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The early church and "666"

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  • KennethGentry@cs.com
    In a message dated 12/6/2007 11:24:27 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... This is certainly true, however we should note the following in this regard: (1) 666 must
    Message 1 of 10 , Dec 7, 2007
      In a message dated 12/6/2007 11:24:27 PM Eastern Standard Time,
      charles.larkin@... writes:


      > "Revelation" is the most frequently cited NT text in
      > Christian writings of the 2nd century but, to my
      > knowledge, none of these
      > postulate Nero of as being signified by 666.

      This is certainly true, however we should note the following in this regard:

      (1) 666 must have meant something when John wrote it, but as we can see by
      the time of Irenaeus the meaning was already lost. Ireneaus offers three
      suggestions. Thus, all this problem does is tell us the meaning was lost, not that
      the Nero meaning is erroneous.

      (2) The very nature of apocalyptic is such that it baffles and challenges the
      reader. John himself had to have an interpreting angel explain some of the
      matters in his own vision (e.g., Rev 7:13-14; 17:9-10). We should not be
      surprised that without John present and apart from an interpreting angel the meaning
      could have been lost. And this is especially so in light of my next
      observation.

      (3) It is the tendency of human nature and the evident temptation of the
      early church for one's own situation to serve as an interpretive lens. In light of
      the later Roman persecution of the church, the temptation to adapt Revelation
      to the church's own predicament would have been great. The church's
      circumstances and temptations could easily explain the arising of new interpretations
      for purposes of "relevance."

      We see this tendency even in the Historicist school of interpretation: this
      approach generally views Revelation's events as beginning to unfold in the
      first century and leading up to the interpreter's present time, almost invariably
      with the expectation that Revelation's climax is being reached.


      Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.M., Th.D.
      Director, GoodBirth Ministries
      <A HREF="www.goodbirthministries.com">GoodBirth Ministries</A>

      Owner, KennethGentry.Com
      <A HREF="www.KennethGentry.Com">KennethGentry.Com</A>
      "Serious Studies for Serious Christians"

      Revelation Commentary Project
      If you would like to give toward funding my research on
      Revelation please go to <A HREF="www.KennethGentry.Com">KennethGentry.Com</A> then click
      on "Revelation Commentary Project."
      </HTML>


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Charles Larkin
      Dear Listers: George Somsel has hit the nail on the head with his statement: What all of this leads to is the question regarding whether we are to consider
      Message 2 of 10 , Dec 7, 2007
        Dear Listers:

        George Somsel has hit the nail on the head
        with his statement:

        "What all of this leads to is the question regarding
        whether we are to consider the book to be something of a
        period piece mainly applicable to the time in which it was
        written or whether the author had some broader intention."

        This discussion leads one to conclude that
        the question(s) on the table are not merely academic (in
        the best sense) but also somewhat antiquarian in focus.

        Does everyone believe Revelation is a "period piece"
        relating to the epoch of Nero through Domitian, etc ?

        As has been argued before, such an assumption surely
        implies that Revelation is not a true prophecy since --
        unless we have all missed something -- Christ did not
        return in that period nor has he ever since!

        If Revelation is a true prophecy,
        on the other hand, then we must look to the present and
        future and resist the temptation of focusing on the
        antique past.

        My work as a philosopher compels me to view Revelation as
        a millennial metaphor pointing, with sharp mathematical
        precision, to the present age. The key to the timing is
        revealed in the 666.

        This is why it is crucial to pay heed to Helmut Koester's
        emphasis
        on the astrological elements in Revelation when he states:

        "Apocalyptic writings are full of numbers, symbols and
        cosmological images which ARE DERIVED FROM ASTROLOGY. When
        the Revelation of John (12:1ff) describes the woman who is
        dressed with the sun, stands on the moon, and is crowned
        with the twelve stars (the zodiac), it is evident that
        even Christianity could not escape the influence of
        astrological concepts in the description of mythological
        figures." [Intro to NT, vol i, p 362, emphasis added].

        There are numerous other astrological allusions in
        Revelation not mentioned by Koester.

        As scholars we are surely sophisticated enough to realize
        that although we in the 21st century may regard astrology
        as pure hocum, in the first century (and for several
        centuries before and after) not only the masses but also
        the educated elite (whether Stoic, Cynic, neo-Platonist,
        etc) regarded astrology as certain mathematical science --
        which is why Roman astrologers were called "mathematicii."

