Exploring the Book of Revelation.

Would anyone be interested in exploring Revelation with me based on a free online course through Luther Seminary in Minneapolis Minnesota?

I can post the link to each lesson so people can study it, and react to it.

The first link is here.

To get the ball rolling: could we call this Revelations because it seems to have a number of revelations in its body, or was it just one Revelation is many stories in it?
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Comments

  • I'd be interested to hear what you get out of it. But for me Revelation is a part of the Bible that could do with heavy pruning and life's too short for me to study it much. I realise this marks me out as heretical!
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Merry Vole wrote: »
    I'd be interested to hear what you get out of it. But for me Revelation is a part of the Bible that could do with heavy pruning and life's too short for me to study it much. I realise this marks me out as heretical!

    I've always wondered if there were particularly "interesting" mushrooms on Patmos.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Indeed. We don't trust our own reading of the book - far too easy to fall into error. The mushroom suggestion might be correct.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    Indeed. We don't trust our own reading of the book - far too easy to fall into error. The mushroom suggestion might be correct.

    Or maybe the author was just an imaginative guy who liked to use vivid symbolism?
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    I think watching the first couple of videos linked on the page will help address some of the concerns about what type of Mushrooms Patmos was not eating, especially the Bible Project video which shows Patmos had a clear plan for the book.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    stetson wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    Indeed. We don't trust our own reading of the book - far too easy to fall into error. The mushroom suggestion might be correct.
    Or maybe the author was just an imaginative guy who liked to use vivid symbolism?

    Part of the problem for modern readers is that Revelation was written in a literary genre (apocalyptic literature) that is extinct among modern authors. As such Revelation seems weird and unlike anything else we've read because it is unlike anything else we've read.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Session 2 of Exploring the Book of Revelation.

    Point to remember, get rid of the sensationalism.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    edited January 24
    ...many people jump into the middle in order to find the monsters right away

    That is indeed true. And f**k everyone from W.B. Yeats to Iron Maiden who encouraged that trend.

    Though I will hereby trumpet that I personally started at the beginning, because I was in Catholic elementary school with a teacher whose religion lectures consisted partly of regurgitating pop-psychology and pop-theology(*), and he told us that the BoR predicts the end-times. So I went home and read it one night, having no idea what to expect. I remember thinking the measurement-of-the-temple was pretty lame, and wondering why 666 would be more evil than any other number.

    (*) Not neccessarily having much connection to Catholicism. Among other things, he told us that the statue of the angel Moroni atop the Temple in SLC had miraculously survived various meteorological catastrophes over the years.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited January 24
    stetson wrote: »

    (*) Not neccessarily having much connection to Catholicism. Among other things, he told us that the statue of the angel Moroni atop the Temple in SLC had miraculously survived various meteorological catastrophes over the years.

    ! And at a Catholic school!
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    stetson wrote: »

    (*) Not neccessarily having much connection to Catholicism. Among other things, he told us that the statue of the angel Moroni atop the Temple in SLC had miraculously survived various meteorological catastrophes over the years.

    ! And at a Catholic school!

    And, actually, in junior-high, a teacher made overhead images of a bible-comic outlining the basic Hal Lindsey theory on the BoR, and spent one class teaching it. But he at least prefaced his lecture by saying that he was just presenting it for interest, not neccesarily saying it was true.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    ...the beast shows what happens when the power of the state becomes destructive.

    This makes it sound as if John Of Patmos was consciously trying to critique state tyranny in general. Whereas I think a case can be made that he was really just intending to talk about one particular government and its treatment of his co-religionists.

    Sure, we can extrapolate from Rome to other assh**e governments, but for the most part, that's just a matter of re-applying the names and symbols, eg. "Moderate and sensible Britons await their archangel to slay the dragon of Brexit."
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Regards 666 being the most evil number: if you accept 7 is the most complete or perfect number that points ultimately to the work of God, at a decimal point after six to make 6.66 you get the impression it is not quite a complete number, but a flawed number. Remember, Biblical Greek (koine) did not have decimal markings in its numerical system.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    Session 2 of Exploring the Book of Revelation.

