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The mystery of 666 Explained - Nero! {Ecumenical thread}
ecclesia.org ^ | 2009 | Richard Anthony

Posted on 12/22/2011 1:01:18 PM PST by Cronos

Apocalypse 13:16-18 is based on Ezekiel 8 and 9. The "mark" symbolized the spiritual condition of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The ones with the "mark" were in allegiance with God. However, in Apocalypse, the mark is reversed. That is to say, the mark was on those who were against God and had allegiance to the "beast."

John wrote that the number "is the number of a man's name; and his number is 666." This tells us that those who received the "mark" were actually in allegiance with a "man," an actually person of the first century. So, who was he? Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus! Better known as Nero Caesar.

John used a puzzle called gematria in which numbers are used to represent certain letters. John used this puzzle to reveal Nero without actually writing down his name. Remember, the early churches were being persecuted during this time—not only from the Jews, but also from the Romans. The numerical values of the Hebrew letters in Neron Kesar (Nero Caesar) are:

Nero's Name

Nero Caesar fits the gematria code number "666." Using this code, his name would be rendered as "NRWN QSR." (NRWN QSR). The number values are:

N = 50
R = 200
W = 6
N = 50
Q = 100
S = 60
R = 200

which, when added together, equals 666. The fact that Nero fits the description of the "beast" is well documented. According to Suetonius, he murdered his parents, wife, brother, aunt, and many others close to him and of high station in Rome. He was a torturer, a homosexual rapist, and a sodomite. He even married two young boys and paraded them around as his wives. One of the boys, whose name was Sporus, was castrated by Nero. He was truly bestial in his character, depravity, and actions. He devised a kind of game: covered with the skin of some wild animal, he was let loose from a cage and attacked the private parts of men and women, who were bound at stakes. He also initiated the war against the Jews which led to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD..

Nero’s persecution, which was initiated in A.D.64, was the first ever Roman assault on Christianity. Roman historian Tacitus (A.D. 56-117) spoke of Nero's "cruel nature" that "put to death so many innocent men." He records the scene in Rome when the persecution of Christians broke out: "And their death was aggravated with mockeries, insomuch that, wrapped in the hides of wild beasts, they were torn to pieces by dogs, or fastened to crosses to be set on fire, that when the darkness fell they might be burned to illuminate the night." Christians were crucified, beheaded, burnt alive, and used as torches to light the palace gardens. Historically, Nero is the one that persecuted Christians beyond all comparison. St. John’s banishment to Patmos (where he wrote the book of Apocalypse) was itself a result of the great persecution of Nero. The apostle Paul was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. The apostle Peter, who was crucified upside down, was another victim of Nero, .

As Church father Eusebius notes: "Nero was the first of the emperors who showed himself an enemy of the divine religion." Sulpicius Severus concurs: "He first attempted to abolish the name of Christian." In his Annals, Roman historian Tacitus points to those who were persecuted as "those who . . . were vulgarly called Christians." Roman historian Suetonius concurs, for in a list of the few "positive" contributions of Nero as emperor, he includes the fact that Nero persecuted Christians: "During his reign many abuses were severely punished and put down, and no fewer new laws were made:. . . . Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition."

Noted church historian J. L. von Mosheim wrote of Nero's persecution: "Foremost in the rank of those emperors, on whom the church looks back with horror as her persecutors, stands Nero, a prince whose conduct towards the Christians admits of no palliation, but was to the last degree unprincipled and inhuman. The dreadful persecution which took place by order of this tyrant, commenced at Rome about the middle of November, in the year of our Lord 64. . . . This dreadful persecution ceased but with the death of Nero. The empire, it is well known, was not delivered from the tyranny of this monster until the year 68, when he put an end to his own life." (L. von Mosheim, Historical Commentaries, I:138,139).

