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Title:Bible Only Revelation Commentary by Steven Rudd
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Body:The "Bible Only" Revelation Commentary: The easiest Bible book to understand!

The 5-minute beginner's guide to totally understanding Revelation.

Revelation Commentary:

1. Revelation written in AD 66

2. Flee Jerusalem or be destroyed in AD 70

3. The central synchronism is the Ezekiel's account of the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC.

Original publication date: February 2018. This updated version date: March 2021

Author: Steven Rudd. Free of charge at: www.bible.ca/revelation

Bible Only Revelation Commentary

Steven Rudd Feb 2018

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DOWNLOAD: FREE PDF

Preface: Completely understand Revelation in 5 minutes

Intro 1: Ezekiel Decodes Revelation

Intro 2: Jerusalem = Babylon, Sodom, Egypt, The Harlot

Intro 3: When was Rome destroyed fulfilling Revelation?

Intro 4: Messianic Expectation in Coins and Dead Sea Scrolls

Intro 5: Moses' Sunset Clause & the Extinction of Judaism

Intro 6: The Role of Archaeology in Understanding Revelation

Intro 7: Dating Revelation to AD 66: Internal and external evidences

Intro 8: The Myth of Emperor Worship as the Beast from the earth in Rev 13

Intro 9: Why Revelation was Written to 7 Churches in Asia, not Jerusalem

Intro 10: Jewish Persecution of Christians in Revelation

Intro 11: Numerology: 7 and 3 ½ in Revelation and Daniel

Intro 12: Jewish to Julian Calendar Date Conversion

Roman warfare: Hail Stones = Ballista. Scorpions = Catapult.

Revelation Chapters

PDF

Rev 5

Rev 11

Rev 17

Chart

Rev 6

Rev 12

Rev 18

Rev 1

Rev 7

Rev 13

Rev 19

Rev 2

Rev 8

Rev 14

Rev 20

Rev 3

Rev 9

Rev 15

Rev 21

Rev 4

Rev 10

Rev 16

Rev 22

Dating, Chronology & Eschatology

Dating Revelation to AD 66: Internal and external evidences

"Days of Messiah" 1st Century Jewish Eschatology (Rev 20)

Dating the Gospel of John to AD 98

Old Testament Bible Book and Chapter Dating

Jewish to Julian Calendar Date Converter

Josephus

Josephus Chronology of Destruction of Jerusalem: AD 62-74

The 7 Miraculous Signs of Josephus AD 65-66

Josephus "2 Witnesses": Jesus ben Ananus: AD 62-70

Daniel and Revelation

Book of Daniel: 1260 days. 42 months, 70 weeks and 490 years

Full-Preterism Refuted

Full-Preterism Examined and Refuted

By Steven Rudd, Feb 2018: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections

Preface: Completely understand Revelation in 5 minutes

The book of Revelation is the easiest book in the Bible to understand... that is of course if you were a Jew living in Jerusalem in AD 66. Revelation is a Jewish document written by Jews for Jews. Much of the imagery was foreign and meaningless to 1st century Gentile converts to Christianity and even more so today. The overarching theme of the book of Revelation is the extinction of physical Mosaic Judaism with the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple as the final phase of fulfilment of Jeremiah 31:31. The key to unlocking Revelation is the direct synchronism between the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC and AD 70 triggered by the rebellion of the Jews against two of God's "anointed servants" of Daniel 2 (Nebuchadnezzar and Titus). The two destructions happened on the exact same day of the year, the 10th Av. Both Nebuchadnezzar and Titus were crown princes when they captured Jerusalem and both went on to become kings.

Chronology is an important tool to unlock the Bible. The Law of Moses was given on Pentecost 1446 BC and the Law of Christ was given 1480 years later on Pentecost AD 33. The double prophecy of 2 Samuel 7:12-17 predicted the temple of Solomon in 967 BC and the Church of Christ (Temple of Christ) exactly 1000 years later on the day of Pentecost AD 33. In Daniel's prophecy of the 70 weeks (Dan 9:27), it is exactly 490 years to the solar day from the decree of Artaxerxes in 458 BC (Ezra 7) to the resurrection of Christ in AD 33. Josephus records 7 miraculous signs that began Passover AD 65 and ended Passover AD 66. The First Jewish War began on Pentecost AD 66 and lasted 7 years until the fall of Masada in AD 73. Following the prophecy of Jesus that the tribulation will fall upon "this generation", it was exactly 40 years to the day from the crucifixion of Christ on Passover AD 33 and the Fall of Masada on Passover AD 73.

There are two key Revelation verses that prove when and why it was written: Rev 11:8 and 17:10. These two scriptures trump the "fluff statements" of uninspired church fathers like Irenaeus, commonly used by "Late-dater s" as the primary support that John wrote Revelation in AD 96 and that Rome is the book's target of destruction. This, in spite of the fact that Late-dater s cannot pin a specific date for this event. For Late-dater s then, the historical fulfillment is a fuzzy blur. Even worse, late-daters get the central message of the book wrong which they say is the superficial and overly simplistic "victory of Christians". Revelation opens with promises of persecution from the Jews among the 7 churches of the first century (ch2-3) and closes with the last remaining Christians on earth being annihilated (by Muslims), save the intervention of God (20:7-11), which triggers the second coming. Victory on Earth is clearly NOT the central theme of Revelation. In fact, the central theme of Revelation is the punishment for the Jewish rejection of their Messiah, the Jewish persecution of Christians as seen in Rev 1:9; 2:9-10 and murder of Old Testament prophets. The symbolic language of Revelation describes historic events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem.

The Jews destroyed Jerusalem first, then the Romans

Josephus strongly placed the blame for the destruction of the temple upon the three waring Jewish Zealot leaders inside the city, Eleazar ben Simon, Simon ben Giora, John of Gischala. Even Jewish Josephus commented that God destroyed the city in His wrath and justice because of the moral wickedness. Josephus judged the Jewish Zealots guilty for desecrating and destroying the temple themselves and judges the Romans innocent because they took every possible step to protect the temple from being destroyed by the Jews. This echoes the six trials before the crucifixion of Christ where the first three Jewish trials judged Jesus guilty and the last three Roman trials judged Him innocent. Pilate knew Jesus was innocent and that the Rabbis wanted Him killed out of envy. Pilate did everything in his power to save Jesus from the Jews by publicly pronouncing Him innocent, flogging as a substitute for death, circumventing the leaders by offering a prisoner exchange to the masses and finally a public washing his hands of guilt.

"When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this Man's blood; see to that yourselves." And all the people said, "His blood shall be on us and on our children!" Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged (a second time), he handed Him over to be crucified." (Matthew 27:24-26)

When the Jews publicly accepted responsibility for crucifying their Messiah with the words, "His blood shall be on us and on our children!", God's wrath and justice was demonstrated in the destruction of Jerusalem as recorded in the book of Revelation.

Revelation is judgement upon Jews first, then Romans

However, Pilate permitted innocent Jesus to be crucified and Nero persecuted Christians for 42 months (AD 64-68) so the Book of Revelation also punishes the Roman Empire. In both 587 BC and AD 70, God punished Babylonians and Romans for their participation in destroying the city. However, Titus, like Nebuchadnezzar took steps to save the temple from fire, while the Jews were destroying the temple with their own hands. On two occasions during the final siege in AD 70, Titus sent Josephus to the city wall to persuade those inside to surrender in order to save the temple. Titus even condemned the Jews inside the city as savage beasts for hypocritically defiling the temple by turning it into a military fortress and filling it with 8,500 of dead bodies and blood. Pagan Titus said to the Jews, "You wicked villains? Why do you trample upon dead bodies in this temple" (Wars 4.201,313; 6:110,126). Ironically, even Josephus the Zealot, viewed Roman Titus as more righteous than his fellow Jews. In January AD 68, the Jews caused the extinction of their own High Priesthood by choosing the unfit Phannias ben Samuel by lot, then executing the two legitimate High Priests, Ananus ben Ananus and Jesus ben Gamaliel, a month later.

Beast from Sea and Earth

In Revelation, the two-horned sheep "Beast from the Earth" represents the Jews who destroy the spiritually dead city and temple from within and the ten-horned, seven-headed "Beast from the Sea" represents the Roman Empire who finish the job by burning the corpse.

Ezekiel decodes Revelation

Revelation was a "1st century remake" of Ezekiel's old storyline of the destruction of Jerusalem, start to finish, except the date changed from 587 BC to AD 70. Revelation is like a new modern version of the original Cinderella story where all the details have changed, but the plotline is identical; everyone knows what happens next and everyone knows how it ends. We know Ezekiel is a "blow by blow" account of the first destruction of 587 BC. Revelation follows and borrows from Ezekiel, chapter by chapter in the second destruction of AD 70. While all commentators are aware of John's use of Ezekiel in Revelation, this author is the first (to his knowledge) to identify John's direct sequential "thought for thought" borrowing, dependence and synchronism with Ezekiel. This was all designed by the Holy Spirit who, word for word, inspired both of the prophets Ezekiel and apostle John. The synoptic Gospels all contain the "Olivet Discourse" (Mt 24, Lk 21:20, Mk 13) with detailed accounts of Jesus' prediction and warnings to flee Jerusalem before it was destroyed. The Gospel of John skips the Olivet Discourse and says nothing because it was written after AD 70. As Dr. Scott Stripling brilliantly observed, "The book of Revelation is John's Olivet discourse written in AD 66".

Ezekiel and Revelation us symbolic language to describe real events of war

We are certain that the symbolic "apocalyptic" language in Ezekiel describes the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC. Since the book of Revelation uses the identical symbolic "apocalyptic" language as Ezekiel, it should be obvious then, that Revelation is describing the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. In both Ezekiel and Revelation, symbolic language describes the actual physical event of the destruction of Jerusalem.

Synchronisms between Ezekiel and Revelation

There are countless synchronisms between Ezekiel and Revelation which both echo the identical message of, "Come out from among them" living in Jerusalem or be killed. During the 70-year Babylonian captivity of 605-536 BC, the blessings of Jerusalem were transferred to Babylon where the Jerusalem Jews lived in sanctuary and the curses of Babylon were transferred to Jerusalem. Both Ezekiel and Jeremiah called Jerusalem "Egypt and Sodom" and then the city was destroyed. Josephus even called Jerusalem "Sodom" (Wars 5.566). The transference of God's curses from Babylon to Jerusalem is repeated in Revelation, when once again, the curses of mystical Babylon (now long extinct) were transferred to literal Jerusalem. John directly identifies Jerusalem which is "mystically called Egypt and Sodom, the city where Jesus was crucified" (Rev 11:8). We know that "Babylon" was a well understood nickname for Jerusalem long before John wrote Revelation because Apostle Peter, who served as an elder in his home church in Jerusalem (1 Pe 5:1), actually called Jerusalem, "Babylon". (1 Pe 5:13). Revelation is easy to understand when you realize that Jerusalem is called "Babylon", "the great city", "the whore", "Sodom" and "Egypt". Just as God decreed the destruction of Jerusalem in 593 BC when Zedekiah rebelled against Babylon (which was also the year Ezekiel started preaching) so too God decreed the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 66 when the Jews rebelled against Rome, which was also when John wrote Revelation. Although Revelation is primary dependent upon Ezekiel, John also drew heavily from Jeremiah and to a lesser degree Daniel, Zechariah, Isaiah, and a handful of specific messianic texts and the synoptics. He also drew from current messianic expectation theology as witnessed in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Nero, the 6th Roman Caesar as "666", Beast from Sea

In addition to "Nero Caesar" isopsephically (letter to number sum) equalling the number 666, the simple meaning behind the number 666 is to repeat "6th Caesar", three times. So "666" equals "6th Caesar, 6th Caesar, 6th Caesar". It is repeated three times for emphasis. Rev 17:10 proves the book was written in AD 66 under Nero and counts 7 officially recognized Caesars: "seven kings [Julius to Vespasian]; five have fallen [Julius to Claudius], one is [Nero, the "beast" whose name equals 666], the other has not yet come [Vespasian]. Daniel 7:7-8 counts 10 Roman Caesars from Julius to Vespasian by including the three unofficial "usurper Caesars" (Galba, Otho and Vitellius) who reigned in short turbulent succession for a total of 13 months (9 June 68- July AD 69). Incredibly Daniel foresaw these three "usurper" Caesars (all of whom where killed and beheaded) were never officially installed. Daniel removes the 3 usurpers from the list of ten which agrees with John's 7! "Rome had ten horns... a little horn, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it (Galba, Otho and Vitellius)". Wow. Wow. Wow. How simple is that and how amazing is the Holy Spirit! "666" has no special religious meaning except it is the "number of a name" (Isopsephy). If Nero's mother was inspired by Johnny Cash and named him "Sue" [שושנה], the "number of the beast from the sea" would have been 658! The number of Jesus' name is 888! Look your spouse's isopsephic name up on the internet because if it also equals 666 like Nero, it will explain a lot of things!

Civil War: Three Jewish Rebel leaders: Eleazar ben Simon, Simon ben Giora, John of Gischala

In Revelation 13, Nero is the Beast from the Sea who persecutes Christians 42 months from the burning of Rome in AD 64 until he died in AD 68. The three Jewish rebel leaders fighting a civil war inside Jerusalem in AD 69 are also represented in "the beast from the earth" because they destroy their own city and temple from within, while righteous Titus takes several steps to save the temple from destruction (Wars 6.214-217). The liberation of Jerusalem began Tuesday 6th August AD 66 [15th Av] when the rebel Jews used the wood donated to the Temple Altar of Burnt Offerings during the festival of Xylophory. In a self-inflicted literal Holocaust, the Jews used their own holy Altar wood to start burning their own city! (Josephus Wars 2.425). Jesus warned, "when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, recognize her desolation is near. Flee" (Lk 21:20)! But even more remarkable is the fact that it was Jewish armies that first surrounded Jerusalem, not Roman as commonly mis-taught. Under the command of Manahem, Jerusalem was liberated on 15th September AD 66 (Josephus Wars 2.433-440) and he surrounded and paraded his army around the outside city wall. While the Jews were rejoicing that the city was liberated, the Christians fled the city, knowing that it was a sign of impending destruction! The same thing happened in 593 BC when Zedekiah rebelled, triggering the withdrawal of God's grace and pronouncement of its impending destruction. On 10th November AD 66 the Romans withdrew and "left behind them their engines for sieges, and for throwing of stones, and a great part of the instruments of war. So, the Jews went on pursuing the Romans as far as Antipatris, after which, seeing they could not overtake them, they came back and took the engines and brought them into Jerusalem" (Josephus Wars 2.553). When Titus arrived on Monday 7th March AD 70, he observed the city split into three parts through the 3-way civil war of the 3 rebel leaders fighting each other inside the city. Revelation 16 twice refers to the three rebel leaders as "three unclean spirits like frogs, the spirits of demons who bring war to Jerusalem" (v14) and "The great city was split into three parts". (v19). The Jews were using the Roman Ballista and Catapults against each other inside the city. Josephus even called the Jews a "wild beast" (like John in Rev 13) and records the civil war in detail:

"The sedition at Jerusalem was revived, and divided into three factions, and that one faction fought against the other; which partition in such evil cases may be said to be a good thing, and the effect of divine justice. (3) Now as to the attack the zealots made upon the people, and which I esteem the beginning of the city's destruction, it hath been already explained after an accurate manner; as also whence it arose, and to how great a mischief it was increased; (4) but for the present sedition, one should not mistake if he called it a sedition begotten by another sedition, and to be like a wild beast grown mad, which for want of food from abroad, fell now upon eating its own flesh." (Josephus Wars 5:4-6)

Figurative language describes First Century Roman warfare

In September AD 66 the Jews captured a large number of Roman war machines (Ballista, Catapults) and brought them into the city and attacked their fellow Jews inside Jerusalem during the turbulent civil-war. Revelation 9 and 16 uses figurative language to describe the "Roman engines" (Ballista and Catapult). The one talent white hail stones represent the one talent white stone Ballista balls and the locust/scorpion represents the catapult. "Scorpion" was the common name used in the first century for the Roman catapult. While today, futurists and premillennialists see US F-16 fighter Jets, the Christians in Jerusalem in AD 66, immediately recognized "one-talent hail and scorpions" as symbolic language of the very war machines the Jews had captured from the Romans and had brought inside the city. How much simpler could it be? This was long before the Romans arrived with a full battalion of new replacement Ballista and Catapults to attack the Jews from outside the city wall. When Titus arrived, the Jews in Jerusalem were getting bombarded from both their fellow Jews from within and the Romans from the outside.

The Number 7, Dead Sea Scrolls and Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice

The central number in Revelation is 7 and endless pages have been written decoding its meaning in vain, without ever discovering the truth that it has no symbolic meaning at all. It simply traces back to Elijah who performed miracles in 3, 3 ½ and 7. The use of the number 7 in Revelation was a way to give John's Apocalypse a "Jewish familiar literary feel". Every synagogue used a songbook called "The Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice" that used the number 7 to the point of obsession. It was a collection of 13 songs, sung acapella, (because instrumental music was banned in synagogues), consecutively in a 13-week cycle. The outstanding feature of its use of the number 7 was as familiar to every first century Jew as "Jesus Loves Me" is to Christians today. As early as 90 BC, Dead Sea Scroll 11QMelchizedek is evidence that the Jews were long using the number 7 as an organizing numeric framework in their literature. So, when Revelation was structured around the number 7, Revelation had the "feel" of "Jewish literature" that the Jews in Jerusalem would be familiar with. This enhanced their acceptance of the message in Revelation to "leave it all behind" and flee Jerusalem or die.

Archaeology and Ancient Literary Sources

John also borrowed specific Jewish Messianic terminology widely used and understood by all Jews before the birth of Christ as witnessed in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Hebrew coinage and other ancient Jewish literary sources. Every feature of Revelation 20, including the dragon, 1000-year reign of the Messiah, war with Gog and Magog and final judgment are drawn primarily from current Jewish Messianic eschatological theology witnessed in the Dead Sea Scrolls, not the Old Testament. Even the New Testament references the first century Jewish theology of the "Days of the Messiah" several times. As incredibly helpful as archaeology can be in illuminating first century Jewish culture, it is highly fragmented and incomplete. Additionally, it is highly likely that some of the symbolism in Revelation is based upon local current events, lost to history the same way the burning down of Farmer Brown's barn in a small town is known by all the locals, but no one outside the area ever hears about it. Also remember about 1 million first-hand witnesses inside the city were killed by the Romans. With this in mind, the author has not attempted to ascribe meaning to all the minute details in Revelation. In other words, a Christian living in AD 66 would immediately understand and recognize many of the symbols in Revelation that may be impossible for us today to ever understand being so far removed in time and culture.

The Apostle John wrote Revelation on Patmos in AD 66 and his Gospel and 1,2,3 John at Ephesus after being released from Patmos in AD 98. Today, all Christians still await the future second coming of Christ, wherein the dead will be raised into a spirit body, the living will be changed into a spirit body, the physical universe will be uncreated (Rev 20:11) and all will be judged before God who then creates a new heaven and earth (Rev 21). Come, Lord Jesus!

Take the "Bible Only" test:

This commentary is called, "The 5-minute beginner's guide to totally understanding Revelation." But anyone can do a public reading up this point in only 3 minutes and that is all you really need! Read Revelation right now with the above ideas in mind and the book becomes very simple. Imagine you are a Christian living in Jerusalem in AD 66. Instead of trying to assign specific meaning to all the colourful apocalyptic language, just view it as poetry that describes the destruction of Jerusalem. A key to understanding is to substitute "Jerusalem" in place of "Babylon", "City", "Egypt", "Sodom", "The Harlot". So, stop reading this commentary right now and go read Revelation for yourself! Afterwards, you will agree with me that Revelation is the easiest book in the Bible to understand!

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About the "Bible Only Revelation Commentary"

The author is a firm believer in the word-for-word inspiration and all sufficiency of the Bible. The author wrote this commentary in Feb 2018 in about two weeks. Three additional weeks were required for a few peripheral documents, graphics and custom web page programming so it was available to all free online. The author has in his possession and has read a few sections of the other commentaries on Revelation listed below in years past. However, they were not re-read in preparation for this effort. Instead, it was while preparing monographs on Jehoiakim and Zedekiah the previous year, using the Bible alone, that this author concluded that the message of Revelation was clearly and unmistakably a warning for the Christians to flee Jerusalem before its destruction. In the Lord's church, there are seven major commenters used widely as resources: early date: Foy E. Wallace 1966, Arthur Ogden 1985/1998; late date: John Hinds 1936, Jim McGuiggen 1976, Homer Hailey 1979, Robert Harkrider 1997, Dan King 2018. [Note: King's commentary came out after this commentary was first published in Feb 2018 and included herein after Aug 2019.] In Sept 2019, the author read sections of Arthur Ogden's early date commentary for the first time. The author has re-examined, with personal curiosity (and perplexity) how each of these commentaries interpret a small handful of specific key passages and ideas. The author also owns 120+ additional Revelation commentaries in his Logos Software collection that span every point of view. Most of these, being futurist or premillennial are hopelessly self-confused within their own contradictory theological errors and of little value to truth.

First, this commentary is based initially and fundamentally on the Bible alone. Once the author had established that Revelation was a warning for the Christians to flee Jerusalem, using the Bible alone, he then added on top of this scriptural foundation a layer of complimentary evidences from Biblical archaeology, coins, Dead Sea Scrolls and ancient literary sources.

Second, none of the other commentators share any commonality with the author's unique and new approach of using Ezekiel to decode revelation.

Third, the correct use of ancient literary sources and archeology. The Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice was an ancient literary source that not only predates Revelation but was clearly used as a template in the literary style by Apostle John. Every Jews in the first century BC was familiar with the Jewish "Days of the Messiah end times" eschatology doctrine but Christians today have never heard of it. Or as the jazz song says, "It never even entered their mind". Yet this ancient ubiquitous messianic theology, witnessed in Dead Sea Scrolls and ancient literary sources, was used by John as a template in every detail of Revelation 20.

Fourth, late-date commentators like Hailey make the fatal mistake of "spiritualizing the entire book away" by viewing Revelation as using symbolic language to convey symbolic events and meanings. In fact, Revelation uses symbolic language to convey real and specific historical events. Jehovah's Witnesses make the same mistake in the Rich man and Lazarus by viewing the symbolic language of Luke 16:19 to represent symbolic ideas to deny the obvious and real Bible doctrine of conscious life and torment after death. In fact, the story in Luke 16 uses symbolic language to convey real historical events in the spirit world by employing recognizable physical objects like fire, fingers, water as an associative reference point. Spiritualizing both the symbols and their target meaning in the entire book of Revelation, therefore, denies the obvious core message to flee Jerusalem or die. Finally, Hailey even spiritualizes the 70 weeks of Daniel 9, apparently unaware that the decree in Ezra 7 to rebuild Jerusalem counts exactly 490 solar years to the very day from 3th April 458 BC to 3th April AD 33 (Gregorian/Solar calendar). Instead, Hailey started the 70 weeks at the decree of Cyrus which he misdates to 538 BC (correct 536 BC) and ends in AD 70, for a total of 607 years (actual 605 years).

