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4 big myths of Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation has terrified and confused readers for centuries. Few agree on its meaning, but many have opinions.
March 31st, 2012
10:00 PM ET

4 big myths of Book of Revelation

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) – The anti-Christ. The Battle of Armageddon. The dreaded Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

You don’t have to be a student of religion to recognize references from the Book of Revelation. The last book in the Bible has fascinated readers for centuries. People who don’t even follow religion are nonetheless familiar with figures and images from Revelation.

And why not? No other New Testament book reads like Revelation. The book virtually drips with blood and reeks of sulfur. At the center of this final battle between good and evil is an action-hero-like Jesus, who is in no mood to turn the other cheek.

Elaine Pagels, one of the world’s leading biblical scholars, first read Revelation as a teenager. She read it again in writing her latest book, “Revelations: Visions, Prophecy & Politics in the Book of Revelation.”

Pagels’ book is built around a simple question: What does Revelation mean? Her answers may disturb people who see the book as a prophecy about the end of the world.

But people have clashed over the meaning of Revelation ever since it was virtually forced into the New Testament canon over the protests of some early church leaders, Pagels says.

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“There were always debates about it,” she says. “Some people said a heretic wrote it. Some said a disciple. There were always people who loved and championed it.”

The debate persists. Pagels adds to it by challenging some of the common assumptions about Revelation.

Here are what she says are four big myths about Revelation::

1. It’s about the end of the world

Anyone who has read the popular “Left Behind” novels or listened to pastors preaching about the “rapture” might see Revelation as a blow-by-blow preview of how the world will end.

Pagels, however, says the writer of Revelation was actually describing the way his own world ended.

She says the writer of Revelation may have been called John – the book is sometimes called “Book of the Revelation of Saint John the Divine” but he was not the disciple who accompanied Jesus. He was a devout Jew and mystic exiled on the island of Patmos, off the coast of  present-day Greece.

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“He would have been a very simple man in his clothes and dress,” Pagels says. “He may have gone from church to church preaching his message. He seems more like a traveling preacher or a prophet.”

The author of Revelation had experienced a catastrophe. He wrote his book not long after 60,000 Roman soldiers had stormed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., burned down its great temple and left the city in ruins after putting down an armed Jewish revolt.

For some of the earliest Jewish followers of Jesus, the destruction of Jerusalem was incomprehensible. They had expected Jesus to return “with power” and conquer Rome before inaugurating a new age. But Rome had conquered Jesus’ homeland instead.

The author of Revelation was trying to encourage the followers of Jesus at a time when their world seemed doomed. Think of the Winston Churchill radio broadcasts delivered to the British during the darkest days of World War II.

Revelation was an anti-Roman tract and a piece of war propaganda wrapped in one. The message: God would return and destroy the Romans who had destroyed Jerusalem.

“His primary target is Rome,” Pagels says of the book’s author. “He really is deeply angry and grieved at the Jewish war and what happened to his people.”

2. The numerals 666 stand for the devil

The 1976 horror film “The Omen” scared a lot of folks. It may have scared some theologians, too, who began encountering people whose view of Revelation comes from a Hollywood movie.

The Omen” depicted the birth and rise of the “anti-Christ,” the cunning son of Satan who would be known by “the mark of the beast,” 666, on his body.

Here’s the passage from Revelation that “The Omen” alluded to: “This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred sixty-six.”

Good movies, though, don’t always make good theology. Most people think 666 stands for an anti-Christ-like figure that will deceive humanity and trigger a final battle between good and evil. Some people think he’s already here.

Pagels, however, says the writer of Revelation didn’t really intend 666 as the devil’s digits. He was describing another incarnation of evil: The Roman emperor, Nero.

The arrogant and demented Nero was particularly despised by the earliest followers of Jesus, including the writer of Revelation. Nero was said to have burned followers of Jesus alive to illuminate his garden.

But the author of Revelation couldn’t safely name Nero, so he used the Jewish numerology system to spell out Nero’s imperial name, Pagels says.

Pagels says that John may have had in mind other meanings for the mark of the beast: the imperial stamp Romans used on official documents, tattoos authorizing people to engage in Roman business, or the images of Roman emperors on stamps and coins.

Since Revelation’s author writes in “the language of dreams and nightmares,” Pagels says it’s easy for outsiders to misconstrue the book’s original meaning.

