Written By Thomas Perez. Copyright 2014.
The book of Revelation is an eschatological book. Eschatology is the study of prophecy. The term eschaton means “last” and logy means “the study of.” In Vedic traditions, the theories concerning prophecy are vastly different from that of the Abrahamic faiths. We will begin the introduction to the book of Revelation by first discussing (though briefly) the various Vedic traditions regarding their eschatological viewpoints first. The Vedic traditions involves various modes or aspects concerning the psychological order of this age and its run of course. According to the Vedic tradition, eschatology is cyclical in nature, it is parallel to this life – similar to the Christian Historicist. Ages end, but another takes its place. The earth is thus never really destroyed. It goes through a cycle of births and rebirths. This view is similar to the wording of Solomon, who wrote “One generation passeth (passes) away and another generation cometh (comes) but the earth abideth (abides) forever” Eccl 1:4.
The Vedic Traditions
In Hinduism we have the Vaishnavite tradition. The tradition is associated with the last Avatar of Vishnu, Kalki. In Hinduism, Kalki is considered the last Avatar before the close of this age by Shaiva (the supreme God). In Hindu eschatology, we are told that we are living in the age of Kali, the demon. It is the last of four stages, as represented in the four Yuga’s and lasts for 4.3 billion years – the others are Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga and Dvapara Yuga. During this last stage, humanities moral and ethical standards are at it lowest point. It is in a degenerative state – far away from God, until restoration. Each Yuga life (stage/age) is significantly reduced as man loses his own self realization, thus bringing destruction, similar to the likes found in the Book of Revelation. The ages are as follows: Satya Yuga lasts 1.632 billion years. Treta Yuga lasts 1.3 billion years. Dvapara Yuga lasts 864 million years. Kali Yuga lasts approximately 432 million years – with the life span of man exceeding no more than 75 -100 on average. The ages, as represented in the universe begins to contract backwards until it collapses on itself, thus creating another big bang – a renewal – rebirth – a new age, which will run its cycle as its predecessor did – again an endless cycle of Births, deaths, and rebirths, etc. In the Buddhist frame of thought, the end of all things are quite similar to that of the Hindu belief. Buddhists hold to the same view as pertaining to the collapse of the humanities. The degenerative condition will worsen as the current age comes to a final close, similar to the warning given by Paul to Timothy regarding the last days (II Tim 3:1-5). It is a sense of not knowing their place in the great scheme of things. It is the belief of Buddhism that the moral decay of man would become so great that the average life span would only last roughly 10 to 12 years, with humanity reaching its sexual peak at the age of five. It is the Buddhist belief that this age of degeneration will come to an end through the sword. This expression is similar to Jesus’ statement of “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Though many interpret this expression as Jesus declaring a diversity of people either accepting Him or rejecting Him, thus causing conflict in families, friends, and nations. It is also similar to the 4 horsemen in the 6th chapter of this book. According to the Buddhist, those wise enough to avoid the carnage will seek shelter in the mountains and in various remote places (Matt 24:19, Lk 23:28-31, Pro 11:31, Ezek 20:47-49, I Pet 4:17). After the age of the sword, they will take up the life of virtue, justice, equality, and love; thus restoring humanity to the Buddhist ideas of true self and virtue. It is during this time that the Buddhist make many references to another teacher of enlightenment, one who is called Maitreya. According to Buddhism, Maitreya will be the fifth Buddha of this age – eon – kalpa. However within some Buddhist circles, many deny a future Maitreya, indicating that one can find the Buddha nature within himself/herself. This view holds the thought that each person can possess the Buddhist nature in and of themselves. This is similar to Peter’s proclamation that we are all priests before God (I Pet 2:9). Moreover, it is also a strikingly similar to John’s proclamation that all can become sons and daughters of God. Son’s and daughters which are born not of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but by God (Jn 1:13). The term indicates an action from without, as in God’s sovereign will. For it is written in the Scriptures that God accomplishes His will. Since that is the case, the proclamation written in II Peter 3:9, indicates a God that will permit the will of salvation to all men – for God is not willing that any should perish or suffer the plagues that are written in this book, but that all should come to repentance, a non-contingent work of salvation. However, Theosophists (adherents to the philosophical ideologies of Theosophy – a term which means in Greek, “divine wisdom” a wisdom that is within – outside of Jesus Christ – a system of esoteric beliefs, a system of which can be traced back to 3rd century Gnosticism to the present day system of “Enlightenment” and the “New Age Movement”); hold a different view concerning Maitreya. It is thought in their circles that Maitreya is already present in this world, we need to only wait for the declaration of himself to all humanity. Others, such as “Share International,” believe Maitreya to be the final manifestations of all multiple religious traditions – they see him as the better Christ, as opposed to the former Christ of the Piscean age, namely Jesus. It is their belief that Maitreya replaces the Christ of the Piscean age (stage/age of the sword) to establish what is known as the age of Aquarius (the age of peace and unity), a unity of one single race and religion. This concept is in sharp opposition to the Mosaic story regarding the Tower of Babel Gen 11:1-9 and Acts 1:9-11. Many self proclaimed Maitreya’s have come and gone. They include: Gung Ye (10th Cent), Xiang Haiming (613 AD), Empress Wu (690 AD), Lu Zhong Yi (1849-1925), L. Ron Hubbard (founder of Dianetics and Scientology – 1911-1986), Adi Da (1939-2008), Rael (1946-Present), and Joseph Emmanuel of the “Mission of Maitreya” (Present). However, it is the general consensus among Buddhists that certain physical geological and spiritual signs must conclude before Maitreya’s arrival – such as the oceans decreasing its size, the complete destruction of all Buddhist teachings, all Buddhists writings, and ideologies. Based upon these beliefs, Buddhists declare the aforementioned as false Maitreya’s. Others, such as the Baha’i faith, consider Bahaullah as the incarnated Maitreya. Bahaullah, founder of the Baha’i faith, claimed to be a messenger of God. He often referred to himself as the fulfillment of all Christian and Islamic eschatological expectations. Moreover, even in some Islamic circles, Maitreya is considered to be Rahmatu lil’alameen – another name for the prophet Muhammad. Though many within the Islamic faith deny this claim, citing that the Bahá’í Faith came from Muhammadanism the same way that Christianity came from Judaism. Bahá’í’s accept Muhammad as a true Messenger of God, but not the last Messenger. Bahá’ís do accept Muhammad as “The Seal of the Prophet,” but interpret the term “Seal” differently from Muslims. To a Muslim the term “Seal of the Prophets” means the “Last Prophet for All Eternity.” For a Bahá’í, the term “Seal of the Prophets” means “Last Prophet until God Breaks the Seal.”