Fifth, Hailey fabricated the concept of "worship the emperor or die", without citing a single ancient literary source and assigned it to the meaning of the "beast from the earth" in Rev 13:11. In the first three centuries, Christians supposedly died unless they confessed Caesar as God, but it is all a myth. Harkrider expanded Hailey's fiction, suggesting Christians who would not worship Caesar were executed and considered "guilty of treason" (p. liii), again without a single ancient literary source. It all seemed to fit so perfectly, given the long list of Egyptian Pharaohs, Assyrian kings and Roman Caesars who viewed themselves as incarnate gods! Roman emperors were historically fully deified after death and with few exceptions, they downplayed the idea while alive, fully aware they were just ordinary men. The Roman Senate did not view the Emperor any differently than the American Senate views the President of the United States. This is not to say that the Caesars did not welcome the delusions of his people to worship them. In an effort to find a single ancient literary source to support the "worship the emperor or die" idea, Dan King in his commentary quotes the Pliny/Trajan correspondence letters, which as we will see, actually refute the "worship the emperor or die" concept as he and all others require for the late date of Revelation.

Sixth, the few commentators who contain chronological information are usually wrong. The author has taken great care to correctly chronologically date Bible books, individual chapters in Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel as well as correctly mapping the location of Bible cities and events. Early-dater Alex Ogden got many things correct, but his chronology is often wrong. The Crucifixion was in AD 33 but Ogden dates it to AD 30 (p12). The fall of Babylon was in 539 BC but Ogden dates it to 536 BC (p45), perhaps unaware that Darius and Cyrus were co-regent from 539-536 BC. The decree of Cyrus was issued in 536 BC after Darius died. The 70 weeks (490 years) of Daniel 9:24-28 were 458 BC - AD 33, but Ogden dates it 457 BC - AD 33 because he was unaware the ancients had no zero year (p58). The correct calculation is 490 years - AD 33 + 1 = 458 BC. These little details make a huge difference. For example, the 70 weeks of Daniel are 490 solar years to the day from the decree of Artaxerxes in Ezra 7 in 458 BC to the resurrection on 5th April AD 33.

When you get the cartography right, and the chronology right, and the archaeology right, your interpretation of the book of Revelation will be right. The Bible is the most historically accurate book on earth. What you read in the Book you find in the ground.

The author has preached full-time every Lord's day for almost forty years, a grandfather of two and is a staff archeologist with the ongoing excavation in Israel at Shiloh where the tabernacle tent of Moses stood for 305 years from 1399 - 1094 BC.

Blessings, Steven Rudd Feb 2018.

"All truth passes through three stages.

First, it is ridiculed.

Second, it is violently opposed.

Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

(Arthur Schopenhauer, 1818 AD)

By Steve Rudd, February 2018: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

Introduction 1:

Ezekiel Decodes Revelation

A. Ezekiel Decodes Revelation: There is almost a perfect, chapter by chapter, topic by topic, thought by thought sequential correspondence between Ezekiel and Revelation.

Ezekiel Decodes Revelation

Chapter by Chapter topical/chronological correspondence between Revelation & Ezekiel

LINK

Topic

Ezekiel Decodes Revelation

Rev 1

Prophets Commissioned: Ezekiel and John

Ezekiel 2-3 in July 593 BC

Rev 2-3

Why was Revelation written to 7 Asia churches?

Rev 4-5

Scene of God's Throne

Ezekiel 1 in July 593 BC

Rev 6:1-8

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Seals: 4 horses of War

Ezekiel 4-5 in Aug 593 BC

Rev 6:9-11

5th Seal: Martyrs beneath Altar

Ezekiel 6 in 592 BC

Rev 6:12-17

6th Seal: Avenging Terror upon Jerusalem

Ezekiel 7-8 in 592 BC

Rev 7

Christians Marked on Forehead with Seal of God

Ezekiel 9 in Sept 592 BC

Rev 8:1-5

7th Seal: Grace Withdrawn, Destruction Decreed

Ezekiel 10:1-2 in Sept 592 BC

Rev 8:6-13

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Trumpets against Jerusalem

Ezekiel 10-12 in Sept 592 BC

Rev 9:1-12

5th Trumpet/1st Woe: 5 month Civil War

Roman "Scorpion" (catapult) Roman "engines" are Symbolized as Scorpions and Locust: Rev 9:7-10.

1 Maccabees 6:48-52

Rev 9:13-21

6th Trumpet/2nd Woe: Armies of Titus arrive

Ezekiel 24 in 589 BC

Rev 10-11:14

Two Witnesses: Ezekiel & Jesus ben Ananus

Ezekiel 2 in July 593 BC

Ezekiel 16 in Sept 592 BC

Ezekiel 23 in Aug 591 BC

Ezekiel 40-48 in Oct 574 BC

Zech 4

Josephus

Rev 10-11:14

Two Witnesses: Jesus predicted literal signs

Lk 21; Mt 24

Rev 10-11:14

The 7 signs of Josephus

Josephus Wars 6:288-300

Rev 10-11:14

Two Witness: Ezekiel and Jesus ben Ananus

Josephus Wars 6:300-309

Rev 11:15-19

7th Trumpet/3rd Woe: Temple Destroyed

Mosaic Judaism Extinct

Jeremiah 31:31

Colossians 2:14

Hebrews 8:6-7; 8:13; 10:9

Rev 11:1

Ezekiel Fulfilled: "Foursquare Temple Prophecy"

Ezekiel 40:47; 43:3

Wars 6.310-315

The prophecy was fulfilled on 19th July AD 70: Wars 6:164-165

Rev 12

War in Heaven

Numbers 24:17

Deuteronomy 33:11

Psalms 89:23

Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice

Rev 13:1

The Beast from the Sea: Nero/Rome

Daniel 7

Rev 13:11

The Beast from the Earth:

2 Horned Jewish Sheep in Dragon's Clothing

Rev 14

144,000, Wine Cup of Wrath Prepared

Ezekiel 14:19-22 in 592 BC

Jeremiah 25:15-18 in 587 BC

Rev 15

7 Bowls to Avenge Christians in Heaven

Ezekiel 24 in 589 BC

Rev 16

7 Bowls of Wrath

Ezekiel 13 in Sept 592 BC

Ezekiel 23 in Aug 591 BC

Ezekiel 24 in 589 BC

Rev 16:17

7th Bowl: Rev 16:19 = 1st January AD 70 = Beginning of Final Siege

Josephus

Rev 16:21

Roman Engines were Called Ballista

Josephus

Rev 17

Jerusalem the Great Harlot Rides on Rome

Ezekiel 16, 23 in Sept 592 BC

Rev 18

Jerusalem Temple Destroyed

"Come out of her, my people"

Monday 6th August AD 70, Ezekiel 33:21 on 19th Jan. 586 BC

Rev 19

Celebration, Marriage, Scavenger's Feast, Hell

Ezekiel 39 in Jan 586 BC

Rev 20

1000 Years "Days of the Messiah"

Ezekiel 37-40 in Jan 586 BC

Ezek 38:2; 39:1,6

Rev 20

Messianic Expectation Window: 49 BC - AD 33

Daniel 2 & 9

Rev 20

Messianic Expectation "Days of Messiah" theology

Dead Sea Scrolls

Rev 20

Holy Spirit Borrowed "Days of Messiah" Terminology in Revelation

Dead Sea Scrolls

Rev 20:8

Gog and Magog "Days of Messiah" Terminology in Jewish Literary Sources

Dead Sea Scrolls

Rev 20:7-9

Satan Released after 1000 years, "Days of the Messiah" for Final War

Dead Sea Scrolls

Rev 20:11

"Days of Messiah": The End, Uncreation of Matter

Dead Sea Scrolls

Rev 20:11-15

"Days of Messiah": The Great Judgement

Dead Sea Scrolls

Rev 21-22

Heaven, New Jerusalem

Ezekiel 40-48 in Oct 574 BC

Isa 65:17; 66:22

Rev 22:10-20

Concluding Remarks

Rev 22:20

Come Lord Jesus "Maranatha"

1 Cor 16:22

Rev 22:20

Full-Preterism: "Left Behind"

Lord Jesus came on Pentecost, 22nd June AD 66

B. Synchronism: Israel Rebels against two Kingdoms of Daniel 2: Babylon and Rome

1. Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the statue of 4 world kingdoms in Daniel 2 was interpreted by Daniel in 602 BC. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego all surrendered in obedience to what God commanded through Jeremiah in 605 BC, which is the first year of the Babylonian captivity. (Jer 45:1-5, 605 BC)

a. Babylon

b. Medo-Persia

c. Greece

d. Rome

2. Twice the Jews rebelled against their "God Ordained Overlords" which triggered the destruction of Jerusalem: Nebuchadnezzar and Nero

3. Jewish liberation of Jerusalem in 593 BC and AD 66 triggered the final destruction sequence that came to an end in 587 BC and AD 70.

4. Ezekiel and John both start preaching "Woe is Jerusalem" the same year the Jews think they are at peace and attained independence.

a. Ezekiel chapter 1 begins in 593 BC, the same year Zedekiah rebels against God's first anointed world ruler: Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (Dan 2:36-38).

b. Revelation chapter 1 begins in AD 66, the same year the Jews rebelled against God's 4th anointed world ruler: Nero (666) of Rome (Dan 2:40-32).

C. Synchronisms between two destructions of Jerusalem: 587 BC in Ezekiel & AD 70 in Revelation:

1. Quick facts:

a. Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 BC and AD 70 on the same day of the year and day of the week: Monday 10 Av

b. Both Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC and Titus in AD 70 were "princes" who later became kings after capturing Jerusalem!

2. In 593 BC, Ezekiel began preaching the year Zedekiah rebelled against Jerusalem, an act that triggered God's withdrawal of blessings from Jerusalem, transferring them to Babylon. Zedekiah was the last hope for Israel, but when he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, in spite of making specific oaths of submission in the name of YHWH to Nebuchadnezzar, God withdrew his grace from Jerusalem and transferred it to Babylon. The curses of Babylon were also transferred to Jerusalem in advance of its destruction in 587 BC. Likewise, in AD 66, when the Jews rebelled against Rome-God's appointed government over Israel (Dan 2)-it triggered the final withdrawal of grace from the Herodian temple in advance of its destruction in AD 70.

3. It is amazing that John and Ezekiel prophesied destruction upon Jerusalem while both were in exile and both were the exact same distance from Jerusalem: 1000 KM. Both John and Ezekiel were captives in a foreign land exactly 1000 km (5400 Stadia) from Jerusalem. (1 Sadia was 185 meters) 1,000,000 (1 million) meters/185= 5400 Stadia

4. The five major commenters used in the Lord's church today (early date: Wallace 1966, Ogden 1985/1998; late date: Hinds 1936, McGuiggen 1976, Hailey 1979, Harkrider 1997) were not only completely unaware of most of the above discussion regarding Jewish culture and eschatology, they were also oblivious to the primary synchronism between the two destructions of 587 BC & AD 70. They also failed to notice how the book of Revelation was a sequential rewrite, chapter by chapter, thought for thought of the book of Ezekiel. To be sure, Wallace and Ogden were able to correctly understand that Revelation was written as a warning to the Christians to flee Jerusalem "using the Bible alone". But with no archeological experience, they missed what was obvious to the first century Christians, that hailstones weighing 1 talent [34.2 kg] were the exact weight of Ballista canon balls used by the Romans during the First Jewish War (Josephus Wars 3.166-167). The author has not only excavated throwing stones used in war, he is familiar with their size and weight. However, the author came to his conclusions using the Bible alone separate and apart from archaeology or ancient Jewish sources. The Jews in Jerusalem were all familiar with the book of Ezekiel which presents a precise chronology, down to the day of the week, of the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC.

5. The seven "autograph copies" of Revelation arrived in Jerusalem in AD 66 around Passover time when the Judean Governor Gessius Florus first provoked the Jews to anger at Caesarea by desecrating their synagogue with an unclean sacrifice of birds and then stealing 17 talents of synagogue gold destined for the Jerusalem Temple collected from weekly freewill offerings on the Sabbath. Shortly after, Florus unsuccessfully tries to steal money in the Jerusalem Temple. Once they read Revelation, and John's message to "flee the city", many immediately took flight. The official liberation of Jerusalem began on 26th August AD 66 and by 10 Nov. AD 66 Jerusalem was fully liberated and guarded by Jewish armies. Notice this key synchronism with the 587 BC destruction. In 593 BC Jerusalem was liberated from under Babylonian control and appeared safe when Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. Yet the message of Ezekiel and Jeremiah was to flee the city and surrender to the Babylonians and live in a foreign land. The unbelieving Jews in 593 BC rejected the warnings of Jeremiah and took false comfort in Zedekiah's rebellion, their own Jewish armies and the false prophecies of Hananiah. This event replayed itself on 10th November AD 66, when the First Jewish War fully liberated the city, or so they thought, from under Roman control of "666" Nero (the 6th Caesar from Julius 3x). Indeed, they rejoiced that for the first time since 605 BC and for 47 short years under the Maccabees (110-63 BC) the Jews had once again liberated the city of Jerusalem in AD 66. The Christians became unsettled knowing the city was about to be destroyed. In both destructions of the Temple, God's grace was withdrawn when the Jews rebelled against "God's anointed" (Dan 2) Babylonian Kings and Roman Caesars. In both cases, the unbelievers walked by sight and took comfort in their human armies but the believers walked by faith abandoned the city in obedience to God's specific command. In both cases it was when Jewish armies surrounded the city that the faithful the city was about to be destroyed and it was time to flee the city. When the Jerusalem Christians read Revelation, they would immediately connect Jerusalem with Babylon, "the great city" and the Harlot. Indeed, Apostle Peter served as one of the Elders of the Jerusalem church and in 1 Peter 5:13 called Jerusalem "Babylon".

Introduction 2:

Jerusalem is the central focus of Revelation

Babylon, Sodom, Egypt, The Harlot, The Great City of many nations

When reading the book of Revelation replace BABYLON/GREAT CITY/HARLOT with JERUSALEM and it will suddenly make perfect sense.

A. Revelation called Jerusalem Babylon, Egypt, Sodom, Harlot: Symbolic mystery names

1. Symbolic, mystery names: Sodom, Egypt, Babylon and harlot are all mystery names for Jerusalem!

a. "and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." (Revelation 17:5)

b. "And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified." (Revelation 11:8)

2. Christians understood this language to apply to Jerusalem:

a. TWO WITNESSES OF REVELATION: "Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, "Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. ... "And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. ... When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom (see Jer 23:14-15) and Egypt (Ezekiel 23:2-27, 591 BC), where also their Lord was crucified (Jerusalem)." (Revelation 11:1-8)

b. "The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly." (Revelation 17:4-6)

c. "After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her [Jesus, persecution of Christians that had Jerusalem as the command post]." And a second time they said, "Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up forever and ever." (Revelation 19:1-3)

d. While Rome killed Christians, the blood of the prophets is directly fulfilled what Jesus said: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! "For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' " Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down." (Matthew 23:37-24:2)

3. The non-Christian Jews were the one's who wrongly connected this with Rome, especially in light of the first Jewish war that broke out in AD 66.

a. Christians today, like non-Christian Rebel Jews, both thought the Messiah was coming to do physical battle with Rome, escape occupation and rule literally in Jerusalem for 1000 years.

b. Christians today, like non-Christian Rebel Jews, view Babylon in Revelation as Rome.

4. Revelation was like a parable:

a. When the non-Christian Jews living in Jerusalem read Revelation, its true meaning was hidden like a parable of Jesus.

b. So the Christians correctly understood Babylon/Egypt/Sodom/Harlot was Jerusalem.

c. The non-Christian Jews would NEVER connect Babylon/Egypt/Sodom/Harlot with Jerusalem and assume it Rome, just like many Christians today.

B. Jerusalem was the "Great City" Rev 11:8

1. Yes, Rome was also a Great city, but never in Revelation!

2. Jerusalem is called "The great city" 8 times: Revelation 16:19; 17:18; 18:10; 18:16; 18:18; 18:19; 18:21

a. "The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath." (Revelation 16:19)

b. "The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth." (Revelation 17:18)

c. "standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.'" (Revelation 18:10)

d. "saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls;" (Revelation 18:16)

e. "and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, 'What city is like the great city?'" (Revelation 18:18)

f. "And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!'" (Revelation 18:19)

g. "Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer." (Revelation 18:21)

3. "And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified." (Revelation 11:8)

4. Jeremiah called Jerusalem "the great city" before it was destroyed in 587 BC: Jer 22:8

a. "Many nations will pass by this city; and they will say to one another, 'Why has the Lord done thus to this great city?'" (Jeremiah 22:8)

5. Ancient literary sources that call Jerusalem the GREAT CITY:

a. Agatharchides 169 BC: Called Jerusalem the strongest of all other cities:

i. "When Agatharchides [169 BC] had premised this story, and had jested upon Stratonice for her superstition, he gives a like example of what was reported concerning us, and writes thus: "There are a people called Jews, who dwell in a city the strongest of all other cities, which the inhabitants call Jerusalem, and are accustomed to rest on every seventh day; on which times they make no use of their arms, nor meddle with husbandry, nor take care of any affairs of life, but spread out their hands in their holy places, and pray till the evening." (Josephus Against Apion 1.208-209)

b. Josephus: AD 70: Called Jerusalem a Great city, even GREATER than Rome:

i. "it had so come to pass, that our city Jerusalem had arrived at a higher degree of felicity than any other city under the Roman government, and yet at last fell into the sorest of calamities again. (12) Accordingly it appears to me, that the misfortunes of all men, from the beginning of the world, if they be compared to these of the Jews [AD 70], are not so considerable as they [Jews in AD 70] were." (Josephus Wars 1.11-12)

ii. Josephus called Jerusalem a GREAT CITY in AD 70 after it was destroyed: "And where is now that great city, the metropolis of the Jewish nation, which was fortified by so many walls round about, which had so many fortresses and large towers to defend it, which could hardly contain the instruments prepared for the war, and which had so many ten thousands of men to fight for it? (376) Where is this city that was believed to have God himself inhabiting therein? It is now demolished to the very foundations." (Josephus Wars 7.375-376)

c. Tacitus: AD 100: called Jerusalem "a famous city" (Histories 5:2,4,9-13)

i. "As I am now to record the death-agony of a famous city, it seems appropriate to inform the reader of its origins. ... Others again find a famous ancestry for the Jews in the Solymi [ie. Pisidia, Lycia] who are mentioned with respect in the epics of Homer: this tribe is supposed to have founded Jerusalem (4) and named it after themselves. ... Much of Judea is thickly studded with villages, and the Jews have towns as well. Their capital is Jerusalem. Here stood their Temple with its boundless riches. Outer defences covered the city; then came the royal palace; and the Temple was enclosed by an inner bulwark. The Jew, and the Jew alone, was allowed to approach the gate of the Temple, and all but priests were denied access within its threshold. 8. Much of Judea is thickly studded with villages, and the Jews have towns as well. Their capital is Jerusalem. Here stood their Temple with its boundless riches. Outer defences covered the city; then came the royal palace; and the Temple was enclosed by an inner bulwark. The Jew, and the Jew alone, was allowed to approach the gate of the Temple, and all but priests were denied access within its threshold. While the Assyrian, Median and Persian Empires dominated the East, the Jews were slaves regarded as the lowest of the low. In the Hellenistic period, King Antiochus (10) made an effort to get rid of their primitive cult and hellenize them, but his would-be reform of this degraded nation was foiled by the outbreak of war with Parthia, for this was the moment of Arsaces' insurrection. (11) Then, since the Hellenistic rulers were weak and the Parthians had not yet developed into a great power (Rome, too, was still far away), the Jews established a dynasty of their own. These kings were expelled by the fickle mob, but regained control by force, setting up a reign of terror which embraced, among other typical acts of despotism, the banishment of fellow-citizens, the destruction of cities, and the murder of brothers, wives and parents. The kings encouraged the superstitious Jewish religion, for they assumed the office of High Priest in order to buttress their regime. 9. Roman control of Judaea was first established by Gnaeus Pompey. As victor (12) he claimed the right to enter the Temple, and this incident gave rise to the common impression that it contained no representation of the deity-the sanctuary was empty and the Holy of Holies untenanted. Though the walls of Jerusalem were dismantled, the shrine remained intact. During the civil war which then afflicted the Roman world, the eastern provinces passed under the control of Mark Antony and Judaea was conquered by the Parthian king Pacorus. But the invader was killed by Publius Ventidius, and the Parthians driven back across the Euphrates, while Gaius Sosius brought the Jews to heel. (13) Antony gave the kingdom to Herod, and it was enlarged by the now victorious Augustus. At Herod's death, without waiting for the imperial decision, a certain Simon usurped the title of king. He was dealt with by the governor of Syria, Quintilius Varus, (14) while the Jews were disciplined and divided up into three kingdoms ruled by Herod's sons. (15) In Tiberius' reign all was quiet. Then, rather than put up a statue of Gaius Caesar in the Temple as they had been ordered, the Jews flew to arms, though the rebellion came to nothing owing to the assassination of the emperor. (16) As for Claudius, he took advantage of the death or declining fortunes of the Jewish kings to commit the government of the province to Roman knights or freedmen. One of these, Antonius Felix, played the tyrant with the spirit of a slave, plunging into all manner of cruelty and lust, and marrying Drusilla, grand-daughter of Cleopatra and Antony. This meant that while Claudius was Antony's grandson, Felix was his grandson by marriage. 10. However, the Jews patiently endured their fate until Gessius Florus became governor. (17) During his term of office war broke out. An attempt by Cestius Gallus, governor of Syria, to repress the movement led to indecisive battles and more often to defeats. When Gallus died a natural death-or else committed suicide in mortification-Nero sent out Vespasian. Good luck, a distinguished record and excellent subordinates enabled him within the space of two summers (18) to plant his victorious flag throughout the whole of the flat country and in all the cities except Jerusalem. The next year was preoccupied by the civil war and passed without activity so far as the Jews were concerned, but when peace reigned in Italy foreign affairs once more claimed attention. Rising anger was felt at the fact that by this time only the Jews had failed to submit. It also seemed advisable that Titus should remain at the head of the armies to cope with all the eventualities or mishaps which might confront a new dynasty. 11. So after encamping, as I have said, before the walls of Jerusalem, he paraded his legions in formation before the eyes of the enemy. The Jews, marshalled close under their walls, were in a position to venture further out if they were successful and had a place of refuge ready at hand in case of defeat. Titus sent against them cavalry and some cohorts in battle order, but the encounter was indecisive. Then the enemy gave ground, and for some days thereafter fought a succession of engagements just in front of the gates. Finally, repeated losses drove them behind the walls. The Romans then concentrated on an assault. After all, it seemed beneath them to wait for hunger to do its work on the enemy, and the troops actually asked to be allowed to risk their lives. Some did so because they had real courage, many from mere bravado and a desire for rewards. As for Titus, his imagination dwelt on Rome, wealth and pleasure: it would be long before these dreams were realized if Jerusalem were destined not to fall in the immediate future. But the city occupied a commanding position, and it had been reinforced by engineering works so massive that they might have rendered even a flat site impregnable. Two lofty hills were enclosed by walls skilfully staggered and forming re-entrant angles designed to expose the flank of an attacker. At the edge of the crags was a sharp drop, and a series of towers dominated the scene, 105 feet high where the rising ground helped, and 135 or 120 feet high on the lower contours. (19) These presented an impressive appearance, and to the distant observer seemed to be on a level. There were further walls inside around the palace, and a conspicuous landmark was the lofty castle of Antonia, so named by Herod in honour of Mark Antony. 12. The Temple was like a citadel and had its own walls, which had been even more laboriously and skilfully constructed than the rest. The porticoes around it constituted in themselves an excellent defensive position. To these advantages must be added a spring of never-failing water, chambers cut in the living rock, and tanks and cisterns for the storage of rainwater. Its builders had foreseen only too well that the strange practices of the Jews would lead to continual fighting. Hence everything was available for a siege, however long. Moreover, after Pompey's capture of Jerusalem, fear and experience taught them many lessons. So taking advantage of the money-grubbing instincts of the Claudian period, they purchased permission to fortify the city, and in the days of peace built walls meant for war. Already the home of a motley concourse, its population had been swollen by the fall of the other Jewish cities, for the most determined partisan leaders escaped to the capital, and thereby added to the turmoil. There were three different leaders and three armies. The long outer perimeter of the walls was held by Simon, the central part of the city by John, and the Temple by Eleazar. John and Simon could rely on numbers and equipment, Eleazar on his strategic position. But it was upon each other that they turned the weapons of battle, ambush and fire, and great stocks of corn went up in flames. Then John sent off a party of men, ostensibly to offer sacrifice but in reality to cut Eleazar and his followers to pieces, thus gaining possession of the Temple. Hence-forward, therefore, Jerusalem was divided between two factions, until, on the approach of the Romans, fighting the foreigner healed the breach between them. 13. Supernatural omens had occurred, but their expiation by the offering of victims or solemn vows is held to be unlawful by a nation which is the slave of superstition and the enemy of true beliefs. In the sky appeared a vision of armies in conflict, of glittering armour. A sudden lightning flash from the clouds lit up the Temple. The doors of the holy place abruptly opened, a superhuman voice was heard to declare that the gods were leaving it, and in the same instant came the rushing tumult of their departure. Few people placed a sinister interpretation upon this. The majority were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from Judaea would go forth men destined to rule the world. This mysterious prophecy really referred to Vespasian and Titus, but the common people, true to the selfish ambitions of mankind, thought that this mighty destiny was reserved for them, and not even their calamities opened their eyes to the truth. We are told that the number of the besieged, old and young, men and women, amounted to 600,000. All who could bear arms did so, and more than their numbers warranted had the courage necessary. They displayed an inflexible determination, women no less than men, and the thought that they might be compelled to leave their home made them more afraid of living than of dying. This, then, was the city and nation which Titus faced. Since a headlong assault and the element of surprise were ruled out by the lie of the ground, he proposed to employ earthworks and mantlets. Each legion had its allotted task, and there was a lull in the fighting while they pushed on with the construction of every conceivable device for storming Cities, whether invented long ago or due to the ingenuity of modern times. (Tacitus, Histories 5:2,4,9-13, 100 AD)

