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Catholic Dating Of The Apocalypse

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By EWMI - Posted on 16 October 2007

by Albert Persohn
Today, there are a few people who are pushing for a pre-70 AD date for the writing of the Apocalypse of St. John. Mostly these voices come from Protestant sectors and is due mainly to their presuppositions on how the Apocalypse is supposed to be interpreted. They claim that the “internal evidence” of the Apocalypse points to a pre-70 AD date. That conclusion, of course, is based on their idiosyncratic interpretations of Scripture, which are often at odds with Catholic interpretation. The bigger problem, however, is that the so-called “internal evidence” for an early dating of the Apocalypse runs smack into the patristic consensus which says it was written after 70 AD.Today, there are a few people who are pushing for a pre-70 AD date for the writing of the Apocalypse of St. John. Mostly these voices come from Protestant sectors and is due mainly to their presuppositions on how the Apocalypse is supposed to be interpreted. They claim that the “internal evidence” of the Apocalypse points to a pre-70 AD date. That conclusion, of course, is based on their idiosyncratic interpretations of Scripture, which are often at odds with Catholic interpretation. The bigger problem, however, is that the so-called “internal evidence” for an early dating of the Apocalypse runs smack into the patristic consensus which says it was written after 70 AD.I found this interesting, apologies in advance to the many RC friends of Planet Preterist

The reason this is of concern for us is that some Catholics today have decided they are going to depart from the patristic consensus and not only push for a pre-70 AD date, but they do so because they also want to depart from the patristic consensus regarding the place and time of the Millennium of Apocalypse 20:1-6. The two ideas go hand-in-hand. They have decided that the Fathers were wrong in placing the Millennium during the Christian era, from the First Coming of Christ to the Second Coming. These new “theologians” claim that the Millennium should be in the Old Testament. In essence, instead of a Christian millennium that we have always believed, they now want a Jewish millennium. This is just another indication how Catholic teaching today is being Judaized, the very warnings I have given many times in the last five years.

Here is the upshot. There is no Father that supports a pre-70 AD dating for the Apocalypse. There isn’t a Father within 500 years that gives any explicit mention of Nero and Patmos in the same sentence, much less says Nero exiled John to Patmos prior to 70 AD, including the attempts of modern scholars to make Epiphanius depart from the consensus. Not until well into the Middle Ages does anyone suggest a pre-70 AD date for the Apocalypse, and they are few and far between (e.g., Theophlact, Andreas of Cappadocia).

There were only two Roman emperors who persecuted Christians on a massive scale, Nero and Domitian. In 67 AD, Nero killed St. Peter and St. Paul in Rome. But there is no record of Nero banishing any Christians to Patmos. Nero preferred to torture Christians by burning them and throwing them to lions.

Again, all the Christian and secular sources in the patristic era place the banishment of Christians to Patmos at the reign of Domitian (81-96 AD). No one places the banishment of John, or any Christian, under the reign of Nero.

Eusebius is one of our greatest sources, since he lived only two hundred years after Domitian’s reign. Every source that Eusebius could gather said that John was exiled to Patmos during the reign of Domitian. Eusebius’ earliest source was Irenaeus.

It is said that in this persecution the apostle and evangelist John, who was still alive, was condemned to dwell on the island of Patmos in consequence of his testimony to the divine word. 2. Irenaeus, in the fifth book of his work Against Heresies, where he discusses the number of the name of Antichrist which is given in the so-called Apocalypse of John, speaks as follows concerning him 3. “If it were necessary for his name to be proclaimed openly at the present time, it would have been declared by him who saw the revelation. For it was seen not long ago, but almost in our own generation, at the end of the reign of Domitian.” (Church History, Book 3, Ch. 18).

Eusebius used other sources to confirm the same truth:

It is said that in this persecution [Domitian’s] the apostle and evangelist John, who was still alive, was condemned to dwell on the island of Patmos in consequence of his testimony to the divine word. Irenaeus, in the fifth book of his work Against Heresies, where he discusses the number of the name of Antichrist which is given in the so-called Apocalypse of John, speaks as follows concerning him: ‘If it were necessary for his name to be proclaimed openly at the present time, it would have been declared by him who saw the Revelation. For it was seen not long ago, but almost in our own generation, at the end of the reign of Domitian.’ To such a degree, indeed, did the teaching of our faith flourish at that time that even those writers who were far from our religion did not hesitate to mention in their histories the persecution and the martyrdoms which took place during it. And they, indeed, accurately indicated the time. For they recorded that in the fifteenth year of Domitian Flavia Domitilla, daughter of a sister of Flavius Clement, who at that time was one of the consuls of Rome, was exiled with many others to the island of Pontia in consequence of testimony borne to Christ (Church History, Bk. III, ch. 18).

Eusebius adds:

Tertullian also has mentioned Domitian in the following words: ‘Domitian also, who possessed a share of Nero’s cruelty, attempted once to do the same thing that the latter did. But because he had, I suppose, some intelligence, he very soon ceased, and even recalled those whom he had banished.’ But after Domitian had reigned fifteen years, and Nerva had succeeded to the empire, the Roman Senate, according to the writers that record the history of those days, voted that Domitian’s horrors should be cancelled, and that those who had been unjustly banished should return to their homes and have their property restored to them. It was at this time that the apostle John returned from his banishment in the island and took up his abode at Ephesus, according to an ancient Christian tradition (Church History, Bk. III, ch. 20)

Victorinus also holds to the same date. His information is independent of Eusebius. He writes:
“And He says unto me, Thou must again prophesy to the peoples, and to the tongues, and to the nations, and to many kings.” He says this, because when John said these things he was in the island of Patmos, condemned to the labour of the mines by Caesar Domitian. There, therefore, he saw the Apocalypse; and when grown old, he thought that he should at length receive his quittance by suffering, Domitian being killed, all his judgments were discharged. And John being dismissed from the mines, thus subsequently delivered the same Apocalypse which he had received from God. This, therefore, is what He says: Thou must again prophesy to all nations, because thou seest the crowds of Antichrist rise up; and against them other crowds shall stand, and they shall fall by the sword on the one side and on the other. (Commentary on the Apocalypse, 11)

The time must be understood in which the written Apocalypse was published, since then reigned Caesar Domitian; but before him had been Titus his brother, and Vespasian, Otho, Vitellius, and Galba” (Commentary on the Apocalypse, XVII).