The Islamic Perspective
In Islam, eschatology is documented by the prophet Muhammad. The Islamic viewpoint is the same as that of mainstream Christianity. The doctrines of the second coming of Jesus – Isa – the Islamic name for Jesus, the day of judgment, the day of the physical resurrection, the blessings of Heaven/Paradise, and the punishments of Hell for the unjust/unrighteous are well established Islamic beliefs (Qur’an 4:56, 11:35, 16:27, 47:15). Punishments are associated with mercy (Qur’an 2:284, 3:129, 29:21). It is their belief that Hell can not receive anyone who may have faith – even if that faith is the size of an atom. However, some Muslims differ on what constitutes faith. Islamic Kharidjis believe that anyone who commits a grave sin (the unpardonable sin) to be out of faith. But Islamic Sunnis hold to viewpoint of a Merciful God – a God who will punish a believing sinner with a temporary stay in Hell. While others (the Ash’aris) believe that God will provide immediate mercy upon the sinner, rather that the sinner suffering any form of retribution. Islam considers eschatology so important that it is their 6th article of faith (6 out of 7), their eschatology is similar to many Christian denominational articles of faith. In the Islamic faith Jesus is seen as a Coming Reformer, a prophet who will crumble Gog and Magog (seen in some Islamic circles as the Western influence with the Christian nation, Russia, and the English holding sway until crushed). Whether this Christian nation is in reference to Vatican City or Christianity in general remains unknown, perhaps they are referring only to those who are in a backslidden state. In a chapter called “The Grandeur” or “Power of Fate;“ we read in 97:1-5 of the Qur‘an, “Surely We revealed it on the grand night. And what will make you comprehend what the grand night. The grand night is better than a thousand months. The angels and Gibreel descend in it by the permission of their Lord for every affair, Peace! it is till the break of the morning.” Here in this Islamic passage, we learn that before the Reformer comes, there must be a great darkness, a darkness in which Muslims call, Lailat al-Qadr or Grand Night. Lailat al-Qadr, literally means “The Night of Majesty.“ The Night of Majesty signaled the birth of Islam and the revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad. This grand night must come before the revealing of what Islam refers to as the luminous angels and the Holy Spirit that will come down to the earth, revealed in the Divine Reformer called Jesus. During this “Grand Night” of evil, doctrinal deceptions, ms-understandings, and darkness upon the earth; it is believed that the Prophet Muhammad was given the inspiration of the Noble Qur’an. An inspirational Revelation in which its citations are given by Allah with the sole purpose of correction pertaining to the evils aforementioned during Muhammad’s day and today. It is also believed among them that in the ensuing centuries to come, there would be what they call mujaddid, meaning re-newer or reviver, or reformer. Such reformers can also be called Messengers (Rasul). Though there are distinctions between the two definitions, the Arabic word for messenger can also be used for mujaddid. Such beliefs can be found in the Islamic Hadith. These things must take place before the return of Isa (Jesus). This belief in many reformers are strikingly similar to the prophetic words of Obadiah, “Saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau and the Kingdom shall be the Lord‘s” (Obadiah 21). See footnote in Obadiah 21. Muslims believe that Jesus will come to earth toward the end of the world, fight the army of Satan which will be comprised of bad Jews/Zionist Jews, a host of deceived individuals/nations, false Trinitarian/Polytheist Christian faiths, and pagan Vedic Polytheists, etc. This evil army will be lead by what Muslims call Dajjal (the Antichrist) the Deceiver, an imposter Christ. However, it is also believed that many Jews and Christians will be among the good and blessed who will fight alongside with the real Jesus, who is called The Christ, and defeat the armies of the Dajjal. The empires of this world and all the nations that forget Al-lah will fall and the faith of Islam will prevail.
The Christian Perspective
The Christian perspective concerning “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” varies from denomination to denomination, and from camp to camp. There are 5 (though many claim only 4 – excluding “idealism” which many simply call “Spiritualism“) conflicting beliefs, they include; Preterism, Historicism, Futurism and Spiritualism/Idealism.
Preterism: It must be understood that within this camp there exists two contrasting schools of thought; the first being what is known as the “Full Preterist” and the second is what is known as the “Partial Preterist.” The Full Preterist (FP) maintains the teaching that all major prophecies have been fulfilled and that the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ has already transpired in what is called, “The Parousia” – during the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD. Because if this view, Full Preterists maintain that the book of Revelation was written before 70AD. See footnote in Rev 21. They reject all forms of Historicism and Futurism. The Partial Preterist (PP) is one that believes that all of the prophecies concerning the tribulation, the destruction of the temple/Jerusalem, the abominations of desolation – the Antichrist, etc; all occurred in 70AD. However, the difference between the two views is that Partial Preterists view the literal 2nd coming of Jesus Christ, the physical resurrection of all believers and non-believers alike, and the final judgment as future events. Such events will transpire just before the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ and the consummation of this age. In this they are similar to Futurists and Historicists. Partial Preterists maintain that the book of Revelation was written after 70AD (many PP’s differ on this issue or it may not concern some of them at all, since they have the best of both views). However, the general consensus is that both camps would have to hold to their opinion concerning the date as to when Revelation was written in order to maintain their preferred doctrines. What should be considered of notable praise is the Preterist stance against immorality and injustice, both on the civil and social level. They hold the principles of Idealism to a certain degree – more so than that of the Futurist or Historicist. Preterists are not concerned with fulfilling Bible prophecy, nor are they concerned with politics as the literal Biblical Evangelicals are. Though they are concerned with proper government.