    Point to remember, get rid of the sensationalism.

    Very helpful. I was particularly struck by the idea that Revelation has inspired music.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Merry Vole wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Session 2 of Exploring the Book of Revelation.

    Point to remember, get rid of the sensationalism.

    Very helpful. I was particularly struck by the idea that Revelation has inspired music.

    Yes, it seems Revelation follows the outline of a liturgy. Much of our current liturgy refers back to Revelation.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Regards 666 being the most evil number: if you accept 7 is the most complete or perfect number that points ultimately to the work of God, at a decimal point after six to make 6.66 you get the impression it is not quite a complete number, but a flawed number. Remember, Biblical Greek (koine) did not have decimal markings in its numerical system.

    I tend more toward the theory that it is the direct numerological representation of somebody's name, since that's what the text itself says, ie. "...it is the number of a man". (Probably the politician who kicked around the Christians for a bit to distract attention from his own incompetent fire-prevention services.)

    Plus, why would 6.66 in particular be used to represent "less than 7"? Why not 6.65 or 6.67?
  • DardaDarda Shipmate
    People following the thread may also be interested in this 50 minute YouTube video where Ian Paul talks about the Book of Revelation
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    stetson wrote: »
    ...the beast shows what happens when the power of the state becomes destructive.

    This makes it sound as if John Of Patmos was consciously trying to critique state tyranny in general. Whereas I think a case can be made that he was really just intending to talk about one particular government and its treatment of his co-religionists.

    Books are primarily written for a contemporary audience, not some imagined future audience. This is especially true for early Christian writings, given the widespread belief that the world would end very soon and there would be no future audiences.
    stetson wrote: »
    Sure, we can extrapolate from Rome to other assh**e governments, but for the most part, that's just a matter of re-applying the names and symbols, eg. "Moderate and sensible Britons await their archangel to slay the dragon of Brexit."

    Just because a book was written primarily for a contemporary audience does not mean it has no interest for anyone else, which is why the Iliad (for example) is still published and read. The broader themes are still relevant.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    stetson wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Regards 666 being the most evil number: if you accept 7 is the most complete or perfect number that points ultimately to the work of God, at a decimal point after six to make 6.66 you get the impression it is not quite a complete number, but a flawed number. Remember, Biblical Greek (koine) did not have decimal markings in its numerical system.

    I tend more toward the theory that it is the direct numerological representation of somebody's name, since that's what the text itself says, ie. "...it is the number of a man". (Probably the politician who kicked around the Christians for a bit to distract attention from his own incompetent fire-prevention services.)

    Plus, why would 6.66 in particular be used to represent "less than 7"? Why not 6.65 or 6.67?

    It does represent the number of a man. People have long said it goes back to Nero since his name is the same as the Greek letters for 666, but Domitian was likely the current emperor when Revelation was written. Basically, John is saying people will continue to rise up claiming to be the leader of the world, but will end up lacking when all is said and done.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited January 24
    stetson wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Regards 666 being the most evil number: if you accept 7 is the most complete or perfect number that points ultimately to the work of God, at a decimal point after six to make 6.66 you get the impression it is not quite a complete number, but a flawed number. Remember, Biblical Greek (koine) did not have decimal markings in its numerical system.

    I tend more toward the theory that it is the direct numerological representation of somebody's name, since that's what the text itself says, ie. "...it is the number of a man". (Probably the politician who kicked around the Christians for a bit to distract attention from his own incompetent fire-prevention services.)

    Plus, why would 6.66 in particular be used to represent "less than 7"? Why not 6.65 or 6.67?

    I think it's actually "the number of man," that is, of humankind. (someone versed in the ins and outs of Greek usage of articles, which differs from ours, can correct)

    Which (if I'm right) is simply incompleteness. Humanity is incomplete (without God, that is). And the power in question, whoever/whatever it may be, is definitely attempting to get along without God--which is exactly when human endeavors turn toxic. With God to complete us, it's not a problem.