Clement of Alexandria gives the same information:
And that you may be still more confident, that repenting thus truly there remains for you a sure hope of salvation, listen to a tale, which is not a tale but a narrative, handed down and committed to the custody of memory, about the Apostle John. For when, on the tyrant’s death, he returned to Ephesus from the isle of Patmos, he went away, being invited, to the contiguous territories of the nations, here to appoint bishops, there to set in order whole Churches, there to ordain such as were marked out by the Spirit. (The Rich Man, XLII)
The “tyrant’s death” could only refer Nero or Domitian, since they were the only ones who severely persecuted Christians. Lactantius confirms this:

After an interval of some years from the death of Nero, there arose another tyrant no less wicked (Domitian), who, although his government was exceedingly odious, for a very long time oppressed his subjects, and reigned in security, until at length he stretched forth his impious hands against the Lord. Having been instigated by evil demons to persecute the righteous people, he was then delivered into the power of his enemies, and suffered due punishment. (Address to Donatus, Ch 3).

Clement refers to the release of those exiled and this matches Eusebius reference to the same at the death of Domitian. The emperor in view cannot be Nero because Clement refers to John as a very old man, which would not have been the case in 70 AD.

Clement quotes John as saying to an apostate thief:

“Why, my son, dost thou flee from me, thy father, unarmed, old? Son, pity me. Fear not; thou hast still hope of life. I will give account to Christ for thee. If need be, I will willingly endure thy death, as the Lord did death for us. For thee I will surrender my life. Stand, believe; Christ hath sent me….And he, when he heard, first stood, looking down; then threw down his arms, then trembled and wept bitterly. And on the old man approaching, he embraced him, speaking for himself with lamentations as he could, and baptized a second time with tears, concealing only his right hand. The other pledging, and assuring him on oath that he would find forgiveness for himself from the Savior, beseeching and failing on his knees, and kissing his right hand itself, as now purified by repentance, led him back to the church.” (The Rich Man, XLII)

We also know that John lived until after Domitian from Irenaeus’ references to Polycarp, John’s disciple. Polycarp was born in 65 AD and died in 155 AD. This makes him two years old when Nero died and five years old when Jerusalem was destroyed. Since Polycarp was taught by John, it must have been several decades after the destruction of Jerusalem.

Jerome testifies to the same, and also mentions Irenaeus and Justin Martyr as writing commentaries on the same connection between Domitian and Patmos. Notice how Jerome mentions Nero, but bypasses him to make the connection between Domitian and John’s exile to Patmos:
In the fourteenth year then after Nero, Domitian having raised a second persecution he was banished to the island of Patmos, and wrote the Apocalypse, on which Justin Martyr and Irenaeus afterwards wrote commentaries. But Domitian having been put to death and his acts, on account of his excessive cruelty, having been annulled by the senate, he returned to Ephesus under Pertinax and continuing there until the tithe of the emperor Trajan, founded and built churches throughout all Asia, and, worn out by old age, died in the sixty-eighth year after our Lord’s passion and was buried near the same city. (Lives of Illustrious Men, Ch IX).

Jerome testifies to the same truth in another work:

We maybe sure that John was then a boy because ecclesiastical history most clearly proves that he lived to the reign of Trajan, that is, he fell asleep in the sixty-eighth year after our Lord’s passion, as I have briefly noted in my treatise on Illustrious Men. Peter is an Apostle, and John is an Apostle – the one a married man, the other a virgin; but Peter is an Apostle only, John is both an Apostle and an Evangelist, and a prophet. An Apostle, because he wrote to the Churches as a master; an Evangelist, because he composed a Gospel, a thing which no other of the Apostles, excepting Matthew, did; a prophet, for he saw in the island of Patmos, to which he had been banished by the Emperor Domitian

As a martyr for the Lord, an Apocalypse containing the boundless mysteries of the future Tertullian, moreover, relates that he was sent to Rome, and that having been plunged into a jar of boiling oil he came out fresher and more active than when he went in (Against Jovinianus, Book 1, 26).
Sulpitius Severus says:

Then, after an interval, Domitian, the son of Vespasian, persecuted the Christians. At this date, he banished John the Apostle and Evangelist to the island of Patmos. There he, secret mysteries having been revealed to him, wrote and published his book of the holy Revelation, which indeed is either foolishly or impiously not accepted by many (The Sacred History, Ch 31).

Testimony to these Fathers is noted in one of the more detailed commentaries on this issue:

“The same is the recorded judgment of Jerome; the same of Augustine’s friend, Orosius; the same of Sulpitius Severus. Once more, we find an unhesitating statement of similar purport in Primasius; an eminent Augustinian commentator on the Apocalypse, of the sixth century. In his Preface to this Commentary, he speaks of the Apocalyptic visions having been seen by St. John when banished and condemned to the mines in Patmos by the Emperor Domitian” (Horae Apocalypticae, E. B. Elliott, vol. I, p. 36).

Hippolytus says:

John, again, in Asia, was banished by Domitian the king to the isle of Patmos, in which also he wrote his Gospel and saw the apocalyptic vision; and in Trajan’s time he fell asleep at Ephesus, where his remains were sought for, but could not be found (The Twelve Apostles, XLIX).

Regarding lone testimony of Epiphanius, Elliott states: “Nor can it be wondered at: seeing that as to any contrary statement on the point in question, there appears to have been none whatsoever until the time of Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis in Cyprus, in the latter half of the fourth century: ...whose chief work, On Heresies, is decried ... as ‘full of blots and errors, through the levity and ignorance of the author:’ ...For he speaks of St. John having prophesied when in the isle of Patmos, in the days of the Emperor Claudius: --a time when... it does not appear from history that there was any imperial persecution of the Christian body whatsoever...” (Horae Apocalypticae, vol. I, p. 37).

He adds: “ ...another testimony to the early date of the Apocalypse. The subscription to a Syriac version of the book, written about the beginning of the sixth century, is thus worded; ‘The Revelation which was made by God to John the Evangelist in the island of Patmos, whither he was banished by the Emperor Nero.’ But of what value is this opinion, then first broached, as it would appear?” (Horae Apocalypticae, vol. I, p. 38-39).

Elliott also states that Domitian was often known by the name Nero, thus the confusion some scholars have with Nero and Domitian.

May not the mistake have arisen from Domitian having sometimes the title of Nero given him; and in fact the original writer of the Syriac subscription have meant Domitian, not Nero?” He includes in this footnote further proofs given in Latin of this title applying to Domitian (Horae Apocalypticae, vol. I pg. 39, footnote 1).
The Acts of John reports that John was indeed exiled under Domitian:

And the fame of the teaching of John was spread abroad in Rome; and it came to the ears of Domitian that there was a certain Hebrew in Ephesus, John by name, who spread a report about the seat of empire of the Romans, saying that it would quickly be rooted out, and that the kingdom of the Romans would be given over to another. And Domitian, troubled by what was said, sent a centurion with soldiers to seize John, and bring him. And having gone to Ephesus, they asked where John lived.

And when all were glorifying God, and wondering at the faith of John, Domitian said to him: I have put forth a decree of the senate, that all such persons should be summarily dealt with, without trial; but since I find from thee that they are innocent, and that their religion is rather beneficial, I banish thee to an island, that I may not seem myself to do away with my own decrees. He asked then that the condemned criminal should be let go; and when he was let go, John said: Depart, give thanks to God, who has this day delivered thee from prison and from death.