        As moderns we may reject astrology, as we have magic, but
        this must not blind us to the fact that astral thinking
        was deeply embedded in the Jewish
        tradition (Josephus and the zodiac mosaics found in
        ancient synagogues assure us of this,
        not to mention the OT itself) and that, for all the
        ancients of this period, astrology was the common system
        by which Jews, Greeks,
        Romans, Celts, Persians, etc. all calculated time.

        And TIME is the essence of Revelation.

        Dr. Gentry rightly points out that each generation of
        Christians has tended to apply the visions of Revelation
        to their own time, especially if it was a time of
        persecution, wars, famines, plagues, rumours of war, etc.

        Yet only in our present age have the
        environmental nightmares of Revelation come to pass: i.e.,
        a third of the waters turn to blood (i.e., become polluted
        and die), a third of the oceans turn to blood, a third of
        the sun's light is blocked out (associated to the
        greenhouse effect, scientists now call this "global
        dimming"), etc.

        Sober scientists evaluating the World Wildlife
        Federation's 2006 Global Report and the UN's recently
        released Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change's
        (IPCC) final report routinely use the term "apocalyptic"
        to describe the crisis facing the Earth.

        With the refreshing emergence of Creation Care as a
        urgent emphasis of Christian evangelicals, it seems
        timely to view John's Revelation through the lens of the
        present rather than the antique past.

        I wish to emphasize that I am in no way critical (in the
        negative sense) of the discussion thus far
        -- it is all quite valid in academic terms for those of us
        interested in dating, historical context, textual clues,
        etc.

        But one is eager for some comment in response to George
        Somsel's very pertinent question: "period piece" or
        something broader? Is Revelation a living prophecy or
        simply an intractable example of ancient apocalyptic?

        One trusts this question is not completely out of order.

        Charles G. Larkin
        Department of Philosophy and Religion
        Saint Leo University -- Savannah Center (USA)






        On Fri, 7 Dec 2007 07:27:07 EST
        KennethGentry@... wrote:
        > In a message dated 12/6/2007 11:24:27 PM Eastern
        >Standard Time,
        > charles.larkin@... writes:
        >
        >
        >> "Revelation" is the most frequently cited NT text in
        >> Christian writings of the 2nd century but, to my
        >> knowledge, none of these
        >> postulate Nero of as being signified by 666.
        >
        > This is certainly true, however we should note the
        >following in this regard:
        >
        > (1) 666 must have meant something when John wrote it,
        >but as we can see by
        > the time of Irenaeus the meaning was already lost.
        >Ireneaus offers three
        > suggestions. Thus, all this problem does is tell us the
        >meaning was lost, not that
        > the Nero meaning is erroneous.
        >
        > (2) The very nature of apocalyptic is such that it
        >baffles and challenges the
        > reader. John himself had to have an interpreting angel
        >explain some of the
        > matters in his own vision (e.g., Rev 7:13-14; 17:9-10).
        >We should not be
        > surprised that without John present and apart from an
        >interpreting angel the meaning
        > could have been lost. And this is especially so in light
        >of my next
        > observation.
        >
        > (3) It is the tendency of human nature and the evident
        >temptation of the
        > early church for one's own situation to serve as an
        >interpretive lens. In light of
        > the later Roman persecution of the church, the
        >temptation to adapt Revelation
        > to the church's own predicament would have been great.
        >The church's
        > circumstances and temptations could easily explain the
        >arising of new interpretations
        > for purposes of "relevance."
        >
        > We see this tendency even in the Historicist school of
        >interpretation: this
        > approach generally views Revelation's events as
        >beginning to unfold in the
        > first century and leading up to the interpreter's
        >present time, almost invariably
        > with the expectation that Revelation's climax is being
        >reached.
        >
        >
        > Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.M., Th.D.
        > Director, GoodBirth Ministries
        > <A HREF="www.goodbirthministries.com">GoodBirth
        >Ministries</A>
        >
        > Owner, KennethGentry.Com
        > <A HREF="www.KennethGentry.Com">KennethGentry.Com</A>
        > "Serious Studies for Serious Christians"
        >
        > Revelation Commentary Project
        > If you would like to give toward funding my research
        >on
        > Revelation please go to <A
        >HREF="www.KennethGentry.Com">KennethGentry.Com</A> then
        >click on "Revelation Commentary Project."
        > </HTML>
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • ottoerlend
        Hi, I am referring to message # 927. According to Kenneth Gentry, Rev 17:8a ( The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to ascend from the
        Message 3 of 10 , Dec 10, 2007
          Hi,

          I am referring to message # 927.