Still, they take heart from Revelation’s larger message, she writes:

“…Countless people for thousands of years have been able to see their own conflicts, fears, and hopes reflected in his prophecies. And because he speaks from his convictions about divine justice, many readers have found reassurance in his conviction that there is meaning in history – even when he does not say exactly what that meaning is – and that there is hope.”

3. The writer of Revelation was a Christian

The author of Revelation hated Rome, but he also scorned another group – a group of people we would call Christians today, Pagels says.

There’s a common perception that there was a golden age of Christianity, when most Christians agreed on an uncontaminated version of the faith. Yet there was never one agreed-upon Christianity. There were always clashing visions.

Revelation reflects some of those early clashes in the church, Pagels says.

That idea isn’t new territory for Pagels. She won the National Book Award for “The Gnostic Gospels,” a 1979 book that examined a cache of newly discovered “secret” gospels of Jesus. The book, along with other work from Pagels, argues that there were other accounts of Jesus’ life that were suppressed by early church leaders because it didn’t fit with their agenda.

The author of Revelation was like an activist crusading for traditional values. In his case, he was a devout Jew who saw Jesus as the messiah. But he didn’t like the message that the apostle Paul and other followers of Jesus were preaching.

This new message insisted that gentiles could become followers of Jesus without adopting the requirements of the Torah. It accepted women leaders, and intermarriage with gentiles, Pagels says.

The new message was a lot like what we call Christianity today.

That was too much for the author of Revelation. At one point, he calls a woman leader in an early church community a “Jezebel.” He calls one of those gentile-accepting churches a “synagogue of Satan.”

John was defending a form of Christianity that would be eclipsed by the Christians he attacked, Pagels says.

“What John of Patmos preached would have looked old-fashioned – and simply wrong to Paul’s converts…,” she writes.

The author of Revelation was a follower of Jesus, but he wasn’t what some people would call a Christian today, Pagels says.

“There’s no indication that he read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount or that he read the gospels or Paul’s letters,” she says. “….He doesn’t even say Jesus died for your sins.”

4. There is only one Book of Revelation

There’s no other book in the Bible quite like Revelation, but there are plenty of books like Revelation that didn’t make it into the Bible, Pagels says.

Early church leaders suppressed an “astonishing” range of books that claimed to be revelations from apostles such as Peter and James. Many of these books were read and treasured by Christians throughout the Roman Empire, she says.

There was even another “Secret Revelation of John.” In this one, Jesus wasn’t a divine warrior, but someone who first appeared to the apostle Paul as a blazing light, then as a child, an old man and, some scholars say, a woman.

So why did the revelation from John of Patmos make it into the Bible, but not the others?

Pagels traces that decision largely to Bishop Athanasius, a pugnacious church leader who championed Revelation about 360 years after the death of Jesus.

Athanasius was so fiery that during his 46 years as bishop he was deposed and exiled five times. He was primarily responsible for shaping the New Testament while excluding books he labeled as hearsay, Pagels says.

Many church leaders opposed including Revelation in the New Testament. Athanasius’s predecessor said the book was “unintelligible, irrational and false.”

Athanasius, though, saw Revelation as a useful political tool. He transformed it into an attack ad against Christians who questioned him.

Rome was no longer the enemy; those who questioned church authority were the anti-Christs in Athanasius’s reading of Revelation, Pagels says.

“Athanasius interprets Revelation’s cosmic war as a vivid picture of his own crusade against heretics and reads John’s visions as a sharp warning to Christian dissidents,” she writes. “God is about to divide the saved from the damned – which now means dividing the ‘orthodox’ from ‘heretics.’ ’’

Centuries later, Revelation still divides people. Pagels calls it the strangest and most controversial book in the Bible.

Even after writing a book about it, Pagels has hardly mastered its meaning.

“The book is the hardest one in the Bible to understand,” Pagels says. “I don’t think anyone completely understands it.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Books • Christianity • Church • Devil • End times • Faith • History • Jerusalem

soundoff (8,460 Responses)
  1. Uncle Screwtape

    Elaine,

    So glad you remembered: ...the safest road to Hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

    April 2, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • JC in the hot tub!

      C.S. Lewis.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Uncle Screwtape

      Yuppers, JC. Great book. The tricks are still the same....only repackaged...

      Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.....

      April 2, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  2. retkirnov

    Revelation:
    is open to opinion, this writer has an opinion and Elaine Pagels believes her opinion or interpretation to be true and correct; however our current world and events are disturbingly familiar to the book of Revelation, here have a look at another opinion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIVjn_mrJVU

    Antichrist:
    Again another opinion; who, what, when and why; are the conditions being set right now in the middle east for the final battle of Armageddon; here have a look at another opinion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_rMpRtlYCs
    and in the end it is up to you and only you to believe or not... You Decide.