Historicism A viewpoint that correlates Biblical eschatology with actual historical events. Historicists apply events from Jewish history, the Roman Empire, the Papacy (The Vatican), the 7th century rise of Islam, and the modern era with that of the books of Daniel and Revelation. Many Reformers during the 16th Century held to this view. In particular, the overall consensus concerning the Papacy and its Head (the Pope) was considered the Antichrist/Man of Sin. This view held sway during the early days of the Protestant Reformation, until the likes of Darby and Scofield. However, there are some denominations today that still uphold this classical viewpoint, including some non-donominational churches and individuals alike. Catholicism, opposed to this viewpoint, developed the Preterist (as mentioned above) and the Futurist approaches to Revelation. The Preterist viewpoints were developed by Jesuit Luis de Alcazar (1604) and the Futurist viewpoint were developed by Jesuit Francisco Ribera (1535). However of the two approaches, the Futurist doctrine remains the more prevalent viewpoint today, even in many Protestant circles – this includes many Baptists, Pentecostals, Evangelicals, and Biblical Literalists, etc. However, many Protestant Preterists would disagree with the notion that a Jesuit priest invented the doctrine of Preterism. They would claim that many early church fathers indicated a Preterism of some sort. Preterists at this point will cite, the early 4th cent church historian Eusebius, and other church fathers as indicating the Parousia as being transpired in 70AD. After reviewing Josephus’ description of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, Eusebius wrote: “It is fitting to add to these accounts the true prediction of our Saviour in which he foretold these very events. Thus quoting from Matthew 24:19-21, “Woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day. For there shall be great tribulation, such was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Similarly, Mark also cites; “See these great buildings? There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” Mk 13:2. Also see Vs 14-19. However, many of the same church fathers held to a future state just as well – perhaps indicating both; shades of Preterism and Historicism (I.e., Antichrist, the Resurrection, Judgment, etc). Historicists see the book of Revelation as an unfolding book parallel to history, culminating with the Kingdom and coming of Christ; similar to that of the Amillennialist within the Futurist camps.
Futurism: A viewpoint that assigns all or most Biblical prophecy to the future (though stating on many occasions that the end is near). Futurist predict two resurrections of the dead. The first resurrection occurs in what they call the “rapture” of the living and the dead. This rapture is followed by a literal seven year tribulation period known as Jacobs/Israel’s trouble. Some Futurists place the rapture at mid-point – during the first 3 ½ years of a literal 7 year tribulation period (Dan 9:27 – see footnote in Daniel 9, I Cor 15:51-55, Rev 11:15-19). It is also believed that while the tribulation events upon earth transpires, the saints who have been raptured before the on-set of the tribulation are judged at what theologians call the “Bema Seat of Christ” (Rom 14:10, I Cor 3:9-15, II Cor 5:10, Rev 22:12). The tribulation is then followed by a sequence of events; the 2nd coming of Christ with all the saints who were judged at the Bema (Jude 14-15), the subsequent literal 1000 year millennial reign of Christ, the second resurrection – which includes saints saved during the tribulation, the great white throne judgment of believers (those saved during the tribulation – which includes 144,000 Jews and a great multitude of Gentiles) and unbelievers, the destruction of this age, and the beginning of a new Heaven and New Earth. In the camps of Futurism, we can find different approaches to the eschatological explanations to Revelation. The following present various scholastic opinions pertaining to the topic of eschatology in Futurists camps, they are; Pre-tribulationists, Mid-tribulationists and Post-tribulationists. Within the aforementioned we have sub-categories, they include; Premillennialism, Amillennialism, and Postmillennialism. Along with this view we also have what is called “Dispensationalism“ – which is considered the same within the camps of the Pre-Tribulationist. Here Covenantal Theology is seen as 7 distinct dispensations, upon which one can, upon acceptance, hold particular viewpoints concerning the Pre, Mid, and Post – Tribulationist approach. Ultimately, Christianity is seen as victorious (Matt 16:13-19). A further in-depth look into the viewpoints above can be found in the footnotes provided at the bottom of each chapter, especially Ch 20, concerning the Book of Revelation when applicable, the Gospels, Epistles and the Prophets.
Spiritualism/Idealism: An allegorical approach. This approach see’s all the imagery of Revelation as symbolic. This interpretation can be traced back to the days of the Renaissance. The view was continually upheld by the likes of Jacob Taubes (1923-1987), F.D. Maurice (1805-1872) and Karl Barth (1886-1968). In this view the accepted form of interpretation is as follows; eschatology is an existential truth, rather than an historic event or future event that has transpired or will transpire. It is the belief that the Kingdom of Heaven is established subjectively to an individual, rather than having been established upon earth. This view nullifies the Kingdom of God in society. The view also rejects a future Messianic literal Kingdom upon earth – again, they see such prophecies as allegorical. Similar to the Preterist, they are concerned with social change and Christian ethics to social problems. Such changes include; ethics, social moral, social justice, social problems, and social evils. However, this view saw a decline. Theories ranging from the onslaught of World War 1 and its aftermath, and/or the rise of Neo-Orthodoxy may have contributed to its decline. However, its ideas reemerged in the 1960’s during “Civil Rights Movement” and the more recent “Christians Against Poverty.” The view has been dubbed as the “Social Gospel” – Thy will be done as it is in Heaven (Matt 6:10). The Kingdom is accomplished through individual effort and cooperation of believers and non-believers alike. Only by accomplishing moral and ethical cleansing, so to speak, can the second coming occur – this view can also be seen and/or called, “Post Millennialism” – a view point that ushers in the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ (as found in Ch 20:1-4 of Revelation) before His actual 2nd coming.