And having prayed, he raised her up. And Domitian, astonished at all the wonders, sent him away to an island, appointing for him a set time. And straightway John sailed to Patmos, where also he was deemed worthy to see the revelation of the end. And when Domitian was dead, Nerva succeeded to the kingdom, and recalled all who had been banished; and having kept the kingdom for a year, he made Trajan his successor in the kingdom. And when he was king over the Romans, John went to Ephesus, and regulated all the teaching of the church, holding many conferences, anti reminding them of what the Lord had said to them, and what duty he had assigned to each. And when he was old and changed, he ordered Polycarp to be bishop over the church. (Acts of the Holy Apostle John, Exile and Departure).

This agrees with Eusebius’ account:

But after Domitian had reigned fifteen years, and Nerva had succeeded to the empire, the Roman Senate, according to the writers that record the history of those days, voted that Domitian’s honors should be cancelled, and that those who had been unjustly banished should return to their homes and have their property restored to them. 11. It was at this time that the apostle John returned from his banishment in the island and took up his abode at Ephesus, according to an ancient Christian tradition. (Church History, Book 3, Ch 20).

At that time the apostle and evangelist John, the one whom Jesus loved, was still living in Asia, and governing the churches of that region, having returned after the death of Domitian from his exile on the island. 2. And that he was still alive at that time may be established by the testimony of two witnesses. They should be trustworthy who have maintained the orthodoxy of the Church; and such indeed were Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria. 3. The former in the second book of his work Against Heresies, writes as follows: “And all the elders that associated with John the disciple of the Lord in Asia bear witness that John delivered it to them. For he remained among them until the time of Trajan.” 4. And in the third book of the same work he attests the same thing in the following words: “But the church in Ephesus also, which was founded by Paul, and where John remained until the time of Trajan, is a faithful witness of the apostolic tradition.” 5. Clement likewise in his book entitled What Rich Man can be saved? indicates the time, and subjoins a narrative which is most attractive to those that enjoy hearing what is beautiful and profitable. Take and read the account which rims as follows: 6. “Listen to a tale, which is not a mere tale, but a narrative concerning John the apostle, which has been handed down and treasured up in memory. For when, after the tyrant’s death, he returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus, he went away upon their invitation to the neighboring territories of the Gentiles, to appoint bishops in some places, in other places to set in order whole churches, elsewhere to choose to the ministry some one of those that were pointed out by the Spirit. (Church History, Book 3, Ch 23).

The Original:
http://www.catholicintl.com/catholicissues/Late_Date_for_Apocalypse.pdf

judge's picture

Most of the patristci evidence may point to a later date , but then again most of the patristic evidcne is wrong WRT eschatology also.

Secondly, the very forst verse tells us these things were to "soon take place".
What might this refer to if it was written after 70 AD?

ThomasS's picture

Hi,

Do you think that apocalyptic language should be taken literally?

Regards

Th.S.

Duncan2's picture

Here is a little something I wrote that pertains to this issue:

Here are the first twelve Caesars (Julius Caesar to Domitian) to show the likely possibilities of where “five have fallen, one is” puts the date of Revelation.

1. Julius Caesar (49-44 BC)
2. Augustus (31BC- AD 14)
3. Tiberius (AD 14-37
4. Gaius a.k.a. Caligula (AD 37-41)
5. Claudius (AD 41-54)
6. Nero (AD 54-68)
7. Galba (AD 68-69)
8. Otho (AD 69)
9. Vitellius (AD 69)
10. Vespasian (AD 69-79)
11. Titus (AD 79-81)
12. Domitian (AD 81-96)

With the solution that I (and most other conservative preterists) propose, that one starts with Julius Caesar, the five fallen are Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius, Claudius, the one reigning is Nero (AD 54-68). This fits perfectly the preterist contention that the book of Revelation was written near the end of Nero’s reign (c. AD 65) right before the Jewish war of AD 66-70.

The latest one can legitimately make the “five have fallen one is” of Revelation 17:10 would be to start the count of the emperors with Augustus instead of Julius. If one then doesn’t count the short lived emperors (Galba, Otho and Vitellius) this would make the five that had fallen, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius, Claudius, Nero, the one reigning would be Vespasian (69-79). Notice that even using this late date method of counting, one comes up with Revelation being written in the decade of the 70’s. This is approximately two decades short of the proposed time of AD 95 that the late date advocates maintain.

If Revelation were written during Domitian’s reign then Revelation 17:10 should either read, “eleven have fallen one is” (if one starts the count with Julius Caesar and includes the three short lived emperors in the list) or “ten have fallen one is” (if one starts with Augustus and includes the three short-lived emperors), or “eight have fallen one is” if one starts with Julius and excludes the three short lived emperors or “seven have fallen one is” (if one starts with Augustus and excludes the three short lived emperors). Saying that Revelation was written during Domitian’s reign simply can not legitimately be made to fit Revelation’s text of “five have fallen one is.” As Ladd noted, “no method of calculation satisfactorily leads to Domitian as the reigning emperor…” [Ladd, Commentary on Revelation 229]

If one wants to see what a book written during the reign of Domitian looks like, one should look at 2 Esdras (a.k.a. IV Ezra). In that book, the beast (an eagle, a symbol of Rome) has twelve wings, representing twelve emperors (Julius-Domitian) and three heads, which are the last three of the twelve emperors (Esdras 11:1-9). The three heads represent the Flavian dynasty, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian, (2 Esdras 12:10-30). The writer of 2 Esdras thought that Rome would fall in his day during the reign of Domitian, the twelfth Caesar.

To summarize: Depending on whether one starts with Julius or Augustus and includes or excludes Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, then Domitian is either the 8th, 9th, 11th, or 12th ruler of Rome. There is no legitimate way to make him the 6th ruler (as Rev. 17:10 requires).

ThomasS's picture

Duncan,

Obviously, you are wrong. Several commentators think it is possible that Domitian (as a "Nero II") could be "king" # 8 in Rev 17. See e.g. E.-B. Allo's classic commentary.

Rev 17:10 does not require that Domitian is the 6th ruler; as pointed out by S. Chatman, one has to distinguish between time in (apocalyptic) narratives and the time of narratives.

Now, why do you think "John" starts his list with Julius? Do you think it is possible that he stated his list with Augustus? (If yes, why?)

Best wishes

Th.S.

watton's picture

So the internal evidence indicates that the prophet John wrote the Apocalypse during Nero's reign or, more probably in your view, the false prophet John pretended to write it then?

Thanks,
JDW

ThomasS's picture

JDW,

The internal evidence does not, in any way, indicate that the Apocalypse was written during Nero's reign. Why do you believe that the text was written during his reign?

Regards

Th.S.

Duncan's picture

Thomas,

You wrote,
"The internal evidence does not, in any way, indicate that the Apocalypse was written during Nero's reign."