          According to Kenneth Gentry, Rev 17:8a ("The beast that you saw was,
          and is not, and is about to ascend from the bottomless pit
          [...]") "does not demand that he [= the 'beast king', OEN - cf. Rev
          13:18] is already dead when John writes". As support, he has
          presented the following reasoning:

          << [...] the angelic statement in 17:8b-9 is not providing a new
          chronological insight into the beast's activity and therefore
          demanding a later date for John's writing. Rather the statement is a
          descriptor reminding John (and his readers) of the beast's overall
          history and significance to the storyline which had already been
          established in Rev 13, irrespective of the beast's current condition.
          >>

          I have a hard time accepting this argument. Does this logic also
          apply to Rev 17:9:10-11? If I have understood Gentry correctly, his
          argument for a Neronic date is based on an identification of the
          sixth king with Nero.

          In my opinion,

          [Rev 17:8] "The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to
          ascend from the bottomless pit and go to destruction" (NRSV)

          is parallel to

          [Rev 17:10-11] "of whom five have fallen, one is living, and the
          other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain for only a
          little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth
          but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction" (NRSV)

          ...which would indicate that the beast in Rev 13:18 (understood as a
          single emperor) cannot be equated with the sixth king in Rev
          17. He is one of the (first) five kings and, at the same time, a king
          # 8).

          Am I the only one having problems with Gentry's argument?


          Best regards

          Otto E. Nordgreen
          Oslo, Norway
        • George F Somsel
          This is, of course based upon the myth of Nero Redivivus which was common for some time after Nero. While our author makes use of the myth, I do not think
          Message 4 of 10 , Dec 10, 2007
            This is, of course based upon the myth of Nero Redivivus which was common for some time after Nero. While our author makes use of the myth, I do not think that he thereby intends to assert that the figure is Nero. There are considerable problems with the series including uncertainty as to precisely who is to be considered the first emperor if this is to be taken as referencing the Roman emperors.

            george
            gfsomsel

            Therefore, O faithful Christian, search for truth, hear truth,
            learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
            defend the truth till death.

            - Jan Hus
            _________



            ----- Original Message ----
            From: ottoerlend <ottoerlend@...>
            To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Monday, December 10, 2007 9:35:26 AM
            Subject: [revelation-list] Re: The early church and "666"

            Hi,

            I am referring to message # 927.

            According to Kenneth Gentry, Rev 17:8a ("The beast that you saw was,
            and is not, and is about to ascend from the bottomless pit
            [...]") "does not demand that he [= the 'beast king', OEN - cf. Rev
            13:18] is already dead when John writes". As support, he has
            presented the following reasoning:

            << [...] the angelic statement in 17:8b-9 is not providing a new
            chronological insight into the beast's activity and therefore
            demanding a later date for John's writing. Rather the statement is a
            descriptor reminding John (and his readers) of the beast's overall
            history and significance to the storyline which had already been
            established in Rev 13, irrespective of the beast's current condition.
            >>

            I have a hard time accepting this argument. Does this logic also
            apply to Rev 17:9:10-11? If I have understood Gentry correctly, his
            argument for a Neronic date is based on an identification of the
            sixth king with Nero.

            In my opinion,

            [Rev 17:8] "The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to
            ascend from the bottomless pit and go to destruction" (NRSV)

            is parallel to

            [Rev 17:10-11] "of whom five have fallen, one is living, and the
            other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain for only a
            little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth
            but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction" (NRSV)

            ...which would indicate that the beast in Rev 13:18 (understood as a
            single emperor) cannot be equated with the sixth king in Rev
            17. He is one of the (first) five kings and, at the same time, a king
            # 8).

            Am I the only one having problems with Gentry's argument?

            Best regards

            Otto E. Nordgreen
            Oslo, Norway.



