As we noted in our previous post, Revelation 12 depicts an abiding hostility between the Dragon and the Woman who flees to the Wilderness for safety. The conflict that unfolds in this chapter is similar to that which occurred in the Garden of Eden, as well as that which came upon Jesus when the Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted. In Eden, God said one thing to Eve: “…thou shalt not eat…” (Genesis 2:17), and the Serpent said another: “Yea, hath God said …?” (Genesis 3:1). In the “wilderness of Judæa” God said one thing to Jesus: “This is my beloved Son…” (Matthew 3:1,17), and then in the wilderness, Satan tempted Jesus to question God’s Word, saying “If thou be the Son of God…” (Matthew 4:3). Eve’s decision came down to a choice between obedience stemming from belief, or the disobedience of unbelief. Would she believe the Word of God or the word of the serpent? The options presented to Jesus in Matthew 4 were essentially the same: would He trust His Father’s words, and reject the Devil, or would He trust the Devil’s words, and question His Father’s? In Revelation 12, the same choice is again laid before the Woman: will she trust the Word from the mouth of her Lord or succumb to the error that comes from the mouth of the Serpent?
While many Protestants deny that Roman Catholicism is a Christian denomination, one of the most persistent criticisms of Protestants by Roman Catholics is that we, allegedly, can only trace our religion back to the 16th century. Arguing that point, the Roman Catholic apologist offers what he believes to be the most compelling rebuttal possible: if Roman Catholicism is not the True Church, then the True Church must have perished shortly after it was formed, being then revived only in the 16th century, making Jesus a liar (Matthew 16:18). The Protestant is thereby presented with an unpalatable dilemma: either accept that Roman Catholicism is and always has been the True Church, or acknowledge that Jesus Christ is a liar. Many a professing Evangelical has stumbled at the false dilemma, concluding that because Jesus is not a liar, then Roman Catholicism must be the True church.
As we noted in our first installment in this series, Roman Catholicism has added to the Eucharistic liturgy a step that is unscriptural and therefore generally unfamiliar to most Protestants. As part of the liturgy, the priest pours a little water into the wine that is used to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Unable to justify the rite from the Scriptures, Roman Catholicism makes its typical appeal to antiquity, claiming that the rite certainly must be of apostolic origins because it is found in the earliest traditions of the Church. But in this series we have analyzed the data from the Early Church and found that our early forebears knew of no such “apostolic” ritual. Continue reading The Mingled Cup, part 5
Thus far in our series on the Mingled Cup we have analyzed the ancient history of winemaking from the Greek, Roman, Jewish and early Christian perspectives. In those times it was typical to add water to “pure wine,” or merum, prior to consumption. Merum alone was too intoxicating and unpalatable to be served without the beneficial tempering effect of water. The resulting mixture was called “wine and water,” “wine with water,” “mingled wine,” or just “wine.” So commonly understood was the mixture of wine and water that early writers simply assumed that Jesus had turned water into “mixed wine” in the miracle at Cana (John 2:1-11), because it was common knowledge that nobody would have served straight merum at a wedding feast.
In the first installment in this series, we provided a survey of the manufacture and consumption of wine in the ancient Greek, Jewish, Roman and Christian cultures. In all these cultures, merum—“pure wine,” or “undiluted wine”—was mixed with water prior to drinking because the consumption of straight merum was both unpalatable and uncivilized. Because merum was unfit for consumption except by barbarians, the whole civilized world added water to merum to make wine. Wine for drinking, therefore, was simply “pure wine” mingled with water. Or, more succinctly, wine was called “wine with water” or “wine and water,” in reference to its two ingredients: “pure wine” (merum) and water. Continue reading The Mingled Cup, part 3
In our previous installment, we discussed the ancient practice of mixing “pure wine,” or merum, with water to make “wine,” as well as the ancient Greek, Jewish, Roman and Christian aversion to drinking merum straight. That ancient practice and that ancient aversion were widely known, and it should come as no surprise that the Early Church Fathers were aware of them, too. Roman Catholicism claims that the liturgical rite of mixing wine with water as part of the Eucharistic liturgy can be traced all the way back to Jesus’ own administration of the Last Supper. But their evidence for the early origination of the “liturgical rite” is based not on any actual liturgical tradition of the Early Church, but solely on the early Church’s expressions of the ingredients and production of wine. To the early Church, “wine and water” was, in fact, wine, and that is what they used for the Lord’s Supper. There was nothing liturgically significant about mixing it. It was not until the latter part of the 4th century that the early Church’s use of “wine and water” began to be interpreted as a liturgical, apostolic rite. Over the next two installments, we will assess the ante-Nicene, Nicene and the early post-Nicene references to mixed wine—Justin Martyr, Irenæus of Lyons, Clement of Alexandria, Cyprian of Carthage, Aphrahat of Persia, Hilary of Poitiers and Ambrose of Milan—to show how the early references to a commonly known manufacturing process began to be interpreted as a liturgical rite that was eventually codified into Roman Catholic canon law. Continue reading The Mingled Cup, part 2
