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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. TC

    As usual – the atheists show up on religious topics. Why are you here if you don't believe and know there is no logic you posess to change a believers mind? I will tell you why, becasue it is to be intolerant and divisive. Such good qualities in human beings – guess we know that atheists are really just like most people – in need of fixing.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Dinosaur

      Someone has to cure the disease. Look at the growing number of atheists. The disease is being cured.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • TC

      Athiests exist only in media and internet to troll. In the real world they know their agenda is failed.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • MattyHeff

      TC there is no hope for people like you.your basic view of the world is "if people dont believe in the same fairy tale as i do they must be bad and i dont like them." its that same view that leads to bigotry to racism to wars and to every other evil mankind has ever encountered.therefore it is useless to respond to you or your radical views ..... but since im an atheist and im bored waiting for the yankee game to start i will anyway .....

      if your god and your holy book are so truthful why does the catholic church claim the earth is 10 to 14 thousand years old and adam and eve were its first inhabitants when science has PROVEN (not guessed mind you) that the earth is 4.7 billion years old and stalagmites were its first life forms billions of years ago?why does your church explain dinosaur fossils as evil demons cast out of heaven by god during his climactic battle with the devil?how can you possibly believe woman was created from a mans rib?or that a senior citizen built an arc large enough to carry 2 of every species on the planet?or that another senior citizen parted an entire sea?i could go on for hours but why bother???your obviously hopelessly lost in your story book and fairy tale and the only way to erase your stupidity from the world is to wait for you to die and hope you didnt scare your "beliefs" into any offspring you may have had ....... or at least hope they learn enough in science class to question your nonsense and find real truth for themselves ............

      April 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • MattyHeff

      also , well said dino , ive learned that just shaking my head and ignoring these people arent helping.if these religious zealots could only step outside themselves and see how much there extreme views and beliefs cause harm maybe theyd understand , and the only way to do that is confront them.the only problem is when you confront them with facts they all have the same reaction to shrink into there little holes hold there bibles out in front of them and continually repeat that they are true believers that will be saved.that response alone shows how little these sheep , i mean people , actually think.not sure how else to help these fools , starting to think they are beyond help and there hateful and intolerant beliefs are just going to rot them from the inside out.have to start teaching kids that they have a choice to believe the fairy tale or believe in science and fact and let them know they arent going to burn in lakes of fire if they choose truth and real enlightenment , think thats the only way to every truly cure the sickness that is religion.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • edwardo

      @MattyHeff – TC will never admit you're right. That would destroy TC's delusion, that he will live forever, walking down streets of pure gold, and living in a "heroin" type of high, throughout all eternity, while us atheists suffer forever and ever in a lake of fire. So, let TC have his Santa Claus, and you and I will face reality.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • MattyHeff

      atta boy edwardo , well said again my friend.let them have there fairy tales , we have our truth.and thats something we can all trust in!!!!!!!!okay i gotta go guys , bbl.keep speaking the real gospel ed and dino , if we can get even 1 zealot to open there eyes and say hey , wait a minute , maybe these guys are onto something , then well have done some good here :) cya all.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • jamest297

      Well, we actually show up to mock for three reasons

      1. It is so easy.

      2. It is so much fun.

      3. It is the right thing to do.

      April 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  2. Smash

    How much of the article can we believe. Right at the beginning of the article is states that Patmos is part of present day Turkey instead of present day Greece!

    April 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  3. Thinking

    I enjoyed the article - there's no reason why God couldn't take a political tool and make it his own in the bible. Since he's capable of miracles, this isn't much of a stretch... And I enjoy learning how the bible came to be - politics still played its part, even if it is a "supernatural revelation of God."

    April 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Trent R.

      Problem is that this is not how the bible came to be. This was not the message of revelation. The synagogue of Satan actually refers to the Jews who rejected the Messiah and persecuted the church. The book is not about politics or the way John's world ended; its a book written for the church, the church that was being persecuted at the hands of both Jews and Romans who were left in the world post ascension of Jesus. It was to encourage them that God has not left them He is still in control, His purpose will prevail.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  4. ACM

    CNN let one of your talking heads write that the KORAN is a myth!. Scared one of the FANATIC will blow your building up?