d. Pliny: AD 100: "by far the most famous city, not of Judæa only, but of the East"

i. Beyond Idumæa and Samaria, Judæa extends far and wide. That part of it which joins up to Syria is called Galilæa, while that which is nearest to Arabia and Egypt bears the name of Peræa. This last is thickly covered with rugged mountains, and is separated from the rest of Judæa by the river Jordanes. The remaining part of Judæa is divided into ten Toparchies, which we will mention in the following order:-That of Hiericus, covered with groves of palm-trees, and watered by numerous springs, and those of Emmaüs, Lydda, Joppe, Acrabatena, Gophna, Thamna, Bethleptephene, Orina, in which formerly stood Hierosolyma [=Jerusalem = "Sacred Solyma."], by far the most famous city, not of Judæa only, but of the East, and Herodium, with a celebrated town of the same name. (Pliny, Natural History 5:15)

e. Appian of Alexandria: AD 150: Jerusalem was the greatest and most holiest city to the Jews:

i. "In this way the Romans, without fighting, came into possession of Cilicia and both inland Syria and Cœle-Syria, Phoenicia, Palestine, and all the other countries bearing the Syrian name from the Euphrates to Egypt and the sea. The Jewish nation still resisted, and Pompey conquered them, sent their king, Aristobulus, to Rome, and destroyed their greatest, and to them holiest, city, Jerusalem, as Ptolemy, the first king of Egypt, had formerly done. It was afterward rebuilt and Vespasian destroyed it again [AD 70], and Hadrian did the same in our time [AD 135]. On account of these rebellions the tribute imposed upon all Jews [by Pompey in 63 BC] is heavier per capita than upon the generality of taxpayers. The annual tax on the Syrians and Cilicians is one per cent of the valuation [63 BC] of the property of each." (Appian of Alexandria, Syrian Wars, 8.50, 150 AD)

6. Jerusalem was much greater than Rome historically speaking:

a. Jerusalem was one of the oldest cities in the world and was founded shortly after the tower of Babel in 2850 BC.

b. Jerusalem was governed by Melchizedek at the time of Abraham when Isaac was born in 2066 BC

c. Rome was founded 21st April 753 BC

d. The glory of Jerusalem at the time of Solomon exceeded that of glory of Rome at its peak in AD 70.

7. Jerusalem was the center of civilization:

a. "Thus says the Lord GOD, 'This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations, with lands around her." (Ezekiel 5:5)

b. One of the reasons why Constantine moved the capital of the Empire from Rome to "New Rome" i.e. Constantinople (Byzantium) is because it was much closer to the center of commerce than Rome.

8. The Jewish Christians would understand that it was Jerusalem because of "crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying,

a. "'What city is like the great city?' "And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!' "Rejoice over her [destruction of Jerusalem], O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her." Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "So will Babylon, the great city [Jerusalem], be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer. ... because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery [idolatry in 587 BC, Rejecting Christianity as false, when it was true. "And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth. [crucifying Jesus and persecuting the church]." (Revelation 18:18-24)

C. Jerusalem was the city of "Many Nations" Rev 11:9

1. Jerusalem was known as a uniquely international city:

a. Jews from all over the world during Passover were still inside when the siege began.

2. The Hebrews had a long history of inter-marrying with foreign nations to make the Hebrew population "international"

a. Moses married a Cushite/Midianite in 1485 BC

b. Salmon married a Canaanite in 1390 BC

c. Boaz married a Moabite in 1284 BC

d. Jesse (David's father) married an Ammonite

e. David married Jews only

f. Solomon married anybody but a Jew (almost)

3. The Great city had people from every nation in it:

a. "Those [in Jerusalem] from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb." (Revelation 11:9)

b. "The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath." (Revelation 16:19)

4. Josephus wrote during the destruction

a. "Now this vast multitude is indeed collected out of remote places, but the entire nation was now shut up by fate as in a prison, and the Roman army encompassed the city when it was crowded with inhabitants. (429) Accordingly the multitude of those that therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either men or God ever brought upon the world." (Josephus Wars 6.428-429)

5. Luke recorded every nation under earth attended the Passover in Jerusalem:

a. "Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, "Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? "And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? "Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs-we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God." (Acts 2:5-11)

D. Jerusalem was Babylon: Rev 11:9

1. Apostle Peter, Bishop of Jerusalem, called Jerusalem, "Babylon":

a. Peter, Bishop/Elder/Shepherd of the church in Jerusalem, writing from Jerusalem called Jerusalem, BABYLON! Unless you are Roman Catholic this is an easy point to see: "Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you [Just as Peter was shepherding the Jerusalem flock among himself], exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. ... She [the church] who is in Babylon [Jerusalem], chosen together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark." (1 Peter 5:1-4,13)

2. Ezekiel called Jerusalem a harlot "Like Babylon"

a. "The Babylonians came to her to the bed of love and defiled her with their harlotry. And when she had been defiled by them, she became disgusted with them. "She uncovered her harlotries and uncovered her nakedness; then I became disgusted with her, as I had become disgusted with her sister. "Yet she multiplied her harlotries, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the harlot in the land of Egypt." (Ezekiel 23:17-19, 591 BC)

E. Jerusalem was Sodom: Rev 11:9

1. Jerusalem was also called "Harlot Sodom"

2. In 730 BC, Isaiah called Jerusalem both Sodom and a Harlot (Isa 1:10,21).

a. "Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the instruction of our God, You people of Gomorrah." (Isaiah 1:10)

b. "How the faithful city has become a harlot, She who was full of justice! Righteousness once lodged in her, But now murderers." (Isaiah 1:21)

c. "The expression of their faces bears witness against them, And they display their sin like Sodom; They do not even conceal it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves." (Isaiah 3:9)

3. Jesus said that any city that rejected the Gospel will be as guilty as Sodom. (Mt 10:15)

4. Ezekiel called Jerusalem "Harlot Sodom" in 591 BC

a. "Your elder sister is Samaria, who lived with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister [Judah], who lived to the south of you, is Sodom with her daughters." (Ezekiel 16:46, 591 BC)

b. Two different chapters in Ezekiel (16 & 32) record the allegory of two sisters but in chapter 16 Jerusalem is "Sodom sister" and in chapter 23 Jerusalem is "Egypt sister".

5. Jeremiah called Jerusalem "Harlot Sodom" in 587 BC

a. "But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a more shocking thing: they commit adultery [Harlot] and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from wickedness; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah. Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets: "I am going to make them eat wormwood, and give them poisoned water to drink; for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land." (Jeremiah 23:14-15, 587 BC)

6. Jeremiah said the sin of Jerusalem was worse than "Sodom" in 586 BC

a. "For the iniquity of the daughter of my people Is greater than the sin of Sodom, Which was overthrown as in a moment, And no hands were turned toward her." (Lamentations 4:6)

7. In Jeremiah 23:14-15, notice Harlot Sodom and wormwood are used in the same passage, and wormwood is the 3rd trumpet: Rev 8:10-11

a. "The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter." (Revelation 8:10-11)

8. deviant sex practitioner cities destroyed: Sodom/Gomorrah (Genesis 19:4-8 in 2067 BC) and Gibeah of Benjamin (Judges 19:22-24 in 1290 BC)

a. In an exact repeat of the sodomy that Lot experienced, the men of Gibeah demand that the old man turn his male guest over to them for deviant sex practitioner sex.

b. Gibeah of Benjamin later became the first capital city of Israel under Saul. The site was known then as Gibeah of Saul, located about 5 km north of Jerusalem. Iron age I installations have been excavated including the corner of Saul's Palace. After Saul, the city was never used again as a capital city. David chose first Hebron then Jerusalem.

c. In 1967, King Hussein of Jordan bulldozed much of the surface, destroying the archeology, in order to make room for his never finished palace that can be seen to the present day.

d. Both stories (Gen 19:4-8 and Judg 19:22-24) are told exactly 69 Hebrew words in the Masoretic Text manuscript.

Genesis 19:4-8

Judges 19:22-24

v4) Before they lay down

v22) While they were celebrating, behold

the men of the city

the men of the city

the men of Sodom

certain worthless fellows

Surrounded

Surrounded

the house both young and old all the people from every quarter.

the house pounding the door

v5) And they called

and they spoke

to Lot,

to the owner of the house, the old man

and said to him,

saying,

"Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us,

Bring out the man who came into your house,

that we may have relations with them."

that we may have relations with him."

v6) But Lot

v23) Then the man, the owner of the house,

went out to them at the doorway and shut the door behind him.

went out to them

v7) And said,

and said to them,

"Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly.

"No, my fellows, please do not act so wickedly do not act wickedly since this man has come into my house, do not commit this act of folly.

v8) Now, behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man

v24) Here is my virgin daughter and his concubine

Please, let me bring them out to you,

Please let me bring them out that you

and do to them whatever you like

Please let me bring them out that you may ravish them and do to them whatever you wish

only do nothing to these men inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.

But do not commit such an act of folly against this man.

69 Hebrew words in manuscript

125 English words in NASB

69 Hebrew words in manuscript

126 English words in NASB

9. The Jerusalem Murderous Gay Pride Parade when the city was literally overrun with deviant sex practitioners in June AD 69: "they roll themselves up and down the city, as in a brothel house, and defiled it entirely with their impure actions".

a. "They also devoured what spoils they had taken, together with their blood, and indulged themselves in feminine wantonness, without any disturbance till they were satiated therewith; while they decked their hair, and put on women's garments, and were besmeared over with ointments; and that they might appear very comely, they had paints under their eyes, (562) and imitated, not only the ornaments, but also the lust of women, and were guilty of such intolerable uncleanness, and they invented unlawful pleasures of that sort. And thus did they roll themselves up and down the city, as in a brothel house, and defiled it entirely with their impure actions; (563) nay, while their faces looked like the faces of women, they killed with their right hands; and when their gait was effeminate, they presently attacked men, and became warriors, and drew their swords from under their finely dyed cloaks and ran everybody through whom they alighted upon." (Josephus Wars 4.561-563, June 69 AD)

10. On 5th June AD 70 Josephus called Jerusalem "Sodom" in AD 69 while it was being destroyed:

a. "I (Josephus of Jerusalem in AD 69) cannot but speak my mind, and what the concern I am under dictates to me, and it is this: I suppose, that had the Romans made any longer delay in coming against these villains, the city would either have been swallowed up by the ground opening upon them, or been overflowed by water, or else been destroyed by such thunder as the country of Sodom perished by, for it had brought forth a generation of men much more atheistical than were those that suffered such punishments; for by their madness it was that all the people came to be destroyed." (Josephus Wars 5:562-566)

F. Jerusalem was Egypt: Rev 11:9

1. Jerusalem is also called "Harlot Egypt"

2. Two different chapters in Ezekiel (16 & 32) record the allegory of two sisters but in chapter 16 Jerusalem is "Sodom sister" and in chapter 23 Jerusalem is "Egypt sister".

3. Ezekiel 23:2-27, 591 BC is an entire section assigning Babylon, Assyria and Egypt upon Jerusalem:

a. "'Thus I will make your lewdness and your harlotry brought from the land of Egypt to cease from you, so that you will not lift up your eyes to them or remember Egypt anymore.'" (Ezekiel 23:27, 591 BC)

b. "The Babylonians came to her to the bed of love and defiled her with their harlotry. And when she had been defiled by them, she became disgusted with them. "She uncovered her harlotries and uncovered her nakedness; then I became disgusted with her, as I had become disgusted with her sister. "Yet she multiplied her harlotries, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the harlot in the land of Egypt." (Ezekiel 23:17-19, 591 BC)

4. In 587 BC Jeremiah demonstrated that the former Jerusalemites literally renounced their Jewish citizenship and became Egyptians in Egypt.

a. The residents of Jerusalem who returned after hiding from Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BC returned to Jerusalem, then moved "en mass" to Egypt as a single group. Notice all of them worshipped idols.

b. The former Jerusalemites first called Jeremiah a liar when he warned them not to go to Egypt:

i. "For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, "As My anger and wrath have been poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so My wrath will be poured out on you when you enter Egypt. And you will become a curse, an object of horror, an imprecation and a reproach; and you will see this place no more." The Lord has spoken to you, O remnant of Judah, "Do not go into Egypt!" You should clearly understand that today I have testified against you. For you have only deceived yourselves; for it is you who sent me to the Lord your God, saying, "Pray for us to the Lord our God; and whatever the Lord our God says, tell us so, and we will do it." So I have told you today, but you have not obeyed the Lord your God, even in whatever He has sent me to tell you. Therefore you should now clearly understand that you will die by the sword, by famine and by pestilence, in the place where you wish to go to reside. But as soon as Jeremiah, whom the Lord their God had sent, had finished telling all the people all the words of the Lord their God-that is, all these words- Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the arrogant men said to Jeremiah, "You are telling a lie! The Lord our God has not sent you to say, 'You are not to enter Egypt to reside there';" (Jeremiah 42:18-43:2)

c. The former Jerusalemites renounced their Jewish citizenship to become Egyptians:

i. "Then Jeremiah said to all the people [former Jerusalemites who moved to Egypt], including all the women, "Hear the word of the Lord, all Judah who are in the land of Egypt, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, as follows: 'As for you and your wives, you have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled it with your hands, saying, "We will certainly perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her." Go ahead and confirm your vows, and certainly perform your vows!' "Nevertheless hear the word of the Lord, all Judah who are living in the land of Egypt, 'Behold, I have sworn by My great name,' says the Lord, 'never shall My name be invoked again by the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, "As the Lord God lives." 'Behold, I am watching over them for harm and not for good, and all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt will meet their end by the sword and by famine until they are completely gone. 'Those who escape the sword will return out of the land of Egypt to the land of Judah few in number. Then all the remnant of Judah who have gone to the land of Egypt to reside there will know whose word will stand, Mine or theirs. 'This will be the sign to you,' declares the Lord, 'that I am going to punish you in this place, so that you may know that My words will surely stand against you for harm.'" (Jeremiah 44:24-29)

G. Jerusalem was the Great Harlot: Rev 17:4-6

1. Jerusalem called a harlot: "How the faithful city has become a harlot, She who was full of justice! Righteousness once lodged in her, But now murderers." (Isaiah 1:21)

2. Jerusalem was also called "Harlot" as a "mystery name".

3. "The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly." (Revelation 17:4-6)

4. The woman was the same as Babylon = The great City.

5. Sodom, Egypt, Babylon and harlot are all mystery names!

Introduction 3:

When was Rome Destroyed fulfilling Revelation?

Revelation "AD 96 Late-dater s" are unable to point to a date for the destruction of either Rome or the Roman empire in history that even remotely fits the description in Revelation.

Question for those who say the Great City/Harlot/Babylon was Rome:

QUESTION: Supply the date when Rome was destroyed like Revelation said? [cricket sounds]

A. AD 476 for the destruction of Rome fulfilling Revelation. There are two problems with this:

1. FIRST: The capital city of the Roman Empire moved from Rome to Constantinople in AD 329, which means even if the city of Rome was destroyed (which it never was) it had no effect upon the Roman Empire itself. The Roman Empire continued well past the 9th century AD.

a. "In this year (AD 329) the pious Constantine, while founding Constantinople, decreed that it was to be styled 'New Rome' and ordered it to have a senate. He set up a porphyry column with a statue of himself on top of it at the place where he began to build the city in the western part, by the gate leading out towards Rome. He decorated the city and brought to it works of art and statues of bronze and marble from every province and city." (Aramaic Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor, Constantine 25th year, AM 5821, AD 328/329]

b. Even worse for late-daters, is the fact that there was no significant war or turmoil at Rome which triggered Constantine to move the capital to Constantinople.

c. Rome was retired as the capital city of the empire in a friendly peaceful and quite event.

2. SECOND: The western provinces of the Roman Empire, including the city of Rome ceased to part of the Roman Empire in AD 476 not because of a major war or destruction, but from a slow gradual bleeding of power and influence.

a. Over a gradual period of time starting in AD 329, "the vigour of the military government was relaxed, and finally dissolved, by the partial institutions of Constantine; and the Roman world was overwhelmed by a deluge of Barbarians" in AD 476. (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon, Vol IV, p161, 1902 AD).

b. So, Rome was not destroyed like Revelation describes, it simply had a flag-changing of governments, from Roman to Barbarian on AD 476. Rome was not destroyed in AD 476 it was overrun and occupied by the Barbarians. Keep in mind that the seat of Roman power has been peacefully transferred from Rome to Constantinople 140 years earlier.

B. AD 322 Constantine's conversion and edicts of toleration of Christianity for the destruction of Rome fulfilling Revelation. There are two problems with this:

1. FIRST: That's not a destruction or a curse but a blessing.

2. SECOND: That's exactly opposite to the narrative in Revelation!

3. Most late-date authors try to find Revelation's fulfillment of the destruction of Rome via Constantine's conversion and edicts of toleration of Christianity. Of course, it is a spiritualized fiction that Revelation describes the destruction of Rome when in fact it turns out Rome adopts Christianity.

4. While it may be argued that the conversion of Constantine in AD 322 marked the fulfillment of Daniel 2:44 "God's kingdom, the church, will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever." (Daniel 2:44), this event simply cannot be what Revelation is talking about. The conversion of Constantine and the adoption of Christianity and further establishing the Roman empire is EXACTLY OPPOSITE to what Revelation said happened to Rome and the Roman Empire. Late-dater s simply have not through this through carefully. If they had, their treatment of the destruction of Rome would not always be one of vague generalities and inferential allusions. The destruction of Jerusalem, on the other hand is one of the best documented events in world history. So exactly when was Rome destroyed? [crickets]

5. Constantine built a baptistery c.315 which still survives next to the Lateran basilica. This was the only baptistery in Rome until the 5th century.

6. "In this year (AD 322); as some say, Constantine the Great together with his son Crispus was baptized in Rome by Silvester.' The inhabitants of Old Rome preserve even today the baptismal font as evidence that he was baptized in Rome by Silvester after the removal of the tyrants." (Aramaic Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor, Constantine 18th year, AM 5813, AD 321/322)

7. The Aramaic Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor document that the Roman Empire even survived the Islamic invasion of the 7th century and continued well past AD 815.

8. Constantinople (Byzantium) was an easily defensible peninsula protected by water on three sides and only one small land invasion danger from the west. Constantinople was very, very hard to invade. It was on an economic crossroads.

9. The Byzantines WERE the Roman empire referring to themselves on coinage as "Imperium Romanum".

C. Daniel 2:44 and Revelation duplicate prophecies of the same destruction of Rome. There are two problems with this:

"In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever." (Daniel 2:44)

1. FIRST: Daniel 2 speaks of the destruction of Roman Empire not just the city of Rome.

a. The Roman empire and the city of Rome were not destroyed in AD 322, the empire simply became complaint to Christianity.

b. The Roman empire and the city of Rome were not destroyed in AD 476. The capital of Rome had been moved in AD 330 to Constantinople and the Empire thrived long past AD 815.

2. SECOND: The fulfillment of Dan 2:44 shows that the preceding kingdoms were destroyed upon the arrival next kingdom. The "destruction of the fourth kingdom" occurred at the same time God's kingdom arrived, not some long drawn out process that took hundreds of years when the Roman empire co-existed side by side with God's kingdom.

a. The spiritual church/kingdom "destroyed" the Roman Empire in AD 33 on the day of Pentecost.

b. "Therefore Pilate asked, "Are You the King of the Jews?" ... Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm." (John 18:33-37)

c. The prophecy has four earthly kingdoms and one spiritual kingdom.

d. Three earthly kingdoms put an end to three earthly kingdoms. Rome physically "destroyed" the Greek kingdom in a gradual process between 49-31 BC.

e. The church kingdom is a spiritual kingdom. We would not expect a spiritual kingdom to physically destroy a physical kingdom like Rome. To look for a physical destruction at the hands of the church is misguided.

f. Therefore, it is clear that the very arrival and establishment of the church in AD 33 brought about the kind of destruction that Daniel was speaking about.

g. Daniel was not saying that the Christ or the church would physically destroy the Roman empire in the same way the Roman empire destroyed Greece. Instead we need to look at the establishment of the kingdom of Christ through the church from a spiritual perspective. This is what Daniel was talking about in Dan 2:44.

3. When late-daters attempt to connect the prophecy of Dan 2:44 as a "physical destruction" of the Roman Empire with the book of Revelation, we again ask where and when that physical destruction took place!

