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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. Ohplease

    Luke 6 32 “And if YOU love those loving YOU, of what credit is it to YOU? For even the sinners love those loving them. 33 And if YOU do good to those doing good to YOU, really of what credit is it to YOU? Even the sinners do the same. 34 Also, if YOU lend [without interest] to those from whom YOU hope to receive, of what credit is it to YOU? Even sinners lend [without interest] to sinners that they may get back as much. 35 To the contrary, continue to love YOUR enemies and to do good and to lend [without interest], not hoping for anything back; and YOUR reward will be great, and YOU will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind toward the unthankful and wicked. 36 Continue becoming merciful, just as YOUR Father is merciful.

    April 2, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      I'm an atheist. I disagree with a lot of people, but I don't consider them my "enemies", although some of them consider me their enemy. Why do Christians always have to have enemies? Why didn't Jesus teach people to coexist with others?

      April 2, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Joshua

      When Jesus stated to love your enemies and to do good to them. Was that not considered a way of co-existing?

      April 2, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Ohplease

      People who hate you have made themselves your enemies. We do not always choose to be considered an enemy...

      April 2, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Ohplease

      Enemy – unfriendly opponent: somebody who hates or seeks to harm somebody or something

      April 2, 2012 at 12:40 am |
  2. chrisw1964

    My student ID number was 666 in my freshman year of college...but it was a Presbyterian school, so I'm probably safe?

    April 2, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Joshua

      you will be ok.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • chrisw1964

      Good to know...if I'd been the actual Antichrist, I would've made some arrangements for better grades my freshman year

      April 2, 2012 at 12:41 am |
  3. Danny

    I know I probably sound contentious, but I've just never had questions answered by true atheists before and I'm truly interested in an answer.

    So if your a true atheist, and everything ends when we die. Why does it matter what we do in this world, or how we leave it? Why does right and wrong even matter?

    April 2, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • momoya

      It's quite complex, Danny, and it requires careful, studied consideration, but don't worry, you have a lifetime to think about it all.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • bff

      Danny,
      Right and wrong matters because we have evolved that way. We are a social anamal. If we did not cooperate, the human species would not be here now.

      Our morals come from within, however we are responsible to everyone else for our behaviors. That is why we have developed jails and courts. So we decide both individually and collectively what morals we follow.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • momoya

      What matters, is how YOU live with YOUR own decisions and how YOU leave the world a better or worse place in what ways.. Perhaps there is an eternal "consequence" for your actions but perhaps not–either way, don't you want to really discuss all issues and think about decisions freely instead of always worrying about how it will shift the baggage of your bronze-age myths?>

      April 2, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Joshua

      I think Danny's question to Athiests is.

      If you do not believe in God. Then what was the development of your human social skills? How do you know right from wrong?

      April 2, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      Danny
      Do you have children, or a wife and family? Do you care what will happen to them as they try to go on living after you're gone? If you do, then why on earth would you make a life out of hurting others and destroying the environment? If everyone felt this way then what would be left those we leave behind? We may not prey, but we still have hope, and we hope that living a good life without hurting others will inspire others to do the same, making it a better place for our loved ones and everyone else to continue living in after we are gone. That's why it matters.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Danny

      Thanks bff. I don't understand your position, but your answer is clear to me. I wish there were more atheists like you.

      I no longer think these arguments are between atheists and those who follow religion. Just bleep holes and bleep heads. And it looks to me that both sides have plenty of each.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Steve

      what you are suggesting is that the only reason to do good is to get rewarded (or avoid punishment) when we die. This is a child like view of mortality that many people see beyond. There is value in being good to your fellow and (and lady) for many earthly reason. Such values as integrity, self respect, love of your fellow man and even good karma turn out to be far better reasons to be good that the hope of joining Jesus on a cloud somewhere. I think you may recognize such things as the 'Golden rule' if you read your bible.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • atheist4sure

      an easy answer – your question asserts that we as humans "need" the gospel, a belief in a deity or some other nonsensical ideology to be moral or have a purpose in life ....how childishly typical your assumptions are... we atheists are generally a happy lot who, despite nonsensical stereotypes, are a happy and quite useful group who do not require an adolescent dependency on any religion or deity to feel whole or live an abundant moral life......and most of us actually refrain from gloating in our way of thinking.... so there :P

      April 2, 2012 at 12:33 am |
  4. Javier, Philadelphia, PA

    Momya-Yes I will rejoice when you go to hell. enough said, and debbie that is islam not christianity you moron. I do however believe that you are destined to be one of those goats that muslim get rewarded with when they die cause you stopped being a virgin several hundred men ago.