    April 2, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • JC in the hot tub!

      People have been saying that Revelations was about their time since it was written. Care to make another end of the world prediction based on Revelations? Thousands before you have done it and been exposed as fools.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Uncle Screwtape

      It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • retkirnov

      @ JC... Exactly my point. People have been associating the book of Revelation to their present world events for hundreds of years. It is open to opinion; as you; me ; they all have opinions. My post was simply an opinion; not a prediction.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  3. Steve Unto Christ

    oh Lord Jesus... Thank You for Your precious blood and overcoming life. I pray that You would shine through and appear to all of us - To know that You are the true and only God; that You are our Savior; that many more would confess Jesus is Lord! Open up Your words to us so we know that You are the source of life, light, truth, love and, peace. Lord, bless the ones who love You and stand firm for Your church and Your golden lamp stand as your testimony. We pray this in Your Glorious Name!

    April 2, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • JC in the hot tub!

      Try using your, God given, ability to think for yourself some time.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Think

      Better yet Jesus, Bless those that don't love you and don't know you, as you did while you were here about your business. Stand firm for your creation, not just your church, for your creation is your church. For so many of those that call themselves "your church" you would say "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"- Matthew 7:23

      April 2, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  4. Lee

    Good article. Patmos is in modern day Greece however....

    April 2, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  5. Wilson

    John Blake and CNN understand very well or gays and lesbians! They have no clue of Bible, and much less of book of Revelation!. Shoot up!

    April 2, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  6. Chris

    I don't see how you can read the bible and say that the book of revalations is in "unequivocal agreement" with it or that there are "Multiple end-times discourses" by Jesus. It is preciscly because that is not the case that revalations was, and still is, a highly controversial book in the bible.

    April 2, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  7. mdrewanderson

    What is important about this article is how so many seem to read religious texts through their own personal filter of beliefs. At least this author attempts to analyze Revelation within the proper timeframe, context and facts surrounding its writing. More people would do well to open their minds and establish their personal belief system on reality, not on ignorance. Basing life's most important decisions on ideas taught to us as children from ancient books of fairy tales is, in my humble opinion, a recipe for uneccessary misery and the perpetuation of ignorance.

    April 2, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  8. Reality

    Why do so many Christians believe in the Book of Revelation? They suffer from the Three B Syndrome, i.e Bred, Born and Brainwashed in the semi-fiction, myths, legends and insanity of the NT especially Revelation.

    To wit:

    “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today

    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

    It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

    April 2, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    For everyone
    For the better
    Forever

    April 2, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Jesus H. Christ

      No, no dude with too long of a name,

      It's not about prayer. It's about using your brain. Focus on learning something new today that is in a field you know little about.

      Go in peace

      April 2, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Reality

      Some prayers do change things:

      Only for the Newcomers:

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.)

      April 2, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • tevii

      Hey "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"
      According to your Bible, its not great for other living things if christianity is true
      "Genesis 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
      Sounds like the other living things get screwed over.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  10. Johnny 5

    Fossils.

    April 2, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    If the Bible is the word of God, there would have been no debate as to which books to include or exclude. I don't think an omnipotent god would require an editor, but apparently people with an agenda/agendas do. I have just read somone complaining that, because the article was not written with a " conservative" viewpoint, its points are immediately invalid. Can anyone confirm if God is a Republican or a Democrat, and is it really relevant to the central question of whether or not Revelations has been grossly misinterpreted because of a lack of understanding about who wrote/compiled it? The answer is no.

    April 2, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • JC in the hot tub!

      Well said!

      April 2, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Jesus H. Christ

      You have a brain and use it well! May you be rewarded.

      April 2, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • tevii

      EXACTLY!

      April 2, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  12. Jesus H. Christ

    I never intended for my lectures to get this out of hand.

    April 2, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • guest

      My point exactly. You said it a much more concise manner. Thank you.

      April 2, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Jesus H. Christ

      All of my followers need a time out. They have become drunk with religion.

      April 2, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • William Demuth

      Its not your fault dude.

      If your mom hadn't boffed that centurion and had to lie to Joseph, you might have grown up more rational.

      Virgin Mom? Your childhood must have been creepy beyond words.

      April 2, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  13. Leslie Todd

    Was this Author really there on patmos island ?. did this person know John the revelater ? . Would you feel comfortable believing this author over JESUS ? That seems to be the only question on this issue .