Introduction 4:

Messianic Expectation in Coins & Dead Sea Scrolls

A. Biblical Window of Messianic Expectation: 49 BC to AD 33

1. Biblical messianic window opens in 49 BC: Dan 2:39; 7:5

"In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever." (Daniel 2:44)

a. The messiah could not come until the beginning of the 4th kingdom of Rome began in 49 BC when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River.

b. The Jews were very aware of the that the Greek kingdom was succeeded by the new Roman Empire.

c. "Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ," (Luke 3:15)

d. "Jesus said, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15)

2. Biblical messianic window closes in resurrection day, AD 33: Dan 9:24-27

a. Daniel 9:24-27 was the most important messianic time prophecy in the Tanakh and prophecies the period from when the City of Jerusalem would be rebuilt to the Resurrection of Christ on 5th of April AD 33 (Julian calendar).

b. The 70 weeks is actually 490 years, computed on the basis of assigning a year to a day: 70 x 7 days = 490.

c. Ezra 7 tells us the prophecy began in 458 BC in the 7th year of Artaxerxes. Converted to Gregorian solar calendar = 3rd April 458 BC.

d. 490 years - 458 BC + 1 = AD 33. (Remember there was no zero year in ancient times, so + 1 year.) Converted to Gregorian solar calendar = 3rd April AD 33

e. Using the Solar Calendar (Gregorian), Dan 9 prophecies exactly 490 years, to the very solar day, 3rd April 458 to 3rd April AD 33 when Christ rose from the dead.

f. The messianic window closes when the messiah finishes his work.

g. In the LXX of Daniel 9:27, the messiah is not cut off in the middle of the last week (as the MT says), instead it says he finishes his work at the end of the 70 weeks, which was when he rose from the dead and was declared the Son of God: Rom 1:4.

B. Bible coins, the Widow's Mite and Revelation: Rev 22:6

1. In the author's book on Bible Coins, he identified the common widow's mite as a "Messianic Star" coin echoing the prophecy of Balaam in Num 24:17.

2. What is amazing is that Jesus' took two widely used and very common first century messianic terms and combined them into one statement in Revelation:

a. "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." (Rev 22:16)

3. Even more amazing is that each statement is found used in Dead Sea Scrolls written before the birth of Christ. The "messianic star" is witnessed in many Hasmonean and Judean coins and Dead Sea Scroll 4Q175-4QTestimonia.

C. Dead Sea Scrolls and Revelation 20: Messianic expectation

1. Revelation 20 draws directly from Jewish Messianic eschatological theology and is recorded in the Dead Sea Scrolls

a. In the author's book on the Septuagint, he documented that in AD 66, Hebrew was extinct throughout the world as a working language - except in Jerusalem.

b. As soon at the Christians in Jerusalem read the book of Revelation, with its many "Hebrew language" symbols (666, Abaddon, Har-Magedon etc.), they instantly connected it directly with Ezekiel and were struck with Déjà Vu.

c. The Greek speaking Jews in Asia used the Greek Septuagint as their standard "synagogue pulpit Bible" and would be unable to easily decode the Hebrew symbolism without help.

d. But to the Jews in Jerusalem, the symbolism was automatically and instinctively understood by all. Couple this with their knowledge and use of the Jewish messianic expectation terminology of the day as witnessed in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewish messianic coins in their pockets.

2. The "root of David" is witnessed in Dead Sea Scroll 4Q174-4QFlorilegium.

3. Although some of the Jewish concepts of the coming Messiah were in error, the Holy Spirit borrowed the identical terminology and then applied it correctly. Most preachers today are unaware of the fact that first century Jewish eschatological belief was that the world would exist for 7000 years and that the Messiah must come and reign for the last 1000 years, known as the "days of the Messiah".

4. Additionally, the Messiah had to come within the window of 4292 - 6000 years after creation. Since the Septuagint dates creation at 5554 BC, that means the Messiah must come before AD 446. Every Jew before AD 100, including Josephus in AD 70 (5467 BC) and Philo in AD 30 (c. 5500 BC) followed the autograph Septuagint Chronology. The author's research strongly indicates that someone after AD 100 changed the longer Septuagint numbers used by the first century Jews to the shorter Masoretic numbers in our Bibles today. This means that Jesus' birth 5554 after creation, fully qualified him within the window of expectation (4292 - 6000 AC). Daniel's two-time prophecies in Daniel 2 (days of Rome) and the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 (458 BC - AD 33) narrowed the window of expectation to between 49 BC and AD 33. In 10 AD the Testament of Moses predicted the Messiah would come before the death of Herod the Great's three sons who were Governors of Judea: Archelaus (1BC-6AD), Antipas (1BC-AD 39) and Philip II (1 BC- 34 AD). (Testament of Moses 6:7-7:1, 10 AD). The heightened Jewish Expectation of the Messiah existed at the time of John the Baptist, "The people were in a state of expectation" (Lk 3:15).

5. The primeval chronology of Gen 5 & 11 were deliberately corrupted by the Jews in 160 AD at Zippori by shortening the age of the earth from 5554 BC down to 4174 BC for the explicit purpose of pushing Jesus of Nazareth outside the opening window of expectation of 4292 BC. This revision was embodied at Zippori, first in the Seder Olam Rabbah, then second, by modifying the numbers in their Hebrew text of the scriptures that we know today as the Masoretic Text (MT). The net effect was that Jews began to teach that Jesus could not be the Messiah, because he came 118 years too early (4292 - 4174 = 118). This revised chronology found in the Seder Olam Rabbah is the cornerstone of Jewish Chronology to the present day with AD 2018 = 5778 after creation. With 222 to go till their future Messiah must come, this gives Jews today comfort... until we pass year 6000 in 2240 AD and they, like all other date-setters either ignore it or come up with a new revised prediction. These same corrupted numbers are found in virtually all modern Christian Bibles today since the Old Testament (Tanakh) follows this same Masoretic text which calculates creation at 4174 BC. Fast forward to AD 1800 and you have 6000 years of earth history approaching plus or minus 150 years because of chronological errors by Christians. This spawned a collection of new cult churches that predicted the world would end (Christadelphians, John Darby, Millerites, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's witnesses) whose dates all failed and all of whom expected Jesus to rule on earth for a literal 1000 years. The most recent was the Jehovah's Witnesses who predicted the end of the world in year 6000 After Creation in AD 1975. All this date setting, pretribulation rapture invented by John Darby in AD 1830 and premillennialism theology, were derived from first century Jewish "days of the Messiah" eschatology based on the corrupt chronological numbers in the Masoretic text. The author was first (as far as he knows) to identify that the Jews at Zippori in AD 160 even corrupted the Masoretic text of the 70 weeks of Daniel 9:24-27 in order to disconnect Jesus of Nazareth from the prophecy. The Masoretic text has the Messiah cut off in the middle of the last week, which has thrown Christians into confusion. The Septuagint (Codex Sinaiticus) said nothing about the Messiah being cut off but has the Messiah "finishing his work" at the end of the last week. Most preachers are unaware that the decree to rebuild Jerusalem in 1 Nisan 458 BC (Ezra 7:7-26) to 5th April AD 33 is exactly 490 years TO THE SOLAR DAY. Not understanding first century Jewish eschatology and culture is a serious impediment to correctly interpreting Revelation written with first century cultural imagery. Remember, the Jerusalem Jews understood it all instantly, we must go outside the Bible to learn it.

6. Once you learn the "Day of the Messiah" theology of the first century Jews, it starts popping out at you in the New Testament. Apostle Peter directly referenced the current Jewish thought of the "days of the Messiah" in Acts 3:19-20 in his second sermon at the temple, "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Messiah appointed for you". The Jews to whom Peter was preaching, immediately recognized the terminology while preachers today entirely miss it, the same way they also miss it in in Revelation 20.

Introduction 5:

Moses' Sunset Clause & the Extinction of Judaism

Moses' Sunset Clause and Extinction of Mosaic Judaism in AD 70: Deut 18:18

The Cross of Jesus where the Son of God shed his blood and accomplished much!

1. The Sunset clause of Moses: Deut 18:15

a. "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. "This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.' "The Lord said to me, 'They have spoken well. 'I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 'It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him." (Deuteronomy 18:15-19)

b. This was repeated at the Transfiguration where Moses, Elijah appeared but Jesus ALONE shone: "And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" (Matthew 17:2-5)

2. Abolished Mosaic Judaism:

a. We know that the Law of Moses, including all Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross on the 3rd April AD 33.

b. "having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day- things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ." (Colossians 2:14-17)

3. Abolished the First Covenant of Moses just like Jeremiah said:

a. "Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah," (Jeremiah 31:31)

b. "But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second." (Hebrews 8:6-7)

c. "When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place. Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron's rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail." (Hebrews 8:13-9:5)

d. Notice the Ten Commandments WERE the first covenant, now abolished by Christ: Ex 34:28; Deut 4:13)

4. Destroyed the power of the Devil over sin:

a. "Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil," (Hebrews 2:14)

b. "Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser [Satan] of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death." (Revelation 12:10-11)

5. Abolished the physical temple and replaced it with the church:

a. "The Jews then said to Him, "What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" But He was speaking of the temple of His body. So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken." (John 2:18-22)

b. "And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split." (Matthew 27:51)

c. "The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly, both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience," (Hebrews 9:8-9)

d. This was a theological transference in AD 33 because the physical temple, whose grace God vacated at the cross, continued till AD 70.

6. When Herod's Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70 it brought about the extinction of Mosaic Judaism forever.

a. It is impossible for Jews to ever re-establish Temple worship because all the tribal records including genealogies, have been lost. There is not a Jew alive today, who knows which tribe he is part of. Those Jews today who claim to be of a specific tribe, generally claim to be priestly, but still cannot prove it except by their last name (i.e. Cohen) or less than 200-year history. The rest, when pressed how they know, will tell you "God told me". And remember there were three Priestly divisions, each of which has specifically partitioned jobs at the temple.

b. Animal sacrifices are forever extinct being impossible without the Levitical Priesthood.

c. Synagogue worship practice by today's Jews is as non-biblical as Islam. (Remember, Islam is a religion founded on 1/3 Judaism, 1/3 Christianity and 1/3 Arab Paganism.) Synagogue worship is not found in the Tanakh (Old Testament).

d. Additionally, Rabbinic Judaism had invented so many additional NON-BIBLICAL rules today (never eating milk with any meat even if they are two species of donor animals, Sabbath mode elevators and appliances) that there is almost no resemblance to Mosaic Judaism.

e. Mosaic Judaism was a theocratic system identical to an Islamic Caliphate (Muslim's borrowed the idea directly from Jews) where the country was run by Priests who lived in 70 Levitical cities with 6 court houses located in cities of Refuge.

f. It will take a special miraculous divine act of God to restore physical Temple worship.

g. God will never restore physical temple worship because the blood of Christ was offered as the perfect Passover lamb who atoned, once for all, the sins of every human who lives. Torah-compliant Jews today can be saved, if they believe Jesus rose from the dead, repent of their sins, confess the name of Christ and be immersed in the name of Jesus for the remission of their sins.

h. "But in those [temple animal] sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." (Hebrews 10:3-4)

i. "then Jesus said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will." He [Jesus] takes away the first [covenant: Mosaic Judaism] in order to establish the second [covenant: Christianity-law of Christ]. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet." (Hebrews 10:9-13)

j. In AD 70, the non-Christian Jews who crucified Jesus were the enemies of YHWH and were destroyed.

7. Messianic Jews who try to practice both religions need to heed this warning from Paul:

a. "And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace." (Galatians 5:3-4)

8. The Synagogue was God's providential bridge between Temple worship and the church. Jews who deny Christ and continue to worship in synagogues have missed the boat... the Boat of Salvation is the church.

9. The cross abolished all special status of humans based upon race, sex, nationality or bloodline.

a. Without Christ, Jews today are in the same spiritual condition as Muslims or unbelievers.

b. This is was the message of both Moses and the Messiah

c. "let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead-by this name this man stands here before you in good health. "He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:10-12)

d. "For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11)

e. "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6)

10. The New Testament teaches "replacement theology": Christians are True Jews

a. "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. "And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust. When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them. When they sought to seize Him, they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet. " (Matthew 21:33-46)

b. "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God." (Romans 2:28-29)

c. "Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh," (Philippians 3:2-3)

d. The allegory of Gal 4:21ff: Israel replace by Church: "Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother. For it is written, "REJOICE, BARREN WOMAN WHO DOES NOT BEAR; BREAK FORTH AND SHOUT, YOU WHO ARE NOT IN LABOR; FOR MORE NUMEROUS ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE DESOLATE THAN OF THE ONE WHO HAS A HUSBAND." And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the Scripture say? "CAST OUT THE BONDWOMAN AND HER SON [physical Isarel], FOR THE SON OF THE BONDWOMAN SHALL NOT BE AN HEIR WITH THE SON OF THE FREE WOMAN [Church]." So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman. " (Galatians 4:21-31)

e. "Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God [Christians]. " (Galatians 6:15-16)

11. "Abraham's offspring are determined by faith and water baptism not blood": Gal 3:27; Rom 9:6-9

a. "But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED." That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. " (Romans 9:6-8)

b. "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise. " (Galatians 3:26-29)

12. Justin Martyr believed and taught "replacement theology": Christians are True Israel

a. Christ is King of Israel Christians are the True Israelite race is the topic in chapter 123. (Justin Martyr, Dialogues, Chapter 123, 130 AD)

b. "As, therefore, Christ is the Israel and the Jacob, even so we [Christians], who have been quarried out from the bowels of Christ, are the true Israelitic race." (Justin Martyr, Dialogues, Chapter 135, 1885 AD translation, 130 AD,)

c. "The marriages of Jacob were types of what Christ would do. It was not lawful for Jacob to marry two sisters at the same time. So he worked in the service of Laban for [one of] his daughters, and, when he was deceived about the younger, he worked another seven years. Now, Lia represented your people [Jews] and the Synagogue, while Rachel was a figure of our Church. And Christ still serves for these and for His servants that are in both." (Justin Martyr, Dialogue 134)

d. "As therefore from the one man Jacob, who was surnamed Israel, all your nation has been called Jacob and Israel; so we from Christ, who begat us unto God, (like Jacob, and Israel, and Judah, and Joseph, and David,) are called and are the true sons of God, and keep the commandments of Christ" (Justin Martyr, Dialogues, Chapter 123, 130 AD)

e. "For all the nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in their hearts.' ... But though a man be a Scythian or a Persian, if he has the knowledge of God and of His Christ, and keeps the everlasting righteous decrees, he is circumcised with the good and useful circumcision, and is a friend of God, and God rejoices in his gifts and offerings." (Justin Martyr, Dialogues, Chapter 28, 130 AD)

f. "As Christ is called Israel and Jacob, so we, [Christians] hewn out of the side of Christ, are the true people of Israel. But let us listen to the words of Scripture: "And I will bring forth the seed of Jacob and of Juda, and it shall inherit My holy mountain. My elect and My servants shall inherit it, and shall dwell there. And there shall be in the forest folds of sheep, and the valley of Achor shall be to My people who sought Me a resting place for their herds. But as for you, who forsake and forget My holy mountain, and prepare a table for the demons, and fill mixed wine for the demons, I will deliver you up to the sword. You shall all fall by slaughter, because I called you and you did not obey; I spoke and you did not heed; and you did evil in My eyes, and you have chosen the things that displease Me." There you have the very words of Scripture. You can readily see that the seed of Jacob mentioned here is of another kind, for you cannot understand it as referring to your people. It is absurd to think that those who are of the seed of Jacob should leave a right of entrance to them who are born of Jacob, or that He who repudiated His people as being unworthy of His inheritance should again promise it to them as though He received them. But the Prophet says: "And now, O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. For He has dismissed His people, the house of Jacob; because their land was filled, as from the beginning, with oracles and divinations." So, we must here conclude that there were two seeds of Juda, and two races, as there are two houses of Jacob: the one born of flesh and blood [Jews], the other of faith and the Spirit. [Christians]'" (Justin, Dialogues 135, 1948 AD translation, 130 AD)

g. "Therefore, as your whole people [Jews] was called after that one Jacob, surnamed Israel, so we [Christians] who obey the precepts of Christ, are, through Christ who begot us to God, both called and in reality are, Jacob and Israel and Juda and Joseph and David and true children of God.'" (Justin, Dialogues 123, 130 AD)

13. You believe in Replacement theology if...

a. ...you believe the Bible when it says Christians are the true Jews today: Romans 2:28-29: "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. ", "for we [Christians] are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, " (Philippians 3:3)

b. ...you believe that Israel is the church: "For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel [church] of God." (Galatians 6:15-16) The peace in this passage is for those who walk according to Christ so CANNOT refer to fleshly/physical Israel that utterly rejects Christ.

c. ...you believe Jews must believe in Jesus to be saved and are as lost as Muslims and atheists until they do. (Jn 3:16; Jn 14:6)

d. ...you believe the New Testament (second covenant) of Jesus Christ replaced the Old Testament (first covenant) Jer 31:31 + Heb 8:6-13

e. ...you believe that keeping both the First and Second covenants at the same time is like a woman married to two men at the same time (Romans 6:1-7)

f. ...you believe the body of the Christian is the temple that God dwells in today not some building made of stone, wood or curtains. (1 Cor 3:16; 6:19-20)

g. ...you believe the Saturday Sabbath was abolished and Christians worship on the first day of the week (Sunday).

h. ...you believe the calendar of 7 Jewish feasts are not to be kept by Christians: Passover (Pesach), Unleavened Bread (Chag Hamotzi), First Fruits (Yom habikkurim), Pentecost (Shavu'ot), Trumpets (Yom Teru'ah), Atonement (Yom Kippur), Tabernacles (Sukkot).

i. ...you believe that the entire law of Moses has been abrogated and replaced by the law of Christ and that if you want to keep just one part of the law of Moses, YOU MUST KEEP IT ALL!

j. ...you believe that you do not need to be circumcised to be saved. Acts 15:1-3

k. ...you believe there is no distinction in the mind of God towards all men: Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, male or female (Gal 3:28-29)

Introduction 6:

The role of Archaeology in understanding Revelation

A. The Synagogue is the prototype of the New Testament church in everything:

1. The New Testament Christian Church is an exact replica of the Jewish Synagogue

a. The synagogue was the prototype of the church in form, function and worship

b. This copying of design extends to Byzantine church building architecture.

2. There are many allusions to synagogue worship liturgy in the New Testament that most preachers are completely blind to.

a. The book of James was written in AD 36 and refers to a church assembly as a "synagogue" (Jas 2:1) because at this time, just before the great dispersion where Stephen was stoned, the Christians were sharing the synagogues with their fellow Jews. Before conversion to Christ, these Jewish Christians would have been active in the Jewish synagogue, contributing to the upkeep, donating large sums of money and labour to built them. In Jerusalem, there were about 400 synagogues.

b. Jesus referred to the Moses's Seat (Mt 23:2,5; Lk 6:16-20 of which 4 Moses' seats have been archeologically excavated.

c. Even the seating in James 2 was synagogue-terminology including the footstool reference!

3. Most are unaware that Christian baptism by immersion for remission of sins was practiced in thousands of synagogue mikvaot as early as 280 BC in Alexandria, Egypt as a ritual cleansing every sabbath before entering the synagogue.

B. 3000 Baptized in the Pool of Siloam: Acts 2

1. The author has twice excavated the Pool of Siloam in AD 2005, which was the very Mikveh where the 3000 souls were baptized on the day of Pentecost when the Jews were told to, "Repent and be immersed in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38).

a. Discovered in AD 2004, the Pool of Siloam is an Olympic sized swimming pool ritual purity mikveh used by hundreds of thousands of Jews during Passover.

b. They would start at the temple, walk down the "descent stairs" to the pool, be immersed for ritual purity, then walk up a separate set of "ascent stairs" and be admitted into the temple.

2. Christian baptism for remission of sins (Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16) was borrowed directly from the Jewish synagogue and every Jews was familiar with it.

3. The Apostle Paul, for example, had immersed himself in a mikveh at least 250 times before entering the synagogue between the age of 13 and 20, but he was immersed one last time in the synagogue mikveh at Damascus in AD 36 when Ananias commanded him, "Why do you delay Paul, arise and be baptized for the remission of your sins." (Acts 22:16)

a. Just as the blood of Christ ended animal sacrifices (which could not atone for sin), so too Christian baptism ended synagogue baptism (which never actually washed away any sins).

b. Paul was the "Moses-like lawgiver" of the New Covenant who learned the law directly from Jesus at Mt. Sinai in Arabia. (Gal Indeed, the author identified 25 antitypical similarities between Moses and Paul.

4. BYZANTINE CHURCH ARCHITECTURE: Kh. El-Maqatir (Biblical Ephraim of Jn 11)

a. June AD 69 Vespasian destroyes Ephraim then comes to Jerusalem (Josephus Wars 4:549-555)

b. Ephraim of John 11, was the last city destroyed by Vespasian in AD 69 before he reaches Jerusalem. See Josephus Wars 4:551. (Kh. Maqatir, Cav1, 2013 AD) The author helped excavate and photographed the bones of these 8 women and children killed by Vespasian. They were excavated in AD 2013 in the largest underground hiding system ever discovered in the territory of Benjamin.

c. At Maqatir, the author has also excavated a full immersion water baptistry in one of the oldest church buildings in the world that dates to AD 375, located 15 km north of Jerusalem on highway 60, 1 km west of Et Tell.

d. It was in fact, also the last first century city Vespasian destroyed in AD 69 before moving onto destroy Jerusalem in AD 70.

C. Ritual purity in the first century and the Lord's Supper

1. "Around 100 B.C. a major shift occurred in Late Second Temple period Judaism. Pious Jews interpreted Leviticus 11 and 15 literally and began to replace pottery with chalk stone vessels which they viewed as insusceptible to ritual impurity. What started as a small wave grew into a tsunami affecting burial, bathing, and cooking. Both the material cultural remains and the text of the New Testament bear witness to these changes." (Dr. Scott Stripling)

2. Ritual purity stone vessels at the time of Jesus were widely used.

a. The Cana wedding featured 6 stone vessels.

b. The Jews felt that vessels carved out of a single stone remained pure.

c. Pottery vessels (formed and fired clay) would only be used once, then broken.

3. Foot washing and Lord's supper: 13 cups and a basin

a. It is likely, if given the choice, Jesus would have surely used stone vessels for the Last Supper on Thursday night, Nissan 14, in accordance with current vogue.

b. "Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded." (John 13:5)

c. Jesus even tell us that there were 13 cups on the last supper table, "Take this (Jesus's cup) and share it among yourselves (i.e. into your own 12 cups)" Lk 22:17.

4. The author has personally excavated a first century ritual purity stone vessels in addition to a complete wash basin and cups.

a. It became clear to the author, that Jesus used "stoneware" as the holy grail and the foot-washing basin in the upper room as John 13 records.

5. So again, not understanding first century culture is a serious impediment to correctly interpreting Revelation written with first century cultural imagery.

Introduction 7:

Dating Revelation to AD 66

Introduction 7:

Internal Evidences that Date Revelation to AD 66

I. Internal Evidences that Date Revelation to AD 66:

A. Internal Evidence #1: Revelation was written for Hebrew speaking Jews in Jerusalem because he uses special Hebrew words, only those in Jerusalem would understand.