I don't usually give you a full response because I have learned it is like water off a duck's back (and thus not worth my time). The fact that you would make such a statement, however, is truly amazing to me. It is so far out in left field that I am not sure we are even reading the same book. The whole subject of Revelation points to the time right before the AD 70 judgment of Israel! And yet you see no evidence; take your blinders off my friend!
Here are a few points:

1. Revelation is structured on the covenant curses that were to come on the children of Israel (Leviticus 26:18-35). It consists of four sets of sevenfold judgment (the seven seals, seven trumpets, seven thunders, and seven bowls).

2. Like Galatians 4:21-31, Revelation is showing two women/cities that are two wives (harlot Babylon and the Jerusalem bride). These women/cities represent the two covenants and those who were part of them. The unfaithful old covenant widowed wife is destroyed while the new covenant bride becomes married (Rev. 19:1-9; cf. Matt 22:1-10)

3. Revelation is showing the ultimate day of the Lord (Rev. 16:12-14). This results in the destruction of harlot Babylon in Revelation 19. The day of the Lord was to happen at Jerusalem, not Rome or anywhere else (Is. 1-5; Dan. 11:40-12:7; Joel 2:1-11, 3:12-17; Zeph. 1; Zech. 14:1-9). The Day of the Lord was to be a time of darkness for God’s old covenant people (Amos 5:16-23).

4. The judgments in Revelation culminate with the Antichrist’s (the individual beast’s) attack and destruction of harlot Babylon (unfaithful Israel) in Rev. 17-18. Scripture consistently shows that the Antichrist’s focus of attack is on the Jews and their Temple. The Antichrist attacks the Temple (Dan. 11:36-45); he captures it (2 Thess. 2:4; he destroys it (Dan. 9:26-27; Rev. 17-18) along with the Jewish nation (cf. Dan. 12:7).

5. With Babylon destroyed, the old (covenant) heaven and earth flee (Rev. 20:11) and there is a new (covenant) heaven and earth (Rev. 21:1-2). This is taken from Isaiah 65-66 where God said He would slay His unfaithful old covenant people and then establishes His new covenant people in a new heaven and earth (Is. 65:1-19; Rom 10:19-21; cf. Rom. 9:21-33). This is symbolic of the destruction of the old covenant order and full establishment of the new covenant order, the full establishment of the kingdom of God at AD 70 (cf. Matt. 21:33-43).

I have developed points 1 and 2 in articles (on the subject of Revelation and the fact that it is showing the fulfillment of the covenant curses) that can be found at this website and at the Preterist Archive.

Let me make a final point. Look at Revelation 16:10:

Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. Revelation 16:10. cf. Ezek. 32:1-9 for a similar use of darkness on a kingdom.

This plague is on the throne of the beast (The Roman Empire). It speaks of the turmoil and confusion that happened after Nero died in July of AD 68. Rome was on the verge of collapse at this time of empire wide chaos as she went through five emperors (including Nero) and two back to back civil wars in the space of a year and a half. The Empire wouldn’t recover until the ascension of Vespasian in December of AD 69. This is also shown in Rev. 13:1-5 in the form of the (corporate) beast dying and coming back to life.

The only time that the lights went out on Rome in the first century is the time right after Nero's death. Again this speaks of Revelation being written shortly before this time of turmoil of June of AD 68 to Dec. of AD 69. If you disagree with me (as you usually do) on Rev. 16:10 then give us your interpretation. When did this darkness come on the empire after AD 70?

Duncan

mazuur's picture

Duncan,

Excellent words my friend. These truths are as plain as the fact that the Messiah's name was Jesus, of course, as plain as that is, there are still those who can't (refuse) see it now isn't there?

Same problem going on here.

On a side note. Weren't you writing a commentary on Revelation? Or, was I thinking of somebody else? If so, is it about done?

-Rich

-Rich

Duncan's picture

I am finishing (i.e. editing) a book on the Antichrist (see below). It does cover a lot of Revelation, however. Ken Gentry is working on a commentary on Revelation. I do have some articles on this website on Revelation (scroll down and click on my name on the left). When is the last time you read a meaningful article on the merchandise of Babylon? Check mine out!

The Antichrist and the Second Coming

I. Introduction
II. The Coming of the Kingdom of God (Daniel 2)
III. The Little Horn of the Daniel’s Fourth Beast (Daniel 7)
IV. The King of the North and the Time of the End (Daniel 11:36-12:13)
V. The Day of the Lord
VI. The Man of Lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2)
VII. Introduction to the Book of Revelation
VIII. The Beast and the False Prophet (Revelation 13)
IX. The Beast and the Harlot (Revelation 17)
X. The Beast and the Fall of Babylon (Revelation 18)
XI. The Second Coming (Revelation 19)
XII. The Millennium and New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 20-22)
XIII. Where Are We Now?

Duncan

mazuur's picture

"When is the last time you read a meaningful article on the merchandise of Babylon? Check mine out!"

If my memory works (which, it usually does not) I think is was either Chilton's, or Simmons' commentary.

Looking forward to it though.

-Rich

-Rich

ThomasS's picture

Dear Duncan,

You wrote:

"I don't usually give you a full response because I have learned it is like water off a duck's back (and thus not worth my time)."

I wonder if this is how you feel towards all who do not accept your assumptions, or is it just me? If you just want to be dogmatic, that's fine with me. But if you want a serious discussion, you may want to change your attitude. You just cannot say that not accepting your assumptions is like "water off a duck's back"; not if you want to be taken seriously.

You wrote:

"The whole subject of Revelation points to the time right before the AD 70 judgment of Israel! And yet you see no evidence; take your blinders off my friend!"

First, I have never said that there is nothing indicating that the Apocalypse may have been written before 70 CE. It may (or may not) have been written during the reign of Galba, Otho, Vitellius, or Vespasian. But I still do not see anything indicating that the Apocalypse was written during Nero's reign. Or, as John puts it: "The beast that you saw existed once but now exists no longer" (Rev 17:8, 11). Thus, according to Rev 17, Nero was already dead.

As to the rest of your posting, you simply assume what you are trying to prove. You have a certain hermeneutical key ("covenant eschatology"), which you are trying to force on to the text. There are, however, several problems with your eisegesis; and I would like to point out a few of them:

(a) There is no "Antichrist" in the Book of Daniel (nor in the Apocalypse for that matter). The very term is totally absent from these texts. One may, of course, wonder why. The kings of the north in Dan 11 are Syrian kings; there is absolutely nothing in the text indicating otherwise.

(b) It is difficult to see how "Babylon the great" could have been understood as Jerusalem or 'unfaithful Judaism'. "Babylon" was never used as a cipher for Jerusalem; the city was not known as situated on seven mountains (or hills). As pointed out by Gentry (in Before Jerusalem Fell ), the imagery in Rev 17 is very similar to a well-known Roman symbolism with a woman city, a beast and seven mountains. A coincident?