    April 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • MattyHeff

      before i say what i have to say mind you im an atheist white man from a mostly catholic family.

      with that being said that isnt fair.there are religious extremists from every religion.have you forgotten the crusades?the spanish inquisition?ALL religions spawn extremists and radicals and its why ALL religions need to be exposed for the fairy tales they are.religion is early man trying to explain the unexplainable and control a bunch of hairless monkeys running amok by telling them theyll burn in a hell of some variant if they dont shape up and live "good" lives.

      if we didnt have religion wed have much more harmony and peace and alot more people working together.wed be much more scientifically advanced and its quite possible wed be living as 1 people , not fractured into groups labeled by race , nation , religion , or any other number of ways people have found to divide themselves.

      bottom line is religion has spawned FAR more evil than it has good and continues to do so to this day.look at all the little sheep being led around by the nose by the fake prophets and supposed holy men , you are all unthinking silly fools who couldnt think for yourselves if you tried .........

      April 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • edwardo

      @Matty – spoken like a person who has returned to a normal state of mind, after being inducted into a cult. Congratulations on your ability to cope with life on its own terms, instead of inventing a false reality.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • MattyHeff

      @edwardo , thank the fairy tale in the sky :p that there are others who see through all the bs and can stand and speak and think for themselves and not just blindly follow some preachers words accepting all he says as being absolute truth!!!!!sometimes i really feel alone but the internet really helps show me not all people are under the evil spell that is religion , like dino said above we are a growing number as more and more people wake up and start seeing real truth and start realizing that believeing in and trusting all to a fairy tale thats over 2000 years old really isnt a good way to live your life!!!!we may not live to see it but im confident that some day the majority of men and women will trust in science and facts and common sense more than some silly nonsensical story they were indoctrinated from birth to believe lest they burn in lakes of fire in hell if they dont!!!!!!!well get there ...... some day ......... ttyl guys , time to go , thans for restoring MY faith in the one thing that is real and tangible , other humans!!!!!!cya guys.

      April 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  5. shelver

    The person who wrote this book has no clue. She does not even have a simple understanding of the bible. If she did, she would not be saying those things in her book. Her thinking is so far out in left field that is has left the planet Earth.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • AMERICAN EXPAT

      Well, why don't you get to work in writing a book with an opposing view? Right, you are not capable of that!

      April 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  6. Dmitri

    Hello,
    Not to try to put anything all religious on anyone who is isn't looking for it, but this is an interesting presentation I saw concerning 'end-time/prophecy' stuff –
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzqdlH85SqA&w=640&h=390]

    April 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Dinosaur

      That's a bible in his hand, and it's an hour long.. Not happening.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  7. Dinosaur

    God may be real. I admit that. But God may also be fake. It can't be known. Anyone claiming to know christian or atheist is not being honest or thoughtful enough. But christianity is a total crock. That can be known.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • BLOCKthisCOMMENT

      Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Dino .. I look at it as "probability", what is the probability that a stegasaurus is orbiting Pluto .. more likely than the existence of a God(s) since both stegs and Pluto are proven to be a reality. There are infinite number of things that don't exist but we can't prove either way, but are infinitely unlikely.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  8. edwardo

    All humans are born as atheists. ALL babies are atheists. It's not 'til someone pollutes their mind with some sort of old wives tale, do they become a sheep, and no longer a normal thinking, human being.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Religious indoctrination of children from birth is child abuse. We give children all kinds of folklore and tales to enhance the wonderment of being a child, but when they mature and naturally questions these tales we tell them the truth ... but not religion, they just get threatened with eternal lakes of fire and Gods wrath if they don't continue to believe.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Exactly correct! They force water on our foreheads, make us dress in white clothes and eat bread wafers, all this before the age of 10, then confirmation when you have to add another name to your birth name. It is the craziest nonsense ever created, I mean it really could be a comedy probably more like a black comedy though.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • TC

      Actually you couldnt be more wrong. All babies are united with God and know true love until "adults who know everything" teach intolerance, bigotry, selfishness and the biggest atheistic trait – self-centeredness. Good job edwardo

      April 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • MattyHeff

      wow maybe i was worng , seems theres more intelligent people than i thought!!!well said edwardo!!!!!!!maybe there is hope this nonsense they call religion will be gone before im dead!!!!!doubt it but us atheists can hope too cant we!!!!????? :p

      April 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • edwardo

      @TC – Babies are united with God? The same being who destroyed them in great floods. The same god who killed the first born because there wasn't blood on their doorstep. That sure is a great, baby loving God you have there TC!!!