1. In AD 66, the Hebrew language was extinct throughout the world except in Jerusalem and had been for over 400 years.

a. Only Hebrew speaking Jews would understand to transliterate the Greek "Nero Caesar" into Hebrew "NRON QSR" to equal the number sum of "666" in Rev 13:8. "Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six." (Revelation 13:18)

b. "They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon." (Revelation 9:11)

c. "And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon." (Revelation 16:16)

2. Strictly Hebrew origin words used in the Greek New Testament:

a. Revelation:

i. Abaddon: Rev. 9:11

ii. Armageddon: Rev. 16:16

iii. Hallelujah: Rev. 19: 1-6

iv. Maranatha: Rev 22:20 (Transliteration of Aramaic into Greek "Lord, Come" equal to 1 Cor 16:22)

b. Matthew

i. Gehenna: Matt. 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28 and eight more times.

ii. Hos(i)anna: Matt. 21:9 (common term across every language)

iii. Immanuel: Matt. 1:22

iv. Beelzebub: Matt. 12:24; (common term across every language)

v. Rabbi: Matt. 23:78; 26:25, 49; (common term across every language)

vi. Rama: Matt. 2:18

vii. Sabbath: Matt. 12:1 (common term across every language)

viii. Satan: Matt. 4:1

ix. Zion: Matt. 21:5

c. Luke:

i. Beelzebub: Luke 11:15, 18, 19 (common term across every language)

ii. Sabbath: Luke 4:16...42 times in all. (common term across every language)

d. John:

i. Hos(i)anna: John 12:13 (common term across every language)

e. Mark:

i. Hos(i)anna: Mark 11:9, John 12:13 (common term across every language)

ii. Sabbath: Mark 1:21-25, 2:17 (common term across every language)

iii. Qorban: Mark 7:11 (explained for Greek readers)

iv. Rabbi: Matt. 23:78; 26:25, 49; Mark 9:5, 11:21, 14:45 (common term across every language)

f. 1 Corinthians: Belial: 1 Cor. 6:15

g. Hebrews: Cherubim: Heb. 9:5

3. Transliterations of Aramaic in the Greek New Testament. Only Mark and John (written post 70 AD) record and translate Aramaic words for their Greek readers living outside Judea and provide evidence that the natural working language of Jesus was Aramaic not Hebrew. John translates many Aramaic words into Greek so the readers, who spoke Greek and not Aramaic, could understand the meaning:

a. Jesus gave apostle Peter the Aramaic name "Cephas" (Lit. kepha) which means "rock". John 1:42 tells us that while Peter's original name from Jesus was Cephas (Aramaic) he became known in history (and to us) by the Peter, which is a Greek transliteration of Cepahs.

b. "Thomas" is a transliteration of Aramaic toma "twin"

c. "Matthew" is a transliteration of Aramaic Mattay; bar

d. Aramaic word for son "bar", is found in Bartholomew, Bar-Jonas, Barsabbas, Barabbas;

e. "Golgotha" is a transliteration of Aramaic golgolta "skull"

f. "Akeldama" is a transliteration of Aramaic haqel dema "bloody ground"

g. Martha is a transliteration of Aramaic mareta

h. "Maranatha" (1 Cor. 16:22) is a transliteration of Aramaic Maran "Our Lord" and eta "come."

i. "Bethesda" (Jn 5:2) "Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew [Aramaic] Bethesda, having five porticoes." (John 5:2)

j. "Gabbatha" (Jn 19:13) "Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew [Aramaic], Gabbatha." (John 19:13)

k. "Golgatha" (Jn 19:17) "They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew [Aramaic], Golgotha." (John 19:17)

l. "rabboni" (Jn 20:16) "Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew [Aramaic], "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher)." (John 20:16)

m. "Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew [Aramaic], Latin and in Greek." (John 19:20)

n. "Messiah" (Jn 1:41) "The Greek transliteration of the Aram. mešīḥâ (=Heb. māšīaḥ) occurs in the NT only here and in 4:25." (Gospel according to John 1-12, AYBC, Jn 1:41, 2008 AD)

o. "hosanna" (Jn 12:13)

p. "Maranatha" (Rev 22:20).

4. Language use by New Testament book:

a. Languages of the first century:

i. The only place that Hebrew was still spoken in the world was Jerusalem in AD 66.

ii. Inside Judea, Jews spoke Aramaic as their default language at the home dinner table and Greek as their working language of commerce in the market place.

iii. Outside Judea (almost) all Jews spoke Greek only.

b. Matthew:

i. Matthew was written to the Jews in Jerusalem before AD 70

ii. Matthew never explains Hebrew words

iii. Matthew never translates Aramaic words into Greek

c. The Gospel of Mark:

i. Mark was written to a Greek-only audience and translates Aramaic words into Greek like John does: "but you say, 'If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),'" (Mark 7:11)

ii. Mark uses three common Hebrew words understood across all languages but must translate the Hebrew specialty word "Corban" for his Greek audience.

iii. Only Mark and the gospel of John explain Aramaic words for their Greek audiences.

d. The gospel of Luke:

i. Luke's gospel uses two Hebrew words: Beelzebub: Luke 11:15, 18,19 and Sabbath. Both were common terms across every language

ii. Luke never uses or translates Aramaic specialty words

iii. Luke was written to Greek speaking audience

e. The gospel of John

i. written in AD 98, was written to a Greek audience who could not speak Hebrew or Aramaic.

ii. John uses three common Hebrew words understood across all languages.

iii. John transliterated Aramaic specialty words that the Jews in Judea would be familiar with for his Greek audience.

iv. Only Mark and the gospel of John explain Aramaic words for their Greek audiences.

5. Conclusion: Revelation was written for the Hebrew speaking Jews in Jerusalem.

a. The Book of Revelation was written to an audience that spoke Hebrew. (Aramaic is a different language from Hebrew)

b. Revelation is unique in the New Testament because it is the only book that uses and explains ideas in Hebrew words for an audience that would speak Hebrew.

c. A working knowledge of Hebrew would be required to transliterate the Greek "Nero Caesar" into Hebrew "NRON QSR" decode the number sum of "666" in Rev 13:8. It only works in the Hebrew Language.

B. Internal Evidence #2: Revelation echoes Jesus' teaching to flee the city "Come out" when it was surrounded by armies because it would be destroyed within one generation of 40 years.

1. One Generation: AD 30-70.

2. "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues;" (Revelation 18:4)

3. "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. "Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city;" (Luke 21:20-21)

4. 96 AD is too late to make any sense.

C. Internal Evidence #3: Nero is identified as the 6th Caesar from Julius:

1. "Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, 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." (Revelation 17:9-10)

2. Leaving Julius out of the Roman empire is like leaving out George Washington in the count of US presidents.

3. See Rev 17 in Revelation commentary for details.

D. Internal Evidence #4: Nero is identified as "the beast":

1. After the burning of Rome, Nero persecuted Christians for 42 months from 15th November AD 64 till he died on 9th June AD 68.

2. Revelation must have been written after the spring of AD 65 in order to easily identify Nero as "the beast from the sea" who persecuted Christians in Rev 13.

3. By the time Revelation was written in the spring of AD 66, Nero had secured a wide reputation as "the beast" among Christians. This reputation would carry forward for centuries in the writings of early Christians.

E. Internal Evidence #5: Revelation 11:1 John measures the temple:

1. This alone, is a very powerful internal evidence that Revelation was written BEFORE AD 70 because he is told to measure the Jerusalem temple.

2. If Revelation was written in AD 96, this passage must AGAIN be spiritualized away and ignored.

F. Internal Evidence #6: Revelation 11:1: John measures the temple for 42 months AT THE SAME TIME the two Witnesses (Jesus ben Ananus) are prophesying proves he was alive in AD 70:

1. That the angel measures the temple for 42 months, is an inference and not a direct statement. The direct statement is that the angel leaves out the outer tabernacle because it has been given over to the Gentiles for 42 months. However the very next statement is that the Two witnesses prophecy for 42 months. The conclusion is that John's measuring, the outer court given to Gentiles and the work of the Two witnesses all happen within the 42 months.

2. "Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, "Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. "Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months. "And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." (Revelation 11:1-3)

3. Full-Preterists must have John raptured by Pentecost Sunday, 22nd June AD 66 and the fact that John was to measure the temple at the same time the two witnesses were prophesying "Woe is Jerusalem" proves John was alive in AD 70 therefore falsifying Full-Preterism.

4. Even worse for Full-Preterists, is an archeological literary evidence that Christians lived across the rapture of Pentecost Sunday 22nd June AD 66, after which, every Christian on earth is raptured directly into heaven leaving zero Christians on earth. The church, now extinct, must restart from scratch using the Bible only. But here you have Jesus ben Ananus in Josephus prophesying 7 years 5 months starting AD 62 down to a week before Pentecost AD 70 (7th March AD 70).

5. So, the two witnesses of Revelation not only help date the book of Revelation to when Josephus said Jesus ben Ananus lived, but provides at least two Christians (Jesus ben Ananus and Apostle John) who lived before and after the "Full-Preterist Rapture of Pentecost Sunday, 22nd June AD 66".

Introduction 7:

Internal Evidences that Date Revelation to AD 66

II. Dating Revelation from ancient literary sources

Fluff vs. Scripture: The problem of using ancient literary sources to date Revelation

There is no unanimity among ancient literary sources which suggest three different dates when Revelation was written. Apostle John says he wrote Revelation while on Patmos, which is a deserted island except for the jail. Literary sources are divided in that some indicate John wrote Revelation under Nero, while others under Domitian. The book of Revelation was rejected as not inspired by the eastern/Greek church down to 4th century. Several literary sources deny that Apostle John wrote Revelation.

A. Revelation was written under Nero in AD 66:

1. Irenaeus Bishop of Lyons AD 160:

a. Scholars are divided on exactly what Irenaeus was saying: Revelation was "seen" (revealed by vision) or John was seen (alive) years after Revelation was written. The context is his attempt to identify exactly who 666 refers to in Revelation. Irenaeus suggests that 666 refers to an unknown future person named Titan. The context, therefore, is to determine exactly who 666 refers to. Irenaeus then says that even John, year after he wrote Revelation never personally gave any further clues as to who 666 refers to while alive at the time of the end of Domitian's reign in AD 96.

b. Irenaeus said: "the number six hundred and sixty-six [666] ... Inasmuch, then, as this name "Titan" has so much to recommend it, there is a strong degree of probability, that from among the many [names suggested], we infer, that perchance he who is to come shall be called "Titan." 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 [εωραθη] not a very long time ago, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian's reign." (Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. 5.30.3)

c. "The logic of the sentences seems to me to require this interpretation. The statement that the vision was seen at the close of Domitian's reign supplies no reason why the mysterious numbers should have been expounded 'by him who saw the apocalypse,' had he judged such an exposition needful. If, on the other hand, we refer εωραθη [was seen] to St John, the meaning is plain and simple. We may expand the sentences thus: 'Had it been needful that the explanation of the name should be proclaimed to the men of our own day, that explanation would have been given by the author of the Book. For the author was seen on earth, he lived and held converse with his disciples, not so very long ago, but almost in our own generation. Thus, on the one hand, he lived years after he wrote the Book, and there was abundant opportunity for him to expound the riddle, had he wished to do so; and, on the other hand, since he lived on almost into our generation, the explanation, had he given it, must have been preserved to us.' ... The passage of Irenaeus is urged against dating the Apocalypse shortly after Nero's death. A suggestion, however, has been made in a French periodical: it is a question of the interpretation of Irenaeus. The writer raised the question whether Irenaeus means to say that the Apocalypse itself belongs to Domitian's reign. What is the subject of εωραθη? He or it? For the latter, note the phrase just used. But there is the fact that the language of Irenaeus is difficult on this [i.e. the common] theory. Why yap [Greek - "for"]? But if Irenaeus meant that he, John, was seen, this is in accordance with his favourite phraseology." (The Date of the Apocalypse, S. H. Chase, Journal of Theological Studies 8, p431, 1907 AD)

d. "The great work of Irenæus, now for the first time translated into English, is unfortunately no longer extant in the original. It has come down to us only in an ancient Latin version, with the exception of the greater part of the first book, which has been preserved in the original Greek, through means of copious quotations made by Hippolytus and Epiphanius. The text, both Latin and Greek, is often most uncertain. Only three mss. of the work Against Heresies are at present known to exist. ... Irenæus, even in the original Greek, is often a very obscure writer. At times he expresses himself with remarkable clearness and terseness; but, upon the whole, his style is very involved and prolix. And the Latin version adds to these difficulties of the original, by being itself of the most barbarous character. In fact, it is often necessary to make a conjectural re-translation of it into Greek, in order to obtain some inkling of what the author wrote." (Introductory Note to Irenæus Against Heresies, Alexander Roberts, H. Rambaut, p311, 1880 AD)

e. Several later writers misinterpreted Irenaeus to mean Domitian not Nero. Therefore quoting them to prove Irenaeus actually meant Domitian is a mistake of circular reasoning.

i. Nero was born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus. Seven times Pliny refers to Nero as "Domitius Nero" in his Natural History: "For this reason it is that both King Demetrius, Caesar the Dictator [Julius], the prince Caius [Caligula], and Domitius Nero, have at different times made the attempt to cut through this neck by forming a navigable canal [Isthmus of Corinth]; a profane design, as may be clearly seen by the result in every one of these instances." (Pliny, N. H. 4.5)

ii. "Guericke, in his "Introduction to the New Testament" (1843) retracts his former opinion in favor of the later date, and although he understands Ἀποκάλυψις as the subject of ἑωράθη, suggests that Δομετιάνου, being without the article, is not a proper name, but an adjective, belonging, in accordance with the Greek formations, not to Domitian (which would make an adjective of the form Δομιτιανικός), but to Domitius, which was Nero's name-Domitius Nero. This would make Irenaeus testify to the fact that the Apocalypse was written near the end of the reign of Nero." (Date of the Apocalypse from Internal Evidence, M. James Macdonald, Bibliotheca Sacra 26, p483, 1869 AD)

f. "A careful scrutiny of the Irenaean evidence for a late date for Revelation tends to render any confident employment of him suspect. The difficulties with Irenaeus in this matter are many and varied, whether or not his witness is accepted as credible. A bold "thus saith cannot be conclusive of the matter." (Before Jerusalem Fell, Kenneth L. Gentry, p67, 1989 AD)

2. Muratorian Canon AD 170:

a. "The blessed Apostle Paul, following the rule of his predecessor John, writes to no more than seven churches by name, in this order: the first to the Corinthians, the second to the Ephesians, the third to the Philippians, the fourth to the Colossians, the fifth to the Galatians, the sixth to the Thessalonians, the seventh to the Romans. Moreover, though he writes twice to the Corinthians and Thessalonians for their correction, it is yet shown-i.e., by this sevenfold writing-that there is one Church spread abroad through the whole world. And John too, indeed, in the Apocalypse, although he writes only to seven churches, yet addresses all." (Muratorian Canon 3, 170-200 AD)

b. Predecessor: This might mean that Paul had revelation available to him to follow as a pattern in writing to the seven churches of his epistles. The last letter written to a church by Paul dates to around AD 60. This would indicate that Revelation was written between AD 55-60. However, "predecessor" might simply mean that John was a Christian before Paul chronologically in time and that the clear pattern seen in John's Revelation of writing to seven churches, was also seen in Paul's writings as well.

3. Tertullian AD 200:

a. Tertullian says that Nero was a greater persecutor than Domitian. Tertullian says that Domitian stopped persecuting Christians shortly after starting and that he released all his prisoners he had cast into jail, which would certainly include Apostle John at Patmos. Late-dater s are caught in a contradiction between sources. Tertullian says Domitian released John early in his reign but Victorious (see below) says Domitian did not release John until after he died.

b. "Consult your histories: you will find in them that Nero was the first to rage with the imperial sword against this religion [Christianity] which was just at that particular time coming to life at Rome. We actually glory that such a person took the lead in condemning us. For, whoever knows him can understand that nothing save some magnificent good was ever condemned by Nero. (4) Domitian, too, somewhat of a Nero in cruelty [I.e. sub-type of Nero], made some attempts. But-being also, to a certain degree, human-he soon put a halt to what he had initiated and even recalled those whom he had exiled. Such have always been our persecutors, unjust, wicked, depraved men whom you yourselves are accustomed to condemn, while you have regularly recalled those whom they have condemned." (Tertullian Apol. 5.2-4, 200 AD)

c. "How happy is its church, on which apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood [in Rome by Nero]! where Peter endures a passion like his Lord's! where Paul wins his crown in a death like John's [the Baptist] where the Apostle John was first plunged [in Rome by Nero], unhurt, into boiling oil, and thence remitted to his island-exile!" (Tert., De praesc. haer. 36)

i. "he [Tertullian] relates, that the Apostle John also had been at Rome; that Nero had him cast into a vessel of boiling oil, and when he remained uninjured, he (Nero) banished him to an island. Hieronymus says concerning this account, "Tertullian informs us, that John having been cast by Nero into a vessel of boiling oil, came forth from it more free from hurt and sounder" than he had entered it. That is something entirely new: none of the Fathers has previously made mention thereof; scarcely any has copied him; even Hieronymus repeats it merely as a statement of Tertullian's, which without doubt he alone has drawn from the book of the Pseudo-Prochorus concerning the life of John." (St. Peter: Was He Ever at Rome, and Bishop of the Church at Rome?, William Graham, J. Rivington, p88, 1851 AD)

ii. "Now it strikes me, that Tertullian plainly means to class Peter, Paul, and John together, as having suffered at nearly the same time and under the same emperor [Nero]. I concede that this is not a construction absolutely necessary; but I submit it to the candid, whether it is not the most probable. If the preceding remarks are well founded, then Clement and Tertullian are to be ranked with those fathers who ascribe to the Apocalypse to the time of Nero, or a period immediately afterwards." (A Commentary on the Apocalypse, Moses Stuart, Vol 1, p284, 1845 AD)

4. Clement of Alexandria AD 200:

a. "And that you may be still more confident, that repenting thus truly there remains for you a sure hope of salvation, listen to a tale, which is not a tale but a narrative, handed down and committed to the custody of memory, about the Apostle John. For when, on the tyrant's death, he returned to Ephesus from the isle of Patmos, he went away, being invited, to the contiguous territories of the nations, here to appoint bishops, there to set in order whole Churches, there to ordain such as were marked out by the Spirit." (Clemement Al., Quis div. 42, AD 200)

b. In AD 200, Clement never names who the tyrant who could be either Nero or Domitian. In AD 325, Eusebius names Domitian as the tyrant then quotes Clement's statement as proof Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.23.

c. Nero as Clement's "tyrant":

i. Nero killed Paul: "And that of the apostles, embracing the ministry of Paul, ends with Nero" (Clem. Al., Misc. 7.17)

ii. Nero set up the Abomination of Desolation in the temple: "And Christ our Lord, "the Holy of Holies," having come and fulfilled the vision and the prophecy, was anointed in His flesh by the Holy Spirit of His Father. In those "sixty and two weeks," as the prophet said, and "in the one week," was He Lord. The half of the week Nero held sway, and in the holy city Jerusalem placed the abomination; and in the half of the week he was taken away, and Otho, and Galba, and Vitellius. And Vespasian rose to the supreme power, and destroyed Jerusalem, and desolated the holy place. And that such are the facts of the case, is clear to him that is able to understand, as the prophet said." (Clem. Al., Misc. 1.21)

iii. Commonly called a Tyrant: "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, which 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. However they say it a civil beast and inhabits the midst of cities; but to this extent it is more savage than the beasts of mountain and of forest, that whereas lions and panthers can sometimes by flattery be tamed and change their disposition, stroking and petting this beast does but instigate it to surpass itself in ferocity and devour at large. And of wild beasts you cannot say that they were ever known to eat their own mothers, but Nero has gorged himself on this diet." Apollonius of Tyana (c. AD 15-100)

iv. Juvenal (100 AD) "The depravity of the parents who dared to bribe with great confidence in the gifts [of their sons]. No deformed or ugly youth ever unsexed [sodomized] in the citadel of the cruel tyrant in his castle. Never did Nero have a bow-legged as his favourite, or one that was hump-backed [diseased or run-down appearance] or pot-bellied!" (Juvenal, Satires 10.306, translated from Latin by Steven Rudd, born 50 AD)

v. Finally, Nero is known to set Rome ablaze then blame it on Christians, triggering a massive persecution in Rome, highlighted in Rev 13 as the Beast from the Sea for 3.5 years until he died.