Regardless of the viewpoint one may favor over the other, the study and purpose of prophecy is to bring us to repentance. Always bearing in mind that the purpose of prophecy, which is repentance, and not prediction per se, will almost always easily direct one’s attention to relate to a Merciful God rather than a tyrannical God. A God who can transcend His own laws and pronouncements when proceeded by faith and repentance, or as often seen, after said prediction. We often read of the prophets (both major & minor) pronouncing judgments. But when we read between the lines, such oracles of prophecy are oftentimes meant to correct and re-establish a healthy relationship with God – Whom the Lord loves He chastises (Pro 3:12). Therefore, when studying eschatology, we should not look for the writing on the wall, but we should look for a certain expectation of glory to abound and be expected as the ultimate proof of His love (II Pet 3:9). Prophecy is written for our exhortation, not defeat. Yet, upon neglect; prophecy can also come back to bite you, when you least expect it. This was clearly evident and seen pertaining to the constant rebellious nature concerning the children of Israel – who often did not know from whence their judgment (chastisement) came from – until prophets were sent to declare the Lord’s message of why and repentance. Often times prophets were also sent before the actual chastisement as heard through the mouth of Ahijah (I Kgs 14:14-16, II Kgs 15:29, Jeremiah 20:4-6, 25:11-12, 29:10, and Micah 4:10) with the fulfillment being mentioned in II Chron 36:17-21 and Daniel 9:1-2. However, if one was to look at the Scriptures with a fine tooth comb, they will see that God often demonstrates His unconditional love to us often, as He did in foretelling the eventual fall of the Babylonian Empire through the mouth of Isaiah the Prophet after such chastisements/punishments were to be accomplished. This eventual fall demonstrated God’s unconditional love to His people. A prophecy foretold by Isaiah 100 years before its rise and actual captivity of Israel/Judah (Isa 13, 14:4-22, 21:1-10). Thus His anger is but for a season. So true is the proclamation of Christ when He said, “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” John 3:17. See footnote in John 3. Prophecy is, more or less, a message that can be considered accurate, ongoing; but will always come to an end when its ultimate goal of salvation is established – sometimes before or sometimes after. Such a salvation was noted when Jesus Himself established the prophetic utterance of the “sign” concerning the Son of Man. For we are to believe in such and repent. This is the Ultimate Reconciliation/Universal Salvation of all men/women everywhere. As UR believers (as in Universal Reconciliation) we (I myself included) see prophecy in general as a whole, not pertaining to any one individual book of the Canon or of any one faith; but as a broader message. A message that can be found outside the realm of John’s Apocalypse. It is a belief in the expressible – salvation itself is expressible, merely bought out into the open by words of rationalism conceptualized. All languages consist of words. Words that purports ideas, concepts, beliefs, and rationalization. Since prophecy is believed to express truth in language and thus inevitably stresses the rational, shouldn’t all faiths then stress the “rational” attributes of God? We see the “Bema” and the “Great White Throne” as punitive chastisements with the sole purpose of providing remedial correction, not atonement. However, many within the camps of Universalism differ as to the means and extent of said chastisement. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, are highly conceptualized religions – all having a systematic plan, creed, or doctrine pertaining to prophecy/salvation, for the three are so closely linked. The Vedic faiths, though free in creed and doctrine, maintain their own form of deeply ingrained social structure, particularly in rural India in what is known as “the caste system.” Though the Indian constitution in 1949 outlawed the caste system throughout the subcontinent of India; yet its spiritual ramifications still exists today, and is often seen as a pyramid; with each layer indicating a persons karma (what he/she has reaped and sown in their cyclic births and reincarnations), thus establishing both; their spiritual and social identity within their present life. You are an opened book. You are judged by birth, not by the contents of the heart. This pyramid is a reflection of what Karma reveals about every individual. This conceptualized pyramid of the social classes, while not explicitly religious, maintains a categorical structure; with the Brahmins-priests, scholars, and philosophers on top; with the remaining four: Kshatriyas, Varshyas, Shudras, and Chandalas classifications underneath. This form of spiritual, ethical, and racial bondage based on a cyclical chain of hierarchical orders must be destroyed. The destruction of this pyramid must begin at the bottom, not from the top. For God is interested in the laymen, the simple, the Samaritan, the outcast. The Spirit is not concerned with the elite (those at the top) – the priests, the scholars, the philosophers; otherwise we wouldn’t have the system of Indian Karma. For it is in karma that the Indian people have hope to attain “Moksha.” Why then do not the Brahmins offer the lower caste individuals study in the Vedas and the ability to join the priesthood? Indian Scholars often justify their position of the caste system by quoting the Purushasukta and Bhagavadgita; insinuating that those of the lower caste are so and should remain as such because Lord Krishna declared it to be so when he declared the “Varna System.” Any attempt to disobey one’s Karma would result in disobedience to Krishna and a non-progressive path to dharma and a better life in his/her next reincarnation. It is not a wonder as to why many remain the same; loathing in low self-esteem, shameful, poor, and even considered as an untouchable. This is not to say that priests, scholars, and philosophers are vain – for even Jesus Himself said, “all that the Pharisees say, do them; but do not take their works as examples – for they practice not what they preach” Matt 23:3. The Brahmins have the responsibility to minister consciousness minus conceptualization as the eternal Brahman. Anything less is contrary to basic fundamental Hindu belief. The caste system is hardly the universal message of brotherhood or of proper Karma as revealed in the Manusmrti or Manuscript (a Sanskrit also known as Manava-Dharma Astra) – scholars differ on the date of the text; circa 1500BC-500AD years. It is an ancient text of the Vedic Sanatana Dharma, now presently called Hinduism. The following shaloks reveal contradictional truths very similar to these seemingly contradictional citations in Scripture. For I.e., the many offerings and sacrifices to be administered to and by the people written in the Law – in opposition to this we have Psa 51:1, Isa 1:11, Jere 33:11, Rom 12:1, Matt 21:23-41, Phil 4:8, Deut 17:7, Jn 8:3-11, Heb 13:15, Ezek 39:17, Acts 20:28. The Manusmrti: 2/157. As an elephant made of wood, as an antelope made of leather, such is an unlearned Brahmana; those three have nothing but the names (of their kind). 