The Book of Revelation is NOT about the end of the world.

We hear it all the time, “***The end is near, Christ is coming to rapture his saints!***” Famous televangelist, evangelical apologist, and books, have made the idea of the rapture and the “time of the antichrist in the seven year tribulation period” so popular. You don’t need to be a evangelical to understand what they’re talking about. The end of the world is on their minds and their primary source, the Book of Revelation!

Well, what if I told you the Book of Revelation has almost nothing to do with the end of the world? The Book of Revelation is not a roadmap to tell people how to get through such scary future events of the end. Infact it’s kind of the opposite. The Book of Revelation was written in a style modern scholars call “***apocalyptic literature.***” The Book of Revelation was written to encourage Christians that Christ will triumph over evil, and it was a warning to the evil forces of the world, like the Roman Empire, to repent or be judged! In fact, when Jesus says throughout the entire book, “***I am coming soon.***” he is talking about his coming judgment on the Roman Empire. Not his coming to rapture the saints and to start a series of events leading up to his second coming.

Symbols like the four horsemen, and the seven seals that unleash plagues are not to be taken literally. Instead, the author uses them as symbols to show that God will judge the Roman Empire. He never literally meant hail of blood will rain down on them, or that a army of locust would poison them. Things like the beast don’t talk about one person. The beast is symbolic for the Roman Empire. The author does use one character to symbolize the Roman Empire’s corruption, that is Emperor Nero. He uses his numerical name which is 666, so just in case the Romans got their hands on it, they wouldn’t know what he was talking about. Though Christians would know exactly who he was talking about. Symbols like the two witnesses symbolize the church, and it being persecuted, but eventually it will over come it’s persecutors. Things like the Whore of Babylon symbolize the capital city of Rome. All of these are just symbols for certain things, they are not literal as many evangelicals like to see them.

How do we know all of this? We know this because we find other Jews and Christians referring to them empire, and it’s capital, and the church and etc. like this. We also have books like Ezekiel and Daniel to help us out. We need to look at Revelation in more of a historical context rather then a timeline of events in the near future.

Christians were being heavily persecuted by Rome. They were loosing hope in themselves and in Christ. Revelation was a way of telling Christians to still have hope. It basically said, “***Though we are being persecuted Christ is still in control! If Rome does not repent then Christ will judge them accordingly. And those who put all their faith and hope in Christ that he will conquer the evils of their world, then they will see the New Heavens and the New Earth. ***”

Evangelicals just take it out of it’s historical context, Infact alot of Catholics do too. I hear Catholics say how the beast is coming, and how the end is near. I think we shouldn’t go to over board with the Book of Revelation. Let’s just read it how it is, and try not to interpret it as a roadmap for the future. That was never the intention of the author, and that was never the intention of the one revealing, Jesus Christ. And, even though Revelation was aimed more towards 1st century Christians to still have hope, Christians in the future who are going through times of tribulation can look to the Book of Revelation as a inspiration for hope.

Amen. :signofcross:

I made a last thread on this, but I needed to put some edits in but couldn’t because the edit button disappeared, so I made a second thread with all my edits in. :thumbsup:

When I ever thought of the word Apocalyse I always thought of the end of times sort of thing, but recently I stumbled across a site (wasn’t catholic) that explained the word to mean uncovering, that Christ will triumph over evil, but through us. I suppose I understood it to mean that the book of revelations isn’t for our future, it’s our now. It would have seemed in the future 2,000 years ago, but its our now. And if we follow as Jesus told us to do (do good always, and avoid evil) then we can help achieve Jesus’ mission.

I thought it was enlightening, a different way to read Revelations.

Of course it could also be both ;).
I’ve also heard theories that Maccabees is more of a foreshadowing of the end than Revelation. Whatever happens, happens.:shrug:

Well, what if I told you the Book of Revelation has almost nothing to do with the end of the world? The Book of Revelation is not a roadmap to tell people how to get through such scary future events of the end. Infact it’s kind of the opposite. The Book of Revelation was written in a style modern scholars call “apocalyptic literature.” The Book of Revelation was written to encourage Christians that Christ will triumph over evil, and it was a warning to the evil forces of the world, like the Roman Empire, to repent or be judged! In fact, when Jesus says throughout the entire book, “I am coming soon.” he is talking about his coming judgment on the Roman Empire. Not his coming to rapture the saints and to start a series of events leading up to his second coming.

We must not be reading the same Book, or living in the same era.