    April 2, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • momoya

      Again, thank you for making the point so well.. Christians are the type to rejoice in another person's never ending pain.. Non believers don't share that callousness.. I'm good, here.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Joshua

      I'm a Christian and I don't wish any pain on you. I do however hope and pray that you will see the truth.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • DebbieNJ

      Javier – I'm willing to bet I've been with fewer men than you have :)

      April 2, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • chrisw1964

      And the winner is....DebbieNJ, by a landslide

      April 2, 2012 at 1:05 am |
  5. MIKE HOWELL

    Well,Certainly give every Christian something & someone to pray for tonight. May God open these blinded people's eyes. God sent a vindicated prophet in this day to give the interpretation on " The book of Revelation, which is the revelation of Jesus Christ and how He has worked through the 7 Church Ages & The 7 Seals. All which can be found in the ministry of William Branham. Malachi 4 , Revelation 10:1-7, Luke 17:30. MAY GOD RICHLY BLESS YOU

    April 2, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Shorn

      Undeniable fact: The books of the bible were written by humans. The were collected by humans for human reasons. Maybe they were inspired by god, probably not. Jesus said he would return within the lifetime of the disciples. He didn't. Christianity was an end-times cult. 2,000 years ago.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  6. montanacrosses

    Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. John the Beloved disciple of Jesus wrote the book and it is really about a wedding....Jesus coming back for His Bride. To those who love Him it is a love story, because He comes for those who love Him....and we want to be with Him! To those who don't it's a prelude to Hell. Gross darkness is coming upon the earth. That has never happened before. Find Him now while you still can. He loves you. Jesus is the real deal.

    April 2, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  7. Red Cardinal

    Yes, call it myth or what you want. Religion is here and for some it is a force for good and for others it is a force for bad. Did the great deity choose us or did we choose him? Leaders often chose a focal point for others to rally around. Moses was a good example of a leader who chose to use God and what God said to keep a wandering race from disintegrating. It was an astute move politically and economically and ensured the survival of the desert generation. It kept everybody together and set the rules for survival in a dry and barren environment where the team had to pull together and have a rallying cry. Moses gave them God and the commandments ........ the best way of ensuring survival.

    April 2, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • Gerald

      Moses? The same Moses that slaughtered an entire ancient civilization so he and his parasitic priest could share the spoils? He didn't obey his own 10 Commandments! Read Numbers 31. He was the Saddam Hussein of the ancient world.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  8. barnbldr

    Pagels didn't do very much research. Revelation is included in earlier catalogs of accepted Bible books than Athanasius. The Muratorian Fragment, Iraneus, and Clement of Alexandria all predate Athanasius by over 180 years. Revelation was long accepted by the time he came along

    April 2, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  9. Howdy-Doodie

    All religion is the ROOT to ALL EVIL in this world. . agree with Pagel. . people in those days wrote whatthey wanted for their own benefit . .just like our lying soceity today. . manipulation of the masses for their own twisted agenda !! think about the next time Christian, Jew, Muslims, Hindus Jackals etc, etc wage war against innocent peoples just b/c they don't think the same way YOU think they should. . .exactly the opposite of what "peace preaching tolerates religion IS SUPPOSED to be. . it's just one perosne way of bending what the TRUTH is . . and most religious people will never be able to accept the REALITY of it all ! ! !wake up human race before we do destroy humanity & NOT b/c of revelations. . but b/c of STUPIDITY!!

    April 2, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • Joshua

      You are so correct. Its not like there are Christian missionaries around the world helping starving disease infested children and adults. Truly a root of evil if you ask me. Please!!!!

      April 2, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  10. Ed Hayden

    John of Patmos was the Jonathan Swift of his day.

    April 2, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  11. b4bigbang

    Sarah

    Cnn should mind there buisness about religon because this is a very Deciptive article aiming to confuse and make disbelief You dont see people pearing into the Quran do We? this is all based off One person Pagels beliefs. I dont believe this article is RIGHT at all!

    Sarah brings up a great point. Notice the lack of liberal Islamic theology articles on cnn belief. While the liberals in Islam do exist (S Rushdie comes to mind) they refuse to print them.
    I guess they're afraid of terrorist violence.

    April 2, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  12. Smitty

    Thats the problem. You have non christians writing about something they don't understand. They write with a bias but whatever sells people will do it i guess

    April 2, 2012 at 12:06 am |
  13. Pipe-Dreamer

    REFLECTIONS ABYSS

    The mirrored reflections of socialisms will ever hide many individual's oneness. "I am alone" when one looks passed socialisms' reflectives. You will never truly be united with me nor myself. I am myself and nothng more. You are the mirrored reflectiveness that keeps me wanting to learn. I am fearful oh God of my unleavened spirit. You oh God know my innermost thoughts and you oh God do see myself's pain to know you oh God. Without my always trying to know you oh God, I would be without much reason to want living and to be alive. You oh God are my Life's nourishing moments in Time.

