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.”
Well, Magellan as we said "The world is flat." Apparently this was proven wrong. The leading scholars at the time declared it was flat, because it was declared out of the knowledge we collected, 'researched' and compiled. I appreciate the time this scholar has spent, the research and the interpretation. I cannot however agree.
Though the writer may be interpreted as John the divine and wrote about his own world falling apart, there is no explanation that can tie in the vials, the plagues, the war from the north, and the winds. Personally I believe that Revelations was intended to be up to interpretation as God gave free will, and knows not everyone will believe.
Personally, I think Revelations is over interpreted. It is a map. It is a book of what is, what can be, and what will definitely come in some way shape or form. We already set the foundation. For us to believe that it is simply a myth, just another person's interpretation of what happened with Nero, means we place more emphasis on Nero than the message itself.
This article seems to have the ring of a front-page news header on a tabloid magazine and carry about just as much weight also.
I'm not sure what you are calling a biblical scholar, Mr, Journalist, because she does not carry any weight within evangelical Christianity at all.
If she's not a Christ-follower, why does she even care what the Bible says? That is a question to ask, because it is just as outlandish as someone who does not eat organic food writing a book without proper research on why one won't benefit from eating organic.
This article really discredits CNN, in my mind. I hope that the news articles on global politics or global economics are not written with as poor "credible sources" being quoted as this one.
The question of who we are is not the holy space of the believers. Every single person has the same question. Most, it would seem, have come to the conclusion that the bible does nothing to satisfy this question.
1st the "left behind" books are fiction and not scriptual at all. The word 'rapture' isn't even in the Bible. The text of scripture never says "left behind", the text says "left'. As it was in the days of Noah one will be taken and one will be left. Noah wasn't taken off the earth, he was left on the earth. He was never "left behind" to suffer anything. People should want to be left and not taken. But that is typical of the way people make it say what they want it to say just as the person who wrote this piece uses bad examples to make points and doesn't take the time or the effort to listen to the text and instead takes the text out of context and when someone does that to any text, then you can pretty much make it say anything you want it to say. It is not at all complicated when you leave it in context not nit pick it and make claims about the text and add words such as "Raptured" like it is written in the text when it is not. The problem is preconcieved notions about the text of scripture. People expect it to say a certain thing and since it doesn't say what they have preconcieved it is suppose to say is why they can't understand it and try to twist it and force it to say what their preconcieved notions are.Simple solution to that is give the text to a child who has no preconcieved notions about the text. Let a young child read the text and tell the child to explain the text and a child will be closer to being correct than most because they have fewer preconcieved ideas about what it is suppose to say. It so simple even a fool can understand it. It is only when preconcieved notions are there it confounds and confuses people because they expect it to say what they have been told it said. "Left behind" instead of left on the earth. Noone can ever claim Noah was taken because he was never taken anywhere, he was left on the earth. Noah wasn't taken so you would want to be left on the earth like Noah was but anyone can clearly see how that gets twisted to mean exactly the opposite. And when the text says exactly the opposite of what you thought it suppose to say THAT is what is confusing and confounding about scripture. It takes a while to really listen to the text and get rid of all the preconcieved notions but once you accomplish that only then can someone really understand it. Its really shocking to discover how much it gets twisted as well because it really is very simple to understand. I could go down the list of how this person twists and claims things about John and lots of other things but she is totally off is all I know. Revelations hasn't one thing to do with Rome and it is totally ridiculas for anyone to claim it does. It has everything to do with Jerusalam Israel(Holy Land) and absolutlly nothing at all to do with Rome, Italy whatsoever any more than it has to do with America or Texas. Rome is as important as Dallas.Texas in Revelation.. Is Dallas Texas important in Revelations? NO... neither is Rome Italy.
WOW! are you a mystic! you are correct...
Sorry, i had to stop at Noah. That is a story so far fetched that the most devout must stop and say..."Hmmmm". Open your mind to the fact that the stories in the bible, (virgin birth, etc) were not new stories even back then. Genesis is no different. Written by men who were simply trying to explain their universe. It was fine for the time. We understand things differently now. Don't let fear run your life.
Even if you don't agree with Geneis or the story of Noah, you have to admit that the allegory of the tale can have some sort of validity to what she is saying...even in terms of scientific understanding...
No, neither is Earth, this quadrant.
No One, don't be afraid. It's just you and me and seven billion others, who apparently need to adhear to one teaching. Please answer, what about the billions who lived before Christ?
Moses said " ALL FOR THE LORD COME TO ME " and all for pharaoh stay where you are. then he threw down
the stone tablets with the ten commandments on them and a great chasim opened up and swallowed up those
who did not believe.
