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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. Tina G.

    It would be much appreciated if CNN would stop bringing these "scholars" to comment on what the whole Christian world supposedly believes when the people selected are usually WRONG in their beliefs and they do not represent the believers and the true scholars who actually know how to interpret what they are reading. I used to believe that CNN was a truly unbiased objective reporter of news and that's why I trusted you as a source. As times move forward, your stories seems to reek more and more of supporters of all things that oppose Christianity or make it look foolish.

    April 1, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Humanist

      Translation: “You’re not saying what I want to hear so I’m going to start reading FoxNews.com where they love christians, and they feed us exactly what our little brains can handle.”

      April 1, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Mike

      You don't have to make Christianity look foolish. It IS foolish. And you don't need a scholar to write an article to convince people of it's foolishness, all you need to do is talk to a Christian for 60 seconds. Same goes for every other religion.

      April 1, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  2. TheMagusNYC

    Yet another interpretation of Revelatoin is welcome. Pagels dismisses the prophetic, and suggests a more mundane view. Yet she characterizes the clarification of Christianity as one of suppressing and excluding alternative Gnostic views. Thus she joins with the Gnostics, Mohammed, and Joseph Smith in denying the very foundation of trinitarian Christianity today.
    A more balanced view would use terms like "selection" of credible texts, and the seeking of clarity and consistency amidst those who fiercely reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ as portrayed especially by John and Paul.

    April 1, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  3. Peter E

    Why is this news? Anyone who has even read an introductory scholar book about the Bible or early Christianity already knows these. The fact that the so-called 'stan's number' actually stands for Nero is widely known, and so is the writer's conflict with other early Christianity, or the fact that the Bible was edited down from dozens of more books that never made it into the final version.

    April 1, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Gospel Reader

      Why is this news?

      "Anyone who has even read an introductory scholar book about the Bible or early Christianity..."

      That's why. Very few people have. For many people today, Christianity is not the religion of Augustine, to be studied and examined in detail to learn the mind of God, but a peasant faith, to be heard and obeyed without question.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Tommy

      Perhaps this is news because not everyone knows this, Paul? Just because you know it and someone else doesn't does not mean it's not newsworthy. I hadn't read much on this and found it engaging. So stop being a know-it-all, because let's face it that's just annoying.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  4. joshua

    tell me one thing atheist. why a monkey doesnt turn into a human. or evolutionize to a human. u know the answer. dont let them foool you no more. why they cannot explain the changes in the sky and mathew 24 tells u of these changes. dont u see God knows best. and everything writen is fulfilling to the point of the ink. wake up atheist time is over. see dr owour and tb joshua. Jesus was is and will be forever.

    April 1, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • getalife

      Dream on. Atheist ranks are swelling and will soon drown out you lunatics. Be worried... be very worried.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Anonymous Coward

      I dunno why I feel compelled to answer trolls, especially trolls putting up straw men, but ...

      Monkeys don't turn into humans because nothing turns into anything else. Nobody has ever said otherwise, and saying they did, but it doesn't happen is just a straw man argument.. Monkeys and humans came from the same distant ancestor, millions upon millions of years ago. It's kind of like how chihuahuas and mastiffs had the same ancestor, much more recently, except instead of some breeder allowing more puppies from dogs with the traits they wanted, it was a matter of conditions favoring critters with particular traits, and allowing more of their young to grow up.

      But you knew that. You're just trolling. And I've fed the trolls. *sigh* Sometimes, I just can't help myself.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Humanist

      Did your mommy used to beat you over the head with the bible far too much?

      April 1, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • thegadfly

      The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit walk into a bar. They order shots, and down them. Then the Son says, "Blech! This stuff is terrible! Jesus, dad, would you please make them legalize cannabis already?"

      April 1, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  5. Damian

    The article is wrong. Clearly, the anti-Christ is the anti-matter version of Christ.

    April 1, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  6. Isaac

    4 myths? The entire thing is a myth. Stop believing things and try knowing things.

    April 1, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Nii

      Isaac now this is the paradox! What you know you believe. You know atheism therefore you believe atheism. I know Christianity therefore I believe.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • thegadfly

      No one knows anything. Believe responsibly.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  7. reason

    The gods of all organized religions, if true, would all be horribly unjust and evil deities to send billions of people to eternal suffering for choosing the wrong one or being born in the wrong place. Looking at organized religion objectively, they are myths from stone age societies that were trying to explain the world, and there is virtually no chance any one is truth.

