An Even Greater Controversy

Dear Bart,

Why wouldn’t the lamb be a Christian symbol too–Jesus was announced “Behold the Lamb of God” when he began His ministry.

Why wouldn’t the Spirit speak to the 7 churches or 7-fold church? saying, if anyone has ears, let him hear.
Jesus cautioned with some of His parables, if anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. [There is more to be understood here than just on the surface.]

Moses prophecied of the Christ, the Prophet who would be raised up “like me” from among your people, counseling, Listen to Him. The voice from heavenly Glory, at Jesus’ baptism and at the Mount of Transfiguration, said of the Beloved Son, “Listen to Him.”

The Jewish traditions of the rabbis had reference to parables and allegories (in the best sense of the word), in sermonizing, didn’t they? (You would know far better than I, so please correct me if I have misstated things.)

And some Psalms use or refer to parables or riddles or “dark” sayings that you have to think over. Isaiah speaks of those who listening do not hear, and God says to Ezekiel in 2: 5: As for them, whether they listen or not—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them.

I have gone into too much detail here, but it seems to me that there are links of Apocalypse (ch.1 through at least ch.5) with ideas and expressions and symbols from the gospels, that are in turn informed by the earlier Hebrew literature. The early Christians, even before they were so named, were Jews worshipping in synagogues.
Wouldn’t they partake of the judaic traditions and thought patterns?
Wouldn’t they imbibe some of the apocalyptic fervor around them?

Perhaps I am painting with too broad a brush, here: and there may be an abrupt transition from the first three chapters of the Apcalypse to the rest of the text; yet there are seven churches, as there are seven seals, seven trumpets, seven plagues, so that is not discordant. I know that it doesn’t prove a connection either, since seven was favorite Jewish number; but at least it doesn’t fly in the face of the passages of Revelation following.

Why shouldn’t there be apocalyptic literature among the early Christians? (besides Matthew 24 and Luke 21–and maybe II Peter and Jude). It seems to me reasonable that that tradition would continue, just as there were prophets (and even women prophets) in the early Christian communities. Perhaps Christian writings on a parallel track to the Jewish apocalyptic literature?(with which the connections are quite striking and convincing of a relationship).

And parables, allegories, and symbolism can be just the thing to convey a cryptic, politically risky message. I think of black American folktales, folklore, and spirituals.

Again, I know that I have approached the subject in a broad way, and not totally scientifically, or textually critical; but wouldn’t my concerns stated above have merit?

Thank you, Bart, for sharing your profound background in these realms with us.

Thanks for the response.

I would remind you that when dealing with ancient literature, we don’t deal with certainties. We look for evidence which is always incomplete. We look for plausible explanations for anomalies which often point us in different understandings than those passed down through tradition. In short, we propose probabilities, never ready to die on a hill to defend a hypothesis. I am not proposing that I have knowledge about how Revelation was composed; only that it appears more Jewish than Christian, might fit better into a historical milieu not in harmony with previous conjectures, and seems like a Jewish apocalypse with later Christian reworking including a long introduction to set the stage for a different interpretation.

The “Jewish” portion of the text appears to be a wartime motif, looking back to the immediate past where utter destruction had occurred to Jerusalem by the Roman armies, to a group of Jewish ascetics, to the people of the land, replacing the temple cult with pagan gods, and with the promise that Yahweh would soon intervene by replacing the destroyed city with a new one and destroying the enemies.

It is easy to read Jesus into the text as the lamb, but that is an interpretation, not necessarily the intent of the author.

It is interesting that the beast (a stand-in for the Roman empire) was exercising power over the land for 42 months, as this is the approximate duration of the bar Kochba war of 132-135. I would point out that there is no justification whatsoever to turn this into 1260 years. None.

You mention that early Christians worshiped in the synagogues. I’m not sure what you mean by early, but I’m guessing that you are thinking of the story of Acts. However, Acts is not history, and the details mentioned therein are not plausible as history. It is anachronistic, reading second century context back into a mythical first century setting. One would have to look long and hard to find first century synagogues in Asia Minor or Greece, such as is indicated in Acts. There were none. Synagogues came into being AFTER the cessation of the temple sacrificial system. The earliest synagogues excavated are from the second century, notwithstanding the narratives of Jesus visiting them or the acts of Paul in Acts. Note that while the author of Acts has Paul regularly interacting with synagogues, in his own writings, he never mentions them; presumably because at the time of his writing, they didn’t yet exist. Again, Acts is anachronistic.

I would suggest that a historicist understanding of Revelation as per John Andrews, Uriah Smith, and EGW spanning history and just waiting for some imaginative interpreter to link events with symbols is not in keeping with the original purpose of Revelation, nor of the apocalyptic genre in general, nor is a foretelling of the sweep of history even possible. Those who would see the Papacy, the Moslem invasion of Europe, an earthquake in Portugal, a meteor shower visible in New England, the rise of the United States, and a sabbath keeping sect arising in the 19th century in the symbolism of Revelation are simply delusional. I’d like to use a softer word, but accuracy demands it.

The only reason Christian interpreters of all stripes continue to look for signs around them to fit the symbolism of Revelation is that THE EVENTS ENVISIONED NEVER CAME TO BE. Since, it is assumed, prophecy can’t fail, the fulfillments must still be coming, always imminent. Will that still be the case 500 years from now? If there are still those who won’t face reality, then that would be likely.

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Again, I hate to sound like the bass singer in the choir who punctuates each of the preacher’s points with an emphatic “AMEN,” :crazy_face: but I’m convinced that Occam’s Razor, if applied to The Book of Revelations, requires that one simply edit the entirety of manuscript from any discussion of, or prognostications about future world events.

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Yup. We can’t tell the future until it becomes the past.

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You are absolutely right. That is the only legitimate way to read Revelation.

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This author always downs the church as if he is some kinda theological expert.
The US is a super power. It is the country that the majority of the world looks to. As you point out, the pope, a Jesuit, is in the move. Muslim leaders have come to the Vatican and many other world leaders. He spoke at the UN and promoted climate change and a day of rest. He has been pushing this in Europe for yrs. Another reason is the attendance has been down in Europe for years and that means less money collected.
He knows he needs America as his arm of power to achieve his vision of a one world government.
Now is the time to give the 3 Angel’s messages as it is the last warning message to the world.
They laughed at Noah too. But when the rain came the laughing and scarcastism ended.

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So many rabbit holes to explore and not enough time!

I wouldn’t count on it yet. With the help of a Republican senate this guy has out-tephloned Ronald Reagan.

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i completely agree that now, while there’s time, is our time to act to spread the knowledge of our prophecies, and how to escape the coming destruction of earth…the analogy with noah’s flood is exactly right…

it’s historic what we’ve seen in the senate with the GOP…clear, impeachable conduct has been protected, and even defended, not once, but twice…there doesn’t seem to be any morality left with the GOP…

but the good thing about the manhattan investigation is that it’s something the senate can’t touch…i think someone from the trump family will be going to jail…all of them seem to be in the situation weisselberg is in, and his fraud crimes definitely have the potential to land him in jail…mary trump is now saying that ivanka is the one who will flip against her father…

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