(c) According to Dan 9:23, the passus in vv. 24-27 is a reference to Dan 8! Thus, Dan 9:24-27 is not about 70 CE (unless you actually think Dan 8 is about the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE)!

(d) The Apocalypse is filled with text material from the so-called OT. There are, for instance, references to the fall of the first temple (587 BCE); that, however, should not lead us to assume that John is referring to the same event. John has re-used OT material for his own discourse, viz. oracles against "new" Babylon". An OT oracle against Jerusalem can be used as an oracle against "new" Babylon, Rome.

Finally, there is no problem with Rev 16:10 as a reference to the fall of Rome and her empire.

Hope this helps!

Regards

Th.S.

jhb's picture

ThomasS,

I have enjoyed reading this thread. It has been thought provoking.

You stated: "It is difficult to see how 'Babylon the great' could have been understood as Jerusalem or 'unfaithful Judaism'. 'Babylon' was never used as a cipher for Jerusalem; the city was not known as situated on seven mountains (or hills)."

I believe that you err on this point. Rome, Constantinople, and Jerusalem were ALL known to be "situated on seven mountains (or hills)." A generic search makes this readily apparent to the discerning.

For example, Rev. James Neil, M.A. (Formerly Incumbent of Christ Church, Jerusalem, AD 1871 — 1874), wrote in his book Palestine Explored (Originally published by James Nisbet & Co., London. Printed in Great Britain September 1881) the following:

"They that trust in Jehovah are as Mount Zion,
Which shall not be moved: it abideth forever.
The mountains are round about Jerusalem:
And Jehovah is round about His people,
Henceforth, even for evermore.

"Many who repeat these soul-stirring Hebrew verses form but a faint conception of their full force. But to those who are familiar with the natural features of the district they possess peculiar power and beauty. Mount Zion sometimes stands for the one hill on the south-western quarter of Jerusalem, now partly within and partly without the walls, which in ancient times, however, entirely encircled its summit; and sometimes for the whole site of the city, consisting of the seven hills on which it was situated, namely, Mount Zion, Mount Acra, Mount Ophel, Mount Moriah, Mount Gareb, and Mount Goath. In this latter sense, Mount Zion, as the largest, most anciently inhabited, and most important part of Jerusalem, stands, by a figure of speech, for the whole of the triple-walled metropolis of Palestine. Whether we confine it to the single mountain in question, or regard it as spoken of all the seven hills enclosed by the three walls of the ancient city, Mount Zion would convey to the mind of an Israelite a very grand representation...

"The mountains are round about Jerusalem;
And Jehovah is round about his people,
Henceforth, even for evermore.

"The Holy City, on its seven closely-clustered but well-defined hills, is surrounded by deep narrow valleys, which make the ascent to the gates toilsome on every side but the north-west."

For a more thorough exposition of Jerusalem's 1st Century topography please read the entire excerpt at http://www.centuryone.com/explored.html

jhb

ThomasS's picture

jhb,

I think you are missing the point, here. We have to consider the original setting of John's Apocalypse and his audience. Is there any evidence supporting that in the 1. century (B)CE Jerusalem was known as a city situated on seven hills/mountains? As far as I can tell, no! (Josephus mentions five mountains, another Jewish texts mentions two.)

As to the name "Babylon", we know (for sure) that Rome was called "Babylon". I haven't seen any Jewish/Christian text with "Babylon" as a cipher for Jerusalem.

Hope this helps!

Regards

Th.S.

watton's picture

Are there any for sure references to Rome as Babylon that predate the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem? I seem to recall that the answer is maybe but I have forgotten the details. -JDW

ThomasS's picture

Yes, there is. See C.P. Thiede's article in Biblica 67 [1986], pp. 532-38. He also discusses Acts 12:17, which is very interesting.

Hope this helps!

Th.S.

mazuur's picture

Or since Rev 18:18-19 states

"18 and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What city is like the great city?’ 19 “And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’"

Why Jews (given away by the fact they threw dust on their heads) would cry over Rome (if Babylon was Rome) being destroyed.

One would think they (Jews) would throw a party.

Not to mention the book identifies it as the city "where also their Lord was crucified" (Rev 11:8). I mean it just doesn't get anymore blunt than that.

-Rich

-Rich

ThomasS's picture

Rich,

the problem with your "reasoning" is that you are assuming the very thing you are trying to prove. Where does it say that the great city in Rev 11:8 = the great city in Rev 17?

As to Rev 18, see Aune's commentary. You might find it enlightening.

Regards

Th.S.

mazuur's picture

Thomas,

"Where does it say that the great city in Rev 11:8 = the great city in Rev 17?"

You're kidding me right? Just read the text.

As to Rev. 18, see Chilton, Simmons, and Preston.

Regards,
Rich

-Rich

ThomasS's picture

Rich,

The "great city" in Rev 11 is called "Sodom" and "Egypt", not Babylon. The "great city" in Rev 17 is called "Babylon" (which was used as a cipher for Rome), not "Sodom or "Egypt".

Hope this helps!

Th.S.

mazuur's picture

Yes, the "great city" in Rev 11 is called "Sodom" and "Egypt". Clearly Jerusalem. The "great city" in Rev 17 & 18 is also clearly Jerusalem. They are both called the "great city".

One only needs to read it and see that it is completely constant in its naming convention. There aren't two "great cities". To the Jew there is only one great city, and that is Jerusalem. The Jews could have cared less about Rome. They would never consider it a "great city".

Chapter 17 & 18 clearly present two different entities (17:7). The Beast and the Harlot. Rome is the beast, Jerusalem is the Harlot (Babylon). This is demonstrated in just about every verse in chapter 17 & 18. You have to close your eyes in order to miss it.

In 17:16-17 the Beast, set up in contrast to the Harlot, turns on the Harlot and destroys her. If the Harlot (Babylon) and the Beast are one and the same, the passages would make no sense.

In 18:19 they thew dust on their heads. No Jew would lament over Rome being destroyed. Clearly the Harlot is Jerusalem, which the Jew would cry over.

In 18:19 the blood of the prophets and saints was found in the Harlot (Babylon). The entire NT testifies it was Jerusalem that was going to be judged. They were to be judged for all the righteous blood taken, from Able to Zechariah (Matthew 23:35). Even Matthew 23:37 states, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!".

The entire book of Revelation is about the destruction of Jerusalem. God judging historical Israel. Rome is nothing buy a tool (a secondary subject) used by God to judge her. Your view totally divorces the Revelation from its Biblical context.

-Rich

-Rich

ThomasS's picture

Rich,

Again you are mistaken. But don't despair. (Being wrong only makes you human!)

