-times are helped if only to some small degree.

 

You have helped so many fearful people with this post - it has certainly lessoned my anxiety and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I know this takes a lot of work and time to do a thread like this............ Sincerly, Margee

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