A Bit of Fun with 666!

As I hope you know, I try to keep my personal politics out of the blog.  I also hope I succeed, but some of you may think not…  But I do try.    It’s not that I do not have strong political convictions.  On the contrary, I am passionately political and will go to the mat for my views.   BUT, I want the blog to be open and welcoming to all people, whatever their political views (or religious views or any ...

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Who Wrote the Book of Revelation?

I’ve been asked about who wrote the book of Revelation.  Here are some musings on it, the first part taken from my textbook on the New Testament.

Even though the book of Revelation was finally included in the New Testament canon because Christian leaders came to think it had been written by Jesus’ disciple, John the son of Zebedee, there were outspoken dissenters against its inclusion. Perhaps the most famous was Dionysius, a bishop of the city of Alexandria (Egypt) in ...

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The Lake of Fire in Revelation

OK, you’ve waited a while for me finally to get to the Lake of Fire in the book of Revelation.  But just think of it as the Final Judgment: you know it’s coming soon, but you don’t know when.

Here is what I think about it (both the final judgment and the lake of fire) (clarification: this is not what *I* think of these things; this is what I think *Revelation* is saying about these things).  As previously indicated, I do ...

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The Afterlife in Revelation

 

The first reference to the afterlife in Revelation occurs in ch. 6, with the breaking of the fifth seal (6:9-11).   Nothing happens on earth, but the prophet sees the souls of those who had been “slaughtered for the word of God” and the “witness they gave” under an altar in heaven, as they cry out to God: “How long before you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on earth?”   An altar, of course, is the point of ...

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More on the Symbolism of Revelation

Two questions I often get asked about the book of Revelation (including from readers of the blog) are whether the symbolism is meant to keep Roman authorities from understanding what was in the book in order to protect the author from persecution and whether the events that it describes may be coded references to what will happen in our own future.   Here is what I say about each subject in my textbook discussion on the book.

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Apocalypses as Underground ...

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More Symbolism in Revelation: 666, The Number of “The Beast”

In order to explain my views of the “Lake of Fire” in the book of Revelation – the destination for everyone who is not a believer in Jesus – I have started to point out that much of the book is to be taken symbolically, not literally (as the author himself suggests).  My eventual point is that the author is not giving a literal description of how most people who have ever lived will spend eternity swimming in a lake ...

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Symbolism in Revelation: The Whore of Babylon

The point of this mini-thread is to argue that the author of the book of Revelation does not describe a “hell” that people will be sent to in order to be tortured for all eternity – even though he is often read that way.   My argument is that page after page of the book is filled with highly symbolic visions, and realizing this is a fairly obvious key to interpreting the book.

For the next couple of posts I’ll try to ...

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Overview of the Book of Revelation

I’d like to devote a few more posts to my book on the Afterlife.  I don’t want to steal my own thunder and give away *everything* I will be talking about in the book here on the blog.   But I am interested to getting reactions to some of my more important and controversial claims about the Bible.  One thing I’ll be arguing is that the idea of hell-fire, taken chiefly from the book of Revelation, is frequently misunderstood.  In my ...

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Did Peter Use a Secretary for his Writings? A Blast from the Past

Looking through some posts of blogs-past I came across this interesting one from six years ago now!   I think it’s an intriguing question, and the answer is not what most people would probably think.

 

QUESTION:

What do you make of the author’s reference to a Silvanus in 1 Peter 5:12? Could it be that this really is Peter saying he used a secretary to write this letter? I know you said there is little to no evidence that people used secretaries, ...

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Why Does Luke Appear to Contradict Himself?

A question has come from a reader, based on my recent post dealing with the apparent contradiction between Luke and Acts on the timing of Jesus’ ascension.   Do contradictions often result from authors editing several documents together and inserting them side by side in their work?  If different source documents have different views, that would create contradictions in the final product which embodies their amalgamation, no?  Here’s the question.

 

QUESTION:

I continue to be struck by how often Bible authors, since there ...

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