    April 2, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Jesus H. Christ

      Well, the author is a real person while it is in question if Jesus was even a real person.

      April 2, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • momoya

      You weren't there for the flight at Kitty Hawk, yet you would state the event as a historical fact.. A person who studies ABOUT a book and researches its origins is more trustworthy than those who merely study the book itself..

      April 2, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • tevii

      Thats the problem with people living as if the Bible is the word of God. Jesus had NOTHING to do with it. It was written by PEOPLE.... It was edited by PEOPLE. Books were included or excluded depending on what the LEADERS at the time deemed relevant or beneficial to their government or agendas. Even if it ever did have anything to do with god, Its been re-edited and translated so much that it isnt what it began as.

      April 2, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Bob

      Uh, Leslie, the same can be said of people on both sides of the issue. Were you there? Now ask yourself how a fair god could reasonably expect anyone to not have reasonable doubts when the primary 'evidence' is an oft-edited book, translated and reworked dozens of times, with some pretty bizarre stories in it and apparently some major self-contradictions and inconsistencies. Faith is just silly, and can even lead to criminal behavior if you follow the guidance in the bible. For example,

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Not only that, but why does your god need a book to get his message out at all? Can't your god come up with something more suitable for modern times, like a blog or website written by himself?

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      April 2, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Think

      No, I wouldn't believe this author over Jesus. But Jesus didn't come back and tell you what the book of Revelations means any more then John told her. Were YOU there on the island of Patmos with John? Of course not. This is certainly her opinion, studied or otherwise. She never claims to have been on the island of Patmos discussing anything with John. You on the other hand imply that Jesus talks to you about this all the time so you should listen to him, and we should too. I'm sure Jesus does speak to you, to your heart, but you still have to interpret what he may be saying vs. what is just the ramblings of a human intellect. Trust me, most of it is your intellect.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Dan

      You would make an excellent Moon Landing Denier.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  14. guest

    I stopped reading the posts at the 2nd page back. I am not a theologian but I do know that in history, from the time of Jesus, the most likely reason for bloody wars is whatever stand take on Jesus. I'm thinking that was just not the intended point to the project. I don't think it is the intended point to the project of whatever deity you speak to.

    April 2, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  15. JC in the hot tub!

    Isn't it ironic that most people who consider themselves Christian know little about Christ and even less about the origins of the Bible?

    April 2, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • richunix

      You see it at work: The religious nuts are calling CNN the work of the Devil and this article is “proof” that the devil is at work trying to corrupt the believers. Nice what next Elvis didn’t die?

      April 2, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • haha

      Yes the creator of this vast universe has an evil nemesis that he fights over for the ghosts of pink monkeys. Yep that makes a whole lot of sense.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  16. Ed Smith

    Aside from a few reasonable observations, this is obviously one woman's opinion based on pretty much nothing other than her own feelings. In certain "fields of study," this kind of thing is considered scholarship. In sociology, for example, there are typically two major schools of "thought" in a university department. Both are so convinced of their own opinions that one side persecutes the other. If you find yourself in the minority opinion, you tenure is doubtful. It is much closer to religion or politics than to science. I often think we should get rid of everything outside the College of Arts and Sciences at this university and ditch a few departments within us.

    April 2, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • JC in the hot tub!

      Wow, did you even bother to read the article. Or did you just look at the picture?

      April 2, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  17. Jesus H. Christ

    DEAR GOD!

    strike me down and prove you exist.

    -Dr. Suess

    PS,
    my books are more fun.

    April 2, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • haha

      And have better moral teachings.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  18. Jim

    This discussion can go on and on and will not be resolved. In the end what each of us accepts to beleive is our own. I am a Christian. I beleive what I beleive. Others will not. Some may change their minds, others not. Both sides of this discussion will see the other as, as one poster has put it, "delusional". Well, we are human and can be swayed by things that are not true. It is only in the evnetual coming of Jesus or not that we will ultimately know the truth. In the meantime we all seek truth and understandning to our lives. In doing so, we come to the truths that we accept as valid. No one can ultimaely prove one way or the other with hard evidence what the future holds, it is by faith that we beleive, including those that do not beleive in God, for the future is what we beleive it to be, not what we know it to be.

    April 2, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Root post by Jim contains a form of the flawed argument known as Pascal's Wager.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      April 2, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Jim

      Fallacy Spotting 101 – Just read up on Pascal's Wager (or Gambit) and that is not what I am suggesting. What I am saying is that we will all beleive what we beleive. No more, no less. Pascal suggests that since I cannot prove God does not exist, that I may want to assume that He does and live accordingly. That is something different from what I stated.

