… a beast rises out of the sea … thoughts on the apocalypse …

…i think that most people on the planet would agree that these are strange and unusual days we are living in. so far, in this year alone, over 100,000 people worldwide have been killed in ongoing wars. And the probability for more and greater wars is immense… Korea and Iran come to mind, not to mention Syria…

…here in the United States, Congress has started their impeachment inquiry and the vitriol being spewed from both sides of the aisle is distressing and causes a lot more stress and anxiety for the average American than either side will acknowledge, not to mention that neither side seems to care about the average man or woman…

…all over the globe there is a rise in nationalism and the groups that just a few years ago were considered far right-wing, now seem to be mainstream if not in the majority in many nations-USA, Australia, UK, Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Greece, and many others have seen tremendous rises in this mindset, and it seems that almost every nation is currently in a state of turmoil…

“And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” – Jesus

Luke 21:25–26

…and then there’s the weather…i live in Richmond, VA where we haven’t had rain since the end of August, and yesterday and today are record breaking heat days while, at the same time, the governor of Montana declared a state of emergency because of the record smashing 3′ of snow in his state, that fell one week after the official end of summer…

…there was this headline on the Weather Channel – “Extreme Fall Start Marked by Unusual Heat, Snow and Cold Records in the United States.” they say that over 100 cities in the US broke heat records yesterday alone…

…and so in many, many different Facebook and Twitter feeds, people are talking about “The Apocalypse” and “The Rapture.”

…i will get into “The Rapture” a little later, but my main purpose for this post, is to discuss “The Apocalypse”

Apocalypse comes from the Greek word ἀποκάλυψις (apokalypsis) meaning “making fully known, revelation, disclosure.”³ it’s interesting to me that the English word apocalypse has a completely different definition…

apocalypse /əˈpɒkəlɪps/
■ noun
1 an event involving destruction or damage on a catastrophic scale.
2 (the Apocalypse) the complete final destruction of the world, as described in the biblical book of Revelation.
▶ (especially in the Vulgate Bible) the book of Revelation.
—ORIGIN Old English, via Old French and ecclesiastical Latin from Greek apokalupsis, from apokaluptein ‘uncover, reveal’.

Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
Disaster Apocalypse Danger War Apocalyptic

…now, you can see an obvious difference between “making something known, revelation, disclosure,” and “an event involving destruction or damage on a catastrophic scale,” but i believe that is why so many people completely misunderstand the last book in the Bible, the book called The Revelation of Jesus Christ...

…i consider myself very fortunate to have a digital library of over 6,000 titles, including more than 20 different commentaries on the book of Revelation alone, and i can unequivocally tell you that there is NO consensus on what the book is about and how it is to be interpreted…

…some of the more popular interpretations include:

  • preterist: about the author’s own social world
  • church-historical: a prophetic survey of the history of the world
  • futurist: the future of the world yet to come
  • historist: associates biblical prophecies with actual historical events and identifies symbolic beings with historical persons or societies

…now i am not here to tell you which one is “right,” i am looking at what others believe and how it explains a lot of their words and actions that seem to make no plausible sense at all. for instance, how can people who self-identify as “Christian” support taking away babies from their mothers at the US border? how can they push for the so-called right to have more guns and weapons that cause extreme damage to people created in the image of God? how can they go on tv, radio,and print media and say some of the most vile things, while continuing to maintain their “christian” appearance?…

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

2 Timothy 3:1–5

…and so we need to look at the belief systems that can cause people who claim to follow the teachings of the Man called Christ to go against everything that is recorded that he taught…

Literal or Allegorical and Figurative?

…when looking at the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the first thing we need to figure out is, is the book written literally or allegorically? in other words, can we read the Revelation and know exactly what is to happen? or is it prophetic and figurative?

Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God.

Revelation 13:1

…in this verse, Revelation tells us that “a beast” rises out of the sea. if we believe in a literal Revelation, then we should expect a Godzilla type figure to come up out of the sea (not an ocean, but one of the seas)…

Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon.