    (Consider a similar formulation, "X is the number of toddler"--wouldn't that cause you to shudder and pull back, though with a strong side of humor to it?)
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    edited January 24
    Crœsos wrote: »
    Just because a book was written primarily for a contemporary audience does not mean it has no interest for anyone else, which is why the Iliad (for example) is still published and read. The broader themes are still relevant.

    Sure. But there are degrees of cross-temporal relevance. Brave New World's Our Ford is now a pretty dated reference, because assembly-lines etc are no longer the wave of the future. But someone reading the book today can still translate the figure of Henry Ford into Steve Jobs, in terms of being a widely-idolized and widely-quoted business tycoon whose technological innovations are having a baleful impact on social relations.

    But stuff like a beast specified as having seven heads and ten horns, the number 666(*), the False Prophet giving life to a statue in the Temple, are pretty obviously talking about specific people and events of the past(or at least the near-future from the POV of the writer), and can't really be applied to figures in most other eras, unless, as I say, it's on the rudimentary level of "What a goddam jerk that Mayor McWidget is, someone needs to check his forehead for 666."

    [Granted, Babylon Mother Of Harlots can probably be applied to any political or religious institution that is inordinately wealthy, kills alot of people, and allies with scuzzy businessmen. But I would hope that, in the feminist era, using female sexuality to symbolize violence and corruption has been barred from respectable discourse.]

    (*) I am for now sticking to the theory that number represents the name of a Roman emperor, partly because I think that's the only way that the detail about people needing to have the mark in order to buy and sell makes sense.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    stetson wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Regards 666 being the most evil number: if you accept 7 is the most complete or perfect number that points ultimately to the work of God, at a decimal point after six to make 6.66 you get the impression it is not quite a complete number, but a flawed number. Remember, Biblical Greek (koine) did not have decimal markings in its numerical system.

    I tend more toward the theory that it is the direct numerological representation of somebody's name, since that's what the text itself says, ie. "...it is the number of a man". (Probably the politician who kicked around the Christians for a bit to distract attention from his own incompetent fire-prevention services.)

    Plus, why would 6.66 in particular be used to represent "less than 7"? Why not 6.65 or 6.67?

    I think it's actually "the number of man," that is, of humankind. (someone versed in the ins and outs of Greek usage of articles, which differs from ours, can correct)<snip>

    The Greek ἀνθρώπου without the definite article can mean ‘a person’ or ‘humanity’/‘humankind’. (It is not specifically male. That would be ἀνδρός.)
  • Here you are, SBL version. (Not sure if you thought I thought it was male, or what? Or maybe weren't replying to me.. )
    18 ὧδε ἡ σοφία ἐστίν· ὁ ἔχων νοῦν ψηφισάτω τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦ θηρίου, ἀριθμὸς γὰρ ἀνθρώπου ἐστίν· καὶ ὁ ἀριθμὸς αὐτοῦ ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἕξ.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    No, I don’t think I thought you thought it was male, it’s just that ‘man’ and ‘mankind’ are sometimes used for people generally, and sometimes for males so I was trying to avoid the ambiguity. Rereading it I can see it might be interpreted as a correction of your post, but that was not what I intended.
  • jay_emmjay_emm Kerygmania Host
    Either revelation or revelations work for me.
    It does seem to be presented as one event with many 'scenes' in it. They chop and change but don't stop and start like Daniel.

    The "start from the beginning" perspective given makes sense to me. At least for understanding revelation as a work. If I was looking for band or art inspiration I'd skip to the monsters (though the earlier part has also inspired works)

    The more I hear about it the more Nero works, as a number of a person explanation (it would put it as being pre 72 inspired though). Some parts of revelation are unsubtle.
    I quite like the fact its a lazy-complex Roman number DCLXVI, shame it was written in Greek.
  • questioningquestioning Shipmate
    edited January 25
    stetson wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Regards 666 being the most evil number: if you accept 7 is the most complete or perfect number that points ultimately to the work of God, at a decimal point after six to make 6.66 you get the impression it is not quite a complete number, but a flawed number. Remember, Biblical Greek (koine) did not have decimal markings in its numerical system.