5. Epiphanius of Salamis 315-403 AD:

a. Epiphanius twice says that John wrote the book during the time of "Claudius [Nero] Caesar."

b. Note that Nero used the full name of Claudius Nero Caesar and is not to be confused with his predecessor, Claudius Caesar who died in AD 54.

c. See: Epiphanies, Heresies/Panarion 51:12,33, 315-403 AD

6. Syriac Revelation Title Page AD 550:

a. "It is well known that the Peshito, the oldest Syriac version of the New Testament, does not contain the Apocalypse. But the title-page of a Syriac version of the Apocalypse in the sixth century declares that it was written by John in Patmos, whither he was banished by Nero." (The Date of the Apocalypse, J. Ritchie Smith, Bibliotheca Sacra Vol. 45, No. 178, p304, 1888 AD)

7. Arethas of Caesarea 6th century:

a. Jamison Faucett, Brown commentary date Arethas to 6th century, others to AD 900.

b. Arethas' commentary on Revelation directly connects Rev 6:12; 7:1; 7:4 with the destruction of Jerusalem.

c. "Some refer this [Rev 6:12] to the siege of Jerusalem by Vespasian." (Arethas of Caesarea, commentary on Revelation 6:12, 600 AD)

d. "Here, then [Rev 7:1], were manifestly shown to the Evangelist what things were to befall the Jews in their war against the Romans, in the way of avenging the sufferings inflicted upon Christ." (Arethas of Caesarea, commentary on Revelation 7:1, 600 AD)

e. "When the Evangelist received these oracles [Rev 7:4], the destruction in which the Jews were involved was not yet inflicted by the Romans." (Arethas of Caesarea, commentary on Revelation 7:4, 600 AD)

f. "And He who gave this revelation to the Evangelist, declares, that these men shall not share the destruction inflicted by the Romans. For the ruin brought by the Romans had not yet fallen upon the Jews, when this Evangelist received these prophecies: and he did not receive them at Jerusalem, but in Ionia [Patmos] near Ephesus. For after the suffering of the Lord he [John the apostle] remained only fourteen years at Jerusalem, during which time the tabernacle of the mother of the Lord, which had conceived this Divine offspring, was preserved in this temporal life, after the suffering and resurrection of her incorruptible Son. For he continued with her as with a mother committed to him by the Lord. For after her death it is reported that he no longer chose to remain in Judaea, but passed over to Ephesus, where, as we have said, this present Apocalypse also was composed ; which is a revelation of future things, inasmuch as forty years after the Ascension of the Lord this tribulation came upon the Jews." (Arethas of Caesarea, commentary on Revelation, 600 AD)

B. Revelation was written under Domitian in AD 96:

1. Victorious AD 300:

a. While Victorious clearly believes that Domitian condemned John to Patmos, he also believes that Nero is the Beast whose head was fatally wounded and will rise again as the antichrist in keeping with the widely believed Redivivus myth about Nero.

b. Late-daters say Domitian was the 6th "living Caesar" (Rev 17:11) but he is 9th if Julius is counted first and 8th if Augustus is counted first.

c. Though late-daters love to quote Victorius who says it was Domitian who exiled John, they fail to note that Victorious contradicts "Domitian being killed, all his judgments were discharged. And John being dismissed from the mines, thus subsequently delivered the same Apocalypse (Victorious, Revelation 10:11, 300 AD)

d. says John wrote Revelation under Caesar Nerva, after Domitian had died!

e. "And He says unto me, Thou must again prophesy to the peoples, and to the tongues, and to the nations, and to many kings."] He says this, because when John said these things he was in the island of Patmos, condemned to the labour of the mines by Cæsar 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. This, therefore, is what He says: Thou must again prophesy to all nations, because thou seest the crowds of Antichrist rise up; and against them other crowds shall stand, and they shall fall by the sword on the one side and on the other." (Victorious, Revelation 10:11, 300 AD)

f. "Now that one of the heads was, as it were, slain to death, and that the stroke of his death was directed, he speaks of Nero. For it is plain that when the cavalry sent by the senate was pursuing him, he himself cut his throat. Him therefore [Nero as the antichrist], when raised up [Nero- Redivivus-raised from dead], God will send as a worthy king, but worthy in such a way as the Jews merited. And since he is to have another name, He shall also appoint another name, that so the Jews may receive him as if he were the Christ [Nero-false messiah]. ... Finally, also, he will recall the saints [Christians], not to the worship of idols, but to undertake circumcision, and, if he is able, to seduce any; for he shall so conduct himself as to be called Christ by them [Nero-false messiah]. But that he rises again from hell [Nero- Redivivus-raised from dead], we have said above in the word of Isaiah: "Water shall nourish him, and hell hath increased him;" who, however, must come with name unchanged, and doings unchanged, as says the Spirit." (Victorious, Revelation 17:16, 300 AD)

2. Eusebius 325 AD:

a. Strangely, although Eusebius believes Revelation was written at the time of Domitian around AD 96, Eusebius rejects that John the apostle was the author. Instead, Eusebius believes there was a second "John the presbyter" who wrote the book. See below and Eusebius Hist. Eccl. 3.39 and 7.24-25.

b. Late-daters say Domitian was the 6th "living Caesar" (Rev 17:11) but he is 9th if Julius is counted first and 8th if Augustus is counted first.

c. When Domitian had displayed great cruelty toward many and had killed without fair trial no small number of well-born and famous men at Rome and had punished countless other notable men without cause by banishment to foreign lands and by confiscation of their property, he finally established himself as Nero's successor in hatred and hostility toward God. In fact, he was the second to promote a persecution against us, although his father Vespasian contrived nothing unusual against us. At this time, report has it that the Apostle and Evangelist John, who was still alive, was condemned to dwell on the Island of Patmos because of his testimony to the divine Word." (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.17-18)

3. Jerome AD 400:

a. John was ... "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." (Jerome Against Jovinianus 1.26, 400 AD)

C. Revelation was written under Trajan AD 98-117:

1. Dorotheus Bishop of Tyre (6th century)

2. Theophylact (11th century)

3. "Dorotheus, a sixth-century ascetic, and Theophylact, an eleventh-century Byzantine exegete, place John's exile in the time of Trajan." (NICNT Revelation, Robert H. Mounce, p15, 1997 AD)

D. Evidence Apostle John was imprisoned twice by Nero and Domitian/Trajan:

1. There are two versions of the Acts of John which record very similar stories of John being sent to Patmos by two different Emperors: Nero and Domitian.

a. The two stories are very similar in their details.

b. This may be in indication that John was imprisoned twice and may account for the two traditions witnessed in the sum of ancient literary sources.

c. This may be an indication of later textual editing by replacing Nero for Domitian in the story or vice versa.

d. In both stories the Emperor hears of John in Ephesus preaching that Rome will fall. This cannot be used as evidence that Nero had a copy of Revelation because John wrote Revelation during his imprisonment. The Book of Revelation did not trigger the imprisonment. The imprisonment triggered the writing of the book of Revelation which condemned Rome in Rev 13.

2. About the Acts of John:

a. The Acts of John come down to us in a variety of manuscripts and languages.

b. It is the Syriac manuscript version of Acts of John that say Nero sent John to Patmos.

c. "Composed toward the end of the second century, this book is the earliest of several apocryphal acts collected by the Manichaeans. Like other apocryphal works of this type, the Acts of John records in rather loose order, a series of exaggerated miraculous events that extol the central figure. The book includes several narratives: John's journey to Rome; his exile on Patmos and return to Ephesus" (Eerdmans' Bible dictionary, Acts of John, p589, 1987 AD)

d. In the Syriac Acts of John it is clear that Patmos is the location of John's prison. Notice that Nero sends men to Ephesus and arrest John and put him in prison. The church at Ephesus sent a bribe to Nero in Rome who then sent men back to Ephesus to decree release of John. If John was imprisoned in Rome, he would have been on the ship from Rome to Ephesus. Notice it was only after Nero's men arrived at Ephesus that John was set free. Finally John boards a ship from Patmos (not actually named) and travels to Ephesus by sea. This proves it was a local prison near Ephesus that also required a ship to get to Ephesus. Obviously Patmos is where John was imprisoned by Nero.

3. The two ancient accounts:

a. Nero sent John to Patmos in Syriac Apocryphal Acts of John the Son of Zebedee, AD 150: "This history was composed by Eusebius of Cæsarea [AD 325] concerning Saint John, who found it in a Greek book [AD 150], and it was translated into Syriac. ... After these things, when the Gospel was increasing by the hands of the Apostles, Nero, the unclean and impure and wicked king, heard all that had happened at Ephesus. And he sent (and) took all that the procurator had, and imprisoned him; and laid hold of Saint John and drove him into exile [on Patmos]; and passed sentence on the city that it should be laid waste. And after three days, believing men of the city assembled, (ܣܐ) and counselled one another and said: "Let us assemble at the church, and see what each man is willing to give, and take a bribe, and offer it to this wicked ruler, and he will give up to us this (man), who turned us away from error unto our Lord." And when they had taken counsel thus, they collected three hundred pounds of gold, and took ten men, and they went on board a ship to go to Nero, the wicked king, and give the bribe, and bring back the holy (man). And when they had gone and entered into Rome, at midnight, when the impure Nero was asleep, the Lord sent to him an angel; and he appeared to him in a flame and bearing a sword, and awakened him. And when he had opened his eyes and looked upon him, he cried out and said: "I pray thee, what I have to do with thee?" The angel says to him: "Send back the man whom thou hast taken from Ephesus and cast into exile; and if not, this sword shall enter into thy unclean heart before the sun rises." And the angel smote him and took away his speech, and he was howling like a dog. And his slaves came in when they heard his lamentation, and said to him: "What is the matter with thee, my lord the king?" And he made a sign, and they brought him ink and a sheet of paper, and he wrote: "Straightway,-if it be possible, to-day,-let John, the son of Zebedee, the Galilean, whom I took away from Ephesus, pass the night in it." And he wrote also, and sent (word) to Ephesus quickly, that every one (ܣܒ) who was in prison [at Patmos, not in Rome], should come out and do as he pleased. And there came sailors and men clad in arms, and took the letters written by the king's hand, and went on board ship, and went [to Patmos] (and) found John at midday kneeling and praying. They say to him: "The king [Nero] has commanded that we should convey thee to the place where thou wast." And they took him [from Patmos], and went on board ship, and sailed on the sea in peace [from Patmos to Ephesus], and brought him to the gate of Ephesus, and returned to Rome. And those men who had brought the bribe, when they heard that the holy (man) had returned to Ephesus, said: "We worship Thee, Father and Son and Spirit of holiness, who hast done what Thy fearers wished." And they went on board ship, and brought those three hundred pounds (of gold with them), and came. And when they had entered Ephesus, they showed the gold and narrated all that had happened, and there was joy through the whole city; and they took counsel one with another, and deposited the gold in a house, and hired artificers, and built with it two churches for the worship of our Lord Jesus the Messiah. And Saint John went up (and) sat in the hut; and all the free men of the province of Asia gathered together unto him, and he was teaching and preaching concerning our Lord Jesus; and the word of Nero was established over his own place, but (ܣܓ) he did not dare again to give orders regarding the province of Asia. It was this wicked man, who slew Paul and Peter." (Acts of John the Son of Zebedee, Syriac apocryphal: 150 AD)

b. Domitian sent John to Patmos in Apocryphal Acts of John AD 150: "And the fame of the teaching of John was spread abroad in Rome; and it came to the ears of Domitian that there was a certain Hebrew in Ephesus, John by name, who spread a report about the seat of empire of the Romans, saying that it would quickly be rooted out, and that the kingdom of the Romans would be given over to another. And Domitian, troubled by what was said, sent a centurion with soldiers to seize John, and bring him. [and brought him to Rome after which] ... John sailed to Patmos, where also he was deemed worthy to see the revelation of the end." (Acts of John, Apocryphal, 150 AD)

4. Theophylact Ochrid Metropolitan of Bulgaria c. AD 1100:

a. In his "Preface to the Commentary on the Gospel" of John says that John was banished under Nero, 32 years after the Ascension of Christ [I.e. AD 33 + 32 = AD 62]

b. However, in his commentary Matthew 20:33 says John was banished under Trajan.

c. So we have two contradictory statements by the same author.

i. This may indicate that John was imprisoned twice by Nero and Trajan.

ii. This may also represent a change of his own opinion over time that the author never corrected in the earlier work.

E. Acceptance into canon and authorship of Revelation questioned down to AD 400:

1. Historically, the Latin Western church always accepted Revelation as inspired, but many in the Eastern Greek church rejected it as inspired until the end of the 4th century.

a. Eusebius accepted Revelation as inspired, but noted many did not: "Of the writings of John besides the Gospel, the first of the Epistles [1 John] is acknowledged without controversy by men of today as well as by the ancients, but the other two are disputed [2 & 3 John], and opinion on the Apocalypse [Revelation] with most persons even today tends in either direction. However, at the proper time, this also will receive consideration from the testimony of the ancients." (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.24)

2. No uniformity about who wrote Revelation.

a. From AD 250 Dionysius the great "Pope of Alexandria", accepted the book of Revelation as inspired but rejected it was written by John the Apostle. Dionysius taught that a different John, known as "John the Presbyter" wrote revelation.

b. "Still against John the Apostle as the author of the book, it has been said that some fathers of the Greek church, such as Dionysius of Alexandria [AD 250] and Eusebius of Caesarea, ascribed the Apocalypse to "another John" quoting an alleged tradition on two Johns buried at Ephesus, one of them the apostle and author of the Gospel, the other probably the seer." (Could the Author of Revelation step forward, please?, Hugo A. Cotro, DavarLogos 14, 1, p77, 2015 AD)

c. "After Dionysius' time [AD 250] doubts of its [the book of Revelation] authenticity became quite widespread in the Eastern Church, and among the doubters was Eusebius, who evidently wished to ascribe it to the mysterious presbyter John, whose existence he supposed to be established by Papias in a passage quoted in chap. 39, § 4, below (compare the note on the passage). Eusebius' treatment of the book is hesitating. He evidently himself discredited its apostolic authority, but at the same time he realized (as a historian more keenly than Dionysius the theologian) the great weight of external testimony to its authenticity, and therefore he gives his readers the liberty (in the next chapter) of putting it either with the Homologoumena or with the νόθοι. It legitimately belonged among the Homologoumena, but Donysius' attitude toward it doubtless led Eusebius to think that it might at some time in the future be thrown out of the canon, and of course his own objections to its contents and his doubts as to its apostolicity caused him to contemplate such a possibility not without pleasure (see the next chapter, note 1). In chapter 18, above, he speaks of it as the "so-called" Apocalypse of John, but in other places he repeats many testimonies in favor of its authenticity (see the next note), and only in chapter 39 does he state clearly his own opinion in the matter, which even there he does not press as a fixed conviction. The reason for the doubts of the book's genuineness on the part of Eusebius and so many others lay evidently most of all in objections to the contents of the book, which seemed to favor chiliasm, and had been greatly abused for the advancement of the crassest chiliastic views. Many, like Dionysius of Alexandria, were no doubt influenced also by the idea that it was impossible that the Gospel and the Apocalypse could be the works of one author, and they preferred to sacrifice the latter rather than the former. The book has found objectors in almost every age of the Church, but has continued to hold its place in the canon (its position was never disturbed in the Western Church, and only for some two or three centuries after Eusebius in parts of the Eastern Church) as an authentic work of the apostle John." (NPNF-CE2.1, Philip Schaff, Henry Wase, Eus., Hist. eccl. 7.25.1, The Apocalypse of John, footnote 3)

d. "[Eusebius says:] Besides all these the two books on the Promises were prepared by him. The occasion of these was Nepos, a bishop in Egypt, who taught that the promises to the holy men in the Divine Scriptures should be understood in a more Jewish manner, and that there would be a certain millennium of bodily luxury upon this earth. 2 As he thought that he could establish his private opinion by the Revelation of John, he wrote a book on this subject, entitled Refutation of Allegorists. 3 Dionysius opposes this in his books on the Promises. In the first he gives his own opinion of the dogma; and in the second he treats of the Revelation of John, and mentioning Nepos at the beginning, writes of him in this manner: 4 [Eusebius quoting Dionysius c. AD 250] "But since they bring forward a certain work of Nepos, on which they rely confidently, as if it proved beyond dispute that there will be a reign of Christ upon earth, I confess that in many other respects I approve and love Nepos, for his faith and industry and diligence in the Scriptures, and for his extensive psalmody,6 with which many of the brethren are still delighted; and I hold him in the more reverence because he has gone to rest before us. But the truth should be loved and honored most of all. And while we should praise and approve ungrudgingly what is said aright, we ought to examine and correct what does not seem to have been written soundly. ... Therefore that he was called John, and that this book is the work of one John, I do not deny. And I agree also that it is the work of a holy and inspired man. But I cannot readily admit that he was the apostle, the son of Zebedee, the brother of James, by whom the Gospel of John and the Catholic Epistle were written. ... But I am of the opinion that there were many with the same name as the apostle John. And from the ideas, and from the words and their arrangement, it may be reasonably conjectured that this one is different from that one. ... [Eusebius voices his own opinion in agreement with Dionysius] But I think that he was some other one of those in Asia; as they say that there are two monuments in Ephesus, each bearing the name of John." (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 7.24-25)

e. "Thus, by these words is proved the truth of the story of those who have said that two persons in Asia bore the same name, and that there were two tombs in Ephesus and each of these even today is said to be John's. We must give attention to this, for it is probable that the second (unless you would prefer the first) saw the Revelation which passes under the name of John." (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.39)

F. Conclusion: Internal evidence always trumps external evidence

1. The point in all this is to show that reliance on "fluff" literary references over the clear internal evidence that Revelation was written AD 66 as a warning to flee Jerusalem is a grave error.

a. It is troubling that commentators place so much weight on a few literary sources that might indicate Revelation was written after AD 70 (Irenaeus, Jerome, Eusebius, Sulpicius Severus, Victorious) while ignoring inspired statements in the book of Revelation.

b. It is also noteworthy that while late-daters use Eusebius as proof that Revelation was written in the time of Domitian around AD 96, that Eusebius formally rejects that John the apostle even wrote Revelation.

c. It has been shown that there are and equal number of "fluff" ancient literary references that Revelation was written before AD 70 during the time of Nero. (Muratorian Canon, Arethas, Epiphanius of Salamis, Syriac Revelation Title page)

2. Regardless of when these ancient literary sources indicate Revelation was written, none of them directly calculate Nero's name to equal 666. But given a wide range of ancient literary sources directly call Nero the beast who was to die then be resurrected at the end of the world and work cooperatively with Satan, the dragon, perhaps we miss the forest for the trees. For some it was so obvious that Nero equaled 666 that doing an actual long form calculation was not needed. Instead, they called him The Beast, clearly associating him with 666 and the Redivivus myth. This is vividly described by Sulpicius Severus in Dialogue 2.14 (AD 400). While it is true that some early Christians like Irenaeus concluded Titan was the sum of 666 (Irenaeus Adv. Haer. 5.30.3)

3. Christians who operate under the notion of using the Bible only (Sola Scriptura) will a times look to literary sources for confirmation.

a. Take for example the universal record of the early church down to AD 600 (and beyond) that Christians stopped keeping the Saturday Sabbath and began worshipping on the Lord's day, the first day of the week, Sunday. But this is founded on clear revelation in Col 2:14-17; Acts 20:7 and 1 Cor 16:1-2.

b. What is unfortunate, is that late-daters, place far too much weight on "fluff" literary sources that contradict direct, clear, inspired revelation.

Introduction 8:

The Myth of Emperor Worship

A. The Late-Date view where Revelation was written in AD 96 collapses without Emperor worship:

1. Without emperor worship as the Beast from the Earth in Revelation 13, the "late-date" view where Revelation was written AD 96 and describes the destruction of the city of Rome, is dead. Ironically, both emperor worship and the historic destruction of Rome are mythical. Not only are "late-daters" unable to supply a single valid literary source to support emperor worship, they are unable to supply a date for the destruction of Rome.

2. TYPICAL LATE-DATER'S FALSE, UNDOCUMENTED, STATEMENTS: "Domitian issued a decree that, made it a capital offense of treason to refuse to offer the yearly sacrifice to the statue of the emperor Domitian which resulted in many Christians being executed for treason."

a. Statements like the above are very common in Revelation commentaries, but they all have two things in common: 1. They rarely site any ancient literary sources. 2. The statement is 100% false in every little detail.

b. When these authors attempt to site a source, it is usually Suetonius (Domitian 13) that merely says that he wanted to be addressed as "lord and god". This is true! But other emperors before him had done the same! Suetonius certainly says nothing about issuing imperial decrees targeting Christians to worship the emperor or die!

3. Late-dater's promote the imperial cult as the key source of Christian persecution:

a. Homer Hailey's spiritualization of the entire book of Revelation into a fuzzy story about the "victory of Christians", led him to fabricate, without referencing a single ancient literary source, the idea of the "emperor worship cult" where Christians supposedly died unless they confessed Caesar as God. It is noteworthy, that Hailey never references Josephus once in his entire HISTORICAL introduction.

b. Robert Harkrider, blindly adopts Hailey's fiction, but then embellishes it by stating Christians who would not worship Caesar were considered "guilty of treason" (p. liii), again without a single ancient literary source.

c. While Dan King actually supplied a single source from Pliny's correspondence to Trajan (Letters 10.96, 112 AD) it actually refutes the idea of emperor worship as defined by Hailey, Harkrider and King.

4. Fact vs. Fiction:

a. Christians were persecuted for being Christians not because they refused to worship pagan god or Caesar.

b. Refusing to worship pagan gods or Caesar was not the crime itself, but a method to determine if a man was a Christian.

c. Refusing to worship pagan gods or Caesar was the "breathalyzer test" to determine the crime of being a Christian.

d. Yes, the Roman Caesars were deified and worshipped as gods in the first century.

e. No, you did not get executed if you refused to confess them as gods in the first century.

f. No, you were not charged with treason and executed if you refused to worship the emperor.

g. There is no historical record of Christians, Jews or Greeks, being hunted down and forced, on the threat of death, to confess Caesar as a god in the first century.

5. Christians were persecuted because their refusal to worship the Roman pagan gods because of the harm the gods brought against society in general as a retaliation.

a. Tertullian notes that all evil is because Christians have insulted the gods.

b. The Christians were held responsible for all crop failures, floods, earthquakes, famines, plagues or personal misfortunes because they had spurned the pagan gods.

c. But he then outlines this as a myth by listing all the calamities that had occurred before the coming of Christ!

d. This has nothing specifically to do with Emperor worship specifically but a general refusal to worship ANY god except Jesus Christ who was Lord of all!

e. "On the other hand, those men deserve the name of a secret society who band together in hatred of good and virtuous men, who cry out for the blood of the innocent, at the same time offering as a justification of their hatred the idle plea that they consider that the Christians are the cause of every public calamity and every misfortune of the people. (2) If the Tiber rises as high as the city walls, if the Nile does not rise to the fields, if the weather will not change, if there is an earthquake, a famine, a plague-straightway the cry is heard: 'Toss the Christians to the lion!' So many of them for just one beast? (3) I ask you, before the reign of Tiberius, that is, before the coming of Christ, what great misfortunes befell the world and its cities? We read that the islands of Hiera, Anaphe, Delos, Rhodes, and Cos were swallowed up with many thousands of men. (4) Plato, too, relates that a land larger than Asia or Africa was washed away by the Atlantic Ocean. An earthquake emptied the Corinthian Sea, and the might of the waves wrested Lucania away [from Italy] and left it separate under the name of Sicily. Naturally, these happenings could not fail to be attended by injury to the inhabitants. (5) In those days, when the great flood poured its waters over the whole world, or, as Plato thought, merely over the plains, where then were-I shall not say the Christians who scorn your gods-but your gods themselves? (6) For, that your gods belong to a later date than that calamity of the deluge is attested by the very cities in which they were born and died, as well as by those which they founded. Otherwise, they would not exist until the present day unless they themselves had come into existence after that disaster." (Tertullian, Apology 40.1-6, 155-220 AD)

6. The irony: Christ, Creator God become man vs. Emperor worship.

a. To Romans, it may have appeared to be inconsistent for Christians to condemn Emperor worship "because Caesar was just a man", then teach that Jesus is God incarnate in a human body.

b. Christian incarnation theology on the other hand, may have been easy for Roman's to accept, since they were already familiar with the idea that man can be regarded as divine.

B. The Edict of Emperor Decius and Certificates of Libellus: AD 249-251

1. After being appointed Caesar, Decius took on a throne name as Trajan (Traianus), perhaps to associate himself with Trajan as a persecutor of Christians.

2. The Edict was issued in year one of his reign.

a. The words of the Edict of Decius has not been found but it is clear, that it was an order to certify that you worship idols. Christians may have been specifically targeted in the decree because in the Martyrdom of Pionius (AD 250), he was charged with "being a Christian" for refusing to sacrifice to the goddess Nemesis.

b. If the edict did not specifically target Christians, they became the primary targets of persecution.

c. The edict required a "Libelli" (Latin word meaning "little book") be written by a certified representative of the state as proof you had sacrificed to idols.

3. Not a decree for Emperor worship:

a. The Edict was not directly Emperor worship but a requirement to worship any god, which of course, could include the Emperor.

b. If you refused to worship the Emperor and chose instead to offer a sacrifice to some other god, a certificate of Libellus was issued, fulfilling the requirement of the Decree.

c. From the Martyrdom of Pionius a Christian named Euctemon denounced Christ and offered a sacrifice to the twin pagan goddesses of Nemesis but NOT to the Emperor and was accepted. (Martyrdom of Pionius 18, 250 AD)

d. Late-daters do not find in the Decian Decree, the kind of mandatory "worship the emperor or die" concept they require for their interpretation of Revelation 13.

