As we noted in our previous installment, Revelation 12 is an Exodus narrative in which the Woman is depicted as fleeing from the error of the devil and seeking her place in the wilderness. In a word, she leaves. The Church simply departs, and takes up refuge in the Wilderness, and is nourished there by Her Savior. In that installment, we provided evidence of the objections of Ærius, Jovinianus, Vigilantius, Sarmatio and Barbatianus to the novelties being introduced in the latter part of the 4th century. These men, according to the historical record, were all taking their leave of the company of error and striking out on a separate path (except Jovinianus, who was apparently imprisoned for his objections). Continue reading Come Hell or High Water, part 6
We continue this week with our series on the Woman of Revelation 12. As we have maintained thus far, the Flood of Revelation 12 is the sudden irruption of error toward the end of the fourth century, which error in practice became known to the world as Roman Catholicism. The flood that emerged from the Serpent’s mouth was nothing else than the sudden step-wise emergence and nearly universal acceptance of Roman Catholic doctrines beginning at the end of the fourth century. In our pursuit of the Woman of Revelation 12, we seek out those late fourth century saints who resisted the flood of error, and escaped from it. Continue reading Come Hell or High Water, part 5
We continue our series this week on the Woman of Revelation 12, turning our attention now to the Flight of the Woman, the Flood of Error from the Serpent and in particular the Woman’s resistance to the Flood by the Word of God. As we noted in part 2, the Flight, and therefore the Flood, must occur in the period of the Toes of Daniel 2—after the 5th Seal of Revelation 6 is opened but before the Little Horn of Daniel 7 accedes to civil dominion. As we described in Do Not Weep for Nicomedia, the 5th Seal occurred in 311 A.D., and as we described in The Fifth Empire, part 3, Roman Catholicism took up the mantle of civil power in 395 A.D.. The Flight and the Flood occur between those two events. This week, we begin to examine the fledgling resistance movement—the first signs of protest against the emerging Roman leviathan. What we find is a group of godly Christian men who, against all odds, stood on the Scriptures to withstand the Flood of error that proceeded from the mouth of the Serpent. The whole world was swept up in the novelties being introduced at the time, but the Church was not.
Continue reading Come Hell or High Water, part 4
In our previous installments of this series, we addressed the structure of Revelation 12 in which John provides a time frame for the events described, as well as the identity of the Woman and her Man Child as well as the duration of her time in the wilderness (Revelation 12:1-6). As we noted in part 1, the time frame of the chapter covers the period of the persecution by the Little Horn of Daniel 8 for “time, times, and an half” (Daniel 12:7) through the persecution by the Little Horn of Daniel 7 for “time and times and the dividing of time” (Daniel 7:25). The chapter thus straddles not only the transition of the Woman from National Israel to Ecclesial Israel, but also the transition of world empires from Bronze to Iron to Iron & Clay in the statue of Daniel 2, from Legs to Feet to Toes. In part 2, we showed that the flight of the Woman must therefore occur in the period of the Toes of Daniel 2—after the 5th Seal of Revelation 6 but before the rise of the Little Horn of Daniel 7. Continue reading Come Hell or High Water, part 3
In our previous installment, by mapping key events in Revelation 12:4,7 to the book of Daniel, we sought to identify the bounds of the time frame of the events depicted in Revelation 12 as well as the identities of the Woman and the Man Child. As we noted there, the time frame in chapter 12 encompasses everything from the persecution of the Jews by the Little Horn of Daniel 8 “for a time, times, and an half” (Daniel 12:7), to the persecution of the Church by the Little Horn of Daniel 7 for “a time and times and the dividing of time” (Daniel 7:25). The Woman of Revelation 12 begins as National Israel suffering under Greek persecution as the stars of heaven are cast down (Daniel 8:10, Revelation 12:4), and then under Roman imperial oppression as the serpent attempts to devour the Man Child when He is born (Daniel 12:1, Revelation 12:4). The Man Child is Christ who lived, died, rose and “was caught up unto God, and to his throne” (Revelation 12:5) during the Roman Empire, by which time the Woman has become Ecclesial Israel who would flee to the wilderness after being persecuted by the devil, only to endure even more persecution by the ungodly empire that would succeed Rome. It is in the context of that transition from National to Ecclesial Israel that Michael “standeth for the children of thy people” (Daniel 12:1) and “fought against” the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:7-10). In this installment we now turn our attention to the timing of the Flight of the Woman and the Flood let loose by the Serpent by evaluating the effects of Michael’s extradition of Satan in the context of Daniel’s prophecies. Continue reading Come Hell or High Water, part 2
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.