    I tend more toward the theory that it is the direct numerological representation of somebody's name, since that's what the text itself says, ie. "...it is the number of a man". (Probably the politician who kicked around the Christians for a bit to distract attention from his own incompetent fire-prevention services.)

    Plus, why would 6.66 in particular be used to represent "less than 7"? Why not 6.65 or 6.67?

    Ummm, and was decimal-thinking a "thing" in the first century?
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Robert Graves, in his very odd book The White Goddess, breaks 666 down to : Domitius Caesar Legatos XTI Violenter Interfecit: Domitious Caesar basely killed Christ's disciples. Then he debated whether it should have been Domitianus. My Latin is not good enough any more to even start to discuss, but is it any better or worse than other speculation?
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    stetson wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Regards 666 being the most evil number: if you accept 7 is the most complete or perfect number that points ultimately to the work of God, at a decimal point after six to make 6.66 you get the impression it is not quite a complete number, but a flawed number. Remember, Biblical Greek (koine) did not have decimal markings in its numerical system.

    I tend more toward the theory that it is the direct numerological representation of somebody's name, since that's what the text itself says, ie. "...it is the number of a man". (Probably the politician who kicked around the Christians for a bit to distract attention from his own incompetent fire-prevention services.)

    Plus, why would 6.66 in particular be used to represent "less than 7"? Why not 6.65 or 6.67?

    Ummm, and was decimal-thinking a "thing" in the first century?

    I honestly don't know. Never heard of it in relation to Roman numerals, but I think the writer woulda been using a different system, anyway.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    jay_emm wrote: »
    The more I hear about it the more Nero works, as a number of a person explanation (it would put it as being pre 72 inspired though). Some parts of revelation are unsubtle.

    There was also a widespread belief (conspiracy theory, really) in the latter part of the first century that Nero would return. The convenient parallelism to a Jesus who would return seems too good for an author to overlook a contemporary belief in a tyrant who would return.
  • HarryCHHarryCH Shipmate
    A quick search tells me that our modern methods of representing such numbers goes back no more than about 500 years. (By the way, various countries use a decimal comma, not point.) The Romans had a variety of symbols they used to represent specific fractions.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    edited January 25
    Crœsos wrote: »
    jay_emm wrote: »
    The more I hear about it the more Nero works, as a number of a person explanation (it would put it as being pre 72 inspired though). Some parts of revelation are unsubtle.

    There was also a widespread belief (conspiracy theory, really) in the latter part of the first century that Nero would return. The convenient parallelism to a Jesus who would return seems too good for an author to overlook a contemporary belief in a tyrant who would return.

    Nero seems like the most plausible candidate to me.

    With all due respect to the worthy shipmates arguing the case, I'm not really buying that 666 just refers just to the general imperfection of "man". That doesn't really fit with the other metaphors used in that part of the text, which seem pretty clearly about specific political situations and persons. Even The Mother Of Harlots, who I mentioned earlier as a somewhat more generic figure, is obviously linked with a certain powerful city.

    Stuff like Michael Vs. The Dragon and The Wedding Feast Of The Lamb are more easily universalized, I will acknowledge.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Here is an outline of the Book of Revelation. Notice, in the video, the presenter talks about how the author will cycle the story. We start out before the throne of God, then there is a calamity, but then we return back to the throne of God. This cycle is repeated, what?, seven times.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    I should also mention that each time we return to the throne of God in Revelation, there is a message of hope.
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate

    Gee D wrote: »
    Robert Graves, in his very odd book The White Goddess, breaks 666 down to : Domitius Caesar Legatos XTI Violenter Interfecit: Domitious Caesar basely killed Christ's disciples. Then he debated whether it should have been Domitianus. My Latin is not good enough any more to even start to discuss, but is it any better or worse than other speculation?

    Just to get away from the 666 tangent a bit, one of the arguments is about the timing of the writing. Did John write in AD66 during the Neronic era or around AD95 when Domitian was emperor as Iraneus suggests in “About Heresies” written circa AD120 (correct me)?
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I should also mention that each time we return to the throne of God in Revelation, there is a message of hope.

    Yes, I have noticed that. Whenever the 24 elders are mentioned there is extreme and powerful worship.
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