    Rationally speaking if there is a just god and an afterlife, you will be judged on how you live your life. Rejecting reason and deluding yourself in blind faith does not help your case.

    April 1, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • ????

      Good post. I agree.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Seriously

      Sadly, it looks like thats just the default mode of human psychology (just look at these posts). I don't tink we'll ever get away fro it.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  8. Thomas

    God is the sole author of Revelations! If you read chapter 20 then go back to the book of ISAIAH verse 9 and 10 you will see that the prophet ISAIAH spoke of this event long before Revelation! 26:9 My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. 26:10 Though the wicked is shown favor, He does not learn righteousness; He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness, And does not perceive the majesty of the LORD. Amen

    April 1, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • ????

      A man is the author of this fear story. To my knowledge, God has not written anything. If so, please tell me where to find the writing, what language it is written in and where the original copy is. If you are referring to your book, man did all the writing.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • John

      lol

      April 1, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  9. pablo

    More smoke and mirrors...... Holy smoke!!!
    Bring on the horsemen...

    April 1, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  10. Andre

    Welcome to CNN's Church of Satan where the number one goal is to lie and deceive. All are welcome!

    April 1, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • reason

      The article is informative. Thank you CNN.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • IceT

      So truth is the Devil?

      April 1, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  11. Bill the Cat

    Wow. This author has no clue about Revelation. The united testimony of the early Church is that Revelation is the description of the end times. Look at the Didache's last chapter. The inanity in this article is simply amazing. Nearly every theory Pagels lists here have been refuted long ago.

    1) Linguistic dating of Revelation places it before the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 AD, so it would not have been about how a "devout Jew's" world ended

    2) No scholar of Revelation believes that 666 stands for the devil. It is the numerical value of a MAN's name. That MAN would be empowered by satan, but would not be him.

    3) No "devout Jew" non-Christian would DARE call Jesus of Nazareth the lamb of God in his writing. That would be blasphemy. Linguistic parallels to the Gospel of John make it very reasonable to claim the same writer.

    4) There was only one book of "Revelation of Jesus Christ to John" and it was contained in most lists of canonical writings of the Disciples. Those who dissented were typically heretical groups who wanted to claim their own leader as the returned Christ.

    April 1, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  12. Dan

    The Book of Revelation is authored by God, who in his divine power used John to write it. How can someone who is obviously not Christian be a scholar of the Bible? I wish the media would stop interviewing "liberal" scholars on matters like this. It is analogous to using a creationist to explain or interpret Darwin's Origin of Species. Leave the explanation of Christianity and the Bible up to true Christians, not those who call themselves scholars.

    I'm really tired of the media giving false interpretations and explanations about my faith. Would you interview a scholar who is not Muslim to explain Islam? Would you interview a historian to explain current science and its theories?

    April 1, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Ryan

      Are you trying to imply that someone who does not necessarily believe in your faith can not understand or reason with it? Thats pretty closed minded. Even among christians theres hundreds of different views on what is right or wrong. You shouldnt get so worked up about a scholar.. its what they do. Might as well be a baptist upset at a catholic. Makes no sense.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • John

      Yeah , perfect sense lets interview the brainwashed. Crazy people.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Dan
      With all due respect, your claims are extraordinary and it is you that has the burden of proof. When given the opportunity to prove your claims your answers are nonsensical with no foundation in reason and logic. I would welcome a debate about your claims but I wouldn't want to embarrass you because you do not have any proof of what you believe in.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Anonymous Coward

      There are a lot of books which were not included in the modern New Testament. Did God decide which ones should be included and which ones should not? If so, why did He leave the leftovers in existence at all? Does He want to confuse His followers?

      The Protestants and Catholics disagree on just which books are official - hence the Apocrypha. Given that the Catholics trace their theological lineage, hand to hand, mouth to mouth, back to the very first Christians, while the Protestants are those who protested against the Catholic church and go back only to Martin Luther, which set of books is correct?

      The Mormons have the Book of Mormon, which they believe is equal in validity and authority to the Old and New Testaments. Are they correct?

      The Muslims believe the same of the Koran. Obviously, both they and the Mormons can't be correct, since each rejects the validity of the other's holly book. So is it the Muslims?