His bestial cruelty is evidenced in the writings of the Roman historian Suetonius (A.D. 70-160), who speaks of Nero's "cruelty of disposition" evidencing itself at an early age. He documents Nero's evil and states: "neither discrimination or moderation [were employed] in putting to death whosoever he pleased on any pretext whatever." Suetonius notes that Nero "compelled four hundred senators and six hundred Roman knights, some of whom were well to do and of unblemished reputation, to fight in the arena."

Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder (A.D. 23-79) described Nero as "the destroyer of the human race" and "the poison of the world." Roman satirist Juvenal (A.D. 60-140) speaks of "Nero's cruel and bloody tyranny." Elsewhere, he calls Nero a "cruel tyrant."

Nero so affected the imagination that the pagan writer Apollinius of Tyana, a contemporary of Nero, specifically mentions that Nero was called a "beast": "In my travels, which have been wider than ever man yet accomplished, I have seen many, many wild beasts of Arabia and India; but this beast, that is commonly called a Tyrant, I know not how many heads it has, nor if it be crooked of claw, and armed with horrible fangs. . . . And of wild beasts you cannot say that they were ever known to eat their own mother, but Nero has gorged himself on this diet."


How Nero fulfills Prophesy

In Apocalypse 13:7, the Beast is said to "make war with the saints and to overcome them." Apocalypse 13:5 says that the beast would conduct such blasphemous warfare for a specific period of time: 42 months. The Neronic persecution was instituted in 64 AD and lasted until his death in June 68 AD, which is three and a half years, or 42 months! Nero fits the bill for the role of the beast!

Apocalypse 13:10 and 14 says the Beast not only slays by the sword, but ultimately is to die of a sword wound. Do you know how Nero died? According to Suetonius, he "drove a dagger into his throat, aided by Epaphroditus, his private secretary" (ch.49). Nero killed with the sword and was killed by the sword. That Nero did, in fact, kill by the sword is a well-attested fact. Paul, for example, is said to have died under Nero by decapitation by means of the sword. Tertullian credits "Nero's cruel sword" as providing the martyr's blood as seed for the church. He urges his Roman readers to "Consult your histories; you will there find that Nero was the first who assailed with the imperial sword the Christian sect."

Nero died in the middle of the war on June 8th, 68 AD, and Vespasian went back to Rome to fight to become the new emperor. During this time the Christians fled Jerusalem because they heeded the warning of Matthew 24:16; the Jews thought the respite was a sign from God of victory and they gathered in Jerusalem in great numbers. The Romans came back and destroyed the city.

Apocalypse 17:3 tells us that the beast is red. The red color may be indicative of the bloodshed caused by the beast. But Suetonius writes of the legend associated with Nero's ancestral parentage, which explains why he had a red beard, which was very unusual in those times.

Apocalypse 17:10 says, "And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space." The five "kings" were not ruling at the same time, for the text stated "five are fallen," meaning that five of those kings had come and gone. Then "one is," meaning the "king" who was ruling at the time Apocalypse was written. Here, in this verse, we have one of the clearest proofs for Nero being the beast. If we simply examine the list of Roman Emperors, we will be able to determine who the sixth king was. Flavius Josephus clearly points out that Julius Caesar was the first emperor of Rome, followed by Augustus; Tiberius; Caius (Caligula); Claudius; and the sixth emperor was…Nero (Antiquities, books 18 and 19), who assumed imperial power upon the death of the fifth emperor, Claudius, in October, A.D. 54. The matter is confirmed just a little later in the writings of Roman historians: Suetonius (Lives of the Twelve Caesars and Dio Cassius, Roman History 5). Nero reigned from 54AD to June of 68AD. John informs us that the seventh king was "not yet come." That would be Galba, who assumed power upon Nero's death in June, A.D. 68. But he was only to continue a "short space." As a matter of historical fact, his reign lasted but six months until January 15, A.D. 69.