    April 2, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  14. Fred

    This article is an attack against both Islam and Christianity. The end times are clearly stated in the prophetic books of the old testament (called the Tawrat in Islam) and several books in the New Testament (Injil in Islam). I just wish CNN would not highlight controversial books written by questionable, anti-Allah writers.

    April 2, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • bff

      If you call facts and the truth an attack, then so be it.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • Fred

      If there were any truth in the article. It blatantly denies many verses in both the old testament and the new. But then again the author did read Revelation once when she was young, and then again when she wrote her book, I guess that would make her an expert...

      April 2, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • bff

      Fred,
      Can you summerize these "clearly stated" end times for me? Exactly what and when.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      Fred
      Have you read any of the other "Revelations", Apocalyptic literature of the first few centuries, to compare it with? If you haven't then you're about as much an expert on this topic as someone who has read only the Bible is on sacred scriptures and myths, or a person who has read only one poem is on poetry, right?

      April 2, 2012 at 12:31 am |
  15. Kevin

    I find it amazing that the author who has a scholarly background could write such utter nonsense. Anyone reading this book would instantly recognize that the majority of its subject deals with the end times and not with the then Roman power. Revelations discusses a future world empire under the power of the Antichrist,a single monetary system, the rebuilding of a third Jewish Temple, and a peace treaty negotiated by Antichrist w/Israel. Antichrist then visits the temple, declares himself to be god and demands total worship. Lastly the final world war begins and Christ returns. So please tell me when this scenario in world history or Jewish history played itself out before? ANSWER: NEVER! I think anyone who can read would not come across the ideas Dr. Pagel sets forth as actual information from the text itself. The author has wasted her time and effort writing this rubbish. In my opinion, having scholarly credentials is no guarantee that sound and sane work will result.

    April 2, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • sally forth

      Unfortunately for your argument, that is the purpose of a scholarly work, to bring out ambiguities and expose them within their historical context in order to see if our removal in time has brought any new insights into the authors work ... forest for the trees kind of stuff. That is why Christianity is a living religion, we are still looking and thinking and refreshing our belief. When we come to the time that that is no longer possible, Christianity will become one of the dead religions that litter the highway of eternity. I vote to keep my mind open to a new revelation that keeps God in my heart.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:11 am |
  16. b4bigbang

    fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
    Heb 12:2

    Great verse momoya

    April 2, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • momoya

      "Glory" is the better translation.. Jesus went to the cross for the glory that was set before him.. Not to help you or make things better for you, but for his own glory.. Jesus saved you as a secondary effect–the primary thing he was after was glory.. What a egotist.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Fred

      Nope, the word used is "cara" in Greek, which means:

      1) joy, gladness
      1a) the joy received from you
      1b) the cause or occasion of joy
      1b1) of persons who are one's joy

      April 2, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • momoya

      LOL!!! So Jesus did it for his own joy.. He did it for himself..

      April 2, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Fred

      The joy of returning creation to himself. Kinda like when your kid goes astray, and gets in legal trouble. You take the brunt of the punishment, and pay for your kids transgression. It caused him pain, but joy also, he gets the relationship with his kids restored.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • momoya

      I don't think it means so much when he's willing to let his Pop fry 99% of his creation in a pit of torture forever and ever, but hey, whatever you say.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • b4bigbang

      Wrong on at least 2 counts momoya:
      1) You had to choose the "better translation" (according to you at this point, but no big deal).
      2) You don't understand the Bible meaning of glory. It's not limited to worldly renown or praise but when applied to God it refers to the supernatural light, halo, ring or what have you, and as such it is a part of God Himself.
      3) Bonus point here: also remember that Jesus was God BEFORE he incarnated. The heart of the gospel is that God became a man in order to save Mankind, when he didnt have to.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • momoya

      Well, anybody has to choose a translation, it's the bible and can be translated a thousand different ways by a thousand different believers for a thousand different reasons.. The point is, Jesus did it for something he would receive, and it only cost him a bad weekend.. Not a bad deal for the fella.. His dad is still torturing 99% of his creation for all eternity, right?? So who really cares?

      April 2, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  17. truth

    Mat 24:3-5,10-11 (NIV) ..."Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" Jesus answered, "Watch out that no one deceives you, for many will come in my name,.. At that time many will turn away from the faith... and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people."

    As spiritual adultery increases in the church, false prophets will flourish as highly sought after speakers, and as Christians accept more of these false teachings indiscriminately, many will fall away, believing in a phony "faith". Since we have been warned, it might be wise to seek insight into how to discern false prophecy–what are false prophets likely to say? What are they like?

    Signs And Wonders
    Deut. 18:20-22 (NIV) "A prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death. You may say to yourselves, 'How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?' If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously..."

