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Re: [revelation-list] Simon J. Kistemaker and the early church on Nero

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  • Charles Larkin
    Dear Troy: The early church may have considered Nero to be a beast as he initiated the first imperial persecution of the Christians following the Great Fire
    Message 1 of 47 , Nov 29, 2007
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      Dear Troy:

      The early church may have considered Nero to be "a beast"
      as he initiated the first imperial persecution of the
      Christians
      following the Great Fire at Rome in AD 64. Quite hideous
      tortures and deaths, according to Tacitus, (Annals, Book
      XV:44).

      But as Nero perished in AD 68 and the Book of Revelation
      was not written until (at least) some 20 to 30 years
      later, it is not likely
      Nero was intended as "The Beast."

      Assuming that Nero (or any other Roman emperor for that
      matter) was "The Beast"
      puts the Christian believer in the awkward position of
      trying to defend the truth
      of the "prophecy" in the face of the obvious fact that
      Christ did not return in those days
      and no battle between The Beast and The Lamb transpired.
      If one insists on Nero
      (or Domitian, for instance) then either one's theory is
      wrong or the prophecy is false. Not good choices.

      A better supposition would be that the use of sixes and
      sevens
      in Revelation builds (as so
      much else there) on OT themes, especially the six days of
      creation and the great seventh "day
      of the Lord."

      According to Archbishop Ussher's classic
      "Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti" (1658)
      the chronology of scripture suggests that some 4000 years
      passed between the Creation and
      the appearance of Christ. Counting "one day for the Lord
      as one thousand years for mankind"
      (Ps 90 and II Peter) this would make for "four days" in
      the history of salvation. A bit of allegory, as it were.

      The ensuing 2,000 years since Christ, according to
      Ussher's calculation, would make for a total
      of six days of salvation history, with the year 2001 (or
      thereabouts) marking the dawning of
      the "seventh day" since Creation and/or the "third day"
      since Christ who promised to "rise up" -- or "come back"
      on the third day.

      The identification of the Resurrection with the Parousia
      can be found throughout the Christian
      tradition, most recently in 20th century scholars from
      Schweitzer through
      Schillebeeks. The schema of 6,000 years of history before
      the Second Coming
      is deeply embedded in the Christian tradition, reaching
      back to the Epistle of Barnabas
      (which some, if not many, Christians regarded as
      "inspired") as well as in the writings
      of the 4th century apologist Lactantius, etc.

      Rater than poking around ancient Roman ruins in search of
      a candidate for
      "The Beast," if one accepts Revelation as a authentic
      prophecy, it seems
      safer to look about the world today for a seven-headed
      Beast (probably
      an oppressive system tied to global finance and NOT an
      individual).

      Many scholars, of course, approach Revelation as simply a
      curious genre of ancient
      literature (apocalyptic) and treat it with the same
      critical reserve as other non-inspired ancient works.
      That's a personal choice.

      By the way, the best translation in English of the passage
      on
      the "666" is that by Monsignor Ronald Knox. His rendering
      is as acute
      and subtle as the original Greek -- and also suggests a
      millennial expectation.

      Hope this helps provide context -- and hold on to that
      parachute!

      Charles Larkin
      Deparment of Philosophy and Religion
      Saint Leo University -- Savannah Center (USA)



      On Sun, 18 Nov 2007 00:21:46 -0000
      "neroad70" <DeltaDiplomacy@...> wrote:
      > Hi folks, sorry to just parachute in here, but I try to
      >stay on the
      > sidelines, like a third string quarterback holding the
      >clipboard, as I
      > need to learn before I talk (at least my wife thinks
      >so).
      >
      > Anyway, Kistemaker makes the analysis that the
      >identification of Nero
      > and 666, is not based on early church fathers but rather
      >comes from
      > nineteenth-century scholars,
      > "W.G.Baines, The Number of the Beast in Revelation
      >13:18," Heythjourn
      > 16 1975.
      >
      > So my question is, why then do many people say that the
      >early church
      > or part of it anyway, felt that Nero was indeed the
      >Beast?
      >
      > If you can give me any solid verifiable evidence to the
      >early church
      > holding that view or at least portions of the church
      >beleiving so, I
      > would much appreciate it and any further reading on the
      >specific topic.
      >
      > Thank you!
      >
      > Troy Yoppini
      >
    • Laszlo Hubbes
      Dear Dr. Ian R. Brown, I would full-heartedly suggest among many others Christopher Rowland s and Judith Kovacs s volume on Revelation in the Blackwell Bible
      Message 47 of 47 , Dec 10, 2007
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        Dear Dr. Ian R. Brown,

        I would full-heartedly suggest among many others

        Christopher Rowland's and Judith Kovacs's volume on Revelation in the
        Blackwell Bible Commentaries series. (Blackwell Publishing, 2004) - A
        brilliant multi-aspect and multi-level commentary on the Apocalypse, with an
        added emphasis on its reception history.

        Best regards,

        Hubbes Laszlo

        >


        --
        HUBBES L�szl�-Attila, PhD
        www.apokaliptikum.lap.hu

        librarian
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