What about the Beast's death-wound and his subsequent resurrection? Let us now consider John's revelation of the Beast arising from the dead (Apocalypse 13:3-4). At this point we need to reflect upon a most significant series of historical events of the A.D. 60s. First, with the death of Nero, the Roman Empire's founding family vanished from rule. Following the death of Nero was the extinction of the Julian line. Immediately, the Roman Empire was hurled into civil wars of horrible ferocity and dramatic proportions. These civil wars would strike everyone as being the very death throes of Rome, the Beast generically considered. Before the world's startled eyes, the seven-headed Beast (Rome) was toppling to its death as its sixth head (Nero) was mortally wounded with the sword.

Tacitus's detailed account of the ruin wreaked upon Rome almost equals in psychological horror, cultural devastation, and human carnage that which befell Jerusalem during the Jewish War, as recorded by Josephus and Tactius. The Roman civil wars were the first fruits of Nero's death. Josephus records that the destruction was so horrible, that the general Vespasian, "was not able to apply himself further in other wars when his native country was laid waste." Josephus agrees that during this time Rome was brought near to utter "ruin." He notes that "about this time it was that heavy calamities came about Rome on all sides." According to 4 Ezra 12:16-19, written around A.D. 100, the Empire was "in danger of falling": "In the midst of the time of that kingdom great struggles shall arise, and it shall be in danger of falling; nevertheless it shall not fall then, but shall regain its former power."

But what eventually occurred at the end of these death throes? Suetonius informs us that: "The empire, which for a long time had been unsettled and, as it were, drifting through the usurpation and violent death of three emperors, was at last taken in hand given stability by the Flavian family." Josephus sets forth this view of things when he writes: "So upon this confirmation of Vespasian's entire government, which was now settled, and upon the unexpected deliverance of the public affairs of the Romans from ruin, Vespasian turned his thoughts to what remained unsubdued in Judea." Thus, after a time of grievous civil wars, the Empire was revived by the ascending of Vespasian to the purple.

The point is not that Nero’s name is the primary identification of 666. The point is, instead, what the number meant to the seven churches. St. John’s Biblically informed readers will have already recognized many clear indications of the Beast’s identity. Nero arrived on the scene as the first great persecutor of the Church, the embodiment of the "666-ness" of the Empire, and – Lo and behold! – his very name spells out 666! It is significant that "all the earliest Christian writers on the Apocalypse, from Irenaeus down to Victorious of Pettau and Commodian in the fourth, and Andreas in the fifth, and St. Beatus in the eighth century, connect Nero, or some Roman emperor, with the Apocalyptic Beast ." There should be no reasonable doubt about this identification. St. John was writing to first-century Christians, warning them of things that were "shortly" to take place. They were engaged in the most crucial battle of history, against the Dragon and the evil Empire which he possessed. The purpose of the Apocalypse was to comfort the Church with the assurance that God was in control, so that even the awesome might of the Dragon and the Beast would not stand before the armies of Jesus Christ. Christ was wounded in His heel on Friday, the sixth day, the Day of the Beast – yet that is the day He crushed the Dragon’s head. At his most powerful, St. John says, the Beast is just a six, or a series of sixes; never a seven.

It is charged by some that Neron Kesar is merely a convenient "misspelling" of Nero’s name in Hebrew. This objection overlooks the fact that before the modern introduction of dictionaries the world was simply not as concerned as we are about uniformity in the spelling of names. Alternate spellings were common (e.g. "Joram" and "Jehoram" in the Old Testament), especially in the transliteration of words into a foreign tongue. But the allegation of misspelling is wholly wrong anyway. The form Neron Kesar is the linguistically "correct" Hebrew form, is the form found in the Talmud and other rabbinical writings, and was used by Hebrews in the first century, as archaeological evidence has shown. As F. W. Farrar observed, "the Jewish Christian would have tried the name as he thought of the name-that is in Hebrew letters. And the moment he did this the secret stood revealed. No Jew ever thought of Nero except as ‘Neron Kesar,’ and this gives at once . . . 666" (The Early Days of Christianity, Chicago and New York: Belford, Clarke& Co., 1882, p. 540). Of some related interest is the fact that if Nero’s name is written without the final "n" (i.e., the way it would occur to a Gentile to spell it in Hebrew), it yields the number 616 — which is exactly the variant reading in a few New Testament manuscripts. The most reasonable explanation for this variant is that it arose from the confusion over the final "n".