Take a good look at current events unfolding before our eyes, and it is quite clear that we are living in unprecedented times:

[LIST]
*]Israel reborn as a nation,
*]the recent heightened extermination of Christians in the Middle East,
*]the mass proliferation of civilization-destroying nuclear weaponry,
*]advances in nanotechnology and biometrics,
*]the push for electronic currency, and
*]the computerization of the banking system…to name just a few…
[/LIST]

Everything is lining up for the Battle of Armageddon, where the nations will rise up against Israel. Russia (Gog and Magog) are already aligned with Iran in collusion with the other enemies of Israel.

The United Nations condemning Israel in recent weeks for war atrocities…I could go on and on. If we are not living at the times described in the Book of Revelation, then we must be very close.

Symbols like…the seven seals that unleash plagues are not to be taken literally.

Ebola. AIDS. H1N1. Killer Flu. Need I say more?

If you are referring to the part in where it says Satan will be released before Christ coming then yes, I can agree that is talking about the end. but most of Revelation is not. Revelation was to build up hope for Christians, not to really “predict” the end times. Besides, “Armageddon” is a mountain in Israel. The Roman fought battles there all the time, the author of Revelation uses this place as a symbol to show how Christ will one day conquer the empire.

Read “The Lamb’s Supper” by Scott Hahn. The book of Revelation is played out during every Mass. It’s amazing what the average Catholic misses out on because they’ve checked out before they even walk in the door. Read the book and at Mass REALLY pay attention…Mass to me is the most beautiful event on the face of the earth because it’s when heaven actually meets us here.

Ok, I’ll read it. I think my view of Revelation is the most accurate though. Most scholars would actually agree with me, and it is compatible with Catholic doctrine. Bustedhalo, a Catholic website, holds the view I hold. :slight_smile:

i think MY interpretation of revelation is the most accurate.

Scripture has the ability to speak to the people of the time it was written in, but also future generations. When Peter asked Christ about how many times he had to forgive his brother, Christ initially answered him in the first person ie. “you”.

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23

But He was talking to every Christian, even if Peter was the person who asked the question, and got the direct answer.

Similarly I think Revelation can have a current context, with letters to seven extant churches in Asia Minor at the time, a coded reference to Roman persecution which was very real right then, but also an encouragement to Christians of every age.

I personally think that there is going to be an implanted chip which will correspond to the “mark of the beast”. It’s chief function will be to ensure nobody can buy or sell without it. We’ve moved a long way in that direction already.

I’ve got a booklet at home which was put out by a “Commission for the Future” way back during the time of the Hawke ALP government in Australia (some time ago now). The topic of this booklet was “Issues for a Cashless Society”. And this segment was chaired by Philip Adams, an eminent Australian atheist, so there were no religious overtones whatsoever.

But in a segment dealing with privacy, it noted that a think tank of American lawyers was asked way back in 1975 to define the best way to keep tabs on a citizen without their knowledge.

Their solution - compulsory electronic financial transactions. The booklet then went on to give a fictional case study of John Citizen Esquire, listing his transactions for the day, and a computer analysis of his probable activities as a result. If he spent more money on fuel than usual, where was he going? Couple that with a meal purchased close to a left wing organisation, who was he possibly seeing? The toll booth recorded a one way trip out of town for two days - what did he do during that time? Maybe we ought to step up closer surveillance?

So I think Revelation does have some future relevance. I’ve got a book on my shelf, “The Catholic Bible Study Book” by Gerard Kodell O.S.B.

On page 39 (in my version) he makes the following comment about the placement of the books in the Bible -

“For instance, Genesis is placed first because it deals with the creation of the world and man’s early history, not because it was the first book to be written. Revelation is placed last because it deals with the “last things” - the end of the world, the final judgement, and the heavenly reign at the end of time.”

666 and references to the Anti-Christ may have been clearly meant to be Nero at the time, but if that’s all it means, then why bother putting it in Scripture? Nero’s persecution finished 2000 years ago, or nearly so. That’s past history, of limited import to modern Christians. So if it’s going to have any significance to future generations of Christians, then it must have a wider ambit.

As an Addendum to my post above, the actual phrasing in the booklet “Issues for a Cashless Society” by Marie Keir was as follows -

"Protection of Personal Information

… In 1975, an American firm of consultants was asekd to provided a way in which citizens’ behaviour could be monitored without their knowledge. The firm came up with the idea of compulsory electronic payments. To illustrate their possible use, they prepared this fictitious analysis of one person. It has been altered slightly to make it ‘Australian’ …

(Note - the prices are 1987 prices, so they’re low by today’s standards)

DAILY SURVEILLANCE SHEET

Confidential
April 22 1988
SUBJECT: Robert E. Squire, 13 Scilly Street, Springtown, NSW. Male, aged 40. Married. Electrical Engineer.