4. Examples of the 46 Certificates of Libelli that have been excavated:

a. Libellus #1 Translation: "For those who partook of the sacrifices from the city of Oxyrhynchus These are Aurelius Gaionus Ammonius [and the] mother of Taeutus. Indeed always making sacrifice and libation and worship to the gods being accustomed according to those justly urged by the aunt and now in front of you all making sacrifice and libation and having tasted the holy meat portions at the same time for a woman and for Ammonius and Ammoeanus son and Thekla daughter by me and I think are worthy to be recorded by me. During the first year of Autonomous Caesar Gaius Messius Quintus Traianus Decius Eusebius Eutychus Sebastian, Epeiph 3. Aurelius Gaionus I have vouched for. Aurelius Sarapion, he and Chairemon, I wrote above him, my letters being known. Besas, Psenamounis" (Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1464, P. Oxy. XII 1464, 27 June 250 AD)

b. Libellus #2: The Certificate, signed by two official witnesses, proved that Aurelia Bellias had participated to a sacrifice to the traditional gods, as ordered by an edict of the emperor Decius. This was considered as a proof of loyalty to the government, and the Christians who refused to do this were persecuted. Translation: "To those in charge of the sacrifices of the village Theadelphia, from Aurelia Bellias, daughter of Peteres, and her daughter, Kapinis. We have always been constant in sacrificing to the gods, and now too, in your presence, in accordance with the regulations, I have poured libations and sacrificed and tasted the offerings, and I ask you to certify this for us below. May you continue to prosper. (2nd hand) We, Aurelius Serenus and Aurelius Hermas, saw you sacrificing. (3rd hand) I, Hermas, certify. (1st hand) The 1st year if the Emperor Caesar Gaius Messius Quintus Traianus Decius Pius Felix Augustus, Pauni 27." (P.Mich.inv. 263, June 21, 250 AD)

c. Libellus #3 Translation: "Aurelius Heraclides I saw you sacrificing and tasting. Markus Aurelius Sesongosis also likewise I certify I saw you sacrificing and also tasting the holy meat portions." (Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2990, P. Oxy. XLI 2990, date missing)

d. Libellus #4 Translation: "From the governor to village rulers and officers of peace of the village of Mermerthon. At once send up Petosarapin of Horus a Christian, or you yourselves come up. During the third year of Valerian and Gallienus the August Phamenoth 3." (Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 3035, P. Oxy. XLII 3035, 28 February 256 AD)

5. Libellus #5: Decian Libellus from Theadelphia, Egypt: AD 250

a. "This papyrus is an example of a "Decian Libellus," a certification of sacrifice according to the empire-wide decree of the Roman emperor Decius (ruled 249-251 CE). About 45 of such libelli are known today and most of them, including this example, were issued to residents of the village of Theadelphia. This concentration has prompted speculation that the Theadelphia examples come from a single large discovery in this village, which was thereafter dispersed on the antiquities market. This libellus was submitted by a man named Aurelius Sarapammon, who says that he has "sacrificed, poured the libations, and tasted the offerings," in accordance with the decree. His claim is certified by two local officials who were in charge of administering these official sacrifices. Aurelius Sarapammon was the servant of Aurelius Appianus, a well-known aristocrat from the provincial capital of Alexandria. Appianus had many estates in the Fayum and we know from other texts that Sarapammon was a donkey driver who worked on his estate in Theadelphia." (Luther College Archives, Description and translation courtesy of W. Graham Claytor, University of Michigan)

b. Translation: "To those who have been selected to take charge of the sacrifices, from Aurelius Sarapammon, servant of Appianus, former exegetes of the most-illustrious city of the Alexandrians, and however he is styled, residing in the village of Theadelphia. Always sacrificing to the gods, now too, in your presence, in accordance with the orders, I sacrificed, poured the libations, and tasted the offerings, and I ask that you sign below. Farewell. (2nd hand) We, Aurelius Serenus and Hermas saw you sacrificing ..." (Decian Libellus, Papyrus Luther 4, 12 June - 14 July, 250 AD)

C. "Genius of the Emperor" is an "indwelling of a deity spirit" in the Emperor for prosperity and protection

1. Christians were compelled to say an oath to the "genius of the emperor" in distinction to worshipping the emperor himself.

a. A Genius/Jinn/Jeannie is an invisible demon spirit being that indwells the Emperor for the good of the Empire. Jinn might be free roaming or reside inside objects or living things.

b. Swearing by the "Genius of the Emperor" was to agree that the pagan gods were directly endorsing, guiding and protecting the emperor.

c. This oath was devised under Julius Caesar, and continued under his successors down to AD 303, until Constantine.

d. The Christians regarded the 'genius' of the emperor as a false god and so repudiated the oath as a form of idolatry.

2. The "oath to the Genius of the Emperor" was not emperor worship:

a. Roman Caesars were generally deified only after their death.

b. While living the Emperors were believed to be guided and protected by the pagan gods.

c. The indwelling was like a "guardian angel/demon" who brought prosperity and blessing to the general population through the government, administration and decisions made by the Emperor.

d. This explains why Christians were misunderstood as "enemies of the state" when they refused to take the oath.

3. In AD 185, in the Martyrdom of Apollonius, he argues that Christians do not swear oaths, but as Jesus said, "let you yes be yes and your no be no" and therefore cannot take the oath.

4. In AD 200, Tertullian explains this pagan indwelling of the Roman Caesars:

a. Christians did not pray to the "genii" that indwells the emperor, they cast them out as demons! Tertullian clarifies that Christians do in fact pray for the success and protection of Roman Caesars and Roman material interests.

b. "There is also another, even greater, obligation for us to pray for the emperors; yes, even for the continuance of the empire in general and for Roman interests. We realize that the tremendous force which is hanging over the whole world, and the very end of the world with its threat of dreadful afflictions, is arrested for a time by the continued existence of the Roman Empire. This event we have no desire to experience, and, in praying that it may be deferred, we favor the continuance of Rome. Then, too, we take an oath not by the 'genii of the emperors,' but by their prosperity-which is more impressive than any genius [ginn/jeannie] at all. Are you not aware that genii are evil spirits and, thence, to use a diminutive term, are called daemonia? We respect in the emperors the decision of God, since He has placed them over the people. (3) We know that in them is that which God has willed, and so we wish that what God has willed be safe and sound, and we consider this an important oath. As for evil spirits, that is, genii, we are in the habit of exorcising them in order to drive them out of men, but not to swear by them in a manner that would confer upon them the honor of divinity." (Tertullian Apology 32.1, 200 AD)

5. This "indwelling in the Emperor" is an ancient idea found in most of the stele inscriptions from the Assyrian and Babylonian kings from 900-500 BC.

a. A good example is the famous Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III where "Jehu of the house of Omni" is pictured bowing in submission.

b. The introduction text begins with Shalmaneser III praising 16 different Assyrian gods, after which he claims they are responsible for his successes as king.

c. On the Stele, Shalmaneser claims these pagan gods "love my kingship", "made great my rule, power, and sway", "established for me an honored, an exalted name, far above other kings", "made him a priest to the gods" and "conquering all his foes".

Praise text of Shamaneser III

"Assur, the great lord, king of all the great gods; Anu, king of the Igigi and Anunnaki, the lord of lands; Enlil, the exalted, father of the gods, the creator; Ea, king of the Deep, who determines destiny; Sin, king of the tiara, exalted in splendor; Adad, mighty, pre-eminent, lord of abundance; Shamash, judge of heaven and earth, director of all; Marduk, master of the gods, lord of law; Urta, valiant one of the Igigi and the Anunnaki, the almighty god; Nergal, the ready, king of battle; Nusku, bearer of the shining scepter, the god who renders decisions; Ninlil, spouse of Bêl, mother of the great gods; Ishtar, lady of conflict and battle, whose delight is warfare, great gods, who love my kingship, who have made great my rule, power, and sway, who have established for me an honored, an exalted name, far above that of all other lords! Shalmaneser, king of all peoples, lord, priest of Assur, mighty king, king of all the four regions, Sun of all peoples, despot of all lands; son of Assur-nâsir-pal, the High Priest, whose priesthood was acceptable to the gods and who brought in submission at his feet the totality of the countries; glorious offspring of Tukulti-Urta, who slew all of his foes and overwhelmed them like a deluge. (Black Obelisk of Shamaneser III, Lines 1-21, 827 BC)

6. Ginn in pre-Islamic, Arab culture:

a. The concept of Ginn as spirit beings long predates Islam but they had a distinct Arabic pagan polytheistic theology at the time of Muhammed in the 7th century.

b. Jinn play a central role in Islam:

i. Jinn in Islam are somewhat equivalent to demons of the New Testament. Both Christians and Muslims view demons/Jinn as a special class of freewill spirit beings distinct from angels that were created by God and will be thrown into the lake of fire, hell.

ii. Demons are never mentioned in the Koran but Jinn are mentioned in the Koran 33 times throughout many chapters.

iii. One entire chapter in the Koran (72:1-28) is dedicated to the Ginn and is entitled "The Ginn".

c. The difference is that demons are always viewed as evil by Christians but in Islam, Jinn are individually both good and bad, helping and hurting mankind. Jinn are freewill moral creatures like men who will be judged by Allah to either go to heaven or hell.

i. "I, Allah, created the jinn and the men so they should both serve Me." (Koran 51:56)

ii. Jinn can be obedient to the Koran, but the Jinn must reject the Christian Trinity that God has a Son [Jesus] or a consort [Mary, mother of God]. Because of the false doctrine of Mariolatry, Muhammed misunderstood the trinity as Father, Mary and Jesus: "Some jinn listened and said: Surely we have heard a wonderful Quran, Guiding to the right way, so we believe in it, and we will not set up any one with our Lord [Trinity]: And that He-- exalted be the majesty of our Lord-- has not taken a consort [Mary], nor a son [Jesus]." (Koran 72:1-3)

iii. "I will fill hell with the jinn and the men." (Koran 11:119)

7. Indwelling of Jinn in Islam:

a. In Islamic culture, the Koran and Hadith teach that Jinn might dwell in a dog, snake or a human as either a good/helpful or evil/destructive spirit. Dogs are highly suspect in Islam today as being indwelt by harmful dirty demons (Jinn).

b. Muslim taxi drivers are notorious for refusing all fares with dogs including a blind person if accompanied by a seeing-eyed service dog. It has everything to do with the Islamic belief that dogs may actually be Jinn-demons which are generally viewed as impure (especially a dog's saliva) and forbidden for the Muhammad-compliant Muslim.

c. Today in Muslim countries with Shariah law like Iran, dogs are forbidden in public or allowed to ride in a car. This explains why Muslims sometimes display a neurotic fear of dogs and will use this fear to call for banning them in public places like banks, stores and parks while westerners are oblivious to the real source of the fear. "Please remove your dog, sir, this lady with the burka told me she is afraid of it." Say goodbye to dogs and pigs in western culture!

8. Jinn in a bottle and the modern discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices in 1945:

a. "They [Muslims] stumbled on an old sealed pottery jug. Muhammad initially feared that a jinn, or evil spirit, resided inside. He later thought the vessel might contain some great treasure. What he found, however, were leather-bound volumes, which he finally decided were worthless. The books then passed through many hands-a Coptic priest's, an itinerant history teacher's, a Cypriot antiquities dealer's, a one-eyed bandit's-until the scholarly world gradually heard of what an Egyptian farmer had stumbled upon that December day in 1945." (Nag Hammadi Codices Shed New Light on Early Christian History, James Brashler, BAR 10:01, 1984 AD)

9. "I dream of Jeannie": A Jeannie/Genius/Jinn dwelling in a bottle.

a. In ancient Islamic and Arabic culture, a Ginn can reside or even be trapped inside a physical object.

b. In modern popular culture a jinn or spirit, especially one imprisoned within a bottle or oil lamp is capable of granting wishes when summoned.

The popular TV show "I dream of Jeannie" draws directly upon the Arabic idea that demons can be trapped inside a bottle and that breaking it releases the Jinn. In the pilot episode "Jeannie" speaks Arabic and is dressed in classic Arabic costume.

So, the Beautiful girl in the bottle that granted her man, the object of her love, any wish after obediently saying to him, "Yes Master" was really a demon spirit.

10. The Christian "indwelling of the Holy Spirit" is like the "Jinni indwelling the Emperor":

Father, Son & Holy Spirit all Dwell in the Christian!

Holy Spirit indwells the Christian:

1 Cor 6:19 your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you

2 Cor 1:22 Spirit in our hearts

1 Cor 3:16 the Spirit of God dwells in you

Jn 14:17 Spirit of truth, abides with you, and will be in you.

John 14:16 Helper may be with you forever

Jesus Christ indwells the Christian:

2 Cor 13:5 Jesus Christ is in you

Eph 3:17 Christ dwells in your hearts

Matt 28:20 I am with you to the end of the age

Father indwells the Christian:

2 Cor 6:16 I will dwell in them

1 Jn 4:15 God abides in him

a. The New Testament concept of God dwelling in Christians traces its origin to God dwelling in the pillar of fire during the exodus and the temple of Solomon: "The Lord has said that he would dwell in thick darkness. I have built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever." (2 Chronicles 6:1-2)

b. Both David and Solomon understood that God did not literally dwell in either the cloud or the temple: "Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built!" (1 Kings 8:27)

c. Both David and Solomon understood God dwelt representatively in the Temple: "Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house so that my name may be there forever; my eyes and my heart will be there for all time." (2 Chronicles 7:15-16)

d. God's dwells representatively in the Christian body, which replaced the Temple of Solomon:

i. Indwelling of God's eyes = providence and protection

ii. Indwelling of God's ears = answered prayers

iii. Indwelling of God's heart = Christians are loved

iv. Indwelling of God's name = Christians wear the name of Christ as His possession, since He bought us with His blood.

e. Christians today are "led by the Spirit" through scripture. Notice that if God "dwelt in you", he was also "with you" to bless you.

f. The "Genius of the Emperor" is essentially identical to the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit for the Christian as an active positive force for providential protection, blessing, prosperity, adoration and defeat of enemies. Neither the Roman emperor or the Christian are worshipped or viewed as divine.

11. Romans 13:1 and the Genius God of the Emperor as "God ordained leaders":

a. "Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God." (Romans 13:1)

b. Christians are told by the Holy Spirit that God has ordained every king, including Caesars.

c. The Roman idea that a god indwells the Emperor is close to the Christians idea that God has providentially put the Emperor in power.

d. "The emperors were commonly regarded as being set apart from ordinary mortals and standing in a special relationship with the gods of the community. Emperors and subjects believed the ruler to be a manifestation of divine Providentia." (God, emperor worship and society: Contemporary experiences and the book of Revelation, P J J Botha, Neotestamentica, Vol. 22, No. 1, p90, 1988 AD)

12. Conclusion: Genius of the Emperor: "Jeannie in the Caesar body".

a. The idea that pagan gods indwelt the Roman Emperors for the common good of the empire was widely understood from the time of Christ down to the time of Constantine the Great.

b. Taking an "Oath to the Genius of the Emperor" was viewed as a political and social patriotic duty like a modern Citizenship pledge of the USA: "I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

c. Just as we today would view with suspicion those who refused to take such an oath, so too were Christians in the second century.

d. Roman citizens blamed Christians for the wrath of the gods through natural disasters and financial losses etc., because Christians had insulted the gods for refusal to worship them.

e. The "Oath to the Genius of the Caesar" and sacrificing to pagan gods, was used against Christians as a rouse to execute them for financial reasons.

f. The "Oath to the Genius of the Caesar" was not emperor worship but a cardinal doctrine of the Imperial cult from the time of Julius Caesar to Diocletian.

g. Both Polycarp (AD 156) and the Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs (AD 180) refused to "Swear by the genius of Caesar" by "Taking the oath" and were executed.

h. As Tertullian said, Christians do not swear oaths to demon possessed Caesars, instead they cast the demons out!

D. Julius Caesar as a case example of emperor worship in Jerusalem: AD 41

1. Julius Caesar was worshipped as a god while alive:

a. Nobody was executed for not worshipping Julius.

b. "Having ended the civil wars Cæsar hastened to Rome, honored and feared as no one had ever been before. All kinds of honors were devised for his gratification without stint, even such as were superhuman-sacrifices, games, statues in all the temples and public places, by every tribe, by all the provinces, and by the kings in alliance with Rome. His likeness was painted in various forms, in some cases crowned with oak as the savior of his country, by which crown the citizens were accustomed formerly to reward those to whom they owed their safety. He was proclaimed the Father of his Country and chosen dictator for life and consul for ten years, and his person was declared sacred and inviolable. It was decreed that he should transact business on a throne of ivory and gold; that he should perform his sacerdotal functions always in triumphal costume; that each year the city should celebrate the days on which he had won his victories; that every five years the priests and Vestal virgins should offer up public prayers for his safety; and that the magistrates immediately upon their inauguration should take an oath not to oppose any of Cæsar's decrees. In honor of his gens the name of the month Quintilis was changed to July. Many temples were decreed to him as to a god, and one was dedicated in common to him and the goddess Clemency, who were represented as clasping hands." (Appian, Bell. Civ. 2.106)

c. "Yet after all, his other actions and words so turn the scale, that it is thought that he abused his power and was justly slain. For not only did he accept excessive honours, such as an uninterrupted consulship, the dictatorship for life, and the censorship of public morals, as well as the forename Imperator, the surname of Father of his Country, a statue among those of the kings, and a raised couch in the orchestra; but he also allowed honours to be bestowed on him which were too great for mortal man: a golden throne in the House and on the judgment seat; a chariot and litter in the procession at the circus; temples, altars, and statues beside those of the gods; a special priest, an additional college of the Luperci, and the calling of one of the months by his name. In fact, there were no honours which he did not receive or confer at pleasure." (Suetonius, Julius 76.1)

2. Julius had written specific laws that exempted the Jews from worshipping the pagan gods:

a. DECREE: Jewish freedom to self-determination of Jewish worship:

i. "Caius Norbanus Flaccus, proconsul, to the governors of the Ephesians, greeting. "'[Julius] Caesar has written word to me, that the Jews, wherever they are, are accustomed to assemble [greek: synago] together, in compliance with a peculiar ancient custom of their nation, to contribute money which they send to Jerusalem; and he does not choose that they should have any hindrance offered to them, to prevent them from doing this; therefore I have written to you, that you may know that I command that they shall be allowed to do these things.'" (Philo, Embassy 315)

ii. Antiquities 14.235 Sardis 49 BC

iii. Antiquities 14.260 Sardis 48BC

b. DECREE: Jewish right of assembly in distinct synagogue building of their own design:

i. Antiquities 14.244-246 Miletus 46 BC

ii. Antiquities 14.235 Sardis 49 BC

iii. Antiquities 14.259-261 Sardis 48BC

c. DECREE: Jewish right to keep operate a civic court in the synagogue:

i. Antiquities 14.235 Sardis 49 BC

d. DECREE: Jewish right to keep the Sabbath and refrain from work:

i. Antiquities 14.244-246 Miletus 46 BC

e. DECREE: Jewish right to keep kosher food laws "ancestral food":

i. Antiquities 14.244-246 Miletus 46 BC

ii. Antiquities 14.261 Sardis 48 BC

3. "Following his assassination on March 15, 44 b.c., Julius Caesar was declared a god by the Roman Senate. Afterwards it became customary to honor dead emperors in this way. On his deathbed Vespasian announced sarcastically, "I am already becoming a god! (Dio Cassius 66.17.2-3)" (Revelation, Christopher A. Davis, p64, 2000 AD)

E. Augustus as a case of emperor worship: 31 BC - AD 14

1. Augustus had a Temple at Pergamum where he was worshipped, but nobody ever died if they refused to venerate him.

2. In AD 25, during the reign of Tiberias, a man at a trial gives examples of historians before him that criticized the Caesar Augustus to no personal harm to themselves:

a. "The letters of Antony, the speeches of Brutus, contain invectives against Augustus, false undoubtedly yet bitter in the extreme; the poems-still read-of Bibaculus and Catullus are packed with scurrilities upon the Caesars: yet even the deified Julius, the divine Augustus himself, tolerated them and left them in peace; and I [Cornelius Cossus] hesitate whether to ascribe their action to forbearance or to wisdom." (Tacitus, Annales 4.34. Defense of Cornelius Cossus before the senate for publishing history of Augustus, ἥν αὐτὸς ἐκεῖνος ἀνεγνώκει, Trial dated to a.v.c. 778 = a.d. 25)

3. Augustus was the pattern for all the first century Caesars who either willingly or begrudgingly accepted being worshipped but never harmed anyone if they refused.

4. The entire Jewish nation had been granted specific exception to worshipping any Roman pagan god by law under Julius and even the Ptolemies before him. (see below)

F. Tiberias renounced and mocked emperor worship: AD 14-37

1. The Senate had built a Temple to Tiberias at Pergamum for the population to worship Tiberias as a god.

2. Tacitus records that Caesar Tiberias delivered a speech where he renounces those built the "Temple of Tiberias" to worship him as a god at Pergamum.

a. Tiberias says that it was the senate, not himself, who order the building of his temple at Pergamum.

b. Caesar Tiberias mocked and renounced those who worshipped him in his temple others had built for him at Pergamum.

c. Tacitus then notes that after delivering this speech, "from now onward, even in his private conversations, he persisted in a contemptuous rejection of these divine honours to himself".

d. Speech of Caesar Tiberias: "About the same time, Further Spain sent a deputation to the senate, asking leave to follow the example of Asia by erecting a shrine to Tiberius and his mother. On this occasion, the Caesar, sturdily disdainful of compliments at any time, and now convinced that an answer was due to the gossip charging him with a declension into vanity, began his speech in the following vein:-"I [Caesar Tiberias] know, Conscript Fathers, that many deplored my [Tiberias'] want of consistency because, when a little while ago the cities of Asia made this identical request, I offered no opposition. I shall therefore state both the case for my previous silence and the rule I have settled upon for the future. Since the deified Augustus had not forbidden the construction of a temple at Pergamum to himself and the City of Rome, observing as I do his every action and word as law, I [Tiberias] followed the precedent already sealed by his [Augustus] approval, with all the more readiness that with worship of myself [Tiberias] was associated veneration of the senate. But, though once to have accepted may be pardonable, yet to be consecrated in the image of deity through all the provinces would be vanity and arrogance, and the honour paid to Augustus will soon be a mockery, if it is vulgarized by promiscuous experiments in flattery." "As for myself, Conscript Fathers, that I [Tiberias] am mortal, that my functions are the functions of men, and that I hold it enough if I fill the foremost place among them-this I call upon you to witness, and I desire those who shall follow us to bear it in mind. For they will do justice, and more, to my memory, if they pronounce me worthy of my ancestry, provident of your interests, firm in dangers, not fearful of offences in the cause of the national welfare. These are my temples in your breasts, these my fairest and abiding effigies: for those that are reared of stone, should the judgement of the future turn to hatred, are scorned as sepulchres! And so my prayer to allies and citizens and to Heaven itself is this: to Heaven, that to the end of my life it may endow me with a quiet mind, gifted with understanding of law human and divine; and to my fellow-men, that, whenever I shall depart, their praise and kindly thoughts may still attend my deeds and the memories attached to my name." And, in fact, from now onward, even in his private conversations, he persisted in a contemptuous rejection of these divine honours to himself: an attitude by some interpreted as modesty, by many as self-distrust, by a few as degeneracy of soul:-"The best of men," they argued, "desired the greatest heights: so Hercules and Liber among the Greeks, and among ourselves Quirinus, had been added to the number of the gods. The better way had been that of Augustus-who hoped! To princes all other gratifications came instantly: for one they must toil and never know satiety-the favourable opinion of the future. For in the scorn of fame was implied the scorn of virtue!" (Tacitus, Annales 4.37-38)

G. Caligula as a case example of emperor worship in Jerusalem: AD 37-41

1. Caligula: The menacing sounding name in English literally means "little boot", a nick name given him as a boy when he wore his tiny arm uniform.