      While popular, the King James Bible is actually seriously flawed. It was based on translations of translations of translations, and scholars working from the original sources, and from recently uncovered sources, have come up with significantly different versions of many passages. Is the KJV Bible the word of God? If so, why were all the Bible translations before and after it wrong? If one of them is correct, why does the KJV exist? Which version is the REAL word of God? What did God really want the Bible to say? And if it really is the KJV, why did He wait 1600 years for letting His followers in on it?

      April 1, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • MikeH

      Because you can't be a true scholar without harboring doubt and working to refute the ideas you believe to be true. Belief is not scholarship, questioning, studying, and understanding is. All real scholars know that they are working with the best available information, but there is always the chance that additional information will be available in the future or they missed something and their understanding will likely be proven to be off to some extent if not completely.

      April 1, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  13. TrumpetCallofGodOnline

    Ears open!...

    The trumpet is raised, and The Son of Man is eager to open His mouth.

    Make ready and prepare,

    For I have declared neither the day nor the hour...

    Yet the season is made plain,

    And the days of revelation are upon you.

    Wait and watch, therefore, for The Son of Man is sent down... My Word does not lie. And though many twist and turn My words to their own advantage, aligning them with their own expectation to their own hurt, My words do not lie... My every Letter shall come to pass, according to My will. And oh what a cry shall be heard, oh what an uproar shall ensue, and much gnashing of teeth!... Yet The Holy One is sent down, and behold the bride says, “God is with us!”

    My Word lies not!...

    The Shepherd is sent down and gathers together His sheep;

    He beckons to every lamb, drawing them close...

    And in a day you do not expect, and at an hour you can not predict,

    He shall pass through the gate, and His sheep with Him...

    And every lamb.

    I AM THE LORD.

    [ Excerpt from A Testament Against The World... The Lord's Rebuke Enemies of The Lord, Come Forth]

    April 1, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Caron

      Wacko. Revelations says that only 144,000 people will go to heaven. With those odds, you are probably not one of them. Ha Ha Ha.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  14. thegadfly

    I tried to find the breathing sunlight,
    Scattered now, like shattered glass.
    While dark and anxious mystics ponder,
    Weeping sons are free at last.
    The cold, absurd, and mighty wasteland,
    Keeper of the status quo,
    Now fears the will that gave it grandeur,
    Kills the smile that brings it woe.
    On every path down into conflict,
    Some look up, some even laugh.
    I saw the eagle taunt the lion,
    Watched the chosen turn to chaff.
    Delighted by the fate of monsters,
    Most assume that all is well.
    Yet in the shattered glass, the sunlight
    Bids the wise to run like hell.
    What sounds approach and overrun us,
    Taunting me with thoughts of loss?
    When none of worth remain among us,
    None of wealth afford the cost.
    To carry on as if the light shines
    Still upon the weary crowd,
    To rise above, and dodge the arrows,
    Flying off to shout aloud,
    We seek the wisdom, still in ashes,
    Chase the rainbow, dressed in rags.
    I wonder, then become as they are,
    Sleeping first, then packing bags.
    And off to chase the breathing sunlight,
    Still it shimmers, here and there.
    We know so little of each other.
    Shattered glass is everywhere.
    We take the moment, watch it suffer,
    Put it on the fire again.
    We watch the coals and fear the madman,
    Yet take candy from his hand.
    And loathing that which makes us human,
    Curse the sunlight, praise the hate.
    We stir the coals, and new sparks flicker,
    Seizing moments all too late.
    Oh, what sustains the hope we treasure?
    How do we again shine through?
    We eat the seed, and still taste nothing,
    Watching sunlight break anew.
    The aching heart that beats within us
    Beckons us to make things right,
    But promises to yet confuse us,
    Swears to God that black is white.
    We kiss the children, take for granted,
    Somewhere there’s a life to make.
    So as the mighty planet spirals,
    Sing with every breath you take.
    I tried again to find the sunlight,
    Scattered now, and still alight,
    I found the pieces in the ashes,
    Past and future sleep tonight.

    April 1, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  15. Vivienne27

    How can you tell when Easter has almost arrived?

    When satan's minions post there annual drivel in a failed attempt to diminish God and make those who believe in Him look like idiots. Dear Lord, when I pass please grant me a 5 second view of all of these people in the hell fire of eternity; it will be enough to put a smile on my face oh Lord. Oh yes – I am vindictive my friends!