WHAT SIDE WILL YOU BE ON WHEN CHRIST RETURNS ?
There's no need to worry about which side you're on. There will NEVER be a "second coming", because there was never a first coming.
Mirosal, then you must be a Jew.
Nope, sorry... Jews don't go to Catholic schools for 12 years like I did.
Have you, since you are on the internet, tried to explore all the most recent pictures of the galaxy? We are just one of so many galaxies. Just start there.
@ mirosal , then i guess we know what side you are on. just remember you can't take your words back
on judgment day so think hard before you totally commit to your beliefs.
Do not cast pearls before swine
true , but i have some health problems and have come close to seeing my maker. i can take some heat in the
kitchen. so now i have a little more fervency for debating with people. i try to keep it on a civil level also. sometimes
you give in to fleshing it out, but just preaching the need for repentance and the fact that hell is real is a one time
chance while were here. i figure if in the end people will listen and wake up it's worth it. all it takes is that mustard
seed of wanting to know the truth for them. then jesus can take the scales off their eyes and let them see. if it
happened to me it can happen to anyone.
I'm not worried about any "judgement day". Why should I be worried about a mythical being? You'd better get your head out of that buy-bull and see the real world around you. It isn't pretty. and if your "god" made this world, then "it" is as imperfect as "its" creation.
@ mirosal , the world isn't pretty, but it's people that make it that way. you need to go back to genesis and read
about the fall of man. why god gave us free will and let's the evil go on that does , nobody can fully understand.
but you can't run away from reality either. you will die and then what happens. Jesus provided a way back to
gods eternal plan for us. he never said this is heaven. we gave that up when satan decieved eve. but why
argue with gods word. why not believe he gave you a way back on the cross for all. it's simple. seek , knock
and you will find. jesus own words to those who ' REALLY WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH " and not believe
satan's lies. god's not an indian giver as the term is used these days. he didn't intend for us to die and suffer
the way we are. but just the fact that people are at war all over the world shows it's out of order. the one
who can set things straight will return. be ready.
You really ARE gullible aren't you? Oh no, there's an invisible being in the sky he's watching over me I better be good or I'll get punished when I die!!! Do good or else ... follow MY rules and you'll be ok, and if you don't I'll torment you for all eternity. What a vain and petty "god" you worship. That isn't love, it's coersion. There was no Zeus, no Odin, no Osiris, no Quatzecotl, and your "god" is just like them. In time, yours will also be relegated to the realm of mythology, just like ALL other "gods" have been. Epicurus' quote was right, and he was 300 years before your your poor little carpenter's son who turned into a zombie. And we all know zombies are as real as vampires and werewolves.
@gman: Where is your evidence for said god? The reason we don't believe is that we no evidence and any you potentially give us can be easily dismissed with actual evidence. There is no evidence to say an afterlife exists...not one person has ever returned from the dead. There is no evidence that your god ever existed. The burden of proof lies on the person making the claim. Telling us we will find out on judgement day is futile when even you can't be sure of that.
dude the evidence is all around you. take the sinful man equation out of our tainted picture of this world and your
left with the mountains, the stars, the universe and things we can't eve imagine. someone created all that. not to
mention the complexity of the human anatomy with it genome system. i can't prove god to anyone more than i can
resurrect myself out of the grave when i die. but wouldn't you like to know what happens when you die and why
you must die in the first place. haven't you ever asked yourself those questions. once you seek the answers give
gods word a chance. the last 2 chapters of job where god speaks to job are unbelievable in the way the lord
responds to job after his suffering. but i can tell you this. no man wrote that without help. no one could even
begin to put those words together without gods help. death is real and there is and answer. that's why we have
faith. we believe our maker will keep his word unlike satan and he will be waiting when we leave this earth.
Awww look, he's using the buy-bull as "evidence" lol ... Just because I can appreciate the beauty of a forest or a prairie, doesn't mean I have to believe in the fairies that keep it watered. Get with the times, ok? Page 11 is filling up, and you're still stuck on page 7. Just like your little book, it's stuck in the past. did it ever occur to you that the human genome wasn't mapped until recently because the technology wasn't readily available to goat herders thousands of years ago? "Gods" were created because man did not understand the natural world around him. We have a much better understanding now, and in time, the need to believe in any "god" will be seen as archaic and downright silly. Atheists are a little ahead of your learning curve, that's all. We'll type slower and use smaller words that you might not have been able to spell until you had that 3rd year of 6th grade.