            ____________________________________________________________________________________
            Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your home page.
            http://www.yahoo.com/r/hs

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • KennethGentry@cs.com
            The problem Otto is having with my argument is apparently due to his not accepting the fluid nature of the beast image in Revelation. Virtually every
            Message 5 of 10 , Dec 10, 2007
              The problem Otto is having with my argument is apparently due to his not
              accepting the fluid nature of the "beast" image in Revelation. Virtually every
              commentator that I have read agrees that the concept of the "beast" shifts
              between the specific (a particular king) and the generic (the king's empire).

              See commentaries by: Moses Stuart 2:277; Philip Desprez 264-65; Charles,
              1:349; E. W. Hengstenberg 2:10-11; I. T. Beckwith 695; BBC 12:331; Philip Mauro,
              402; Martin Kiddle, 346, 348; G. R. Beasley-Murray, 206; Brady 1983:292n; J. R.
              Michaels, 157, 199. Even dispensationalists agree: R. L. Thomas Rev 8-22,
              158; J. F. Walvoord, 199-200; C./ C. Ryrie, 82.

              In my view (the view of many commentators) this shifting imagery moves
              between a Roman emperor and the Roman empire. My argument in Rev 17 involves this
              realization.

              Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.M., Th.D.
              Director, GoodBirth Ministries
              <A HREF="www.goodbirthministries.com">GoodBirth Ministries</A>

              Owner, KennethGentry.Com
              <A HREF="www.KennethGentry.Com">KennethGentry.Com</A>
              "Serious Studies for Serious Christians"

              Revelation Commentary Project
              If you would like to give toward funding my research on
              Revelation please go to <A HREF="www.KennethGentry.Com">KennethGentry.Com</A> then click
              on "Revelation Commentary Project."
              </HTML>


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • ottoerlend
              Dear Kenneth L. Gentry, You wrote:
              Message 6 of 10 , Dec 10, 2007
                Dear Kenneth L. Gentry,

                You wrote:

                << The problem Otto is having with my argument is apparently due to
                his not accepting the fluid nature of the "beast" image in Revelation.
                Virtually every commentator that I have read agrees that the concept
                of the "beast" shifts between the specific (a particular king) and the
                generic (the king's empire). >>

                Like you, I think that the beast imagery has a dual focus: (a) the
                Roman Empire as such a n d a particular emperor. I am, however, not
                able to see how you can argue that Rev 17:8a does not indicate that
                the beast (if understood as Nero; cf. Rev 13:18) is already dead: "The
                Beast that you saw was, and is not [...]"). It seems to me that Rev
                17:8 is parallel to Rev 17:10f. Thus, the beast "that (...) is not"
                (Rev 17:8) cannot be the same as the "one living" (Rev 17:10); he has
                to be one of the five kings already fallen. I F your argument that
                Rev 17:8 does not demand that Nero is already dead, is correct, why
                should we conclude that Rev 17:10 "recount this vision in a strict
                chronological sequence" (contra Koester, "End of All Things, p. 162),
                indicating that John wrote during the time of emperor # 6?


                Best regards

                Otto E. Nordgreen
                Oslo, Norway
              • George F Somsel
                In the rush to interpret the heads of the Beast as Roman emperors, has anyone ever considered the image in Dan 2.31-35? 31 אַנְתְּה
                Message 7 of 10 , Dec 10, 2007
                  In the rush to interpret the heads of the Beast as Roman emperors, has anyone ever considered the image in Dan 2.31-35?


                  31 אַנְתְּה מַלְכָּא חָזֵה הֲוַיְתָ וַאֲלוּ צְלֵם חַד שַׂגִּיא צַלְמָא דִּכֵּן רַב וְזִיוֵהּ יַתִּיר קָאֵם לְקָבְלָךְ וְרֵוֵהּ דְּחִיל׃
                  32 הוּא צַלְמָא רֵאשֵׁהּ דִּי־דְהַב טָב חֲדוֹהִי וּדְרָעוֹהִי דִּי כְסַף מְעוֹהִי וְיַרְכָתֵהּ דִּי נְחָשׁ׃
                  33 שָׁקוֹהִי דִּי פַרְזֶל רַגְלוֹהִי מִנְּהֵון דִּי פַרְזֶל וּמִנְּהֵון דִּי חֲסַף׃
                  34 חָזֵה הֲוַיְתָ עַד דִּי הִתְגְּזֶרֶת אֶבֶן דִּי־לָא בִידַיִן וּמְחָת לְצַלְמָא עַל־רַגְלוֹהִי דִּי פַרְזְלָא וְחַסְפָּא וְהַדֵּקֶת הִמּוֹן׃
                  35 בֵּאדַיִן דָּקוּ כַחֲדָה פַּרְזְלָא חַסְפָּא נְחָשָׁא כַּסְפָּא וְדַהֲבָא וַהֲווֹ כְּעוּר מִן־אִדְּרֵי־קַיִט וּנְשָׂא הִמּוֹן רוּחָא וְכָל־אֲתַר לָא־הִשְׁתֲּכַח לְהוֹן וְאַבְנָא׀ דִּי־מְחָת לְצַלְמָ֗א הֲוָת לְטוּר רַב וּמְלָת כָּל־אַרְעָא׃