The Greek syntax in Rev 16:19 makes it possible that there are two great cities in the Book of Revelation: Jerusalem and "new" Babylon (as a parallel to Jerusalem and ancient "Babylon") -- this is why John has taken so much from Jeremiah. There is a parallel between 587 BCE and 70 CE: Jerusalem is destroyed by Babylon/Babylon the great.

We do know that Jerusalem was called "Sodom"; we do know that Rome was called "Babylon" (and that Rome was known as being situated on seven hills/mountains). It's not more difficult than this.

If I were to write a book on "Uncle Sam", hopefully you wouldn't assume that I were talking about China.

PS! Do you think that there is but one little horn in the Book of Daniel? (Or do you, like most futurists, believe in two different little horns, one in Dan 7 and another in Dan 8?)

Th.S.

mazuur's picture

ok Thomas. I don't want to argue with you anymore. We'll just agree to disagree.

Later,
Rich

-Rich

ThomasS's picture

Rich,

That's fine with me.

All the best

Th.S.

mazuur's picture

I also came upon this nice piece of information regarding this topic.

"...strange as it may seem, the City of Jerusalem as it existed in the time of Christ Jesus was also reckoned to be the "City of Seven Hills. This fact was well recognized in Jewish circles. In the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer, an eighth century midrashic narrative (section 10), the writer mentioned without commentary (showing that the understanding was well known and required no defense) that "Jerusalem is situated on seven hills" (recorded in The Book of Legends, edited by Bialik and Ravnitzky, p. 371, paragraph 111). And, so it was. Those "seven hills" are easy to identify. If one starts with the Mount of Olives just to the east of the main City of Jerusalem (but still reckoned to be located within the environs of Jerusalem), there are three summits to that Mount of Olives. The northern summit (hill) is called Scopus [Hill One], the middle summit (hill) was called Nob [Hill Two], the highest point of Olivet itself, and the southern summit (hill) was called in the Holy Scriptures the "Mount of Corruption" or "Mount of Offence" [Hill Three] (II Kings 23:13). On the middle ridge between the Kedron and the Tyropoeon Valleys there was (formerly) in the south "Mount Zion" [Hill Four] (the original "Mount Zion" and not the later southwest hill that was later called by that name), then the "Ophel Mount" [Hill Five] and then to the north of that the "Rock" around which "Fort Antonia" was built [Hill Six]. And finally, there was the southwest hill itself [Hill Seven] that finally became known in the time of Simon the Hasmonean as the new "Mount Zion." This makes "Seven Hills" in all."

-Rich

-Rich

ThomasS's picture

Rich,

How old is this text? :)

Regards

Th.S.

Ransom's picture

This is interesting, Rich. What the source you're quoting from?

mazuur's picture

Ransom,

With that said, I still think it is a reference to Rome (the beast), upon whom the women (Jerusalem) sits. But it is still some interesting information.

-Rich

-Rich

mazuur's picture

Ransom,

I can't remember where I got the article (found it on the Internet), but it was written by Ernest L. Martin Ph.D. in 2000. The title is "The Seven Hills of Jerusalem".

You could probably google it and find it.

The guy is a futurist who had the typical futurist conclusion, but the information concerning the seven hills in Jerusalem I thought was interesting too.

-Rich

-Rich

MiddleKnowledge's picture

Chilton quotes Ernest L. Martin regarding a different topic in Days of Vengeance, pp. 552-553.

Blessings,

Tim Martin
www.truthinliving.org

mazuur's picture

Tim,

Thanks. I'll look it up when I get home tonight.

-Rich

-Rich

Duncan's picture

So You think Rev. 16:10 refers to the fall of Rome (in the fifth century??) The time was not exactly at hand for that in the first century.
At least you see the possibility of a pre AD 70 date for Revelation.

I will leave you with one last point. Rev. 11:2 says the holy city [of Jerusalem] would be trampled by the Gentiles for 42 months (cf. Dan. 9:24-27 for the fate of the holy city). This makes no sense if it was written after AD 70. The holy city was gone by then! (Josephus said the devastation was so bad that one couldn't even tell a city had been there). 42 months is the time from the coming of Titus and Vespasian around April/March of AD 67 to the fall of Jerusalem in August/September of AD 70 (cf. Rev. 13:5). This is just another indicator that Revelation was written shortly before this time, during the reign of Nero, the sixth Caesar.

Duncan

ThomasS's picture

Dear Duncan,

Yes, I do believe that Rev 16:10 is a reference to the fall of Rome. (The beast is the Roman Empire.)

As to temporal expressions in apocalyptic literature, I see no reason to take them literally.

You wrote:

"I will leave you with one last point. Rev. 11:2 says the holy city [of Jerusalem] would be trampled by the Gentiles for 42 months (cf. Dan. 9:24-27 for the fate of the holy city). This makes no sense if it was written after AD 70."

Again, I have some problems taking your seriously. It might be that Rev 11:2 makes no sense to you in a post-70 setting. But any scholarly commentary on the Book of Revelation will tell you otherwise: A post-70 makes setting makes sense to the majority of scholars. In fact, one may question if Rev 11 could have been written in a pre-70 setting! (Cf. M. Bachmann's essay in New Testament Studies 40 [1994], pp. 474-480.)

Josephus is wrong re: the destruction of Jerusalem. This has been documented by D. Haugg (cf. his monograph "The Two Witnesses", published in 1936).

It seems to me that you will experience problems getting your manuscript (on the "Antichrist") accepted by a serious publishing company. But I hope you will succeed.

Regards

Th.S.

Duncan's picture

Thomas,

I know it is inconceivable to you that if you don't take me seriously that anyone else will. As usual you are much more talented at criticism than you are at providing answers that make sense.

So set us straight (you know most people here see more sense in what I am saying than in what you are saying). What is your interpretation of "they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months." You say it has nothing to do with the treading of Jerusalem by the Romans for 42 months (I guess that was a coincidence), so what is it talking about?

While you are at it, Given your statement that "the beast is the Roman Empire." Would you care to explain Rev. 17:8 NASB, it says the beast was "about to come up out of the abyss" when John wrote. Can you explain how Rome was about to come up out of the abyss in the first century?

Duncan

ThomasS's picture

Dear Duncan,

You wrote:

"I know it is inconceivable to you that if you don't take me seriously that anyone else will. As usual you are much more talented at criticism than you are at providing answers that make sense."

First, I do not seriously doubt that some will take you seriously, but I seriously doubt that many of them will have any formal training in Biblical studies or linguistics. This is why you probably never will get your book published by a serious publishing company like Eerdmans, T&T Clark or Brill.

Second, of course it's easier to provide criticism and pointing out problems than presenting (bullet-proof) solutions. Does this really come as a surprise to you? Haven't you heard of the logical asymmetry between verification and refutability?

You also wrote:

"What is your interpretation of 'they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.' You say it has nothing to do with the treading of Jerusalem by the Romans for 42 months (I guess that was a coincidence), so what is it talking about?"