@ mirosal, dude it's one thing to sincerely question the existance of god, it's another thing to be a smart ass
about it. as i said i can't prove god to anyone but those who trully want to know the truth will read and listen.
it also says in the bible every idle word will be given account for. so right now your digging your grave pretty
deep with contention towards the lord. christ can throw your sins as far as east is from west. but as it says
in the bible.
DO NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that parts up to you.
of course you can't put a "god" to the test. A "god" would fail, and the writers of your book knew it. How can you test for something that isn't there in the first place? All gods are man-made, and as General Patton once said, "Anything built by man can be destroyed by man." Just ask what happened to Zeus, Apollo, et. al. People stopped believing, and they vanished. It doesn't take much y'know.
@ mirosal, i'll answer that for you , once again you refuse to listen and read. the greek mythology stems
from the reality of scripture in the bible in genesis before the flood. the sons of god ( angels ) seeing how fair
the daughters of men were kept not their first estate but married and took for themselves wives of men. their
offspring were giants of old, men of renoun, heroes of old.
they also were cast immediately into hell and bound in chains of darkness in the book of jude for reservation to
judgement on that terrible day.
once again if you don't beleive nobody can do anything but pray for you. but on that day it's too late. at least
research something before you speak on it.
@ pntkl , acts 19:15,
" Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them
with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered. "
make sure you know what youre doing if you think you are casting out a demon as you see it. you might just as well
want to goto iraq and pick up a rifle or afghanistan and disarm land mines . you might have better luck there. your mouth
might get you blown up over there or a bullit up your ass. sure you want to mouth off.
@ gman , FROM GMAN , the last act's 19:16 statement was posted by accident and was meant for another
conversation. Please disregaurd it here .
Man does not created God. Really its exactly the opposite, God created man.
these so called analyst or writers or bloggers are not christains or do they subcribe to the least of christain beliefs yet the talk about something they no nothing about. i challenge them to debunk islam and try to prove mohd was who he claimed or some quranic text isnt really true. tired of irresponsible editors and biased write up.
Then don't read the articles or write CNN and complain to them...I'm sure they'd be happy to hear how you disagree with them, might not care but you'd at least give them something to laugh about.
I know one thing is a fact. A FACT: no one here nor the scholar in her article wants to talk about the tribulation saints and the 1,000 year rule of Christ. No one wants to talk about World Without End. FACT. Now go look up 1,000 year reign of Christ on his throne.. no one. Go look it up in the back of the bible.. tribulation saints or the 1,000 year reign of Christ.
No one. Not one of you. Nor a scholar. Nor a christian.
Yep, we don't want to talk about that
No, you damn sure don't want to talk about that.
Pagels has some serious errors here:
Nero was long dead by the time John wrote Revelation. 666 is not Nero.
Mark on forehead and hand is a symbolic representation of allegiance to God or in Revelation's case someone other than God. See Deuteronomy 11:18. That is why Jews today wear little prayer boxes on their head and wrists called a tefillin. John was referring to ones allegiance to the anit-Christ, NOT ANY TATOO OR BAR CODE!!!
One cannot help but wonder if Pagels has an axe to grind as she lost both her husband and her son therefore needing to condemn Christianity. It would really help if people that taught religion at major universities, really understood the belief system they are teaching.
good , you hit the nail on the head. tell pagel the real truth. i guess she might be dissillussioned.
RIght 666 the mark in symbolic reference to the hand and the forehead..
hand = $$$
forehead = thought and mind
(as if the antichrist says in blasphemy "Do this in rememberence)
hand.... forehead..... remember
yeah i agree with that
Really, CNN? On Palm Sunday, you publish a story ATTACKING Christianity? Classy. Real Classy.
It did no such thing, this is only an attack on ignorance.
I've heard this interpretation of the Revelation ... guess the writer will just have to wait see. 666 can also be Barney the Dinosaur's number. Gotta dig a little deeper to figure out who the antichrist is. I do believe we are living in the Revelation. Y'all who claim the Bible is a myth ... sit back and enjoy the show!
Nellah, thats what i am doing. the world is here for my entertainment. But i don't think the bible is a myth...
This isn't an article. It's an ad for a book. Earth shattering? Please, spare me. It's one person's belief or better put, "lack of faith" in the Word of God. The author has no credible university degree in history. I'd put her on par with Dan Brown and his Da Vinci code book. It's all about making money by creating sensational claims.