2/28. By the study of the Veda, by vows, by burnt oblations, by (the recitation of) sacred texts, by the (acquisition of the) threefold sacred science, by offering (to the gods, Rishis, and manes), by (the procreation of) sons, by the great sacrifices, and by (Srauta) rites this (human) body is made fit for (union with) Brahman. 2/148. But that birth which a teacher acquainted with the whole Veda, in accordance with the law, procures for him through the Savitri, is real, exempt from age and death 2/146. Of him who gives natural birth and him who gives (the knowledge of) the Veda, the giver of the Veda is the more venerable father; for the birth for the sake of the Veda (ensures) eternal (rewards) both in this (life) and after death. Yet other shaloks speak contrary; several verses imply that the caste system is based on heritage: 2:30. But let (the father perform or) cause to be performed the Namadheya (the rite of naming the child), on the tenth or twelfth (day after birth), or on a lucky lunar day, in a lucky muhurta, under an auspicious constellation. 2:31. Let (the first part of) aBrahmana’s name (denote something) auspicious, a Kshatriya’s be connected with power, and a Vaisya’s with wealth, but a Sudra’s (express something) contemptible. 2:36. In the eighth year after conception, one should perform the initiation (upanayana) of a Brahmana, in the eleventh after conception (that) of a Kshatriya, but in the twelfth that of a Vaisya. 2:37. (The initiation) of a Brahmana who desires proficiency in sacred learning should take place in the fifth (year after conception), (that) of a Kshatriya who wishes to become powerful in the sixth, (and that) of a Vaisya who longs for (success in his) business in the eighth. 2:38. The (time for the) Savitri (initiation) of a Brahmana does not pass until the completion of the sixteenth year (after conception), of a Kshatriya until the completion of the twenty-second, and of a Vaisya until the completion of the twenty-fourth. 9:3. Her father protects (her) in childhood, her husband protects (her) in youth, and her sons protect (her) in old age; a woman is never fit for independence. 9:17. (When creating them) Manu allotted to women (a love of their) bed, (of their) seat and (of) ornament, impure desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice, and bad conduct. Some contend “interpolations” from both sides – Perhaps this is so. Perhaps it is so in the Scriptures as well (as some have suggested, namely those of the Islamic faith who reject certain quotations in the Gospels and certain Christians who reject any claim of definitive statements). Perhaps it is so in our preference as to the way we conceptualize things. Regardless of the method; Our God is an advancing God. As our cultures advance in recognition of this One God and spiritual knowledge; sin will abound, iniquity will abound even more, until the two “dualistic concepts” – which really does not exist at all, except that which is Holy; will clash. The illusion of sin and its remnant of slavery will ultimately be vanquished and relinquished through the power of Christ. Then we will realize as a whole, what was always the case, the saying that is written “death is swallowed up in victory” and salvation is given to all men by the means of peace on earth and good will toward men. Now this is not to say that we believe conceptualized and rational religions are wrong, but it is the ability to admit what is at the core of many faiths; the non-rational element – the inexpressible. Is it rational for a believer to believe in Biblical prophecy, when that prophecy entails a suffering servant who in return causes the indirect suffering of multitudes for all eternity, or indirectly causes mass genocide (who according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, defines genocide as “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, religious, political, or ethnic group”) or even indirectly causes euthanasia; whether that be voluntary – to relieve suffering, as in mercy killing – as in final annihilation (which in turn goes against the eternal torment ideology and rationality of our introduction located in our preface; Thesis One: That which is right is commanded by God because it is right and Thesis Two: That which is right is right because it is commanded by God), non-voluntary – to be given in cases when individual consent is unavailable (the Fundamentalist can not claim this stance, since it directly goes against their literal view concerning Luke 16:19-31 – the rich man speaks), or involuntary – to be caused by Murder. For God so hated the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever disbelieveth (disbelieves) in him shall burn in hell, in everlasting torment – John 3:16. Of course this is not the proper quotation of John 3:16, but this is how Christians in the mainstream interpret it. So by sending Jesus, God has condemned the vast majority of the human race to eternal damnation, either by eternal torment or annihilation. This is the inevitable consequence of any individual not found written in the book of life. This is the inexpressible, the irrational; in which many theologians find most disconcerting. And upon which many would attack in the name of positivism. Moreover, many would opt to use the positivistic way of explaining the inexplainable and inexpressible as meaningless nonsense. And they would be correct, since many in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and of the Vedic faiths offer judgments without end, judgments with the goal of genocide and euthanasia, or from cyclical reincarnations; all which offer very little hope for the simpleton, poor, layman, and the ungodly. Justice without remedial reconciliation is not rational. Therefore, Ultimate Reconciliation is the safest approach when properly, not interpreting, but understanding the great faiths of Our God! A message of salvation, confront, goodness, and purity. Religious rituals – as in animal sacrifices, penance, offerings, etc; are contingent upon our desire to acquire the knowledge and acceptability of God – Genesis 3:5, 7-8 “for they were naked,” so they thought, not having anything to offer God, to appease the Spirit. Therefore, God pacifies and places upon us ritualistic ordinances because we wanted it to be so – holding our hand. As we grew and advanced, God sent His Redeemer. But this was not the intention of God – for we freely walked and fellow-shipped with God – yet God foreknew of this from the foundation of the world (I Pet 1:18-20, Rev 13:8). We need not the shadow of the former, but its substance and this substance is Christ, providing for us the Ultimate Sacrifice that should never be denied, dismissed, or considered to be a myth, a creed, or a dogma. A conceptual truth, as perceived by some – including myself – has become the only rational conceptual truth to beholden and believed upon. A Truth that in return offers no caste system, no ritualistic or ceremonial law, or further need for a Hierarchical order. For it only offers that which is the Beginning and End, the Alpha and Omega. Those who claim this truth to be “illogical” as a “bloody/bloodthirsty” animalistic story, simply do not understand its deeper spiritual meaning; whether literally or allegorically, the story and history of redemption stands. See Footnotes in Romans 9, 10, and 11.