Revelation 13:11

…so now we have two beasts – or Godzilla type figures – one from the sea, and one from the earth. unlike the Godzilla movies, these beasts do not fight each other (see Godzilla vs. Mothra), but instead work together. in fact, it says “He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.” Revelation 13:12

…so the two beasts work together, the second making “all the earth and its people” worship the first beast. and let’s not forget this: “Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born.” Revelation 12:3–4

…so, if we believe it is literal, we must expect a dragon and two beasts (Godzilla types) to run around the world causing chaos…

The beast was allowed to speak arrogant and insulting things. It was given authority to act for 42 months.

Revelation 13:5

…i may be wrong, but i’m not expecting two Godzillas (maybe Godzilla AND Mothra) and a big fire-breathing dragon to show up. i think logic would dictate that these words are, in fact, allegorical and figurative…

…but there are many in the ‘church’ who do not consider these things to be literal, but do consider at least most of Revelation to be literal. i just read an article from someone who argues that because there are specific numbers mentioned in Revelation, it must be literal. logic leads me to believe that author is in error…

One World Government and Religion

One of the beast’s heads looked like it had a fatal wound, but its fatal wound was healed. All the people of the world were amazed and followed the beast.

Revelation 13:3

…there are many who believe that Revelation 13:1-8 tells us about a ‘One World Government’ while Revelation 13:11-14 and Revelation 13:16-18 is about the antichrist’s global domination of money…

…i truly believe most people don’t believe in a literal beast or a literal dragon. in fact, it would be hard to find anyone in the church who doesn’t believe that ‘the dragon’ is symbolic for ‘the devil/Satan.’ but many of those people believe in a literal interpretation of this passage. they expect that “all people of the world” will follow the beast. if we agree that ‘the dragon’ is symbolic for the devil, then how can we say that the first half of Revelation 13:3 is figurative and the second half is literal?

…does ‘all’ mean ‘all’? “And all who live on earth will worship the beast—all the people since the beginning of the world whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life. The Lamb is the One who was killed.” (Revelation 13:8) well, this verse tells us that ‘all’ doesn’t include the people “whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” so, in a word, no, all in context of an allegorical book of prophecy, does not necessarily mean all. this is especially true when another verse five lines later, says otherwise…

Mark of the Beast

The second beast also forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on their right hand or on their forehead. No one could buy or sell without this mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.

Revelation 13:16–17

…this passage is a biggie in the church. ‘the mark of the beast’ has been discussed for at least my entire lifetime, and i have heard many different ideas on this one. i have heard it said that the UPC codes are the mark, or an implant is the mark, or some form of tattoo or stick-on is the mark…

…when i was in high school, i joined a Bible study group that showed us a series of movies about the ‘end times’ called A Thief in the Night series. these movies showed an interpretation of Revelation that reflects the pre-tribulation belief about the rapture, the tribulation, and the second coming of Christ. there have also been a number of movies called The Mark of The Beast (1997, 1998, 2012 at least)…

…in all of the above movies that have been watched by millions and millions of people, they teach a literal interpretation of the last half of these verses, but a figurative interpretation of the first half of the first sentence. in it’s review of the 1997 edition, dove.org states:

“The mark of the beast is one of the clearest prophecies of the Bible. It simply says that in the last days no man or woman will be able to buy or sell anything unless they are willing to receive “the mark” on their right hand or forehead.”

Dove.org

…so, there you have it. in all of the above movies the rapture takes place and all the ‘good Christians’ disappear, and then all the bad Christians and everyone else are faced with having to receive a literal mark on their forehead or hands…

…the major problem with this belief is that you have to take some verses literally and others figuratively in order to ‘get it right.’ who decides what is literal and what is figurative? will a Godzilla type beast force people to get ‘the mark’ or will it be a red fire-breathing dragon that does it? i haven’t found anyone who believes that an actual beast or dragon will do it. there seems to be a general consensus that ‘the beast’ refers to ‘the antichrist’ – although there is no consensus on whether the antichrist is an actual person or group/organization or something else altogether…

…the televangelist John Hagee has made millions of dollars selling his books about the rapture/tribulation/mark of the beast, and on his website under Prophecy for Tomorrow there is an article that says:

“All of this to say…in the immediate future, some of you are going to hear words that will determine the destiny of your immortal soul. “We interrupt this broadcast to announce that the Church of Jesus Christ has been raptured from the earth.”