First, I have never said that Rev 11:2b "has nothing to do with the treading of Jerusalem by the Romans". (Why do you present wrong information?) I have, repeatedly, stated that I think the Apocalypse reflects the Jewish War (66-70 CE); Rev 11 being no exception! (Here I am in agreement with scholars like Feuillet and Giet.)

The temporal designation (42 months) is derived from the Book of Daniel; originally it was a reference to the Syrian persecution of the Jews (167-164 BCE). Thus, it is not to be taken literally, "it is a symbolic number for a divinely restricted period of time" (David Aune: Revelation 6-16, p. 609). I think a case could be made for identifying the court and the "holy city" (Rev 11:2) with the (persecuted) church.

Finally, you wrote:

"While you are at it, Given your statement that 'the beast is the Roman Empire.' Would you care to explain Rev. 17:8 NASB, it says the beast was 'about to come up out of the abyss' when John wrote. Can you explain how Rome was about to come up out of the abyss in the first century?"

First, I think the beast (from the sea) in Rev 13:1ff. (cf. Rev 17) represents two things; the symbol has a dual focus: (a) the Roman Empire and (d) the emperor, especially Nero (cf. Rev 13:3, 18). According to Rev 13:3, one of the head/but also the beast as such was given a fatal wound. Now, having identified the beast with both the Roman Empire and Nero (Rev 13), it becomes clear that in the vision of Rev 17, Nero is already dead: "The beast that you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss" (Rev 17:8).

Second, the 'coming out of the Abyss' in Rev 17:8 is a reference to Rev 13, in which it is said that an emperor/the empire got a mortal wound but that the empire was healed. As the symbol (the beast) has a dual focus, the "healing" of the empire has to apply to the emperor as well. Of course, we all know that Nero died; he was never healed. But John seems to have used the popular myth about "Nero redivivus" -- pagan authors called Domitian a second Nero. As Domitian was seen as a second Nero, he could be said to be a new king, "an eight king" (succeeding his brother Titus) and one of the (first) seven kings (cf. Rev 17:11). There is a reason why Domitian was called "Nero"; in this way the original Nero" could be said to live again in the life and deeds of Domitian.

Hope this helps!

Regards

Th.S.

Duncan's picture

Thomas,

You wrote,
"First, I do not seriously doubt that some will take you seriously, but I seriously doubt that many of them will have any formal training in Biblical studies or linguistics."

The problem is not a lack of formal training on my part (as your typically snobbish jab insinuates). The real problem is that you just don't like my position. You don't like it when I say it, you don't like it when Ken Gentry (who does have formal theological training) says it.

The fact that few if any scholars comment on the parallels (pro or con my position) between the two women/cities in Galatians 4:21-31 and the two/women cities in Revelation is a glaring oversight on their part. It is something they should address and for the most part they don't. The problem in that case is not ignorance on my part but oversight on their part.

Duncan

mazuur's picture

Duncan,

"The real problem is that you just don't like my position."

Bingo!! Because that would mean he was wrong. Can't have that now can we?

Why do you waste your time with him? He's nothing but, well, pretty much everything you've pointed out (too bad he can't take it to heart). Kind of like a Pharisee in Jesus' day who thought he knew it all (with his "formal training" and all), while the uneducated trampled him underfoot.

Let him hold to his nonsense. You can see right through it like everybody else. The only reason he believes what he does is because he is forced to. I think inside he knows he's wrong, but he can't admit it and probably never will. But even if he doesn't, who cares? I don't. Doesn't effect me in my life one bit.

Do yourself a favor and move on. Leave him to dwell in his know-it-all pool of arrogant pride.

BTW, I will be reading your book when it comes out. Even if he isn't published by "Eerdmans, T&T Clark or Brill." Sheesh, what a bunch of arrogant crap.

-Rich

-Rich

ThomasS's picture

Der Rich,

Besides presenting your usual ad-hominem attacks (as you usually do when you do not have any serious arguments), you display a pretty amazing logic here: If someone thinks you are wrong it's (just) because they don't like your position. Go figure! So, it couldn't just be because you are flat out wrong?

It is interesting how irrationally some people react when I point out difficulties with their position. (One may wonder why...)

Regards

Th.S.

mazuur's picture

1. "If someone thinks you are wrong it's (just) because they don't like your position."

Uh, no, that was you. Demonstrated by you too many times to count just as everyone picks up on time after time after time. I just get tired of your pompous crap.

2. "It is interesting how irrationally some people react when I point out difficulties with their position. "

The problem is what seems to be a difficulty to you, is always plainly explained. It is you then, because you refuse to admit you are wrong, just won't except plan simple correct answer. Hence, see number 1.

What is more interest is when you "highly educated" types are shown to be just flat out wrong about so many things, you have to resort to your fall back argument how educated you are so every one should just heed to your opinion. Pathetic!

If one studies under mis-guided individuals for 30 years in academia studies, guess what? They will merely walk away programmed with 30 years of crap. This is what has plagued the Catholic Church (and Protestant ones for that matter) for centuries.

-Rich

-Rich

ThomasS's picture

Dear Rich,

As you have never been able to point out any errors in my arguments, I just cannot take you seriously. You do not seem willing critically to examine your position. You are just being dogmatic without any interest in being academic (rational). It's sad, really. So, I'll pray for you. Hope that helps!

Regards

Th.S.

mazuur's picture

Thomas,

"As you have never been able to point out any errors in my arguments"

That's just it Thomas. You don't present arguments. You just criticize. Just as Duncan has tried to point out to you many times over. You just show up with your pompous "I know it all" attitude, and act like every one should just heed to what the mighty Thomas says, because after all, he's had "formal training". Thus, your right and we're all a bunch of dim wits who need your kind to enlighten us all.

Sorry, but I think you're nothing but a loser sitting in an academia chair somewhere disconnected from reality who can't walk and chew at the same time. And if you're not, let me tell you. That is how you present yourself to the world. Hope that helps you!

-Rich

-Rich

ThomasS's picture

Rich,

Why do you repeatedly present disinformation? I have never said that I "know it all". On the contrary, I have stated that it is difficult to know when the Apocalypse was written. You and Duncan, however, insist that it cannot have been written after 70 CE.

You may, of course, find it frustrating if I happen to know more about Biblical Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek than you, but, please, don't let your frustration out on me.

I don't know why you react so irrationally; perhaps your position is so important for you that you simply refuse critical and rational thinking?

As long as you are being dogmatic and irrational, there really is no reason for me to continue this "discussion" with you. But do tell me if you some day are able to communicate rationally.

Take care!

Best regards

Th.S.

Seeker's picture

And how do we know that he has absolutely any training? I haven't been able to deciper this from his posts. What position has he presented that hasn't been easily refuted?

Have you really presented a position?

Seeker

Seeker

ThomasS's picture

Seeker,

Yes, I have said that it is impossible to know when the Apocalypse was written. I have also said that there are problems with the view that the Apocalypse was written during Nero's reign.