There are different opinions concerning the authorship of Revelation. The first opinion is that of Justin Martyr (2nd Cent). Justin Martyr believed the Apostle John (son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of James, the beloved disciple whom Jesus loved) wrote the book. The second opinion is that of Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria. Dionysius believedt the book was penned by “John the Elder.” This view was held by some, including Martin Luther during the Reformation. However, it is the opinion of most scholars that the former (John the Apostle) wrote the book. This view is based on the parallels concerning the overall style, language, and divine message concerning the terminology “Logos.” The term “Logos” is used quite often by John (John 1:1,14, I John 1:1, Rev 19:13). Moreover, the dictation of the book is clearly expressed in the opening chapter of Revelation (ch 1:1) – it was dictated by John and thus penned by another. However, the entire vision, message, and recorded account of the risen, glorified, and victorious Lord Christ as seen in Jesus of Nazareth was given to John and John alone. This John (the Apostle) was revealed to be the author of the Gospel of John (John 21:20-25) – in this passage it is revealed that there is a possibility that John would not see death until Jesus returns, if Jesus permits it. It is therefore in all likelihood that this is the same John who wrote the Gospel of John, since it is revealed that this individual testified and bore witness to the “Logos” (Word of God) and to the testimony of Jesus Christ. And we know his testimony is true (Jn 21:24). Other verses pertaining to John can be found in Matt 4:18-22, 27:56, Mk 5:37, 9:2-8, 38, 10:35-37, 13:3, 14:33, 16:1, Lk 5;10, 9:54, 22:8, Jn 13:23, 19:26-27, 20:2-8, 21:2-7Acts 3-4; 8, Gal 2:9, Rev 4:7.
There are two schools of thought concerning the date of Revelation. Many believe that the book was written in the 60’s AD – prior to the fall of Jerusalem and it’s temple walls in 70AD. However, there are many who hold to a later date, placing the date of the book anywhere from 90-95AD. Though they are disagreements as to the date of the writing, it commonly believed by both schools of thought that the Book of Revelation was written during times of great persecution, as suffered under the hands of Empirical Rome and its various Caesars.
In Support of the Early Date: We have the testimony of many early church fathers. Origen (circa 185- 254AD) “I challenge anyone to prove my statement untrue if I say that the entire Jewish nation was destroyed less than one whole generation later on account of these sufferings which they inflicted on Jesus. For it was, I believe, forty-two years from the time when they crucified Jesus to the destruction of Jerusalem” (Contra Celsum, 198-199). Eusebius Pamphilius (265-339AD), Bishop of Caesarea, in his “Ecclesiastical History,” Book 3, Ch 5 and 7; and his “Proof for the Gospel” Book 8, chapter 4; also refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD as the fulfillment of Daniel and Revelation. “the many great sieges which were carried on against the cities of Judea, and the excessive sufferings endured by those that fled to Jerusalem itself, as to a city of perfect safety, and finally the general course of the whole war, as well as its particular occurrences in detail, and how at last the abomination of desolation, proclaimed by the prophets, stood in the very temple of God, so celebrated of old, the temple which was now awaiting its total and final destruction by fire, – all these things any one that wishes may find accurately described in the history written by Josephus” (Book III, Ch 5). “If any one compares the words of our Saviour with the other accounts of the historian (Josephus) concerning the whole war, how can one fail to wonder, and to admit that the foreknowledge and the prophecy of our Saviour were truly divine and marvelously strange” (Book III, Ch. VII). “The lamentation and wailing was predicted for the Jews, and the burning of the Temple and its utter desolation, can also be seen even now to have occurred according to the prediction” (The Proof of the Gospel, Bk VIII, Ch 4, sect. 412). St. John Chrysostom (347–407AD) “For I will ask them, Did He send the prophets and wise men? Did they slay them in their synagogue? Was their house left desolate? Did all the vengeance come upon that generation? It is quite plain that it was so, and no man gainsays it” (Homily LXXIV). St. Augustine (354-430AD), Bishop of Hippo. Augustine also held to the idealist perspective that the 1,000 years of Revelation 20 referred to the struggle of the Christian life through history. Here are some of his Preteristic quotes: “But Luke, in order to show that the abomination of desolation happened when Jerusalem was taken, in this same place gives the words of our Lord, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh” (Luke 21:20). (Epist., cxcix, 9) “And so Josephus, who wrote the Jewish History, relates evils so great happening to this people as to seem hardly credible. Whence it was not unreasonably said, that such tribulation had never been from the beginning of creation, nor should be; for though in the time of Antichrist shall be such, or perhaps greater; yet to the Jews, of whom we must understand this, such shall never more befall. For if they shall be the first and the chief to receive Antichrist, they will then rather inflict than suffer tribulation.” (Epist. cic. 30) “For Josephus, who has written the history of the Jews, relates that such things were suffered by this people, as are scarcely credible, wherefore it is said, not without cause, that there was not such tribulation from the beginning of the creation until now, nor shall ever be. But although in the time of Antichrist there shall be one similar or greater, we must understand that it is of that people, that it is said that there shall never happen such another. For if they are the first and foremost to receive Antichrist, that same people may rather be said to cause than to suffer tribulation” (Epist., cxcix 9).