      April 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • DavidE7

      Eduardo, humans are not born as atheists. They are born as tiny creatures who are surrounded by seemingly all powerful adults who appear to love them and take care of them. It is only later, when they are disappointed by the failures of their parents, that they question the existence of God. That is the reason that most people from loving home are Chrstians and most people from broken homes are unbelievers.

      April 1, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  9. Sheila

    Jesus Christ knows those who belong to him. Those who belong to him, hear his voice and respond. No CNN article, or rebellious or foolish persons can change that fact. Those who belong to Jesus Christ WILL BE SAVED from all sin and all evil and will receive eternal life in God's Kingdom. You can kill someone's body, but not their soul. God will give all those who are his a new angelic like body at the proper time. They will be clothed in white and wear a golden sash, for they are the righteous followers of God. No one's weapons of war, or invention of physics, regardless of "how advanced" can kill or destroy God. God is here...forever. Will you be ?

    April 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • edwardo

      Geez Sheila... you sure drank a lot of the kool-aid !!!

      April 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Sheila

      "Jesus Christ knows those who belong to him. Those who belong to him, hear his voice and respond."

      YOU ARE DELUSIONAL!

      April 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • MattyHeff

      that exact thinking has led to countless billions throwing there lives away needlessly over the last few thousand years , welcome to the herd sheila ...... baaaaaaaaa baaaaaaaaaa the sheepherder says go this way ......... baaaaaaaaaaa baaaaaaaaaaa the sheep herder says go that way , now be a good little sheep and do as the story book and the pedophile priests and intolerant church leaders tell you to do .......... baaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!

      April 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • ACM

      Perfectlly said.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • R.Buffalo Spirit

      I think all of us like a lil Sin now and then

      April 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Al

      Do they get 72 virgins?

      April 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  10. Vasmikey

    Revelation was written in signs according to the very first verse. 666 was a symbolic number and yes it (REV) deals with the end of the world of wicked mankind. Rev 16:14-16. the earth itself will survive. Rev 21:1-5. Who is destroyed? Rev 19:16-21
    We receive great advice to Christian congregation today therein: Rev chapter 2 and 3.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  11. jamest297

    Not only are there 4 myths in the book of revelation, the entire present-day collected essays of the bible are religious and historical myths. And, that is also probably the reason that Revelation may be the hardest book (per Pagels) to understand because it is the last of the collected stories, probably the newest and undoubtedly itself authored to cover many contradictions and inconsistencies in other christian writings. It might also be the hardest to understand because the whole collected works of the bible are incomprehensible to anyone who has been capable of reading and writing since about the year 700 CE.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Sheila

      You cannot declare what you have not studied diligently a myth. Especially since you obviously do not have the Spirit of Truth within you.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  12. Matt

    Everyone on here has entirely too much time on their hands!....
    Now get to work... Satan!

    April 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • MattyHeff

      uhhhh , it is sunday .................. most people dont work on sunday cause the story book says they shouldnt ................

      April 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • swohio

      Apparently, Matt, YOU have too much time on your hands as well. Otherwise why did you bother to reply?

      April 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  13. BLOCKthisCOMMENT

    Do not pray in my school, and I will not think in your church.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • DaveX

      Bwaahahahahahah~! Love it~!

      April 1, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Sheila

      A school is publicly owned and not owned by you alone. People can pray ANYWHERE. It is their right.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • edwardo

      GREAT comment !!!!

      April 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • nice work

      I like, I like.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • NEC

      Yes Sheila people can pray anywhere they like as long at it's on their own time. They can NOT however lead prayers in a public school since that would tantamount to endorsing a religion.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  14. MattyHeff

    my only regret is i wont live long enough to see the poison and stupidity that is all religions wiped clean from the face of the earth by science and truth and facts , the day is coming but as we all know people dont like change or truth and will fight and claw to hold onto there "beliefs" ....................... no wonder disney makes billions of dollars per year , religion shows just how many people like a good tall tale .......................

