For some months now, spiritual gurus, ‘labeled’ prophets and independent biblical researchers have been filling THE MEDIA with false hype over a solar-lunar-stellar planetary configuration of the constellation Virgo that appeared in the sky on September 23rd, 2017. Some confirmed the long awaited expectations of The Rapture, The Great Tribulation Period, to an even bigger farce with a collision of a so-called Planet X (called Nibiru). Well, Saturday came and went, and the world is still breathing as one can see with everything else orbiting The Media’s terrestrial propaganda machine. What happened?
What we need is a time-out from all of the conflated biblical prophecy and take our medicine in historical narrative, specifically Revelation, Chapter 12! It never ceases to amaze me how folks still continue to accept people’s ‘interpretation’ of scripture who possess no academic background in Hermeneutics or Textual Criticism. Nevertheless, it has always been my SOLID contention that one of the primary reasons the Book of Revelation is so difficult to interpret is because of it not only being composed in Greek, but it possesses a Jewish/Apocalyptic background. (It’s a strikingly Jewish work with a Jewish theme, and the semantics of the Greek of which it is written in make it that more mysterious and enormously difficult to convey its proper message.) Consequently, this book was ‘recasted’ by the EARLIEST followers of Jesus to make it more into a Judeo-Christian theme. Chapter 12 (and also 13) is with the Woman who bears the Messianic child; the seven-headed ten horn dragon, and the two-horned lamb-like beast is clearly a symbolic representation of the emperor Nero’s bloody reign of terror; more broadly, this is also echoing the visions and traditions of the Book of Daniel (this again is why this book is such a Jewish text). With such a historical background to draw upon, we can ‘interpret’ some of the images with confidence.
There are two portents to Chapter 12 in Revelation. Neither is an accurate identity to the Greco-Roman zodiac constellations. The first is the woman and the second is the dragon. The Dragon is explicitly identified as Satan (verse 9), who is thrown to the Earth with only a short time left (to EARLY Christians, Hell was NOT a place under the Earth) to persecute the Woman and her offspring. Subsequently, this ‘Dragon’ commands The Beast which is represented by the military/political system in place at the time of the Roman Empire, which persecuted God’s people (Rev. 13, 1-4). It should be noted and always surface in your dialogue when you discuss the Book of Revelation, that this was the height of Roman authority in the world!
The Woman, the Crown of Twelve Stars and the Sun at her head, the moon under her feet, is Zion. In other words, the people of Israel (the Mother of the Messiah. See Isaiah Chapter 66: 7-9). The Messiah, destined to rule, is taken up to heaven to avoid Satan and his enemies.This is candidly interpreted to be Jesus. These are not astrological signs, but apocalyptic characters, just like Joseph’s dreams of his rule over his brothers is a future event, not an astrological observation. (Genesis 37:9)
For the EARLY followers of Jesus, they SLOWLY began to see their own Messianic community as the ‘New Israel’; the woman’s flight of three and half years into the wilderness is reference to their own persecuted community. However, their troubles were just getting to take seed.
During Nero’s reign, Christians were being executed by the hundreds, maybe thousands (it’s difficult to obtain accurate data on just how many were killed under Nero); consequently, he was symbolized as the ‘Second Beast’ of the Book of Revelation (Chapter 13, 11-18). The author identifies him with the Number 666; in some manuscripts, it is 616 based on the several variants of the spelling. Here is where it gets a little conflated. In the Hebrew alphabet, all 22 letters have numerical value. In ancient Jewish/Apocalyptic circles a clandestine writing code called ‘gematria’ was in use for many centuries; its primary purpose was to amalgamate unrelated words based on the total numerical value of the letters in each of those words! (This can get super COMPLICATED for interpretation, and also BIASED!)
Nero’s name in Hebrew is written like this: נירון or NRON QSR (transliterated). Now, taking the value of the Hebrew Letters, N=50, R=200, O=6, N=50, Q=100,
S=60, R=200. Add this up and you get 666! This also seems to reflect his name in the Greek. For an example a bit of graffiti discovered in Pompeii reads like this: ‘I love her whose number is 545.’ (letters phi-mu-epsilon; once again, transliteration to make it simple; my guess it is someone’s initials protected by GEMATRIA.) If you write Nero’s title (not his name) in Greek, it looks like this: νερων καεσαρ NERON CAESAR. The value of the Greek letters total 1,332; it lacks significance until one realizes that 1,332 is in fact 666 times 2! (Greek letters, as you can see by now, also are used with numerical value.) The author of Revelation is ‘signaling’ to the reader of his work that HE (Nero) is the ANTICHRIST! But it is also suggesting that a second Nero will follow. That would probably be referring to the emperor Domitian. Therefore, it is most certainly not a coincidence that the Roman numerals I, V, X, L, C, D also add up to 666! (Do you now see the pattern?) It certainly seems that the author of Revelation had an agenda with accosting Roman emperors with these numbers because of their inhumane treatment against Christians. Finally, in another version using GEMATRIA, the name Jesus Christ in Greek, Ιησούς Χριστός, adds up to 888 which in this version of conjuring numerical value would seem to indicate that something beyond seven is at work!
The Book of Revelation is not a plan of destruction for the future as many have suggested. The Book of Revelation was, as this article has DETAILED, a thought provoking plan for the situations in which people found themselves living in at the time. This is why this book is so much misread. Early Christians were familiar with many books of apocalyptic literature; it was quite a common theme in their time. They read these books to give themselves ‘hope’ of a better world to come. After all, they were being killed by Romans and anyone else who did not share their views on their ‘new religion’. One can certainly propose the contention that Jesus himself was an apocalypticist. Jesus preached of a better world that would arrive shortly, as well as his distant cousin also preached, John the Baptist. Perhaps the greatest scientist of all time, Isaac Newton, made the most terrifying prediction yet to come. His claim is that the world will see its end in the year 2060, according to his study of mathematics and prophecy. What was his source? The Book of Revelation! The photo in this article is from a page in a Greek manuscript of the Book of Revelation, Papyrus 47, 3rd century. (See my article entitled “Isaac Newton’s Prophecy of Doom: 2060″ here: http://markgrago.com/isaac-newtons-prophecy-of-doom-2060/)