In Support of a Later Date: We again have the testimony of many early church fathers. Irenaeus (130-200AD). Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, who in turn was a disciple of John the Emissary himself. Although there are many indirect references to John being banished to Patmos under Domitian in the church fathers, there are also direct references to John’s banishment under Domitian. The earliest of these is that of Irenaeus. He was bishop of Lyons in Gaul. In ‘Against Heresies’ (180-199AD), Book V, Ch 30, we read: We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that was seen no very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian’s reign. Justin Martyr (100-165AD). Justin Martyr is an early Christian writer who also testifies to this persecution. However, according to Justin, Domitian was somewhat more restrained than Nero had been in his persecution of Christians. In his Apology, Justin wrote: Domitian, too, a man of Nero’s type, tried his hand at persecution, but as he had something of the human in him, he soon put an end to what he had begun, even restoring again those whom he had banished. According to the church fathers, the Apostle John was not among those released, but even if he had been, the fact that Domitian’s reign did not begin until 81AD means that the Revelation must have been written after that date. Domitian was so hated for his excesses that own wife participated in the plot to assassinate him. Upon his death, his successor, Nerva, reversed many of the cruel judgments of Domitian, and John was subsequently released.” Domitian’s reign ended in 96AD, and this has provided the traditional means for dating the writing of the book of Revelation. Hippolytis (236AD). Writing around 236AD, Hippolytis in Ch 1, Vs 3 of ‘On the Twelve Apostles,’ penned: “John, again, in Asia, was banished by Domitian the king to the isle of Patmos, in which also he wrote his Gospel and saw the apocalyptic vision; and in Trajan’s time he fell asleep at Ephesus, where his remains were sought for, but could not be found.” Victorinus (270AD). About 270AD, Victorinus in the Tenth Chapter of his Commentary on the Apocalypse of the Blessed John, wrote: “when John said these things he was in the island of Patmos, condemned to the labor of the mines by Caesar Domitian. There, therefore, he saw the Apocalypse; and when grown old, he thought that he should at length receive his quittance by suffering, Domitian being killed, all his judgments were discharged. And John being dismissed from the mines, thus subsequently delivered the same Apocalypse which he had received from God. Jerome (331-420AD). Jerome was born about 331AD. He died at Bethlehem, September 30, 420AD. Jerome wrote in the Ninth Chapter of ‘Illustrious Men,’ “In the fourteenth year then after Nero, Domitian, having raised a second persecution, he was banished to the island of Patmos, and wrote the Apocalypse, on which Justin Martyr and Irenaeus afterwards wrote commentaries. But Domitian having been put to death and his acts, on account of his excessive cruelty, having been annulled by the Senate, he returned to Ephesus under Pertinax and continuing there until the tithe of the emperor Trajan, founded and built churches throughout all Asia, and, worn out by old age, died in the sixty-eighth year after our Lord’s passion and was buried near the same city.” In ‘Against Jovinianus,’ Book 1, Jerome also wrote: “John is both an Apostle and an Evangelist, and a prophet. An Apostle, because he wrote to the churches as a master; an Evangelist, because he composed a Gospel, a thing which no other of the Apostles, excepting Matthew, did; a prophet, for he saw in the island of Patmos, to which he had been banished by the Emperor Domitian as a martyr for the Lord, an Apocalypse containing the boundless mysteries of the future.” Sulpitius Severus (360-420, 25AD). Sulpitius Severus was an ecclesiastical writer who was born in Aquitaine in 360AD. He died about 420-25AD. In chapter 31 of Book 2 of his ‘Sacred History,’ we read: “Then, after an interval, Domitian, the son of Vespasian, persecuted the Christians. At this date, he banished John the Apostle and Evangelist to the island of Patmos.” Are the church fathers contradicting themselves? The answer to that question is a resounding “no.” Although many church fathers disagreed with one another to a certain extent, but in areas of eschatology, they were of one accord – the Kingdom of God and of His Christ! However, it is the opinion of this author that the early church father Clement of Rome systematically bought the two views, or I should say the two apparent oppositional viewpoints, together. Clement of Rome (1st Cent-95AD). Few details are known about Clements life. According to Tertullian, Clement was consecrated by Saint Peter, and he is known to have been a leading member of the church in Rome in the late 1st century. In his ‘First Letter to the Corinthians’ Chapter XXIV, Clement says; “God continually shows us in nature that there will be a resurrection. Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually proves to us that there shall be a future resurrection, of which He has rendered the Lord Jesus Christ the first-fruits 1 Cor 15:20; Col 1:18, by raising Him from the dead. Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection which is at all times taking place. Day and night declare to us a resurrection. The night sinks to sleep, and the day arises; the day (again) departs, and the night comes on. Let us behold the fruits (of the earth), how the sowing of grain takes place. The sower Luke 8:5 goes forth, and casts it into the ground; and the seed being thus scattered, though dry and naked when it fell upon the earth, is gradually dissolved. Then out of its dissolution the mighty power of the providence of the Lord raises it up again, and from one seed many arise and bring forth fruit.” At this moment, I will encourage the reader to consider the words chosen by Clement: Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually proves to us that there shall be a future resurrection…Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection which is at all times taking place. Day and night declare to us a resurrection. It would appear that Clement believed the resurrection to be a future event, yet upon this he also considered that the resurrection is taking place at all times. The resurrection of the dead according to this statement declares that the risen physical Christ is at all times to be considered an accomplished fact. A fact that happened 2,000 years ago! Moreover, the consensus is that this established fact can indeed be an ongoing accomplishment through our own unveiling and belief (Eph 1:17-18). A belief established by faith in the established work of Christ Jesus, where He sits upon the Heavenly throne, and where we are also seated, if you are risen with Christ (Eph 1:20, 23, 2:6, Col 1:1-2). There are many such quotations. Both sides hold valid arguments based on antiquity, good hermeneutics, quotations and interpretations that can verify an early date or latter date. However, the accurate date for Revelation can not be proven. Those who continually squabble over the date of this book can certainly rest assured that they have missed the purpose and message of eschatology, and even more so the message contained in this book. Regardless of one’s personal viewpoints concerning Revelation, we are all invited to share in its blessings (Rev 1:3). But we are also told to be careful for its curse’s (Rev 2:18-19). The invitation is open to all men – salvation is open to all men – knowledge is open all men, every individual is included; we need only to lay aside our opinions of prophecy and see its bigger picture (Rev 22:17). A picture of repentance, correction, and salvation. However, and this is most unfortunate; though the actual date of Revelation cannot be proven either way, the date concerning the book continues to be a topic of debate today due to the pride of men and their doctrinal traditions.