                  Here we have five distinct kingdoms represented corresponding to Re 17.10a οἱ πέντε ἔπεσαν. Then we have (Re 17.10b) ὁ εἷς ἔστιν which is Rome. He then envisions ὁ ἄλλος οὔπω ἦλθεν, καὶ ὅταν ἔλθῃ ὀλίγον αὐτὸν δεῖ μεῖναι. Thus the author has picked up Daniel's vision and expanded it.


                  george
                  gfsomsel

                  Therefore, O faithful Christian, search for truth, hear truth,
                  learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
                  defend the truth till death.

                  - Jan Hus
                  _________



                  ----- Original Message ----
                  From: ottoerlend <ottoerlend@...>
                  To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Monday, December 10, 2007 12:33:49 PM
                  Subject: [revelation-list] Re: The early church and "666"

                  Dear Kenneth L. Gentry,

                  You wrote:

                  << The problem Otto is having with my argument is apparently due to
                  his not accepting the fluid nature of the "beast" image in Revelation.
                  Virtually every commentator that I have read agrees that the concept
                  of the "beast" shifts between the specific (a particular king) and the
                  generic (the king's empire). >>

                  Like you, I think that the beast imagery has a dual focus: (a) the
                  Roman Empire as such a n d a particular emperor. I am, however, not
                  able to see how you can argue that Rev 17:8a does not indicate that
                  the beast (if understood as Nero; cf. Rev 13:18) is already dead: "The
                  Beast that you saw was, and is not [...]"). It seems to me that Rev
                  17:8 is parallel to Rev 17:10f. Thus, the beast "that (...) is not"
                  (Rev 17:8) cannot be the same as the "one living" (Rev 17:10); he has
                  to be one of the five kings already fallen. I F your argument that
                  Rev 17:8 does not demand that Nero is already dead, is correct, why
                  should we conclude that Rev 17:10 "recount this vision in a strict
                  chronological sequence" (contra Koester, "End of All Things, p. 162),
                  indicating that John wrote during the time of emperor # 6?

                  Best regards

                  Otto E. Nordgreen
                  Oslo, Norway





                  ____________________________________________________________________________________
                  Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your home page.
                  http://www.yahoo.com/r/hs

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • KennethGentry@cs.com
                  In a message dated 12/10/2007 12:34:08 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... Otto: My problem in communicating my view is that it requires more space and time than I
                  Message 8 of 10 , Dec 10, 2007
                    In a message dated 12/10/2007 12:34:08 PM Eastern Standard Time,
                    ottoerlend@... writes:


                    > Like you, I think that the beast imagery has a dual focus: (a) the
                    > Roman Empire as such a n d a particular emperor. I am, however, not
                    > able to see how you can argue that Rev 17:8a does not indicate that
                    > the beast (if understood as Nero; cf. Rev 13:18) is already dead: "The
                    > Beast that you saw was, and is not [...]"). It seems to me that Rev
                    > 17:8 is parallel to Rev 17:10f. Thus, the beast "that (...) is not"
                    > (Rev 17:8) cannot be the same as the "one living" (Rev 17:10); he has
                    > to be one of the five kings already fallen. I F your argument that
                    > Rev 17:8 does not demand that Nero is already dead, is correct, why
                    > should we conclude that Rev 17:10 "recount this vision in a strict
                    > chronological sequence" (contra Koester, "End of All Things, p. 162),
                    > indicating that John wrote during the time of emperor # 6?
                    >

                    Otto:

                    My problem in communicating my view is that it requires more space and time
                    than I have available. I am dealing with this at length in my commentary
                    research. But I will try to piece it together briefly so that you can (hopefully)
                    see something of what I am saying. My earlier inclination to not get engaged in
                    the discussion (due to me time burdens) is coming back to haunt me! :)

                    The beast seen in Rev 17:8, 11 is the generic empire, not the specific
                    emperor. I argue this because:

                    (1) The verse speaks of "the beast that you saw" which (according to Rev
                    17:3) was the full seven headed beast not the individual emperor.