It is not difficult to see that Duncan lacks training in Biblical languages; the same goes for Rich.

Regards

Th.S.

Duncan's picture

Thomas,

You never shared with us how much formal theological training you have. Judging by how important you say this training is, your theological background must be quite extensive.

Duncan

mazuur's picture

Duncan,

I don't really care how much he has. To me that only tells me he knows a lot of information developed by men. And these men are merely perpetuating the same crap they were programmed with by the men before them. It's an endless cycle. You wonder why so many "Church fathers" taught a physical resurrected body, or that Christ's second coming is a future event? There you go. What "minister" or PhD student doesn't come out of seminary believing exactly what the books/seminary holds to? All of them. Books written by men (who were programmed by the men before them), who are merely regurgitating the same old crap they were programmed with when they went through seminary. Is it any wonder the Church today is consumed with futurism.

Then you get a uneducated nimrod (like me) who actually reads the Bible and notices a very simple, plainly stated black and white passage in Revelation that identifies Babylon as the place where "our Lord was Crucified", and says "wait a minute" Babylon isn't Rome; can't you read? What do all those with a PhD (probably Thomas) do to defend their position? They quote all the other men who have been programmed by the same books written by other men who were programmed by those before them. As this somehow settles the case for these guys. Go figure.

That is like a futurist today listing 100 "futurist Scholars" as his proof that Christ coming is still in the future (which is what half of them do). This is exactly what Thomas does. Every notice he's always telling us to go read so-and-so? While I can read the Bible and he is clear that Babylon was Jerusalem.

-Rich

-Rich

ThomasS's picture

Rich,

Do you read the Bible or a given translation (paraphrase) of the Bible?

I guess you would prefer a "doctor" without any relevant academic education, without any human "crap". That's your choice.

Regards

Th.S.

mazuur's picture

Thomas,

Well let's see. Rev 11:8

==================================
NASB95 - And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.

Young's - and their dead bodies [are] upon the broad-place of the great city (that is called spiritually Sodom, and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified,)

KJV - And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

ASV - And their dead bodies lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.

Noah Webster - And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

Darby - And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

Geneva - And their corpses shall lie in the streetes of the great citie, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where our Lord also was crucified.

Bishop - And their bodyes shall lye in ye streates of the great citie, which spiritually is called Sodome and Egypt, where our Lorde was crucified.

Douay-Rheims - And their bodies shall lie in the streets of the great city which is called spiritually, Sodom and Egypt: where their Lord also was crucified.

NIV - And their bodies shall lie in the streets of the great city which is called spiritually, Sodom and Egypt: where their Lord also was crucified.

God's Word - Their dead bodies will lie on the street of the important city where their Lord was crucified. The spiritual names of that city are Sodom and Egypt.

Bible in Basic English (1965) by Cambridge Press in England - And their dead bodies will be in the open street of the great town, which in the spirit is named Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was put to death on the cross.
=================================

All the Greek scholars who made these translations seem to all agree (although that isn't really saying too much - see comments below regarding 1 Cor. 15:35)

I would post the Greek, but the fonts don't work. I have the Textus Receptus and the Majority Text. The are identical except for two differences.

1) The Majority Text has an extra definite article proceeding the word "poleos" (city).

2) following the word "kurios" (Lord - which is proceeded by the definite article "ho" telling me this is definitely Jesus the writer is referring to, in case you try some stupid argument that the writer could have been referring to somebody else and using the word kurios in the general sense), the Textus Receptus uses the personal pronoun "hemon", and the Majority text uses the pronoun "auton". However, both result in either distinguishing or contrasting a person or thing from another, or given to denote a strong prominence. Again, driving home the point that this is Jesus they were referring to, not just any "lord" that was crucified.

Of course since this passage is as clear as clear gets, you will try to argue that "the great city" here in Rev. 11:8 is not the same as the city in Rev. 18 (especially the one is verses 10 & 21). Of course since verse 19 states, “And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city", one wold have to wonder why Jews (given away by the fact they were throwing dust on there heads - surely not a Gentile practice of lament) would be lamenting over Rome (if indeed the great city here is referring to Rome.)

Also, since you're such a greek scholar, do me a favor and tell me something.

1 Cor 15:35 states, "But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?”

Now, in the greek it should read "How are the dead being raised". The greek word "egeiro" in the text is a present passive given as "egeirontai". The same goes for the second half of the verse. Again presented in the present passive voice it should read, "In what body are they coming".

How do you square with that? They were being raised in the first century as Paul wrote the letter.

I'll tell you what is going on here. The translators have their bias programmed into their heads from their respective seminaries, who are all futurist of course, (and literalist) and thus proceed to override Paul's words because the text doesn't agree with their theology (or more important the theology of other men they were programmed with in seminary). These are all probably PhD Greek "Scholars". See what all the formal brainwashing (I mean training) gets you? Blinders, that's what. I am glad I never went to seminary. I am glad all my studies were self motivated at home where I can study greek and theology at my own pace, and I don't have to swallow a seminaries position (if I wanted to pass anyway).

Of course I would be glad to listen to the great Thomas explain away this passage, which obviously isn't talking about physical bodies being resurrected, unless you want to concede that physical bodies were resurrected in the first century (present passive at the time Paul wrote it).

-Rich

-Rich

ThomasS's picture

Dear Rich,

Your comments re: 1 Cor 15:35 are well taken. Here, you demonstrate the importance of being able to read the Greek "original"; any translation is colored by the bias of the translator.

For instance, most translations have Rev 11:8b rendered thus "which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified". There are at least two problems here:

(a) it is possible that "spiritually" modifies both the VP "is called Sodom and Egypt" and the VP "where [...] their Lord was crucified".

(b) "Lord" is written with a capital L.

If (a) is chosen, it is not quite clear that the great city is Jerusalem (cf. Hebrews 13:12).

If (b) is chosen, it is clear that the "Lord" is Jesus; but what if "lord" is written with a minuscule? The translation "lord" would not make it clear that the "lord" is Jesus.

I do hope this demonstrates that reading the Greek original text is important when trying to make sens of the NT.

Regards

Th.S.

mazuur's picture

-Rich

ThomasS's picture

Dear Duncan,

I am a linguist and a student of religion (history of religion). I have only 2-3 years with studies of Biblical languages (especially NT Greek, but also some Hebrew/Aramaic). I wish I had more; I would never write a book on a Biblical subject without more formal training. This is also why I don't think I have all the answers (thus, I do not think that we can know for sure when the Apocalypse was written); in fact, I tend to see more problems than solutions.

Some people think they can practice medicine or psychology without any formal training. I disagree. I also think knowledge of Biblical languages is important for any interpretation of the Bible. You may, of course, disagree. I guess I'm just one of those who think formal training is important.

Regards

Th.S.

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