Finally! How To Understand the Symbols of Revelation

First let me apologize for being absent from the blog for three days.   As you probably know, the South got nailed with a storm on Wednesday evening.   Among other nasty things, it knocked my power out – and I was powerless, so to say, until yesterday (Friday) afternoon.   This wasn’t a *complete* disaster:  I had virtually nothing to do but sit in front of my fireplace and read books, and I read an *unconscionable* amount – more than I’ve read ...

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The Book of Revelation as an Apocalypse

I can now give a brief description of how the book of Revelation functions as an apocalypse – that is, how the features of the genre, that I’ve already mentioned, work themselves out in the narrative of the book.  Again, this is taken from my textbook on the New Testament.

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In general terms, Revelation corresponds to the basic description of apocalypses that I have given.  It is a first-hand account written by a prophet who has been shown a ...

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The Book of Revelation in Historical Context

I resume here my thread on the book of Revelation, trying to situate it in its historical context.   This will not be a long thread, in no small measure because I am not an expert on this very complicated book and have not written extensively about it.  I’ve thought that maybe it would be a good trade book at some point, in which case I would spend a year or so reading everything.   And then I would have lots of ...

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The Book of Revelation and the Apocalypse Genre

I’m devoting a thread to the book of Revelation and its interpretation.  This began by my raising the issue of what 666 stands for, which led me to say a few things about the symbolism of the book, which occasioned several comments from readers wanting to know what my broader take is on how to interpret it.

Yesterday I began to stress the importance of knowing what an “apocalypse” is before trying to interpret any one particular apocalypse.   Today I pursue ...

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Apocalypticism and Apocalypses

In the just finished thread I discussed the number of the Beast, 666, in the context of the book of Revelation and its broader symbolism.  In response, several readers asked me to say some more about Revelation (which by the ways does NOT have an “s” on the end!!  That’s one of my pet pieves.  It’s not the book of Revelations but the book of Revelation).  So I think I’ll do two or three posts on it.  It is the ...

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666: The Number of the Beast

This post will be the culmination of my thread that deals with ancient numerology, especially as it is based on the fact that ancient languages used letters of the alphabets for their numbers, making it possible to add up the numerical equivalent of any word.   In this post I will explain how that relates to one of the great mysteries of the Bible, the identification of the Antichrist in the book of Revelation, whose number was 666.

Yesterday’s post was meant ...

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Symbolism in the Book of Revelation

I will soon conclude this thread dealing with the ancient use of letters of the alphabet for numerals by discussing the most famous instance of them all, the “number of the beast” in the Book of Revelation:  666.  What is this number referring to?

I’ve decided that to make sense of this intriguing number, I need first to say a brief word about how the symbolism of the book works more generally.  My students usually think of the book of Revelation ...

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Futuristic Interpretations of the Book of Revelation

My apologies for being “absent” from the blog for a few days. As I pointed out in my last posting, I’m in lovely Chantilly VA just now, doing a series of lectures for the Teaching Company. The schedule is a real killer and I have virtually no time on my hands.

In any event, right before I came, my textbook on the Bible was finally completed and sent off to the publisher to be entered into production. As it turns out, ...

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