                    (2) The full seven headed beast (the Roman empire) underwent death throes in
                    the Year of the Four Emperors during the Roman Civil Wars, which looked to all
                    the world like the empire was over. As Tacitus puts it: "This was the
                    condition of the Roman state when Servius Galba, chosen consul for the second time,
                    and his colleague Titus Vinius entered upon the year that was to be for Galba
                    his last and for the state almost the end [ad fin]" (Hist. 1:11). Seneca
                    laments that "the world itself is being shaken to pieces" (Nat. 6:1). I do not hold
                    to the Nero redivivus interpretation of the passage; rather I see John
                    refering to the Roman Civil Wars of AD 68-69.

                    (3) The beast (the full seven headed beast) is himself "an eighth" (note the
                    lack of the definite article before "eighth"). The lack of the definite
                    article sets this statement apart from "the five," "the one," and "the seventh" of
                    17:10. The number eight is the number of resurrection (Beale, Revelation, 875;
                    Farrer 70-72; EBC 12:560). Jesus was resurrected on the first (eighth) day of
                    the week; eight people were saved on the ark (1Pe 3:20) to "resurrect" the
                    human race. The beast as a whole seven-headed beast was resurrected in the
                    arrival of Vespasian to assume imperial rule. This "eighth" imagery makes this
                    shortened version of the "was/is not/ is to come" (17:8a, d) have the "is to come"
                    feature, though in a different form (it is a resurrected one, an eighth).

                    (4) The recurring reference to the beast as "was, is not, is" does not speak
                    of his already having died in history as John writes, but of the prophecy of
                    his coming death and return in the near future. This phraseology is a reminder
                    of the prophecy already given in Rev 13:3. John has a tendency of picking up
                    on some defining characteristic of a person and repeating it, as with the "Lamb
                    that was slain" (even though he is no longer dead). The phrase "was/not/is to
                    come" is simply designating the resilient character of the corporate beast in
                    the prophecy, not the current circumstance of the corporate beast.

                    I regret that due to time pressures I can't develop all of my argumentation.
                    I should have just remained silent and read the other folks' discussions. I am
                    enjoying the discussions, however.

                    Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.M., Th.D.
                    Director, GoodBirth Ministries
                    <A HREF="www.goodbirthministries.com">GoodBirth Ministries</A>

                    Owner, KennethGentry.Com
                    <A HREF="www.KennethGentry.Com">KennethGentry.Com</A>
                    "Serious Studies for Serious Christians"

                    Revelation Commentary Project
                    If you would like to give toward funding my research on
                    Revelation please go to <A HREF="www.KennethGentry.Com">KennethGentry.Com</A> then click
                    on "Revelation Commentary Project."
                    </HTML>


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Ian R. Brown
                    To all, This is how I think the text has to be read and any interpretation about Roman emperors or otherwise ought to conform to the restrictions of the text.
                    Message 9 of 10 , Dec 10, 2007
                      To all,

                      This is how I think the text has to be read and any interpretation about
                      Roman emperors or otherwise ought to conform to the restrictions of the
                      text.

                      You have the sequence of seven kings:
                      *Five have fallen (past)
                      *One is (present)
                      *The other has not yet come (future)

                      As for the beast, one learns that
                      *Was (past)
                      *Is not (present)
                      *Will rise (future)
                      *Going to be destroyed (future)

                      And
                      *Was (past)
                      *Is not (present)
                      *An eighth (future)
                      <<That it is future is shown by the above sequence of seven and by
                      the need for a future appearance of the beast ("will rise"); one could put
                      the eighth before the five fallen, but then what lines up with the future
                      "will rise"?>>
                      *One of the seven (past -- of the five fallen)
                      <<This link is perhaps the most difficult, but it is the only one
                      that matches all the rest of the data; one cannot say it is the sixth,
                      because during the present the beast/king is not; one might suggest the
                      seventh future king, but then there is no accounting for the fact that the
                      beast/king was; therefore only by seeing the beast/king as synonymous in
                      some way with one of the five fallen kings can one have it be that the beast
                      was (past) and is not (present)>>
                      *Going to be destroyed (future)