It may now be pointed out that in an Aramaic document from Murabba’at, dated to the "second year of the emperor Nero," the name is spelled ‘rsq nwrn’ as required by the theory (i.e., that 666 signifies Nero). The last two consonants of ‘rsq’ are damaged, but enough is preserved to show that no vowel-letter was written between the ‘q’ and ‘s’ (Apocalypse 13:18 and a Scroll from Murabba’at). The evidence can be seen by consulting the French work edited by P, Benoit, J. T. Milik, and R. DeVaux, Discoveries in the Judean Desert of Jordan II (Oxford, 1961), page 18, plate 29.

The Christians of the first century were under the military authority of Rome, a nation which openly proclaimed its rulers, the Caesars, to be divine. All those under the jurisdiction of Rome were required by law to publicly proclaim their allegiance to Caesar by burning a pinch of incense and declaring, "Caesar is Lord". Upon compliance with this law, the people were given a papyrus document called a "libellus", which they were required to present when either stopped by the Roman police or attempting to engage in commerce in the Roman marketplace, increasing the difficulty of "buying or selling" without this mark. This is the

essence of Scripture’s warnings to the early Christians against taking upon themselves the "mark of the beast".


TOPICS: Theology
KEYWORDS: apocalypse; godsgravesglyphs; preterism
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Note that the book of Apocalypse was not accepted by all in the early centuries. Eusebius wrote that
We have understood that at this time Cerinthus, the author of another heresy, made his appearance. Caius, whose words we quoted above, in the Disputation which is ascribed to him, writes as follows concerning this man:

But Cerinthus also, by means of revelations which he pretends were written by a great apostle, brings before us marvelous things which he falsely claims were shown him by angels; and he says that after the resurrection the kingdom of Christ will be set up on earth, and that the flesh dwelling in Jerusalem will again be subject to desires and pleasures. And being an enemy of the Scriptures of God, he asserts, with the purpose of deceiving men, that there is to be a period of a thousand years for marriage festivals.

And Dionysius, who was bishop of the parish of Alexandria in our day, in the second book of his work On the Promises, where he says some things concerning the Apocalypse of John which he draws from tradition, mentions this same man in the following words:

But (they say that) Cerinthus, who founded the sect which was called, after him, the Cerinthian, desiring reputable authority for his fiction, prefixed the name. For the doctrine which he taught was this: that the kingdom of Christ will be an earthly one.

And as he was himself devoted to the pleasures of the body and altogether sensual in his nature, he dreamed that that kingdom would consist in those things which he desired, namely, in the delights of the belly and of sexual passion, that is to say, in eating and drinking and marrying, and in festivals and sacrifices and the slaying of victims, under the guise of which he thought he could indulge his appetites with a better grace.

These are the words of Dionysius. But Irenæus, in the first book of his work Against Heresies, gives some more abominable false doctrines of the same man, and in the third book relates a story which deserves to be recorded. He says, on the authority of Polycarp, that the apostle John once entered a bath to bathe; but, learning that Cerinthus was within, he sprang from the place and rushed out of the door, for he could not bear to remain under the same roof with him. And he advised those that were with him to do the same, saying, Let us flee, lest the bath fall; for Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.
From NewAdvent -
During the fourth and fifth centuries the tendency to exclude the Apocalypse from the list of sacred books continued to increase in the Syro-Palestinian churches. Eusebius expresses no definite opinion. He contents himself with the statement: "The Apocalypse is by some accepted among the canonical books but by others rejected"

St. Cyril of Jerusalem does not name it among the canonical books (Catechesis IV.33-36); nor does it occur on the list of the Synod of Laodicea, or on that of Gregory of Nazianzus. Perhaps the most telling argument against the apostolic authorship of the book is its omission from the Peshito, the Syrian Vulgate.