    April 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • BFM

      As a scientist, I'm amazed at how often people turn science into a religion and are not even aware of it.
      Yesterday's myth is today science, todays science will be tomorrow's voodoo.
      As a scientist once said (Einstein, I believe)paraphased – "Man has turned science into a religion, thereby stunting his own growth"
      Remember science never accepts what is. It is always pushing the parameters of knowledge, when it stops challenging ,pushing, testing what is presently known, science is dead. Anyone who says all scientists agree on anything are saying they have stopped being scientists!
      And remember "Words do not tell all about anything, the mature mind is therefore adjusted to uncertainty"
      Language is a construct, it cannot contain all the knowledge if the world, the world is larger than any language's ability to decribe it. Language is a primitive's means of comunication, There is much , much more out there than our minds can grasp

      April 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  15. BLOCKthisCOMMENT

    And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Dinosaur

      That was one of the last nails in the coffin for my former belief.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • MattyHeff

      shhhhhhh ........ your making too much sense!!!!!its burning the true believers eyes!!!!!!!hahahaha!!!!!great comment!!!!love it!!!

      April 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • mandarax

      Hitch – so many quotable phrases. His voice is missed.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  16. Dena

    EVERY book of the bible brings some aspect of God's redemption plan to our attention. Everything in the book of Revelation is found in other books of the bible or in several other of them.The bible is an intregrated message from the begining to the end. The book of Revelation is the grand finale of God redeeming His fallen creation which is the theme throughout the entire bible. Yes, it happened in John's time and it has repeatedly happened at some level throughout history because "that which has been is that which will be, there is nothing new under the sun." You've heard the saying that history repeats itself, that's true! Hello, God is trying to show us something by letting us see our repeated patterns of destruction...without HIM all is futile.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  17. swohio

    I pay no attention to ANYTHING Elaine Pagels says.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • jamest297

      You have lots of company!

      April 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • NEC

      I pay no attention to anything the bible says.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Murf

      Yes, because someone who has spent the better part of her adult life in the study of theology can't possibly be believed. Contrary to (your) popular belief, the narrow-minded will not inherit the earth.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  18. Evgenia

    Bible is the TRUTH.Period.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • BLOCKthisCOMMENT

      We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      If you believe that your are delusional. Seek help!

      April 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Realest

      Based only on faith!

      April 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • nice work

      Hmmm, sorry. Can't believe you. That's too blunt.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • mohamed

      prove it

      April 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • edwardo

      Yes Ev – bats are birds, the sun rotates around the earth... umm... yes... total truth. Boy! Talk about delusional.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • NEC

      Which version??? It's been revised so many times how would you know.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • jonpeter

      Which bible, and interpreted by which person ?? If you claim the KJV, then which version, the original which included the books some call the 'Apochrypha' today, or the more recent, edited and interpreted versions ?

      April 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • jamest297

      You are aware that it is April Fools' Day, right?

      April 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  19. mema

    I find it interesting that lately CNN has had so many topics on religion and on these they put a comment section but not on many other subjects. It seems they want to stir up controversy. The athiest use this as an opportunity to lash out on religion and the christinans knowing this come on to defend it. In the end to me it is about the right we have to believe what we want. Why beat each side down for something we should be joyfull for having, " the freedom to chose".

    April 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Because the religious force their views upon our children and our government. We are not going to stand for it any longer!

      April 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • BLOCKthisCOMMENT

      The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  20. Rainer Braendlein

    According to the doctrine of the Early Church Jesus Christ had two wills, a human will and a divine will.

    What does that mean?

    It means that it was possible that the man Jesus had broken with God facing the superhuman sufferings and crucifixion.

    In that case, I assume, the universe had collapsed.

    Revelation gives account of the eternal adoration of the holy lamb of God, which has overcome.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • mema

      That is the most ignorant view of Revelation I have ever read. Its in the bible that Jesus completed his missions on earth including his offering up himself for all mankind. You need to do more reviewing of texts before making such uninformed comments. Just saying.

      April 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
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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.