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:
Of the many things Daniel shows us in his visions, one of the most prominent is that of imperial succession. Son follows father in the succession of kings, and empire follows empire in the succession of kingdoms. Daniel 2 speaks explicitly of four empires—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome—and Daniel 7 speaks explicitly of the same four. When those two visions are harmonized, what emerges is a Fifth Empire, the Empire of Roman Catholicism that arose after the thirteen-way fragmentation of Rome. We explored the emergence of Roman Catholicism as the successor to those Four Empires in our series, The Fifth Empire, and in our article The Fourteenth Diocese. Like a river flowing relentlessly and continuously onward, the prophetic timeline depicted in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 flowed from Babylon to the rise of Antichrist without gaps or discontinuities—Babylon, then Medo-Persia, then Greece, then Rome. Then Papal Roman Catholicism, the arrogant Little Horn of Daniel 7, the persecutor of God’s holy people.
The city of Rome was the capital seat of the empire at its founding, and retained that primacy for centuries. But for a brief period from 293 A.D. to the latter part of the fourth century, Rome was relegated to the status of a third tier Metropolis behind the tetrarch capitals and the metropolitan seats of Diocletian’s new dioceses. The division of the empire started in 293 A.D. with the formation of 12 dioceses under four tetrarchs, presiding from Nicomedia, Smirmium, Milan and Trier. Each tetrarch was assigned the rule over three dioceses, and each diocese was in turn ruled from its chief metropolis by a vicarius or equivalent. Notably, the city of Rome was reduced in stature, and was made neither a tetrarch capital, nor even the chief metropolis of the Diocese of Italy. Nevertheless, the city of Rome was also assigned its own vicarius, and he ruled over his limited jurisdiction in the heart of Italy. Over the course of the fourth century, the tetrarchy faded away, but the diocesan system endured. Further reorganizations occurred in which two dioceses were combined into one, and two others were divided into four. The eventual outcome by the end of the fourth century was a fully reorganized Roman empire of thirteen dioceses under thirteen vicars—and within one of those dioceses, a greatly diminished city of Rome, a comparatively small vicariate in an empire of dioceses. Although the Vicar of Rome had not received a diocese to manage, the city of Rome and its suburbs comprised what could almost be called a little diocese of their own. We might even call it “the fourteenth diocese.” That little “fourteenth diocese” had been diminished in Diocletian’s reorganization, but under the administration of a pope, it would one day rise up again to rule the empire. Only three metropolitan cities stood in his way, and he would dispatch them short order.
Continue reading The Fourteenth Diocese