      April 2, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • momoya

      @Jim

      You wrote that nonbelievers utilize faith.. Please explain this statement, as it seems untrue from every angle I've considered.

      April 2, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • JC in the hot tub!

      A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary. Who's delusional, the folks who are persuaded by factual information, or the ones who ignore all factual information?

      April 2, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • just sayin

      As with most atheist wanna bees, fallacy likes to put words in peoples mouths that conform to its own misguided philosophy.

      April 2, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • haha

      "I am a Christian. I beleive what I beleive."... because I cant accept reality as we know it without it.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Jim

      Momoya – Faith is what we beleive. It ultimely is founded in creation, which cannot be proved one way or the other. It is faith in science which states that it "beleives" it happened a certain way, just as any creationist viewpoint. Non-beleivers also take other things by faith: life on other planets, evolution (a theory, not fact), etc.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  19. JK

    I guess both the writer of this article and the individuals he quotes did not read the bible themselves. Lets break it down to a few points like

    1 – The argument That the Book of Revelation was not written by the Apostle John. The first few versus of Revelation speak specifically of the “John” who “born witness” or “testify” (Depending on the translation) about Jesus by being there to see the Word of God ( The Logos).

    2 – That The First Century Christians accepted women as Congregation heads . Nowhere in the Greek Scriptures did Jesus, Paul, Peter, Luke, John, Mark, James, Jude ,or Matthew stated that. Yes the scriptures showed that women needed to be respected unlike the abhorrent way women were treated by the Scribes and Pharisees in their interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures. More idiotically these gentleman claim Paul thought women should be Heads of the congregation Read what it says in 1 Tim 3: 1 – 13 about those who take the Lead. In both cases it was strictly Men. Also remember Paul’s words in 1 Cor 11:2 (Head of woman a Man – Head of Man Christ – Head of Christ God). Really do we need to go further

    3 – That the Number of the Beast is Nero. Yes nowhere does it state that the Number is the Devil’s Number but also it does not state that it is Nero’s either Because the beast from Chapter 13 on onwards refers to the Beast representing Kingdoms (Plural with an S) not a singular Kingdom. Rev 13:18 also refers to the Number as a “man’s Number” in reference to mankind because the Beast has influence over all in the Earth (see previous versus).

    There is too much to Count or say Further it does speak about destruction, destruction of the Forces of Evil but also from Chapter 20 (and please read it for yourself!!) and on about a New Order with the destruction of the wicked, death, sorrow, pain, outcry and the return of men to God.

    April 2, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      JK, I'll see you in the rapture capsule with the unicorns. Don't forget to wear your nose ring – the big steel one that I padlocked the chain onto when we were practicing for the uplifting.

      Get ready for your plunging into the swirling waters. Here it comes. Watch out for the floaters when your head goes under...

      April 2, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • JK

      I never said I believe in the rapture or in this "Left behind" Garbage!! Apparently you didn't read my comments in mistaking me for some Redneck Hill Billy Brainwashed individual. I was commenting on the apparent facts of What Revelation says and the Hiostory of the Bible of what is written. The author and so called "theologians failed to rad the works they are quoting. As an Educated person it was only resposible for me to make known that the arguments in the article are flawed whether or not you bekleive in the Bible or Not. I never stated what I beleived in the comments but pointed out the errors of the arguents in the article. You have demonstrated you are as closed minded as many of the the So Called Christians out there!!

      April 2, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  20. cbinal

    Blake and Pagels are fools. They don't have a clue what the Book of Revelation is about or what it means. Try reading Chuck Missler's study on Revelation or John Phillips if you want accurrate and historical.

    April 2, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Anti Christ

      Please cbinal, explain to us the true meaning of Revelations. Since you, and everyone else in the christian faith seems to know. Love how the church gets to choose which books to put in the bible and which not to. Glad we can pick and choose which ones to follow...

      Please take your mythical, hokey pokey, man-made, fear-mongering crap of a book, and promptly insert it into your anus. It's what the good lord would have wanted. I read it somewhere in the bible.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • cbinal

      @Anti Christ – That's easy, it's the Revelation of Jesus Christ as Lord of the Earth and the Universe. It deals with the Rapture of the Church, the Tribulation period, and the destruction of YOU.

      April 2, 2012 at 11:40 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.