Although Evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics both recognize the institution of the Lord’s Supper and celebrate it regularly, one of the several differences between the two is that Roman Catholics have added a liturgical step that is generally unfamiliar to most Protestants. As part of the Eucharistic rite of Roman Catholicism, the priest mixes a little water with the wine prior to consecration. So indispensable to the sacrament is the mixing of water with wine that the 22nd session of the Council of Trent (1562-1563) anathematized anyone who denied that step in the liturgy (Council of Trent, Session 22, Canons on the Sacrifice of the Mass, Canon IX). It may therefore come as a surprise that, as indispensable as the mixing of the water is to their liturgy, Roman Catholics do not actually know why they do it, do not know how much water to add, are not sure how to administer it correctly, and are not even sure what it is alleged to signify. And that is a pretty thin foundation for a liturgical rite, the denial of which is considered to be an excommunicable offense. Continue reading The Mingled Cup, part 1
The Vortex is a video production of the Roman Catholic ministry called Church Militant, operated by Michael Voris. In his short eight-minute video from May 23, Mr. Voris briefly introduces, and then immediately sets aside, the question of whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God. He does this in order to address what he believes to be a much more pressing question: “Do Protestants and Catholics worship the same Jesus?” His refreshingly honest conclusion is, “Nope,” and such refreshing honesty finds a very welcome reception here at Out of His Mouth. We agree with him. Continue reading The “Protty” Jesus
Last year we posted two separate entries, False Teeth and “Unless I am Deceived…,” both dealing with the anachronistic projection of late 4th century civil boundaries of the Roman Empire retroactively onto the early 4th century text of Canon 6 of the Council of Nicæa. The anachronism has obscured the meaning of the canon since the days of Jerome (398 A.D.), Rufinus (403 A.D.) and Innocent I (411 A.D.). Continue reading Nicæa and the Roman Precedent
This week Roman Catholics of the world rejoiced to hear of yet another eucharistic miracle that has been approved for veneration. In December 2013, a eucharistic wafer of bread was dropped during mass, “and red stains subsequently appeared on the Host.” Tests performed on the wafer at the Department of Forensic Medicine in Wroclaw the Department of Forensic Medicine of the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, indicated that the wafer contained “fragmented parts of the cross striated muscle. It is most similar to the heart muscle. Tests also determined the tissue to be of human origin, and found that it bore signs of distress” (Catholic Herald, April 19, 2016). The forensic authentication of the miracle has Roman Catholics asking questions about its significance to faith and practice, and no doubt has some Protestants asking themselves if they are in the right religion. Those, of course, are the wrong questions. Continue reading Asking the Wrong Questions
Historically, the church has had very little trouble identifying the time periods of the Gold, Silver, and Brass of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2. The time periods of the Lion, the Bear, and the Leopard are as easily identifiable in Daniel 7, as are those of the Ram and the He-goat in Daniel 8. Those figures represent a series of world empires, each dominating the world in succession—Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece. Continue reading Legs of Iron, part 6
In this series, we have been discussing the dating of John’s vision on Patmos based on the scriptural evidence. Although Irenæaus seems to place the vision at the end of the first century, other early writers of his era place it before Paul’s epistles and even as early as emperor Claudius, as we discussed in Part 1. While the external testimony is inconsistent and contradictory, we believe the date of the vision can be found based on the internal testimony, especially in light of the Danielic nature of the angelic narrator’s language in Revelation 17:10. Continue reading Legs of Iron, part 5
One thing that can be said of Jesus’ and John’s eschatology is that it is certainly Danielic. Jesus refers to Daniel both directly (Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14) and indirectly (Matthew 21:44, 24:30, 26:64; Mark 13:26, 14:62) when speaking of the immediate and distant future. John’s descriptions of the dragon of Revelation 12, the sea beast of Revelation 13 and the scarlet beast of Revelation 17 are all derivative of the four beasts of Daniel 7. The scene of the throne room of Revelation 4-5 with “ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” (5:11) surrounding the Lord is clearly resonant of the same scene depicted in Daniel 7:10 where “thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.” Our eschatology, like Jesus’ and John’s, must be Danielic as well. Continue reading Legs of Iron, part 4