                      Perhaps as Kenneth Gentry suggests, "was and is not (and will rise)" is
                      simply there to recall the beast and not as explanation per se.
                      Nevertheless, it lines up with what is apparently explanation, namely, the
                      beast is an eighth king and one of the seven and has a future destruction.
                      As an eighth king, the beast again clearly must be in the future. As one of
                      the seven, the beast must be in the past; otherwise, what sense is there in
                      saying that the beast "was" at some time.

                      Of course, I have not suggested at this point any specific definition of the
                      period of the "present" (the time of the sixth king, when the beast is not).
                      That is a much trickier issue. To me it would seem to point to the time of
                      John (supposedly) receiving the vision. Ah, but there is the rub. How do I
                      know when John (supposedly) had the vision? Even if we assume that it must
                      be close to the time of composition, we are still left with the conundrum of
                      trying to find out when the book was composed.

                      Ian R. Brown
                      Ph.D. in Religion Candidate
                      Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary



                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                      [mailto:revelation-list@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of ottoerlend
                      Sent: Monday, December 10, 2007 12:34 PM
                      To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: [revelation-list] Re: The early church and "666"

                      Dear Kenneth L. Gentry,

                      You wrote:

                      << The problem Otto is having with my argument is apparently due to
                      his not accepting the fluid nature of the "beast" image in Revelation.
                      Virtually every commentator that I have read agrees that the concept
                      of the "beast" shifts between the specific (a particular king) and the
                      generic (the king's empire). >>

                      Like you, I think that the beast imagery has a dual focus: (a) the
                      Roman Empire as such a n d a particular emperor. I am, however, not
                      able to see how you can argue that Rev 17:8a does not indicate that
                      the beast (if understood as Nero; cf. Rev 13:18) is already dead: "The
                      Beast that you saw was, and is not [...]"). It seems to me that Rev
                      17:8 is parallel to Rev 17:10f. Thus, the beast "that (...) is not"
                      (Rev 17:8) cannot be the same as the "one living" (Rev 17:10); he has
                      to be one of the five kings already fallen. I F your argument that
                      Rev 17:8 does not demand that Nero is already dead, is correct, why
                      should we conclude that Rev 17:10 "recount this vision in a strict
                      chronological sequence" (contra Koester, "End of All Things, p. 162),
                      indicating that John wrote during the time of emperor # 6?


                      Best regards

                      Otto E. Nordgreen
                      Oslo, Norway




                      Yahoo! Groups Links
                    • drjenney2
                      My own reconstruction places the writing of the Apocalypse after the death of Nero [the fifth ] and during the reign of the sixth [Galba?], waiting for
                      Message 10 of 10 , Dec 10, 2007
                        My own reconstruction places the writing of the Apocalypse after the
                        death of Nero [the "fifth"] and during the reign of the "sixth"
                        [Galba?], waiting for Vespasian [the "seventh"] to arrive in Rome.
                        Currently, Vespasian has lifted the seige on Jerusalem and left Titus
                        in charge, while he makes his way back to Rome with enough soldiers to
                        demonstrate his proper claim to the throne. The "eighth" is Nero
                        "resurrected," who is also one of the five that have fallen. The
                        author expects his immanent return [to the throne] and the final
                        battle with the Messiah [now long resurrected].

                        666 refers not only to Nero and "the beast," but to the solution of
                        the three seven-fold liturgical rites: the author finds himself living
                        at the time of the sixth seal, sixth vial and sixth trumpet = 666 the
                        age of man, when human society is ruled by beast(s).

                        I should add that standard exegetical technique for apocalyptic
                        eschatology is that the vision becomes longer and more detailed as the
                        author approaches his present. Note that the sixth of each of the
                        seven-fold series is clearly the longest. The sixth of each is also
                        separated from the seventh by non-liturgical materials [ranging in
                        size from several chapters to a single verse].

