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1185Re: [revelation-list] Hermas and the Tribulation Beast

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  • George F Somsel
    Jan 16, 2011
      Now you are indeed engaging in allegorical interpretation.  I find no
      justification for that.  Hermas has little or nothing to do with Revelation. 
      The source of the Beast in Revelation lies in Daniel.  As is usually the case,
      our author does not simply adopt the OT or apocalyptic figures but transforms
      them to fit his own scheme.  The four beasts of Daniel 7 have been compressed
      into one Beast with 7 heads to fit with the mimicry of the divine by the unholy
      trinity.  Each head indicates a separate manifestation of a power that arrays
      itself against God.  One has been slain and yet lives.  This is a reference to
      the Roman Empire which had gone through a period of near collapse with 3
      emperors who ruled only most briefly.  It was, however, revived.  Many attempt
      to refer that to Nero, but though Nero may have sat for the portrait it does not
      represent Nero.  Neither does the Beast represent Rome.  It rather represents
      all of the realms which have arrogated themselves against God from the beginning
      of time.


      … search for truth, hear truth,
      learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
      defend the truth till death.

      - Jan Hus

      From: e_s_c_h_a_t_o_n <rocsy@...>
      To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sun, January 16, 2011 3:17:40 PM
      Subject: [revelation-list] Hermas and the Tribulation Beast

      Rev 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of
      the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred
      threescore and six.

      17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven
      mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

      In the previous message I put forward the idea that the type of wisdom needed to
      identify the beast was biblical and Greek rather than historical, literal and
      what was conventional Jewish interpretation. I based that on Paul's remarks that
      Greeks sought wisdom (1 Cor 1:22), and wisdom was not about earthly rulers (1
      Cor 2:6). The basic idea is found in Romans where the Law might be understood as
      the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Rom 7:5), and Christ as the tree of life
      (Rom 5:17, 21). The seven heads actually represent the new creation in Christ (2
      Cor 2:17) and the ten horns represent the Law as symbolised by the decalogue. In
      other words the beast represents the deception brought on by an apparent
      conflict between law and grace, or legalism and antinomianism.

      The idea is that prophetic, wisdom teaching was hard to understand (1 Cor 3:2,
      Heb 5:12-13). In its absence the error of Jewish teaching stepped in (Barnabas

      Historical, literal teaching about the beasts in Daniel and Revelation is
      conspicuous by its absence in the New Testament and among the earliest church
      fathers until Clement of Alexandria, who admits to being influenced by Josephus.

      The Pastor of Hermas was written before 130 CE, and has a tribulation beast.
      What would be a more perfect case to examine, and look for evidence of one
      interpretation or the other?

      The Pastor of Hermas
      Book First - Visions
      Book Second - Commandments
      Book Third - Similtudes

      >>...And while I was glorifying Him and giving Him thanks, a voice, as it were,
      >>answered me, "Doubt not, Hermas;" and I began to think with myself, and to say,
      >>"What reason have I to doubt—I who have been established by the Lord, and who
      >>have seen such glorious sights?" I advanced a little, brethren, and, lo! I see
      >>dust rising even to the heavens. I began to say to myself, "Are cattle
      >>approaching and raising the dust?" It was about a furlong's distance from me.
      >>And, lo! I see the dust rising more and more, so that I imagined that it was
      >>something sent from God. But the sun now shone out a little, and, lo! I see a
      >>mighty beast like a whale [Rev 13:1], and out of its mouth fiery locusts [Rev.

      But the size of that beast was about a hundred feet, and it had a
      head like an urn. [Rev. 11:7, 12:2-4, 17:8] I began to
      weep, and to call on the Lord to rescue me from it. Then I
      remembered the word which I had heard, Doubt not, O Hermas.
      Clothed, therefore, my brethren, with faith in the Lord and
      remembering the great things which He had taught me, I boldly
      faced the beast. Now that beast came on with such noise and
      force, that it could itself have destroyed a city. I came near it, and
      the monstrous beast stretched itself out on the ground, and
      showed nothing but its tongue, and did not stir at all until I had
      passed by it. Now the beast had four colours on its head, black,
      then fiery and bloody, then golden, and lastly white. [Rev 6]-
      Hermas, Book First, Fourth Vision, Chap I

      I asked her about the four colours which the beast had on his head. And she
      answered, and said to me, "Again you are inquisitive in regard to such matters."
      "Yea, Lady," said I, "make known to me what they are." "Listen," said she: "the
      black is the world in which we dwell: but the fiery and bloody points out that
      the world must perish through blood and fire: but the golden part are you who
      have escaped from this world. For as gold is tested by fire, and thus becomes
      useful, so are you tested who dwell in it. [1 Cor 3:12-14, 1 Pe 1:7]Those,
      therefore, who continue stedfast, and are put through the fire, will be purified
      by means of it. For as gold casts away its dross, so also will ye cast away all
      sadness and straitness, and will be made pure so as to fit into the building of
      the tower. But the white part is the age that is to come, in which the elect of
      God will dwell, since those elected by God to eternal life will be spotless and
      pure[Rev 3:4-5, 3:18, 6:11, 7:13, 19:8 ]. Wherefore cease not speaking these
      things into the ears of the saints. This then is the type of the great
      tribulation [Mat 24:21, Rev 2:22, 7:14]that is to come. If ye wish it, it will
      be nothing. Remember those things which were written down before." And saying
      this, she departed. But I saw not into what place she retired. There was a
      noise, however, and I turned round in alarm, thinking that that beast was
      coming. Hermas, Book First, Fourth Vision, Chap III <<

      Hermas comes upon a beast that has some similarities to the beasts in
      Revelation. He is told not to doubt, and then is given an introduction to the
      commandments and similtudes. Similitudes are parables or allegories. One
      difference between Hermas' beast and those in Revelation is that it has only one
      head. Perhaps the horns and heads are the commandments like the ten horns in
      Revealtion, and similtudes (spiritual understanding) like the creation week (new
      creation in Christ) of seven heads. There is a problem though. Hermas receives
      twelve commandments and ten similtudes. My solution is simple. We need the seven
      and ten to recognize creation (new), and the decalogue. In Hermas we are
      directly told they are commandments and similtudes, like the parables Jesus gave
      spiritual teachings with.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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