In the previous two weeks we have discussed the dating of the book of Revelation based on the internal evidence. As we noted last week, the angelic narrator provides textual cues as to the dating of the book, and three of those cues are found in Revelation 17: the placement of the “scarlet coloured beast” of Revelation 17 chronologically between the red dragon of Revelation 12 and the sea beast of Revelation 13; the description of the beast which “was, and is not; and shall ascend,” and the placement of the vision between the fifth and seventh king of the empire (Revelation 17:10). John’s narrator was clearly providing cues to the dating of the book, and was using Danielic imagery to do it. When understanding Revelation 17 through the lens of Daniel 2, there are only three possible periods during which Revelation could have been written—during the Legs, during the Feet, or during the Toes of the Statue. Last week we ruled out the period of the Toes because the vision takes place when the ten Toes or ten Kings are yet future, and “have received no kingdom as yet” (Revelation 17:12). This week, we will rule out the period of the Feet altogether. Continue reading Legs of Iron, part 3
Last week, we began a discussion on the date of authorship of the book of Revelation, highlighting the angel’s discussion with John regarding the “scarlet coloured beast … having seven heads and ten horns” (Revelation 17:3). That seven-headed, ten-horned beast is a figure used repeatedly in Revelation (Revelation 12:3, 13:1, 17:3), and shows the significant symbolic unity the book shares with Daniel’s prophecies in Daniel 7. The Four Beasts of Daniel 7 together have seven heads and ten horns (1 Lion Head, 1 Bear Head, 4 Leopard Heads, 1 Beast Head with 10 horns upon it). Whatever the differences that exist between the “red dragon” (Revelation 12:3), sea beast (Revelation 13:1) and the “scarlet coloured beast” (Revelation 17:3), they are unified in their symbolic relationship to Daniel 7. Because the beasts of Daniel 7 share a strong chronological unity with Gold, Silver, Brass and Iron kingdoms of Daniel 2, we can also draw on that chronological unity to understand the date of John’s vision. Continue reading Legs of Iron, part 2
The dating of the Book of Revelation has been a matter of no small controversy throughout the history of the church, some writers placing its authorship during the reign of Claudius (41 – 54 A.D.), others placing it during the reign of Nero (54 – 68 A.D.), and others placing it in the reign of Domitian (81 – 96 A.D.). In the realm of eschatology, Preterists choose an early date, while Dispensationalists and Historicists choose the later. It is not a matter that can be resolved by external testimony, because the external testimony itself is contradictory. But the internal evidence is quite compelling. Continue reading Legs of Iron, part 1
When John the Baptist was sent forth preaching, he went about saying “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). When Jesus received the news that John had been imprisoned, He took up John’s message and went forth preaching, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). When His disciples tried “to make him a king,” Jesus fled from them (John 6:15). When Pilate questioned Him about His kingship, Jesus insisted, “My kingdom is not of this world … my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36). When the Pharisees asked him “when the kingdom of God should come” he said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there!” (Luke 17:20-21). When His disciples asked him if He would “at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6), Jesus responded that the time for establishing an Earthly Kingdom was not theirs to know, and instead of seeking to establish an Earthly Kingdom, they should focus rather on the preaching of a Heavenly one: Continue reading “The Kingdom of Earth is at Hand”
In one of his several communications with the church at Thessalonica, Paul informed them that they already knew what was holding back “that man of sin,” “the son of perdition,” “that Wicked” one, even “him, whose coming is after the working of Satan” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 8-9). We note that in his admonition to them, he said someone or something was holding him back, and would eventually be taken out of the way, so that the Wicked one could be seen plainly for who he was:
We mentioned last year in our article, “French Colonial Florida (1564-1565 A.D.)” that we were pleased to hear of the release of a trailer from Aperio Productions for their new film, The Massacre at Matanzas. The story is related in our article, and the excellent documentary is now completed and was released on the web last month. Continue reading The Massacre at Matanzas
Last week we concluded our analysis of Daniel 11, showing that it is a prophecy that spanned the period from Persia’s confrontation with “the realm of Grecia” and the rise of the Alexander in 336 B.C. (Daniel 11:2-3), until the waning days of his divided empire at the death of Pompey in 48 B.C. (Daniel 11:45). As we noted, the entire prophecy is fulfilled during the Greek period of Daniel’s visions, in a single Alexandrian Frame of Reference in which North, South and East refer to the same respective geographic territories from start to finish, and the “kings” of those cardinal directions are the kings that reign over those respective territories. Under the single frame approach, Daniel 11 ends just four years before Julius Cæsar was declared Dictator perpetuo, Dictator in Perpetuity, in 44 B.C.. The Empire of Rome had its first “king.” Julius was its first “emperor”—in function if not yet in name. He would be assassinated only two months later, but his descendants and relations would govern the Empire for the greater part of the next century. Continue reading Convention of the Angelic Narrators