    April 1, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • thegadfly

      You may get much more than 5 seconds.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Caron

      Wack job. I'll bet you have your hands over your ears and are singing LaLaLa loudly so that no reasonable information or thought or doubt enters your liitle brain. Don't worry, your brain is not big enough to accomodate this information.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • reason

      I can tell Easter is coming when the Easter Bunny poops eggs all over my lawn.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • ????

      Lessee, you are going to smile watching people burn in your mythical hell. Yet you profess to be a Christian and love all, including your enemies. Contradiction there I think. There is no hell. What's to burn, a corpse?? Just part of the fear game religions use to control people and get them to open their purses. Reason a little. You will be much happier.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Zieroh

      It's really said that most Christians have no idea what early Christian history was like. I think most evangelicals today would be shocked to find out how different Christianity was then.

      Satans minions indeed.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Anonymous Coward

      I might suggest that it is those who are vindictive, and those who claim to have special knowledge of the mind of God, who are least pleasing in His sight, and most likely to be among the goats.

      April 1, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  16. Caron

    The people who REALLY need to read this - the wack jobs who fear, fear, fear - won't read it. They refuse to read anything that smacks of reason and thoughtful consideration. They thrive on thoughts of hell fire and damnation. Bottom line is that this author is singing to the choir and will not be successful in making fundamentalists think more.

    April 1, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  17. Turth7

    If you look to MAN to teach you what something means in the Bible, you are already on the wrong path. You are to use the Holy Spirit and let God and Jesus teach you.

    Otherwise you are BLIND – which means "Without knowledge"! Jesus healed the blind! Get the stones out of your soil – stones means "men's words"!,

    April 1, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Caron

      Another wack job. Thinks God and Jesus talk to him and tell him what the bible means -- oh no! Those little voices in my head talking to me can't be my imagination! - can't be my hallucinations! - can't be my subconscious! It simply has to be God and Jesus - because - that's what God told me! Ha Ha Ha.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Anonymous Coward

      If two people believe contradictory things, and both of them claim that God told them they are right ... which one IS right?

      April 1, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  18. joshua

    in the year 325 constantine destroyed the true church and killes all the true messengers Christ. look for dr owour or tb joshua u will see that it is true and that after that year more than 20,000 religions appeared. which one is the true one. is you your heart working for God that is the true church. book of ester and ezequiel 38&39 tells what time we are living. people pray time is over. the greek gods and all the others where destroyed or their economy because there is only one true God and that is Yah. proven true history and soon will be proven again but only one and last time no more. messiah is coming. israel and iran war will mark the time we are in. holyness is important during these times so pray and stay away from sins.

    April 1, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  19. worktolive

    I believe in God's word as it is written-stop trying to sugar coat the Bible. The unsaved will suffer in the afterlife and and the end of this world will bring suffering to those that choose to ignore God's word. Shame on you Mike Palevo for misleading so many with your interpretation of the Book of Revelation.

    April 1, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • John

      You are all crazy people, the person who wrote the book studied all of the details for years, yet you all put your blinders on and pretend its not real, wake up out of your coma of fear and fear spreading.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Caron

      Hey, wacko, shame on you for believing all the drivel about god jesus and the bible. I have read revalations 3 times now. It is absolutely clear that John was a prosiletizing freak who was bent on making the enemies of jesus afraid of their choices. Like you. Besides, revalations says that only 144,000 people will go to heaven. With those odds, you are probably not one of them. Ha Ha Ha.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Seriously

      I don't think you fully grasped the article and maybe you should read it again. It is an objective fact that that book which you are interpreting as literaly true is an artifact of a millenias old political game. Just take it all with a grain of salt, thats all.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Anonymous Coward

      Which version of God's word?

      As written by whom?

      Let me ask you this: Imagine two men.

      One was born in the time of the Patriarchs. He was a good, honest, and truthful man. While Jesus would not be born for centuries yet, if He had seen this man He would have pointed to him and said "Live like that! That's what I meant." Yet this man was born in Gaul, and never knew the religions of the Middle East, any of them.

      The second man could be plucked straight from the pages of history. He was a follower of Richard the Lionhearted, let's say, an active participant in the sack of Acre. Or perhaps he was one of the Spanish priests who traveled with the Conquistadors and committed atrocities against both the living and the dead in the name of religion. Or perhaps he was one of Torquemada's men, torturing the heretic in the name of God. He believed, with all his heart and all his soul, that he was doing God's work.

      Would a truly loving God condemn the first man to eternal torture and richly reward the second?

