[quote=ppcpilot]I wonder what the term ‘near’ means in the biblical sense? Was reading 1 Peter last night, and he says that the end is near…some other letters allude to that, too, that the end of time is near…this was 2000 years ago…
Either that, or what does ‘end of the world’ mean? If it was the end of Jerusalem, then everything has come to pass. We shouldn’t even base our view of the end times on Revelation. I guess it will be like Boom! uh oh…
Do you think that there will be an Anti-Christ, and mark of the beast, and whore of babylon?
When attempting to understand what is written in apocalyptic literature you do need to have some idea of the genre of literature as well as the historical times.
Yes, the prophecy of Jesus, and of Daniel came to pass when Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans. HOWEVER…
There is always an element of Scripture that relates in some way to the future. At this point in time we need to do remember that Jesus told us “You will not know the day or the hour when I will return”. There is nothing in the Scripture to substantiate any form of guess work as to when the End Times to end all End Times will be upon us.
Therefore, we do need to put Scripture into its historical perspective before getting caught up in what might or might not happen in the future. You ask several questions regarding the Antichrist, the Whore of Babylon and the mark of the Beast.
Well, I think that one can define the Antichrist in the following way:
"Children, these are the last days;
you were told that an Antichrist must come,
and now several antichrists have already appeared…
The man who denies that Jesus is the Christ -
he is the liar,
He is the Antichrist;
and he is denying the Father as well as the Son,
because no one who has the Father can deny the Son,
and to acknowledge the Son is to have the Father as well. " (1 John 2: 18-23)
The true Antichrist is Satan. He alone is the man of sin. However, there continue to be antichrists and last century we saw several of these antichrists make their appearance. They are the ones who cultivate the culture of death. It would not be hard to pinpoint two very likely suspects as fitting the description given by St. John through the ages: Mohammed and Joseph Smith. In both cases they denied that Jesus is the Son of God. There are many others that do the same. The fact is, if you try very hard you will come up with dozens of names and examples of antichrist. I, for example would nominate those who support atheism as antichrist, because atheism is a system that denies both Father Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As such I would have to nominate Marx, Lenin, Stalin and all who have helped to spread Communism throughout the world, because the Communists attempted to wipe out Christianity and belief in God.
Now what about the Mark of the Beast? Well, again I think that you have to work of the historical perspective first. Yet on the Spiritual level I would have to guess that the mark of the Beast is best explained as the mark of sin. Anything else, especially the talk of barcodes or microchips being inserted is an attempt to take people away from worship of God.
That leaves one more point - the whore of Babylon. Again the starting point is the historical setting. Babylon is the codeword for Rome. It was understood by the early Christians as a reference to pagan Rome because the behaviour of the pagan Romans was a reminder of the behaviour of the Babylonians when the Jews were in exile in Babylon. At the same time the Christians were in exile because the Jews in Jerusalem (prior to the fall) had persecuted the Christians and they had to flee. Again this is just the starting point for understanding and at least putting the Book of Revelation into its historical setting. Then as you shift into the future there are certainly other parallels that can be drawn until you reach our own time.
The possibility that Jerusalem is the Whore of Babylon referred to by John is not beyond acceptance. The Jews had attempted to keep the Romans on side whilst attempting to continue to persecute the Christians, and then the Romans turned on the Jews in A.D. 70. The Whore of Babylon is one who sells herself out to others. Is this happening today? I think that there is ample world wide evidence to pin point a sell out to the culture of death.
Does that mean that we are in the mother of all End Times? No. Yet the possibility of being in an end time as we know it is very real. However, look again at what John wrote for his own time:
“Children, these are the last days”…
What did he mean? I think that he was indeed referring to events that were happening around him, including the sacking of Jerusalem, but perhaps something else as well.
The point is, we should follow what Jesus said to us… “Be prepared” and “Stay awake”.