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:
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
As our readers are aware, and as we explained in our article, The Shifting Frame, we maintain that Daniel 11 ought to be read in a single frame of reference from start to finish. The commentaries almost universally recognize what we call an Alexandrian Frame of Reference at Daniel 8:8 and 11:4. In those verses, Daniel’s narrators describe post-Alexandrian Hellenism as “four kingdoms” (Daniel 8:22) that are divided “toward the four winds of heaven,” North, South, East and West. For the rest of the chapter, the warring kings and the events related to them are described in terms of these cardinal directions. And yet, no sooner does the narrator of Daniel 11 establish an Alexandrian Frame of Reference at 11:4 than the commentaries introduce a Judæan Frame at 11:5. The reason for the introduction of a Judæan Frame is that the prophecy of a series of interactions between the North and the South—which ought to have been fulfilled between the kings of Asia Minor and Egypt—appears to have been fulfilled by the Seleucids and Ptolemies, ostensibly rulers of Syria and Egypt, respectively. The Judæan Frame, centered as it is on Judæa rather than on Alexander’s empire, is offered as the solution to the dilemma of a cardinal discontinuity that manifests at 11:6. Continue reading The Single Frame Hypothesis
In the last few weeks we have highlighted the significance of the Treaty of Apamea in 188 B.C., by which Rome imposed terms of peace upon Antiochus III after his devastating loss at Magnesia in 190 B.C.. As we noted in “When North was North…“, Asia Minor with Thrace comprised the Northern Kingdom under Lysimachus when Alexander’s empire was divided “toward the four winds of heaven” (Daniel 11:4). The North-South narrative only begins after the Seleucids have already taken the North from Lysimachus, and the Seleucids are then called “King of the North” by Daniel so long as they hold that territory. At Apamea, Rome evicted the Seleucids “from Europe and from all Asia on this side [of the] Taurus” (Polybius, The Histories, Book 21.17.3), dispossessing them of the Northern territory. Magnesia and the subsequent treaty at Apamea are depicted in Daniel 11:18, and from Daniel 11:19-39 the Seleucids remain in view, but are never again called “King of the North.” This gives rise to two important conclusions: first, Syria is not the Northern Kingdom at 11:6, and second, the title “King of the North” does not attach to the particular dynasty, but rather to whomever happens to be ruling the particular geography. When the Seleucids possess Asia Minor and Thrace, they are “King of the North.” When they are evicted, they are no longer “King of the North.” Continue reading Pirates in the Bay
Over the last few weeks we have addressed the matter of the four kingdoms that arose out of Greece after Alexander’s death in 323 B.C.. As we described in Reduction of the Diadochi, The Bounds of their Habitation, and The Shifting Frame, Asia Minor and Thrace together comprised the Northern Kingdom; Syria, Babylon and beyond, the Eastern. Yet even though the commentaries at Daniel 8:8 and 11:4 almost universally agree that Asia Minor with Thrace comprised the Northern Kingdom in an Alexandrian Frame of Reference, the commentaries just as universally shift to a Judæan Frame at Daniel 11:5. In that shifted frame of reference the “King of the North” in 11:6 is presumed to refer to Syria, which only two verses earlier had been part of the Eastern Kingdom. No explanation is given for this change of reference except that it appears to make sense of the chapter, and further that the tradition of the shifting frame is to be received as authoritative for its antiquity. It is, after all, an ancient tradition. Continue reading …and South was South
As we noted last week, the traditional approach to Daniel 11—whether Historicist, Dispensationalist, or Preterist—is to impose multiple frames of reference on the text, and then to interpret the chapter through those additional frames. One frame of reference—the only one explicitly identified in the chapter—is the Alexandrian Frame, centered on Alexander’s divided empire (Daniel 11:4). To this there is then added a Judæan Frame, centered on Israel, and then sometime later an Eschatological Frame, centered on the geographic location of a future antagonist who could be Antiochus IV, Imperial Rome, the Turks or Papal Rome, depending on the interpretation. The text does not so much as even hint at this shifting frame of reference, and yet it has been imposed upon Daniel 11 universally for almost two millennia to make sense of the chapter. Ironically, those additional frames of reference have had the opposite of the intended effect and have actually prevented us from making sense of it. Continue reading When North was North…