I wonder how come CNN and National Geographic during the Easter always run an article or program to try and disprove the deity of Jesus. During the Islamic holidays, they celebrate Islam. There is nobody in History that has been reviled like Jesus. Should get people thinking why? He is the REAL DEAL! Try as much as you like does not change the fact that He came, died, rose again and He is coming back. This author is rendering her opinion. The bible says only the Spirit of God gives life to the scriptures and in fact taunts those who think they are wise in their own eye. Does not change the FACT! JESUS is KING
You sure got a funny way of confusing facts wi th opinions, Frankie
The Bible is written by men – for men as is the Quran and the 'holy' books of all other religions.
Religions, all of them, are about having control of the masses, through fear and coersion.
Agreed. It is still being used in that manner o this day
Can not or disprove the Bible, You are a believer or not and more things has proven correct then not . First it was written by man and all was a dream to them, seers of the days. prove them wrong ?
the problem with your dogmatism is that the one who is obviously refered to in revalations as God , THE HEAD OF
THE SEVEN CHURCHES, says " Behold i come soon " , this means that if the book was written after Jesus death
then there will be a second coming of christ. It also says
18: I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them,
God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.
19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that
person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
GOOD LUCK WHEN YOU DIE TRYING TO EXPLAIN WHY YOU ADDED TO OR TOOK AWAY FROM THIS BOOK.
A man's logic, attempting to explain things for which they do not truly fathom, that does always have a bias that is a danger to the faith of your peers. A fellowship that does not truly believe their own doctrine hold a false doctrine. Revelation speaks of adding your own ideas into the Word, that for which does proceed from our Father. People will know when you speak out of the Spirit; for it will not fail deliverance to its destination. Drunkenness, that is confusion, is the reward of those that do find judgment and lack a love for their brother. To place yourself above another is to embrace inequity; that which does attain that for which is one's disdain. Addendum can be as simple as using Scripture to put down others, rather than lifting them up.
@ pntkl , that doesn't lesson the reality of chirst and people rejecting him. i could try to get satan to repent but
that would be useless since he's already condemed. and a christian isn't above anybody. he believes the blood
of christ delivers him from his sin. it's that simple. confess you are a sinner and accept the work of christ on
the cross. end of story that's all there is to salvation. if people can't do that they surely aren't entering god's
kingdom by thinking they are worthy because they are nice people. that's satan's doctrine.
@ pntkl i guess satan doesn't like hearing the truth. JESUS IS LORD. well after all the bible says he was a
murderer and a liar from the beginning. i suppose all the blood shed in sacrifices for cleansing in the old
testament was because people were nice.
the bible says " THE HEART IS DESPERATELY WICKED ABOVE ALL THINGS " , i don't confess to being
anything but as paul says chief of all sinners. people need to know they fall short of god's glory
and that they need to repent. or should jonah not have preached repent or perish. do you think god
just pats everybody on their shoulder for their sin and ignorance. not the holy god i know. no
one is above correction. i guess that includes you.
What do you know of these things you speak, or even to whom you speak? SATAN, that which does oppose, that isn't a doctrine. And what do you think you could abide by, in the presence of the Adversaries? Nothing, as it is not your power. You're not going to successfully argue with those that are given power over those that love lies. Rather, you are to rebuke them, in the name of my Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. Anything else, and you will be bound to their hypocrisies and blasphemies; they are given power over the proud, so much as to bind them forevermore, when their time does come.
No man is good, only my Father is. To say one thing, do another, and then admonish others to the contrary–that is to elevate oneself. To condemn another, based on your understanding, that is to condemn yourself by the same merit. This Kingdom you speak of isn't attainable for those that reject their brothers, those that would bring contention here into. To accept the Son, that is to accept that not only are you sinful, but that you are to die daily, to reject your former self. Any other doctrine is man's, not even a doctrine those that do already condemn mankind to being unworthy of Atonement and Salvation.
The Adversaries' argument with my Father is this, "To the mud they came, to the mud they return. They will always fall short of your glory. Therefore, they do not deserve your Grace." This king is not their advocate; quite the opposite. Those are the words of their king, Those that follow that king, Abaddon does carry them into the pit; which is what man calls the second death, ultimately a misnomer, not something well understood even by the most ancient orders of Creation. Even still yet, my Father's forgiveness, His Love, His compassion, His kindness–it transcends all time and eternities. What man can tell Him for whom He does chose? What man can say for surety what man will sit next to the throne? Even more perplexing to man: what man can tell when they are in the presence of divinity, if they are so drunk? Sinfulness rejects the presence of righteousness; even so much as to send away.
What's the point of teaching those that already know everything and reject admonishment? What of this world, even your understanding, do you think may go with you, when you are carried away? If you can't even accept certain truths already told–what truths hereafter could you possibly fathom? The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.