PURCHASES: Australian Financial Review, $0.70; Breakfast $5.25, Petrol $15.00, Phone (06 634 7968) $1.44; Lunch $8.40, Cocktails $10.00, ATM withdrawal $100.00; Phone (02 824 7565 $.020, Case whiskey $270.00, Sydney Morning Herald $0.90.

COMPUTER ANALYSIS

Owns shares (90% probability)

Heavy starch breakfast, probably over-weight.

Bought $15.00 worth of petrol. Owns Volvo. So far this week subject has bought $50.00 worth of petrol. Extensive driving besides 15K to work indicated. Purchased petrol at 7.57 am at service station 10K from work. Suject probably later than usual for work. Third such occurrence this week.

Phone number (06 634 7968) belongs to J. McKenzie. McKenzie arrested for illegal bookmaking in 1970, 1978, and 1982. No convictions.

Phone number (02 824 7565) belongs to Thatch, a firm specialising in hair restoration.

Drinks during lunch.

Cash withdrawal unusual. Cash now used mainly for illegal purchase or those not wished to be recorded on monthly bank statements.

Whiskey purchased third case in six months. Drinking more heavily or increased entertaining.

Subject left work at approximately 4.00pm as whiskey purchased 2K from job at 4.20pm. Subject bought newspaper at 6.30pm near his house. No purchases in interim.

Unaccounted 2 hours, 20 minutes.

I could imagine the security authorities being very much in favour of this sort of monitoring if there was ever a large scale terrorist attack against a Western city eg. dirty bomb, refinery attack, missile attack at airport etc.

So as far as I’m concerned, the “mark of the beast” will be some sort of monitoring device, which will be required for any and all transactions. We now live in the global village, satellites can guide GPS to within a meter or so of our location, our accounts are hooked up to the web (as my psychiatrist pointed out, www apparently has some sort of correlation to 666 in Greek or Hebrew linguistic), our mobile phone calls are monitored at all times, and are easy to triangulate, air force officers sitting in California guide Predator strikes against Afghan tribesmen in the hills of the Hindu Kush, the Kurdish military can call in US planes from a carrier to strike an ISIS truck and towed artiillery somewhere in northern Iraq, a satellite can pick up a commercial aircraft being mistakenly hit by a separatist missile over the Crimea, chips are already implanted to identify pets and some medical patients …

I think the writer of revelation was giving more than just a hint of local events in his own time.

I second this recommendation. It is an excellent, well-researched book.

I kind of explained what you said in my thread. That even though Revelation was meant for 1st century Christians, Christians in the future can still look to Revelation as a source of hope for times of trial.

Don’t get to much into the Evangelical Protestant world. Some of what you said is a form of dispensationalism, which the church does not agree with. The author of John uses 666 as the numerical name for Emperor Nero. He uses Nero as a symbol for the Roman empire and it’s corruption. That is because during the time the author lived in, Nero had been the most evil emperor ever. He would be great to use as a symbol for the empire and it’s corruption.

I’m not too much into the evangelical protestant world, although I came from a Protestant background.

These are my thoughts based on what I see around me, some comments by a wise old pastor (who was not very much into “last days” stuff), modern technology, etc.

But like I said, Revelation is not there just to encourage a bunch of Christians who all died nearly 2000 years ago.

It’s probably worth bearing in mind that Revelation was almost left out of the Bible because even the people compiling the Bible couldn’t completely agree on what Revelation was supposed to mean.

There were a few other books which had the same doubtful pedigree at various times.

From “The Catholic Bible Study Handbook” by J. Kodell -

“Disputes continued about whether the New Testament should include the books of Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, and Revelation. On the other hand, some books no longer in the canon were considered inspired at different times. These were 1 and 2 Clement, the Didache, and the Shepherd of Hermas. It was not until the fourth century that the New Testament canon was finally fixed.”

So by the time the canon was “fixed”, the events of Revelation were already well and truly over, if they merely refer to the persecution of Nero. What would be the point of that? And if there were questions raised about Revelation, it would not have been on account of the historical persecution under Nero, which was a known fact, but the apocalyptic nature of the writing.

I think it has a message for all Christians of all time. But I also think it does have some bearing on modern times in particular.

:thumbsup: Here is an audio introductory by Scott Hahn for anyone interested —> youtube.com/watch?v=E6kghYDZ2aQ&hd=1

Living the Mass as the Revelation of Jesus Christ/the Marriage Supper of the Lamb/the Apocalypse of Saint John is changing my life Amazingly! Mass is definitely the most beautiful event…How wonderful life is, now God is in the world!!!

Well, do not subscribe to dispensationalism… the church does not agree with that.

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