      April 1, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • laudvette

      [For Caron]
      Please save us all the anguish of your ignorance. You are severly misinformed and unread, not to mention your personality which is confrontational about the word of God, presents a tremendous stumbling block in your intellectual growth. I would say you sound like a Leftist that reads the first sentence of a chapter and fills in the rest of the blanks you create with your own flawed opinions. When discussing the Bible, educated individuals use others opinions and accept them in formulating their own opinion when they understand all the facts. As of late the Leftists don't do that, they merely verbally attack with personal insults guided by their extremely limited knowledge base. Btw, that's 144,000 reservations for God's people, the Jews. It doesn't have any "reservations for non Jews, just the true believers and children of God..That meet His requirements, I repeat "His Requirements as stated in HIS book, that are in HIS "Lambs Book of Life" which is mentioned 5 times in the Bible, 2 of which are in Revelations. No Book of Life means no entry in His Kingdom. From my understanding of your posts, you have a very long way to go. I will pray for you and for your future efforts. "Man doesn't get into MY KINGDOM by efforts alone. He must ...well you'll hopefully figure it out someday. God's word makes us a more humble follower and will help us understand that all people have a cross to bear. This of course means everyone has their challenges and God asks us to help those understand His word, not mine or yours. He professes humility and compassion not critical analysis and judgement as "Judgement is mine and only mine sayth the Lord" I hope you will feel the warmth of this message and try reading it a few times to help guide you toward your entry into that Lambs Book of Life" . Read my friend, read!

      April 1, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  20. jerry

    are you kidding me i dot know where this person gets this information but she is so out of wack its pathetic, the writer of the book of revelation not only was he a christian but one that loved JESUS, and yes it is talking about the end of the age and not his own life the bible says in the last days false profits shall arise and decieve many

    April 1, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • thegadfly

      Yes, there are many false prophets today. They're called televangelists.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • scott

      The 'god' of this world, satan, has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they can not see the glory of Christ.
      And not only that but this also comes from the true God.

      2 Thessalonians 2

      Man of Lawlessness

      1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the [a]coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your [b]composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a [c]message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the [d]apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above [e]every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His [f]coming; 9 that is, the one whose [g]coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and [h]signs and false wonders, 10 and with [i]all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God [j]will send upon them [k]a deluding influence so that they will believe [l]what is false, 12 in order that they all may be [m]judged who did not believe the truth, but [n]took pleasure in wickedness.
      13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you [o]from the beginning for salvation [p]through sanctification [q]by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, [r]that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter [s]from us.

      16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, 17 comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Caron

      Wack job.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • laudvette

      How right you are Jerry. I have listened to scholars and have tried my best to understand the Book of Revelations [study in process]. Your comments are exactly what the Book intends. So many people think it's their duty to interpret the Bible beyond it's true meanings. Those true meanings are not necessarily found in Revelations but refer to and is comingled with many other facts throughout the Bible. An individual who doesn't really know the Bible would have insurmountable challenges when trying to interpret Revelations. It's not a book for the timid or uninformed as it is extremely frustrating at first. The majority concensus shows John or a true believer/follower of Jesus wrote this who had a tremendous knowledge if not devinely inspired. To think that a Bishop or other RCC rep was involved is pretty far fetched not substantiated by the Bible itself. Remember, the RCC via the Alexandrian version[tainted] of the Bible and its author Jerome's changes and misinterpretations make their version a product of themselves and among other things, not a devinely insired writting more closely associated with the Babylonian text version of the Bible that KJV and NKJ are based on, commonly accepted as the more accurate and purer versions. We see via these comments some rather far-fetched "I think ems" that are severely contradicted by other passages and scripters throughout the Bible. I try to stay very close to the given text as my opinion or related comments my contradict God's message that I may have missed the first time around. Additioinally, since God didn't ask me for my opinion, I feel extremely obligated to accept His opinion WITHOUT question and hope and pray that when I open my mouth, He will not object to my words. I know He is having a horrible time sorting out that a Nation He produced and raised in His name[America] is falling like Isreal fell when they didn't follow the word of God. Especially with a leader that visibly refuses to accept and support Israel and Christianity but caters to Islam and Muslims. I'm sure that with some significant effort from His followers[us] and hopefully some devinely inspired assistance, we will overcome our weaknesses. The fact that His children, the Jews even go as far to support this leader with the devil's tail must really present a challenge to Him. I know what I would do but quietly pray and offer my mortal suggestions.

      April 1, 2012 at 10:23 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.