@ pntkl, dude it's obvious from you rambling that you are not saved, or you are decieved. Your don't quote scripture
and it sounds like your spitting out satans words who pretends to be god as an angel of light. the bible says :
1st john 4 , brothers do not be decieved , many antichrist have come and many more will , but test ye the spirits.
this is how you shall know the spirit of the lord. any one who confesses that the very JESUS WE PREACH
CAME AND DIED ON THE CROSS AND WAS RESURRECTED AGAIN, this is the spirit of GOD.
WHY DON'T YOU JUST QUOTE " JESUS IS LORD AND HE DIED AND WAS RESURRECTED " or is that beyond
your teachings in catholic school. it also says call no man father.
@ pntkl1 , oh yah , also hitler was king for a while . i suppose the jews should have just bowed to him.
wake up moron. JESUS SAID GO OUT INTO THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOSPEL. what do you think
that means. or don't you believe the word of god to be just that ?
Love can overcome Hate. Without further ado, I will miss you. For when you accepted darkness, yet thought yourself in the light, your darkness became deeper than any light will penetrate. On your journey, hereafter, may you remember me. On my Father's terms, will you be lifted; only after loosing your vain ambitions.
@ pntkl , dude obviously again you couldn't profess the simplest truth , JESUS CHRIST IS LORD .. your lack
of this very truth shows you are decieved and you are listening to an angle of darkness. CHRIST DIED FOR
SINNERS. what do you think that means. He commanded us to preach the gospel. if you keep following satan
you will miss a lot of things. I dont know what's happened in your life that causes you to reject christ but
but satans whole purpose is to destroy you and anyone he can take with him. if you can't confess publicaly
on this website that you are a believer in JESUS CHRIST then you are walking in darkness with satan.
WWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKKKKEEEEE UPPPPPP before it's too late.
@ pntkl , oh one other things , yes love can overcome hate, but why wasn't satan saved ? do you think god
is imperfect because satan was lost. why didn't love save satan or was god at fault. youd better be careful
what you listen to. god gives us free will and isn't afraid of disciplining his own. don't put the lord your god
to the test.
lol nice post.
Funny how all these "christians" twist things to justify their satanistic capitalistic ways
Even without a willingness to read this in its entirety, I will give you my time, once more. As it isn’t simply offered to you, I do reach out. You yet realize that if I said to you, "I am He," you would have still accused me of having bad spirits [along with so many others]. The conversation would proceed with your desire to test my Father, for which all things do proceed, even that for which you reject, without consideration. Even so much as to be of the delusion that He works on your time, rather than on His own. There are no favors done by someone that claims falsely, their words spilling forth with that which is vile and defiled. Just as many, for you, somehow I should simplify everything, so there could be fancy stories which are easily remembered. This is not the time, nor should I need to clarify that for which the Holy Spirit does proffer to those that would so accept the gift that proceeds in washing and rebirth.
It is not by you that I have enmity; rather it is by your bindings to this world that I sought to sow a seed. Likewise, it is not by my own wrath, but rather in the Word, it is that may be so judged. These things are not here one moment and gone the next. The Bible, for which you so rely for justification, it also is a reproof of what has been said; regardless of your acceptance of any of it.
@ pntkl , witchcraft and divination by any other name are still the same. SATANS WORK.
Second chances offered to you, if there is a tertiary accusal of that for which you do not understand, let alone sympathize. Again, you would do well to choose your words carefully. What does a believer and Belial have in common? Whereas Belial would be so willing have bound you in your hypocrisy–my Father sent me before you, to be a stumbling block to him who is without yoke, that is, to the one without worth. Even so, without personal effort, to prove or disprove what has been said, to be so foolish as to use harsh words, such as moron (its root in Eugenics, a pursuit of the Sons of Belial), or to make blind claims, such as that the one you seek to contend (this is no contest) lacks reproof in scripture (see Proverbs 20, referencing that which precedes this discourse), that is to validate the contradiction in not your affiant's words, no, only your own. As has been said, now in duality: all this harshness is for naught.
You tempt my Father, Him who is slow to anger. It is my Father's love for me and requisitely so yourself that does let your blindness pass by a fullness of judgment, for you to justly analyze His Word, which in all rite, flows from Him, through me, even in the Holy Spirit. By it, you are offered Salvation; yet you judge its constraints, which was, is, and will be, from the beginning of our rendezvous, unwavering.