1 posted on 12/22/2011 1:01:25 PM PST by Cronos
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To: Cronos

Sorry Cronos.

Per Paul, Jesus destroys the beast, the man of sin, the son of perdition with His breath at His second coming.

That hasn’t happened yet.


2 posted on 12/22/2011 1:06:09 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: Cronos

VERY INTERESTING!!!!!!! THANKS!!!!


3 posted on 12/22/2011 1:12:32 PM PST by Ann Archy ( ABORTION...the HUMAN Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: PetroniusMaximus

To a preterist ... EVERYTHING happened in 70 AD.


4 posted on 12/22/2011 1:13:45 PM PST by dartuser ("If you are ... what you were ... then you're not.")
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To: Cronos

Bookmark for further reading. Thank you for posting.


5 posted on 12/22/2011 1:23:43 PM PST by FamiliarFace
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To: PetroniusMaximus
That's incorrect linkage. The beast was Nero who persecuted Christians, executed Peter and Paul. Many were the martyrs who died for not adoring the beast.

The key to interpreting the book of Apocalypse is Apocalypse 17:8-14

8 “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and [g]go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. 9 Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, 10 and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. 11 The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. 12 The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 13 These have one [h]purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast.
the coinage with images was part of this "mark of the beast" and remember that Emperor Caligula

note the 7 heads, the 7 Emperors, out of which 5 "have fallen": Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero

The seventh "is not yet come. But when he does, his reign will remain short" - that is Domitian, who ruled 2 years (the 6th and 7th heads were Vespasian and Titus respectively

6 posted on 12/22/2011 1:26:21 PM PST by Cronos (Nuke Mecca and Medina now..)
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To: dartuser; PetroniusMaximus
Augustine wrote of this in City of God
The evangelist John has spoken of these two resurrections in the book which is called the Apocalypse, but in such a way that some Christians do not understand the first of the two, and so construe the passage into ridiculous fancies. For the Apostle John says in the foresaid book, And I saw an angel come down from heaven. . . . Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

Those who, on the strength of this passage, have suspected that the first resurrection is future and bodily, have been moved, among other things, specially by the number of a thousand years, as if it were a fit thing that the saints should thus enjoy a kind of Sabbath-rest during that period, a holy leisure after the labors of the six thousand years since man was created, and was on account of his great sin dismissed from the blessedness of paradise into the woes of this mortal life, so that thus, as it is written, One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, 2 Peter 3:8 there should follow on the completion of six thousand years, as of six days, a kind of seventh-day Sabbath in the succeeding thousand years; and that it is for this purpose the saints rise, viz., to celebrate this Sabbath. And this opinion would not be objectionable, if it were believed that the joys of the saints in that Sabbath shall be spiritual, and consequent on the presence of God; for I myself, too, once held this opinion.

But, as they assert that those who then rise again shall enjoy the leisure of immoderate carnal banquets, furnished with an amount of meat and drink such as not only to shock the feeling of the temperate, but even to surpass the measure of credulity itself, such assertions can be believed only by the carnal. They who do believe them are called by the spiritual Chiliasts, which we may literally reproduce by the name Millenarians. It were a tedious process to refute these opinions point by point: we prefer proceeding to show how that passage of Scripture should be understood.


7 posted on 12/22/2011 1:31:30 PM PST by Cronos (Nuke Mecca and Medina now..)
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To: Cronos

Here’s more;

http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/666.htm


8 posted on 12/22/2011 1:32:19 PM PST by Hillarys Gate Cult (Those who trade land for peace will end up with neither one.)
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To: Cronos
who persecuted Christians, executed Peter and Paul

Peter & Paul were Jewish who followed Messiah in the keeping and teaching of Torah. The doctrine of Christendom rejects Torah.