    But what if it does come true? In fact, aren't we specifically warned that near the End of the Age many will show great signs and wonders? What then? Are signs and wonders "fruit"? Effective witchcraft is not the "fruit" we are to look for (Gal 5:22-23). Signs and wonders are not to be sought (Mat 16:4). Does the prophet call for repentance, for holiness and loyalty to Christ? Or is he providing an enticing strip-tease away from God?
    Deut 13:1-3 (NIV) "If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, 'Let us follow other gods' (gods you have not known) 'and let us worship them,' you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul."

    The Enemy Is Among You...
    Deut. 13:5 -8 (NIV) "That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the Lord your God... He has tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you. If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you,.. do not yield to him or listen to him..."

    Jer 9:2-6 (NIV) "...For they are all adulterers, a crowd of unfaithful people. They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph in the land. They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me," declares the Lord. "Beware of your friends; do not trust your brothers. For every brother is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer. Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth... You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me," declares the Lord.

    Jer 23:33-36 (NIV) "When these people, or a prophet or a priest, ask you, 'What is the oracle of the Lord?' say to them, 'What oracle?..' You must not mention 'the oracle of the Lord' again, because every man's own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the Lord Almighty, our God."

    False Prophets, And Their Followers, Reject The Truth
    Neh 9:26 (NIV) "But they were disobedient and rebelled ...They killed your prophets, who had admonished them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies."

    Isa 30:9-11,15 (NIV) These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord's instruction. They say to the seers, "See no more visions!" and to the prophets, "Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!" This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it."

    April 2, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • Fred

      Yup

      April 2, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  18. geo

    Patmos is a greek island in the Aegean and not in present day Turkey. Please change it and buy the author an atlas...

    April 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • sally forth

      they are speaking historically.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  19. Danny

    momoya, but here is my question.
    If you truly believe what you do, why does it matter to you that I quit believing in "Santa"?

    April 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • momoya

      Because you'll make smarter, better decisions on increasingly important matters.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • bff

      ... and so will your children (if you have any) and other people you interact with.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  20. Joshua

    So since ppl here seem to believe the bible is a myth and made up. Can I ask you if you think the Big Bang THEORY is considered a FACT in your book?

    April 1, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • zeyn2010

      People do not worship the Big Bang Theory – because it IS a theory – it can be debunked and rewritten anytime – it is OK.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • Joshua

      Oh ok I understand. It is ok for an hateful athiest to come in here and slap me in the face for believing in a so called "Myth" but yet they can not explain one thing to me which makes them think the bible is a "Myth". Look at the Middle East right now. Read Ezekiel 38, Isaiah 17, and Zechariah 14. You will find the answer to why I believe it is true.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • mandarax

      The big bang theory is the prevailing theory because it best explains the best current evidence. As better evidence acc.umulates the theory will likely be refined or perhaps even rejected. That is what is honest about science. Ideas are never "Truth," they are constantly re-evaluated.

      It is not however, and either/or situation. You might as well say, "if you guys consider the bible a myth, do you believe that cellular biology is a fact?

      April 2, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • bff

      How can you equate modern science with the bible? The scientific theory is the best mechanism we have for finding out the truth. Scientists all over the world work independently to postulate theories and test them. There are huge points for debunking theories! Imagine that!.

      On the other hand we have a static, 2000+ year old set of stories from the desert that never change (except for errors in the translations, and an occasional addition or deletion).

      April 2, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • zeyn2010

      I'm not judging anyone who believes in any holy book – I just don't want to be forced to live according to their beliefs – I am here to make sure we live in a country where there is a separation of church and state, and politicians don't politicize religions to get votes.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Joshua, there is way more evidence for the Big Bang Theory than for any god. But that is easy 'cause there is not a bit of verifiable, objective, independent or factual evidence to support the existence of any god.

      You think The Babble has prophesised current events – please spell them out and demostrate how they unambiguously realate to current events. I bet you cannot!

      April 2, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Joshua

      I just listed why I think the Bible is the truth. Ezekiel 38, Isaiah 17, and Zechariah 14. Look at it. Obviously you have a computer. So go look at it. You have to take into consideration that the nations mentioned in the bible were written over 2,000 years ago. So they are going to have different names in today's current world. Pay more attention to the Iran/Israel tensions. It is all stated in the Bible. That is if your willing to take the time to look at it?

      April 2, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Paula

      The Big Bang Theory is a funny little TV show.
      And the Bible is a neat little book full of storytales and crap.

      April 2, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      So I looked at the Babble fragments you listed and they make no sense to me! Stop pissing around and help this poor atheist by clearly showing how these bits unambiguously relate to current events. Again, I don't believe you can do it. If fact, I will go further and say that if you even attempt to, you will look like a fool!!

      April 2, 2012 at 12:41 am |
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About this blog

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.