As you did not seek me, with a wholeness of your being, I did find you. It is our yearning for your acceptance of heavenly authority, to which does any of this proceed. However, you have before you all that is required to know the tender Spirit, myself, or my Father. Tempt further and wrath you shall receive, the consequences you are already forewarned, that is, to walk an eternity waiting for my Father to lift you up, on most difficult eternal terms, rather than the ease of these mortal terms. Even as I departed, your retort is contemptuous, and will bring no man to joy and/or peace. In these three paragraphs, this is your moment, to choose to be free or be sieved, by the latter way, you do not stand before us blameless.
@ pntkl , the gospel is as simple as JESUS DIED FOR MY SINS ON THE CROSS, NOT SOME ELOQUENT OF SPEECH
HUMAN PASSING ON SATANS AMBITIONS. WITCHES WERE STONED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT. YOU HAVENT
ONCE CONFESSED OR FOCUSED ON JESUS ON THE CROSS. YOU ARE THE ONE IN DANGER.
@ pntkl , also again moron, i gave you scripture to refute your stupidity.
1st john 4 , test ye the spirits. any spirit that does not confess the risen christ jesus is of satan. that simple.
i'm still waiting for you to open your mouth and confess him as lord.
@ pntkl , and please spare me the satanic rambling , the bible also says let your yes be yes and your no be no .
anything more is of satan. IS JESUS CHRIST LORD OR NOT ?
And if I had professed His name, in myriad variety, would you have sought to recognize it? What more should be said, if all is from the Father? Should I submit to your will, rejecting my Fathers? Enjoy the life you are given, it is but a glimpse, in any walk too short to find yourself obsessing so circularly. This is best described as an argument of ignorance, even in the years of our Lord.
This is not the time to fail in your duty to become a lover of words, that is to become studious of the language you speak and read. Otherwise, many truths are crossed, yet unmarked. I am your brother, yet you strike the shod of Christ having contention. In no uncertain terms, you must lose yourself in Him, in so much as to regard your enemy as your brother, that is to heed these words: "Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee."
If you do not spend the time to validate these words, would the correction ever take hold, to graft that which is like a snapped twig? "Man’s goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way? It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry." That which is said to you, in these words, will be expounded upon no more. You need time to think, rather than speaking without doing the prior, in fervent prayer. Not only do I depart again, but leave you these things, for you to ponder. I exhort you to read Proverbs twenty, in its entirety, to leave this conversation, not as a wound, but as a bandage. To speak more, against these things, that is to confirm to the Body your darkness is encompassing, to hide yourself away, from God.
@ pntkl , if you can't confess JESUS CHRIST AS THE RISEN LORD , then you are not saved or hiding something.
it's that simple.
@ pntkl , Satan calls himself God and father , and sin is from satan , the bible says he is the author of evil.
Satan uses scripture also. He told eve god did not tell that should could eat of every tree in the garden.
Satan masquerades as an angel of light.
Satan professes to be our brother and sister and every other thing he can impersonate.
A TRUE CHRISTIAN DOESN'T BANTER WORDS BUT SIMPLY SAY WHEN ASKED " JESUS IS LORD "
IF YOU CAN NOT DO THAT , YOU ARE NOT SAVED . END OF STORY. YOU NEED
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were verysorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
@ pntkl , should i forgive satan also or is he not condemed. i guess gods love must be imperfect and he can not
even keep his angels from hell. scripture also says
REBUKE YOUR BROTHER AND IF HE REPENTS THEN FORGIVE , IF HE WILL NOT LISTEN BRING 2 OR 3 AND
GOTO HIM AGAIN , IF HE STILL WILL NOT REPENT THEN TREAT HIM AS A PAGAN. A NON BELIEVER. SO
OBVIOUSLY THERE IS A TIME TO FORGIVE AND A TIME NOT TO.
OR DO YOU NOT KNOW ECCLESIASTES ! for everything there is a
there is a time to be born,
a time to love,
a time to hate,
a time to kill,
a time to heal,
a time to die.
and i still hear your satanic rumbling and no clear yes or no. JESUS IS LORD. oh that's right
satan is your master.
@ pntkl, you almost sound like a mormon , a false religion of satan. a cult. everyone knows joseph smith
is a false prophet and the mormon doctrine is satans religion. either way it's witchcraft in the lords eyes.
thats why you can't understand the real work of the blood on the cross. you listen to false teachings
of satans churches. just like one of the seven in revelations.
He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the HolyGhost shall not be forgiven unto men.
And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.
Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
"If there were only thirty righteous persons in the world, I and my son should make two of them; but if there were but twenty, I and my son would be of the number; and if there but ten, I and my son would be of the number; and if there were but five, I and my son would be of the five; and if there were but two, I and my son would be those two; and if there were but one, myself should be that one."