9 posted on 12/22/2011 1:34:58 PM PST by patlin ("Knowledge is a powerful source that is 2nd to none but God" ConstitutionallySpeaking 2011)
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To: dartuser; PetroniusMaximus
And Acts 10: 42 says
to be judge of the living and of the dead.
and 2 Tim 4:1 I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming, and his kingdom:

Jesus Christ's second coming is to judge the living and the dead, not to have an eartly kingdom -- in fact, Christ is reigning now in heaven -- reference Matt 28:18 "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" , as Paul said in 1 cor 15:25-26 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. -- He reigns now

Read 1 Thess 4:16-17

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord.
This occurs AT the time of Christ's Second coming, not before -- there is no "Third coming"
10 posted on 12/22/2011 1:39:11 PM PST by Cronos (Nuke Mecca and Medina now..)
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To: Hillarys Gate Cult

funny!


11 posted on 12/22/2011 1:40:52 PM PST by Cronos (Nuke Mecca and Medina now..)
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To: patlin
patlin: The doctrine of Christendom rejects Torah.

ok, so you say. Paul says in 1 cor about himself "though not being myself under the Law," and later on contradicts the Torah's teaching on circumscision.

What you have outlined is the teachings of the Ebionites who though they accepted Jesus as the Messiah, rejected the teachings of Paul

in fact they rejected Paul as an apostate. They moved to the Hejaz region of Arabia and these are the false teachings that influenced islam.

12 posted on 12/22/2011 1:49:41 PM PST by Cronos (Nuke Mecca and Medina now..)
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To: patlin

The Talmud is usually considered part of the Torah, is it not?


13 posted on 12/22/2011 1:50:50 PM PST by mas cerveza por favor
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To: Cronos

Nero was not THE anti-Christ, he was AN anti-Christ. The bible says there are many anti-Christs.

If you believe that Nero was the anti-Christ, and among other things, that most of the end-time scriptures have been fulfilled, you must then believe we are living in the 1000 year reign.

Last time I checked, the world is NOT getting better, sin is rampant, and the polarization between good and evil continue.

Nor has God written Israel out of his plan. They exist in Revelation as does the Church.

I prefer my prophecies to be fulfilled in full, every jot and tittle, thank you.

God is not slack in this manner.


14 posted on 12/22/2011 1:50:50 PM PST by BereanBrain
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To: mas cerveza por favor

No. The Torah is the Word of God (the Pentateuch). The Talmud is a collection of rabbinical commentary on the Talmud.


15 posted on 12/22/2011 2:13:38 PM PST by SquarePants
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To: SquarePants

Crap.. I mistyped - the Talmud is a collection of rabbinical commentary on the TORAH.


16 posted on 12/22/2011 2:14:33 PM PST by SquarePants
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To: Cronos

Nero was dead when Revelation was written.


17 posted on 12/22/2011 2:16:27 PM PST by circlecity
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To: Cronos

I don’t buy the preterist position and semi-preterism is just a very front loaded version of historiscism. (that is not a criticism of semi-preterism by the way). I do think, however, the preterists make a better case for their position than the dispensationalists do theirs.


18 posted on 12/22/2011 2:25:44 PM PST by circlecity
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To: Cronos

I know that the folks who wrote the books clouded meanings to protect themselves from persecution.

However, some of those books read like they were written by the Alex Jones crowd. They dance around the point teasing you...but never really come to the point.


19 posted on 12/22/2011 2:25:48 PM PST by Vermont Lt (I just don't like anything about the President. And I don't think he's a nice guy.)
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To: circlecity

Finally, someone points out that there’s little point for the second half of Revelation if it’s all about stuff that happened 17-27 years prior to the earliest dates John may have written it.


20 posted on 12/22/2011 2:36:06 PM PST by FateAmenableToChange
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