Reports will pour into the news centers from every major city in America and across the world. Grave stones will be toppled over. Funeral homes from every region will report that those who were dead have resurrected and suddenly disappeared. Cars will be parked beside freeways, their engines left running, their passengers mysteriously missing. Airplanes will fall from the sky as pilots who are Believers are called home.

The news centers report that churches around the world are flooded with people who are sobbing uncontrollably. They know. They have missed the rapture.

Those who remain will be faced with the coming antiChrist who will force them to receive his mark in their right hand or forehead. The Bible says this will cause them to lose their eternal soul. Refusing to take the mark of the beast will be rewarded with decapitation.”

HageeMinistries
Rapture

(the Rapture) North American (according to some millenarian teaching) the transporting of believers to heaven at the second coming of Christ.

Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

… as to “The Rapture,” the word “rapture” is not in the Bible at all. in the Latin translation of the Greek New Testament, they used the word rapiemur from the Latin verb rapio meaning “to seize and carry off, snatch, tear, pluck, drag, hurry away¹ to translate the original ἁρπαγησόμεθα (harpagisometha), from the Greek verb harpazō (ἁρπάζω), meaning “to make off w. someone’s property by attacking or seizing, steal, carry off, drag away; to grab or seize suddenly so as to remove or gain control, snatch/take away.”²

Deinde nos, qui vivimus, qui relinquimur, simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Christo in aëra, et sic semper cum Domino erimus.

1 Thessalonians 4:17, Clementine Vulgate

… and among those waiting for a literal rapture to take place, there is no concensus of when it will happen …

By Lamorak – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6710032

The locusts looked like horses ready for war. They had gold crowns, human faces, women’s hair, the teeth of lions, and iron breastplates. The sound of their wings was the sound of horse-drawn chariots charging into battle. Their tails were equipped with stings, like scorpion tails. With those tails they were ordered to torture the human race for five months.

Revelation 9:7–10

… do the people who believe in a literal mark on their right hand or forehead also believe that literal locusts will come out of ‘the bottomeless pit’ with scorpion tails, etc? most do not…

Scofield’s Reference Bible ®

… so where did all these ideas about Revelation come from and how did so much of the church come to believe in a theology that takes a book and decides that some verses are literal and others are figurative?

… in my studies, i can only find a few examples of anyone in church history that believed this way, up until 1909 with the first publication of the Scofield Reference Bible ®…

“It was largely through the influence of Scofield’s notes that dispensationalism grew in influence among fundamentalist Christians in the United States. Scofield’s notes on the Book of Revelation are a major source for the various timetables, judgments, and plagues elaborated on by popular religious writers such as Hal Lindsey, Edgar C. Whisenant, and Tim LaHaye; and in part because of the success of the Scofield Reference Bible, twentieth-century American fundamentalists placed greater stress on eschatological speculation. Opponents of biblical fundamentalism have criticized the Scofield Bible for its air of total authority in biblical interpretation, for what they consider its glossing over of biblical contradictions, and for its focus on eschatology.”

Wikipedia

… the first edition of the Scofield Reverence Bible was published a few years before World War I. one of the components of Scofield’s notes was the belief in the establishment of a new nation of Israel. Scofield, almost exclusively, is the reason for what we call Christian Zionism and support for the modern nation that took the name of Israel.

“Since it was first published in 1909, the Scofield Reference Bible has made uncompromising Zionists out of tens of millions of Americans. When John Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), said that “50 million evangelical bible-believing Christians unite with five million American Jews standing together on behalf of Israel,” it was the Scofield Bible that he was talking about.”

The Scofield Bible—The Book That Made Zionists of America’s Evangelical Christians

… there were over 2,000,000 copies sold before the end of World War II alone. since then, 10’s of millions of copies have been sold, in numerous editions and translations in at least 7 different languages. Scofield’s study notes have been put in hundreds of seminaries and thousands upon thousands of pastors, teachers, and other church leaders have embraced his theology …

“The modern teaching of a secret rapture of the church, a seven-year tribulation, and a literal thousand-year reign of Christ on earth are not found in the Bible. More and more scholars have begun to doubt the validity of this teaching and have done research to uncover the facts. Their search has led them to libraries in England to the Plymouth Brethren, John N. Darby, Edward Irving, and to a fifteen-year-old orphan, Margaret MacDonald. Several Jesuit priests were also involved as well as Cyrus I. Scofield.