"If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
@ pntkl , maybe someday you'll just either confess JESUS or maybe you won't. As i said the bible also says let
your yes be yes and your no be no. And once again any one who confesses the very JESUS that the apostles
preached to be the resurrected christ is of the holy spirit. and once again anything more than that for the sake
of arguement or contention is of satan. if you think you have achieved perfection then you consider yourself
superior to the apostle paul who said my members struggle daily to overcome the world , and my flesh
desires to do that which i do not want it to do. and god gave him a thorn to keep him humble because of
his exceedingly great revelation. what third heaven have you ever been called up to that allows you not
consider yourself chief of all sinners and saved by the grace of our lord jesus as paul professes in the beginning
of his every sermon. i suppose you found favor like enoch and have been taken personally before the throne of
god. or which sinner are you , the one who beat his breast and said "lord forgive me the sinner" , or the one
who said " thank god i am not like all the rest " , and as god said to job , " where were you when i laid
the foundations of the earth ?
if you don't have an answer for these things, i would go back to considering myself a sinner like everyone else
and preaching the grace of our lord and savior instead of a corrupt philosophy tainted by satan's perfectionism
and human achievment.
the only words that get you through the door on judgment day are " JESUS DIED FOR MY SINS "
I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.
For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?
In finality, yes: I sit next to His throne, that is יהוה, before the Host of Heaven, that for which is called Hoste Antige or the old Army. In my place, from Himself, to me, it is for you to be of full recognizance, "Love can overcome Hate."
Debasement, that which is contention, it is not of my spirit. In all that is to come, His message for you all that stumble upon this discourse is this: The world is changing. Read the Scriptures and walk into His houses, with the utmost reverence, in rememberance of His Son, who did shed His blood for the salvation of all mankind, for those that do call upon His name.
All thanks and supplication to my Father, who is in Heaven, and does come quickly, faster than even a thief in the night. I love you, gman, and I would hope we all can learn to do as He does first and most expediently, forgive, never forget, and to always be with those that do call upon His name, our mothers, our fathers, our brothers, and our sisters.
For we are not born of man, foremost is our birth in spirit. In no way does that make one conviction greater than another, if all are in faith of that for which did bleed upon a tree. Some may call upon Him, Lord Lord, yet never fall within His arms. We are not to say who is or for who isn't upon the seat's arm lengths. However, with surety does He and Him alone choose. May God bless you, in your walk, if you do heed to His Word, and also do good works. Amen.
@ pntkl , acts 19:15,
with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered. "
make sure you know what youre doing if you think you are casting out a demon as you see it. you might just as well
want to goto iraq and pick up a rifle or afghanistan and disarm land mines . you might have better luck there. your mouth
might get you blown up over there or a bullit up your ass. sure you want to mouth off.
@ pntkl, once again as you can see , I BELIEVE ONLY THE NAME OF JESUS CAN DEFEAT SATAN. all the
pretense and application of the word of GOD without that name is nothing. So if you say shall i come in meekness
or with love or with a rod. Know who you are dealing with. I have had world karate pka champions tell me
never underestimate your opponent. And when it comes to spiritual warfare and satan you better know
what youre dealing with. The blood of christ is all that defeats satan. " IT IS FINISHED " , if you are in christ
there is now no condemnation. so be careful what you say. I'll take the name of Jesus in battle before any
other thing. And it says in the bible the leaders will be judged more harshly. So i'll just keep evangelising that
name. I'm no ones judge but i'm not perfect either and don't have to claim to be to tell someone about Jesus
Christ. If that were the case , none of us would be worthy to preach. I'm not seeking a place in leadership
right now. Only telling satan where he's going for all eternity and trying to wake up others like this lady.
they may not always like hearing it but it's better sometimes to make them really think before it's too late.
So as paul and barnabus did we can part ways and agree to disagree. No sense in arguing and i'll simply say
what jesus did.
Go Out Into the World and Preach the Gospel to Every Living Creature. Heal the Sick and Lame and
bring them the good news of Salvation. May the holy spirit guide you into all truth.
To understand these things isn't to lean on your own understandings. If you do heed His request, it will be found, for which all precepts do lay upon. That is, read the Scriptures, and go to His Church, in reverence. Prior to my testimony, which is now before the world, as if it were a proverbial city on a hill–I cited Paul, that is 1 Cor 4. Til we meet, in that place which knows no pains of doubt, I bid you farewell.
Pagels has built her career on promoting gnosticism and, as such, she (and her books) don't provide a reliable "deposit of the faith". For an interesting and compelling look at the book of Revelation, you might consider reading Scott Hahn's text: The Lamb's Supper. He's a legit biblical historian, who has struggled with the bible for decades.