I The Prologue
A. Greetings to the Seven Churches in Asia – Ch 1:1-7.
B. The Risen and Glorified Christ – Ch 1:8-18.
C. Write the Things You Have Seen, the Things Which Are, and the Things Which Shall Be Hereafter – Ch 1:19-20.
II The Message to the Seven Churches
A. Letter to Ephesus – Ch 2:1-7.
B. Letter to Smyrna – Ch 2:8-11.
C. Letter to Pergamos – Ch 2:12-17.
D. Letter to Thyatira – Ch 2:18-29
III The Message to the Seven Churches Continued
A. Letter to Sardis – Ch 3:1-6.
B. Letter to Philadelphia – Ch 3:7-13.
C. Letter to Laodicea – Ch 3:14-22.
IV The Throne Room of the Lamb
A. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty – Ch 4:1-11.
V The Lamb and the Scroll
A. Worthy is the Lamb – Ch 5:1-14.
VI The Seal Judgments
A. The 1st Four Seals Opened – The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse – Ch 6:1-8.
B. The 5th Seal – Ch 6:9-11.
C. The 6th Seal – Ch 6:12-17.
VII The Sealing of Many
A. The Sealing of the 144,000.00 Israelites – Ch 7:1-8.
B. The Sealing of a Great Multitude – Ch 7:9-17.
VIII The Trumpet Judgments
A. The 7th Seal: Silence in Heaven – Ch 8:1-6.
B. The 1st Trumpet – Ch 8:7.
C. The 2nd Trumpet – Ch 8:8-9.
D. The 3rd Trumpet – Ch 8:10-11.
E. The 4th Trumpet – Ch 8:12-13.
IX The Trumpet Judgments Continued
A. The 5th Trumpet – Ch 9:1-12.
B. The 6th Trumpet – Ch 9:13-21.
X The Mighty Angel
XI The Two Witnesses
A. The Two Witnesses – Ch 11:1-14.
B. The 7th Trumpet – Ch 11:15-19.
XII The Woman, Child, and the Dragon
A. The Woman – Ch 12:1-2.
B. The Dragon – Ch 12:3-4.
C. The Birth and Persecution of the Child – Ch 12:5-6.
D. War in Heaven – Ch 12:7-12.
E. Renewed Persecution of the Woman and Child – Ch 12:13-17.
XIII Great Beasts
A. The 1st Beast From the Sea – Ch 13:1-10.
B. The 2nd Beast – Ch 13:11-18.
XIV The Harvest and Grapes of Wrath Proclaimed
A. The Lamb, His Sealed 144,000.00 and a Warning – Ch 14:1-13.
B. Earth’s Harvest – Ch 14:14-16.
C. The Wine-press of Wrath – Ch 14:17-20.
XV Prelude to the Vial Judgments
XVI The Vial Judgments
A. The 1st Vial – Ch 16:2.
B. The 2nd Vial – Ch 16:3.
C. The 3rd Vial – Ch 16:4-7.
D. The 4th Vial – Ch 16:8-9.
E. The 5th Vial – Ch 16:10-11.
F. The 6th Vial – Ch 16:12-16
G. The 7th Vial – Ch 16:17-21.
XVII The Great Whore and Her Beast – Babylon Mystery Religion
A. The Scarlet Woman and the Scarlet Beast She Rides – Ch 17:1-6.
B. The Meaning of the Woman (Whore) and Her Beast (Babylon the Great) Ch 17:7-18.
XVIII The Judgment of the Great Whore and the Beast She Rides
A. The Fall of Babylon – Ch 18:1-8.
B. The Mourning of Sinful and Deceived Men For Babylon – Ch 18:9-20.
C. Babylon’s Final Perdition – Ch 18:21-24.
XIX The Victory of Jesus Christ
A. Heaven Rejoices – Ch 19:1-10.
B. The Conquering Word of God – Ch 19:11-16.
C. The Beast and His Army of Nations Defeated – Ch 19:17-21.
XX The Reign of Jesus Christ
A. Satan is Bound – Ch 20:1-3.
B. The Saints Reign With Christ – Ch 20:4-6.
C. The Probation of Evil and One Final Stage of Rebellion – Ch 20:7-10.
D. The Death of Death and the Great White Throne Judgement – Ch 20:11-15.
XXI All Things Made New
A. The New Heavens and New Earth – Ch 21:1-8.
B. The New Holy Jerusalem – Ch 21:9-21.
C. The Inherited Blessings of the New Jerusalem – Ch 21:22-27.
XXII The Abundant Life
A. The River of Life – Ch 22:1-5.
B. Time is Short, a Final Invitation – Ch 22:6-17.
C. A Final Warning – Ch 22:18-21.