To date, this is the information that has come down to us. The first recorded history of a heretic writing and preaching the idea of a one thousand year reign of Christ on this earth was Cerinthus. He was contemporary in time and place with the Apostle John and was his enemy. The historian Eusebius wrote about him in his book Ecclesiastical History, A.D. 324.

The Protestants were calling the papacy the antichrist in the 16th century because of the millions of Protestant Christians being martyred. Hoping to take the heat off the Catholics, the Jesuit priests formulated doctrines calculated to counter the Reformation.”

ORIGIN OF SCOFIELD HERESIES, Emma Moore Weston

… it is primarily from Scofield that so many churches believe in:

  • a revived Roman Empire (kingdom of the beast),
  • a pre-trib rapture, and
  • Zionism – modern Israel and the Third Temple

… his teaching that the Pope is the antichrist and that the Catholic Church, vis-à-vis Rome, is Babylon, is deeply embedded in the minds of many Christians. because Scofield taught these theories as fact, many cannot see it any other way…

“Revelation 18:2 Babylon, “confusion,” is repeatedly used by the prophets in a symbolic sense (see Isa. 13:1, note). Two “Babylons” are to be distinguished in the Revelation: ecclesiastical Babylon, which is apostate Christendom, headed up under the Papacy; and political Babylon, which is the Beast’s confederated empire, the last form of Gentile world-dominion. Ecclesiastical Babylon is “the great whore” (Rev. 17:1), and is destroyed by political Babylon (Rev. 17:15–18), that the beast may be the alone object of worship (2 Thes. 2:3, 4; Rev. 13:15). The power of political Babylon is destroyed by the return of the Lord in glory. (See “Armageddon,” Rev. 16:14; 19:17.) The notion of a literal Babylon to be rebuilt on the site of ancient Babylon is in conflict with Isa. 13:19–22. But the language of Rev. 18. (e.g. vs. 10, 16, 18) seems beyond question to identify “Babylon,” the “city” of luxury and traffic, with “Babylon” the ecclesiastical centre, viz. Rome. The very kings who hate ecclesiastical Babylon deplore the destruction of commercial Babylon.”

C. I. Scofield, ed., The Scofield Reference Bible: The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments (New York; London; Toronto; Melbourne; Bombay: Oxford University Press, 1917), 1346–1347.

… and so today, many will ONLY see Babylon as a revived Roman Empire and will ONLY see the antichrist figure in the Papacy of the Roman Catholic Church. they mostly believe that in order for Revelation to complete its course, there MUST be a rebuilt third temple in Jerusalem- the temple in which the antichrist will proclaim himself to be God.

You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you?

1 Corinthians 3:16

… conclusions …

… when we take a prophetic and allegorical book like The Revelation of Jesus Christ and decide that we KNOW exactly what will happen, our hearts become hard or unrepentant and when we KNOW something without a doubt, we lose the ability to change our minds. i personally think that much of this has to do with what i call The Cult of Repentance.

… again, i’m not trying to tell you what to believe, just trying to figure out how so many who say that they are Christians, who say they believe in the Bible and follow the teachings of the Man called Christ, could so openly support so many things that the Bible clearly teaches are evil. it causes me to join with Paul and say:

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if ye receive a different spirit, which ye did not receive, or a different gospel, which ye did not accept, ye do well to bear with him.

2 Corinthians 11:3–4

¹ Charlton T. Lewis, An Elementary Latin Dictionary (Medford, MA: American Book Company, 1890). (return)

² William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 134. (return)

³ William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 112. (return)

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Author: orland

.. i was born into an average family in the mid-west of the United States of America. my parents were divorced when i was young. ... i have been fortunate to have experienced many things that only the rich get to see. i once stayed in the Presidential Suite of the Lai Lai Sheraton Hotel, in Taipei, Taiwan. this suite composed the top two floors of the Lai Lai, where my private room overlooked the city of Taipai. ... and i have spent time in the Federal Prison System of this country as well. ... i had a construction company on the road to 'success and prosperity' and fell pray to the lures of the American Christianity Syndrome. but thank the good LORD, He allowed it all to crash around me. ... now i am quite happy to be poor, relying only on Him ....

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