The biggest myth is religion itself
Just love it when the only religious text being "debunked" is the text sacred to Christians and Jews – and just before Easter and Passover. OK, John Blake – author of several recent CNN articles debunking Christian beliefs – do you challenge all religious beliefs or target only one?
Just to be fair, what you do for one, you should do for all – right? So why don't you put your cross-hairs on the Qu'ran, Buddhist Sutras or Bhagavad Gita and do similar debunking reports on each of these texts? The gauntlet has been thrown down… will you man-up or wimp-away?
They are all relatively easy to discredit, you are correct... The big 3 (Islam, Christianity, Judaism) cause all of the beef lately so should be debunked first
thanks, thats a good comment. all these so called analyst can only target christianity. let them target islam and lets see what remains of them. rubbish write up and claiming to debunk that or this.
Revelation is a sacred book for JEWS ? LMAO
Alex, the bible says to kill all non believers, refering to non Jews. It is not all about you Chief.
So your argument is that because someone is making valid arguments against what most people accept as common beliefs in Christianity (which, by the way, were not attacks on the religion at all), he should do the same thing against Islam, just to be fair? I just want to get this straight. Because that's absolutely asinine–I mean, like, really stupid. That's your problem. You can't read something for what it is. You have to try to tear it down by saying he didn't mention something else that is entirely unrelated to the article itself. This whole 'what you do for you, one should do for all' suggestion is actually far more biased and petty than this article because you're trying to diminish another faith because you feel like someone has done that to yours. It never claims to debunk Christianity, only to clarify four myths/misunderstandings from the Book of Revelation. It was well-written, thoughtful, and informative. But you've gotten all butt-hurt about it because he didn't put down other religions at the same time. You were probably that kid who ratted your friends out when you got in trouble in grade school. It's time to grow up.
Alex – Technically, Christianity is a Jewish sect – following and studying the teachings of a Jew from Galilee. However, you are correct – I was just too brief.
Obviously, Jews have the Tanakh [Old Testament] and Christians have the Old [same books arranged in a different order] and New Testaments, and each text is considered a Bible. [Bible: from the Greek noun, “biblos,” for “the books” or to be more precise “the scrolls”]
Alex, thank you for calling me on that point. It’s always good when someone can add humor to your day, isn’t it?
Bill – Apologies for disappointing you – I am NOT Christian. It appears your BELIEF that I am a Christian is based purely on emotions, not facts.
If you google ‘John Blake CNN articles’ you will bring up some of his recent articles which include:
– “Actually, That’s Not In the Bible”
– “Would Jesus Support Healthcare Reform” [presuming to speak for someone else is always touchy]
– “Why Young Christians Aren’t Waiting Anymore”
As he is a contributor to CNN, he has articles out there on various topics with a number of them focusing on religion. He appears to focus on the negative side – which is there and I am delighted it can be talked about – yet he publishes them just before a religious holiday. I don’t believe it is a coincidence. Is his TIMING respectful of that faith? Come to your own conclusion.
I don't read this as an attack at all. It is scholarly interpretation and history of a single book of the new testament. Revelation has always befuddled me. It seems contextually dis-joined from the other new testament books.
I would welcome reading other writings about the origins of other non-christian holy books, but I think you're wrong in attacking this article as something it isn't – an assault on the bible.
It is far easier to be against a concept than to be for one. It is interesting to me how many people on threads like this are against the concepts and many times vehemently so. And yet not one of them has ever been able to explain to me why they are so angry about something they say doesn't exist.
Religion exists, but if u believe it is nonsense then it's frustrating that it holds such prominence in our society and that of the world, causing many conflicts both interpersonal and militaristic... And that our politicians must espouse it is pathetic in this day and age....
@Charlie.......Does religion cause the conflict or do people cause the conflict?
Religion puts the people into separate groups, creates the disagreement over their worldview, allows leaders to incite violence and sacrifice, Et... Guns and religion both kill people, evn though they are both tools of man and don't kill without man
a very nice feature of christianity is that a "news outlet" can publish an article such as this without being marched upon and targeted by fatwa by a millions followers calling for their demise
True, militant fanatic Christains are somewhat more tolerant than militanty fanatic Muslims, but then, if that is your best basis for comparason, its pretty sad.
The bible is nothing but mythology ...
Seiously... It's like the lord of the rings
It's like lord of the rings, only people don't kill each other over lord of the rings.
The difference between the bible and "Lord of the Rings" is that the latter is actually a good read. The former can be quite tedious and requires a great deal of discipline to read in its entirety.
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.