                        Dr. Timothy P. Jenney
                        Adjunct, Regent University & Asbury Theological Seminary
                        Moderator


                        --- In revelation-list@yahoogroups.com, "Ian R. Brown" <irbrown@...>
                        wrote:
                        >
                        > To all,
                        >
                        > This is how I think the text has to be read and any interpretation about
                        > Roman emperors or otherwise ought to conform to the restrictions of the
                        > text.
                        >
                        > You have the sequence of seven kings:
                        > *Five have fallen (past)
                        > *One is (present)
                        > *The other has not yet come (future)
                        >
                        > As for the beast, one learns that
                        > *Was (past)
                        > *Is not (present)
                        > *Will rise (future)
                        > *Going to be destroyed (future)
                        >
                        > And
                        > *Was (past)
                        > *Is not (present)
                        > *An eighth (future)
                        > <<That it is future is shown by the above sequence of seven and by
                        > the need for a future appearance of the beast ("will rise"); one
                        could put
                        > the eighth before the five fallen, but then what lines up with the
                        future
                        > "will rise"?>>
                        > *One of the seven (past -- of the five fallen)
                        > <<This link is perhaps the most difficult, but it is the only one
                        > that matches all the rest of the data; one cannot say it is the sixth,
                        > because during the present the beast/king is not; one might suggest the
                        > seventh future king, but then there is no accounting for the fact
                        that the
                        > beast/king was; therefore only by seeing the beast/king as synonymous in
                        > some way with one of the five fallen kings can one have it be that
                        the beast
                        > was (past) and is not (present)>>
                        > *Going to be destroyed (future)
                        >
                        >
                        > Perhaps as Kenneth Gentry suggests, "was and is not (and will rise)" is
                        > simply there to recall the beast and not as explanation per se.
                        > Nevertheless, it lines up with what is apparently explanation,
                        namely, the
                        > beast is an eighth king and one of the seven and has a future
                        destruction.
                        > As an eighth king, the beast again clearly must be in the future.
                        As one of
                        > the seven, the beast must be in the past; otherwise, what sense is
                        there in
                        > saying that the beast "was" at some time.
                        >
                        > Of course, I have not suggested at this point any specific
                        definition of the
                        > period of the "present" (the time of the sixth king, when the beast
                        is not).
                        > That is a much trickier issue. To me it would seem to point to the
                        time of
                        > John (supposedly) receiving the vision. Ah, but there is the rub.
                        How do I
                        > know when John (supposedly) had the vision? Even if we assume that
                        it must
                        > be close to the time of composition, we are still left with the
                        conundrum of
                        > trying to find out when the book was composed.
                        >
                        > Ian R. Brown
                        > Ph.D. in Religion Candidate
                        > Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > -----Original Message-----
                        > From: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                        > [mailto:revelation-list@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of ottoerlend
                        > Sent: Monday, December 10, 2007 12:34 PM
                        > To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                        > Subject: [revelation-list] Re: The early church and "666"
                        >
                        > Dear Kenneth L. Gentry,
                        >
                        > You wrote:
                        >
                        > << The problem Otto is having with my argument is apparently due to
                        > his not accepting the fluid nature of the "beast" image in Revelation.
                        > Virtually every commentator that I have read agrees that the concept
                        > of the "beast" shifts between the specific (a particular king) and the
                        > generic (the king's empire). >>
                        >
                        > Like you, I think that the beast imagery has a dual focus: (a) the
                        > Roman Empire as such a n d a particular emperor. I am, however, not
                        > able to see how you can argue that Rev 17:8a does not indicate that
                        > the beast (if understood as Nero; cf. Rev 13:18) is already dead: "The
                        > Beast that you saw was, and is not [...]"). It seems to me that Rev
                        > 17:8 is parallel to Rev 17:10f. Thus, the beast "that (...) is not"
                        > (Rev 17:8) cannot be the same as the "one living" (Rev 17:10); he has
                        > to be one of the five kings already fallen. I F your argument that
                        > Rev 17:8 does not demand that Nero is already dead, is correct, why
                        > should we conclude that Rev 17:10 "recount this vision in a strict
                        > chronological sequence" (contra Koester, "End of All Things, p. 162),
                        > indicating that John wrote during the time of emperor # 6?
                        >
                        >
                        > Best regards
                        >
                        > Otto E. Nordgreen
                        > Oslo, Norway
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >
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