2. In AD 41 Caligula wanted to erect a statue of himself in the Jerusalem temple as a deity but Agrippa intervened and actually rescinded the imperial order. (Philo Embassy 333) Yet, this direct defiance against Caligula's "godhood" went unpunished.

a. "But the emperor, having taken the letter and read it, and having considered every suggestion which was contained in it, was very angry, because his intentions had not been executed: and yet, at the same time, he was moved by the appeals to his justice and by the supplications which were thus addressed to him, and in some respects he was pleased with Agrippa, and in some he blamed him. (332) He blamed him for his excessive desire to please his fellow countrymen (Jews and Christians of Judea), who were the only men who had resisted his orders and shown any unwillingness to submit to his deification; but he praised him for concealing and disguising none of his feelings, which conduct he said was a proof of a liberal and noble disposition. (333) Therefore being somewhat appeased, at least as far as appearance went, he condescended to return a somewhat favourable answer, granting to Agrippa that highest and greatest of all favours, the consent that this erection of his statue should not take place; and he commanded letters to be written to Publius Petronius the governor of Syria, enjoining him not to allow any alterations or innovations to be made with respect to the temple of the Jews." (Philo Embassy 331-333)

b. Agrippa defied the order of Caesar Caligula to set up a statue of himself in the Jewish temple in the Holy of Holies, so the Jews would worship him.

i. Caligula knew the Christians and Jews refused to "worship the Emperor" and no death penalty or punishment was enacted upon them.

ii. Caligula took no action against Agrippa for directly opposing Caligula's effort to set up an image of himself in the Jewish temple in order to be worshipped.

c. Notice that Caligula who strongly promoted his deification was also widely portrayed as being insane. The "Caesar-god" was murdered in year four of his reign at the age of 28 on January 24, AD 41 by his own army with the knowledge of both courts and the senate in his own palace. So much for emperor worship! The point is, that even the general Roman public rolled their eyes at the idea that the Emperors where gods, the same way we would today.

3. In AD 40, Flaccus, prefect of Egypt, removed long held Jewish legal rights of worship and asylum in Alexandria in their synagogues wherein he put statues of Caligula. He proclaimed Jews aliens which led to confiscation of their homes, businesses and synagogues like Nazi Germany.

4. Plundering Jewish houses and putting statues in Alexandrian Synagogues AD 40-41

a. Philo records the looting/burning of houses and Synagogues in Alexandria:

b. "But as the governor of the country, who by himself could, if he had chosen to do so, have put down the violence of the multitude in a single hour, pretended not to see what he did see, and not to hear what he did hear, but allowed the mob to carry on the war against our people without any restraint, and threw our former state of tranquility into confusion, the populace being excited still more, proceeded onwards to still more shameless and more audacious designs and treachery, and, arraying very numerous companies, cut down some of the synagogues (and there are a great many in every section of the city), and some they razed to the very foundations, and into some they threw fire and burnt them, in their insane madness and frenzy, without caring for the neighbouring houses; for there is nothing more rapid than fire, when it lays hold of fuel." (Philo Embassy 132, AD 40)

5. The pagans in Alexandria began to persecute the Jews plundering their homes and setting up statues of Caligula in their synagogues.

a. Their reasoning is recorded by Josephus and notice it was not treason to refuse to put the statue in the synagogue but disobeying an order.

b. "Seeing thou esteemest the presents made thee by the Jews to be of greater value than my commands, and art grown insolent enough to be subservient to their pleasure, I charge thee to become thy own judge, and to consider what thou art to do, now thou art under my displeasure; for I will make thee an example to the present and to all future ages, that they may not dare to contradict the commands of their emperor." (Josephus Antiquities 18.303)

6. The Alexandrian Jews sent a delegation to Rome to seek justice and the Alexandrian pagans sent their own delegation to counter their effort. Among the pagan Alexandrian delegation was the famous Jew hater Apion whom Josephus battled. Philo records the details of the Jewish plea:

a. This is an exact synchronism with the origin and beginning of the very first synagogues in Alexandria Egypt in 280 BC (specifically 260 BC) , shortly after the Septuagint was translated in 282 BC.

b. "For, in the first place, one may derive them from about ten kings or more who reigned in order, one after another, for three hundred years, and who never once had any images or statues of themselves erected in our synagogues, though there were many of their relations and kinsmen whom they considered, and registered as, and spoke of as gods." (Philo Embassy 136, AD 40)

H. Herod Agrippa I as a case example of emperor worship in Acts 12:22: AD 44

1. The case of Herod Agrippa I in Acts 12:22 sheds light because Herod did not claim to be god, he was merely reading an edict. It was the people who cried out "The voice of a god and not of a man!" Herod never claimed to be god, here merely failed to correct the people and God struck him dead. Most instructive in this case is that Herod was not a Caesar but a local king.

2. Strangely, although the Romans were pagans who worshipped many gods, they practiced a kind of "Caesar is the only living man-god" monotheism. Caesar was the only man on earth allowed to claim he was god and others were not permitted. The same thing is true among the Assyrian kings of the 9th century BC who all claimed to be god. This deification was a special gift from the god to the father/son dynasties of Assyrian kings. While Assyrian king lists numerate a long series of deified rulers, only one living man on earth was allowed to make the claim at one time. The Assyrian kings openly claimed direct and special illumination and deification which qualified them to be king. No other living man had been blessed by the gods the way the Assyrian king had been blessed.

3. This leads us to discuss the case of Herod in Acts 12. If failing to worship the Emperor was the cause of being charged with treason, then Herod himself would have been charged with treason for also claiming to be equal to the Emperor as a god. Additionally, the people were obviously unaware of any such "Emperor Worship" notion because they saw nothing wrong in proclaiming Herod Agrippa I as an equal and competing god to Caesar.

4. Just as the Assyrian kings would not tolerate other living men claiming to be god, so too the Roman Caesars.

5. So, while it is clear the people praised Herod as king, he was careful himself, not to make such a claim of deity for himself. God struck him with worms, not for claiming to be god, but for not refusing such claims by the common people.

I. Nero as a case example of emperor worship in AD 54-68

1. Nero worshipped by king of Armenia:

a. This was a voluntary worship which was exceptional, which Nero took note of because he was not often addressed as a god.

b. This show that Nero was not demanding to be called a god but did welcome the praise when given.

c. "These were his words: "Master, I am the descendant of Arsaces, brother of the kings Vologaesus and Pacorus, and thy slave. And I have come to thee, my god, to worship thee as I do Mithras. The destiny thou spinnest for me shall be mine; for thou art my Fortune and my Fate." 3 Nero replied to him as follows: "Well hast thou done to come hither in person, that meeting me face to face thou mightest enjoy my grace. For what neither thy father left thee nor thy brothers gave and preserved for thee, this do I grant thee. King of Armenia I now declare thee, that both thou and they may understand that I have power to take away kingdoms and to bestow them." 4 At the close of these words he bade him ascend by the approach which had been built in front of the rostra expressly for this occasion, and when Tiridates had been made to sit beneath his feet, he placed the diadem upon his head. At this, too, there were many shouts of all sorts. 6 By special decree there was also a celebration in the theatre. Not merely the stage but the whole interior of the theatre round about had been gilded, and all the properties that were brought in had been adorned with gold, so that people gave to the day itself the epithet of "golden." 2 The curtains stretched overhead to keep off the sun were of purple and in the centre of them was an embroidered figure of Nero driving a chariot [ie the sun god], with golden stars gleaming all about him." (Dio Cassius, Roman History, 62.5.2-6.2)

4. Nero did persecute Christians as the 6th head and 666 of Revelation 13 & 17 but it had nothing to do with their refusal to worship him as a god.

a. Nero burned down Rome and blamed it on the Christians as a scapegoat.

b. Nero never issued decrees, under the penalty of death, to worship him.

J. Vespasian as a case example of emperor worship in AD 69-79

1. There are no records of Vespasian persecuting Christians, demanding to be worshipped or killing anyone who refused.

2. On his deathbed, it is clear Vespasian did not think he was a god while alive.

a. It is clear that Vespasian was aware of the Imperial cult theology that he really was not considered a god until he died.

b. Note that this understanding that you are become a god only after you die, is only two years before Domitian became Caesar in AD 81.

c. "When his physicians chided him for continuing his usual course of living during his illness and attending to all the duties that belonged to his office, he answered: "The emperor ought to die on his feet." 3 To those who said anything to him about the comet he said: "This is an omen, not for me, but for the Parthian king; for he has long hair, whereas I am bald. When at last he was convinced that he was going to die, he said: "I am already becoming a god." He had lived sixty-nine years and eight months, and had reigned ten years lacking six days." (Dio Cassius 66.17.2-3)

3. Vespasian was God's agent as the 7th head of Revelation 13 & 17 who destroyed Jerusalem through the agency of his son Titus, the 8th head of Revelation 17:10-11 in AD 70.

K. Domitian as a case example of emperor worship in AD 81-96

1. "Worship the emperor or die" was unknown during the reign of Domitian:

a. There are no literary sources that clearly reference the emperor worship of Domitian.

b. There are no literary sources that say Domitian killed Christians because they refused to worship him.

2. Irenaeus and Pliny provide no knowledge of persecution under Domitian:

a. Irenaeus failed to mention that Domitian persecuted Christians even though he believed Revelation was written during his reign. (Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. 5.30.3)

b. Pliny had never been in a trial of Christians during the time he served as a lawyer under Domitian. "It is a rule, Sir, which I inviolably observe, to refer myself to you in all my doubts; for who is more capable of guiding my uncertainty or informing my ignorance? Having never been present at any trials of the Christians, I am unacquainted with the method and limits to be observed either in examining or punishing them." (Pliny, Ep. 10.96.1)

3. The only literary evidence that Domitian wanted to be worshipped was Suetonius:

a. "With no less arrogance he began as follows in issuing a circular letter in the name of his procurators, "Our Master and our God bids that this be done." And so, the custom arose of henceforth addressing him in no other way even in writing or in conversation. He suffered no statues to be set up in his honour in the Capitol, except of gold and silver and of a fixed weight." (Suetonius, Dom. 13.1-3)

b. Suetonius never says that Domitian persecuted Christians, even though he did about Nero: "Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition." (Suetonius, Nero 16.2)

4. Domitian is portrayed as sensible and human:

a. "He [Domitian] administered justice scrupulously and conscientiously, frequently holding special sittings on the tribunal in the Forum. He rescinded such decisions of the Hundred Judges as were made from interested motives. He often warned the arbiters not to grant claims for freedom made under false pretenses. He degraded jurors who accepted bribes, together with all their associates." (Suetonius, Dom. 8.1)

b. "In the earlier part of his [Domitian] reign he so shrank from any form of bloodshed, that while his father was still absent from the city, he planned to issue an edict that no oxen should be offered up" (Suetonius, Dom. 9.1)

5. Tertullian describes Domitian in relation to Nero as: "Consult your histories: you will find in them that Nero was the first to rage with the imperial sword against this religion [Christianity] ... Domitian, too, somewhat of a Nero in cruelty, made some attempts. But-being also, to a certain degree, human-he soon put a halt to what he had initiated and even recalled those whom he had exiled." (Tertullian Apol. 5.2-4, 200 AD)

a. Domitian was lesser in cruelty than Nero.

b. Domitian made "some attempts" to persecute Christians compared to Nero.

c. Domitian was "to a certain degree human" compared to Nero.

d. Domitian was ceased to persecute Christians shortly after starting in the early part of his reign.

e. Domitian released prisoners he had jailed in the early part of his reign. (This would certainly include Apostle John being released from Patmos, if such ever happed under Domitian.)

6. Eusebius says only that Christians were falsely accused and nothing about being executed under Domitian:

a. "Nero and Domitian, alone, persuaded by certain calumniators, have wished to slander our doctrine, and from them it has come to pass that the falsehood has been handed down, in consequence of an unreasonable practice which prevails of bringing slanderous accusations against the Christians." (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 4.26.9)

b. Notice ONLY Nero and Domitian persecuted Christians in the first century.

c. Slanderous accusations were not used in courts of law, but as false gossip in the general public.

7. Many scholars reject that Domitian persecuted Christians at all based upon the earliest literary sources:

a. "While some have argued that Domitian did not persecute Christians, or that he ended it shortly after he had begun to do so, there is ample evidence that Christians did in fact fall victim to Domitian's lethal wrath. This included many of the nobility, even some within Domitian's own household, who at this time were apparently turning in increasing numbers to Christianity. Part of the problem, for Christians as well as others, lay in Domitian's desire to be addressed as a divinity (a favorite title was deus et dominus noster ["our god and lord"]), an excess which Christians would clearly resist but for which he was condemned by non-Christians as well. That is not to say, however, that the persecution of Christians became official policy throughout the empire. Rather, it appears that such persecution remained spasmodic, and lacked the kind of organization that would allow it to be labeled "official persecution." Rather, the persecution of Christians by Domitian, however extensive it may have been, appears to have been the result of his larger policy of suppressing all opposition, real or imagined, to his rule and his self-imputed divinity. ... Domitian clearly put a number of Christians to death, some of whom were members of his household, but the reason was more a suspicion of disloyalty (they would not participate in official functions) than persecution of a "religion." His general cruelty to other members of the ruling classes who were not Christians shows his "persecutions" reflected more his general attitude than a specific singling out of Christians." (Hermeneia, Paul J. Achtemeier, 1 Peter, p31,33 1996 AD)

b. "Externally, in certain circles there has been a radical reassessment of the portrait of Domitian as a megalomaniac demanding worship from his subjects, and doubts have been expressed as to the extent of any persecution of Christians during his reign (e.g. Thompson 1990; though see e.g. Janzen 1994). The standard Roman portrait of Domitian is largely dependent upon historians writing in the reign of Trajan (98-117),-Pliny the Younger, Dio Chrysostom, Suetonius and Tacitus-who had a vested interest in denigrating the Flavians in favour of the Antonines. The evidence for a Domitianic persecution of Christians is slight and ambiguous (e.g. it requires the identification of the executed Flavius Clemens and his exiled wife Domitilla as Christians: see Bell 1978/79; Boxall 2002: 98-100). Indeed, the early-second-century Ascension of Isaiah seems to know nothing of a persecution under Domitian, despite its allusion to what occurred under Nero (Asc. Isa. 4:3)." (The Revelation of Saint John, Ian Boxall, p13, 2006 AD)

c. "A number of scholars have questioned the evidence for official persecution under Domitian (Yarbro Collins 1984: 69-73; L. Thompson 1990: 105-9), and the general feeling is that very little had yet occurred." (Revelation, Grant R. Osborne, p7, 2002 AD)

d. "Evidence that Domitian persecuted Christians is sketchy at best. Irenaeus dated Revelation to the end of Domitian's reign but said nothing about persecution (Haer. 5.30.3). Some argue that the "repeated misfortunes and setbacks" in 1 Clem. 1:1 refer to Domitian's action against the church at Rome, but the context actually says nothing about persecution (Lona, Der erste, 115-16). Melito said that Nero and Domitian slandered Christian teaching, leading to "the unreasonable custom of falsely accusing Christians" among the populace, yet he does not say that Domitian himself undertook a persecution (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 4.26.9). Hegesippus told the legendary story that Domitian personally interrogated descendants of Jesus' brother but also said that the emperor released them and ended the persecution (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.20.1-7; cf. Tertullian, Apol. 5.3-4). Eusebius said that Domitian executed Flavius Clemens and banished his wife because they were Christians (Hist. eccl. 3.18.4), but Dio Cassius said it was because of their attraction to Judaism, which Domitian considered atheism (Rom. Hist. 67.14.1-3). In either case the incident does not seem to have been part of a sustained campaign against the church. The image of widespread persecution (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.17.1; 3.18.4) is not supported by the earlier evidence (Thompson, Book, 133-37; Cook, Roman, 117-37). Threats against Christians came from local conflicts that arose periodically during the late first century. Finally, Domitian's policies toward the provinces were generally fair (Suetonius, Dom. 8.1).

e. "Few students of the Apocalypse today accept Eusebius of Caesarea's comments about widespread persecution under Domitian (Hist. Eccl. 3.17-20, 39; 4.18; 5.8, 18; 6.25; 7.25). After reviewing the evidence of both Christian and non-Christian sources, Leon Hardy Canfield concludes that no great persecution occurred under Domitian and if the Apocalypse "does refer to conditions in Asia Minor under Domitian it is the only source for such a persecution" (74-76, 162). Recent commentators on the Apocalypse support Canfield's conclusions (Sweet: 26; Yarbro Collins, 1981:33). (A Sociological Analysis of Tribulation in the Apocalypse of John, Leonard Thompson, Semeia 36, p153, 1986 AD)

f. "The lack of evidence for a particular persecution of Christians as Christians under Domitian leads other scholars to consider an earlier date for the document, a time of known social upheaval and religious persecution, namely, the period following Nero's reign." (The Social Setting of the Revelation to John: Conflicts Within, Fears Without, David A. deSilva, Westminster Theological Journal 54, p274, 1992 AD)

g. "There is very little firm evidence for the persecution of Christians under Domitian, despite his notorious reputation. Dio Cassius and Suetonius both record the death of Flavius Clemens, among others in 96 ce. Dio says that Clemens and his wife Domitilla were accused of 'atheism' and 'Jewish customs'-which could mean Christianity, but is hardly conclusive." (Revelation, John M.Court, p99, 1999 AD)

h. "Scholarship, however, has challenged the traditional view that the situation behind the book of Revelation boiled out of the cauldron of an empire wide persecution instituted by the emperor Domitian. The traditional view has fallen into disfavor due to the paucity of evidence supporting an official imperial persecution against Christians during his reign." (Persecution and the Purpose of Revelation with Reference to Roman Jurisprudence, Alan S. Bandy, Bulletin for Biblical Research Vol. 23, p377, 2013 AD)

i. "Pliny's queries show that he was unaware of any general policy with respect to Christians, and Trajan's answer makes clear his unwillingness to establish one, or to authorize a search for Christians, a procedure normally followed in the case of recognized enemies of the state. One cannot therefore use such a supposed official, empirewide persecution in any attempt to determine the authorship of 1 Peter, based on the possible date of this letter." (Hermeneia, Paul J. Achtemeier, 1 Peter, p33 1996 AD)

8. Shocking statement in Holman Study Bible that is totally false: "When Domitian issued an edict declaring emperor worship mandatory for all inhabitants of the Roman Empire, he exempted the Jews from this requirement. The Jews did not want this religious freedom extended to Christians." (NASB Holman Study Bible Notes, CSB Study Bible, A. Boyd Luter, Revelation 2:8, 2017 AD)

a. Domitian never issued an edict to worship him or die!

b. "Persecution was not instigated by the authorities but by concerned neighbors. Such was probably the case during the reign of Domitian. There was no imperial edict against Christians, but the violence of Domitian's reign created a volatile context for social deviations." (I & II Peter and Jude: A Commentary, Lewis R. Donelson, p12, 2010 AD)

c. "Misperceptions about Domitian's reign color one's interpretation of Revelation. John places on a cosmic level the social conflicts his community in Asia Minor has experienced by rejecting Rome's power, and this has been [wrongly] interpreted by some as an empire-wide persecution of Christians decreed by the emperor. The impression we are sometimes left with is that Domitian reigned as a wild-eyed, merciless tyrant who ordered his soldiers to hunt down Christians systematically throughout his empire and feed them to hungry lions if they failed to worship him as god. ... First-century Roman persecution of Christians, in any case, does not seem to arise from a direct command by Nero or Domitian to be worshipped as "lord and god." (Churches under Siege of Persecution and Assimilation: The General Epistles and Revelation, B. J. Oropeza, p178, 2012 AD)

d. Orosius AD 418:

i. Orotsius is the only literary source that says Domitian issued decrees of persecution against Christians, but his account must be rejected.

ii. There are some serious problems in that he is obviously drawing upon others before him like Eusebius and embellishing the story to include an edict.

iii. Most notably is the fact that these edicts were issued in the 15th year of his 15 year reign. That such edicts were issued to persecute Christians in the last year of his reign directly contradicts Tertullian who says Domitian persecuted Christians at the beginning of his reign and then quickly stopped, even releasing all the captives. (Tertullian Apol. 5.2-4, 200 AD)

iv. Orotsius first claims Christians were persecuted but then goes on to cite how Domitian executed his fellow Romans in the Senate. This would have been a great time to name some ancient Christian martyrs.

v. If the NASB study Bible note (see above) was based upon Orosius, their statement, "Domitian exempted the Jews from this requirement" contradicts Orosius who said "an order was given that the race of David be searched out and killed by cruel tortures and bloody inquisitions".

vi. So Orosius states that Domitian issued at least two different edicts of persecution against Jews and Christians.

vii. We have no idea what the edict said. If true, the "cruel persecution" may have been unconditional as a hatred towards Christians or the general public at large. The lack of details, at this late date is a red flag and show it to be an editorial fabrication and embellishment based upon Eusebius.

viii. Finally, if Domitian it really did issue a decree in his final year, it was a short lived persecution for Christians. The entire story therefore must be rejected.

ix. "For fifteen years this emperor [Domitian] passed, little by little, through all kinds of crimes until he dared, by issuing edicts of most cruel persecution everywhere, to uproot the Church of Christ most firmly established in the whole world. He fell into such a condition of pride that he ordered himself to be called Lord and God, and to be so described and worshiped. Because both of envy and greed, he killed the most noble men of the Senate; some publicly, others he drove into exile and there ordered them to be butchered. ... This same emperor, crazed by his pride because of which he wished to be worshiped as a god, was the first emperor after Nero to order a persecution against the Christians to be carried on. Also at this time, the most blessed Apostle John was banished to the island of Patmos. Also among the Jews, an order was given that the race of David be searched out and killed by cruel tortures and bloody inquisitions, since the holy prophets were both hated and believed, as if some day there would be One from the seed of David who could acquire the throne. Yet directly, Domitian was cruelly killed in the Palace by those in his own home, and his body was carried out on a common bier by corpse bearers and buried most ignominiously." (Paulus Orosius of Braga, History Against the Pagans 7.10.5, 418 AD)

L. Trajan and Lawyer Pliny as a case example of emperor worship in AD 98-117

1. Late-daters misuse Pliny to say that Christians were charged with treason for failing to worship Caesar and then executed.

a. In fact, Pliny is the only source cited by King while Hailey and Harkrider cited zero sources to prove their version of emperor worship where Christians were executed treason for refusing to bow to Caesar in worship.

b. As we will see, the correspondence letters between lawyer Pliny and Emperor Trajan, were a new, localized, "bottom up" persecution that came to the attention of Trajan, not long standing continuation of a state sponsored "top-down" demand of worship.

c. Most important is that the crime was being a Christian and the test was worshipping all the pagan gods, one of whom was the emperor.

d. Finally, Christians were never charged and executed with treason by Pliny for failing to worship the emperor.

2. Pliny was a lawyer who served under both Trajan and Domitian and had never witnessed a trial of Christians under Domitian:

a. Pliny had never been in a trial of Christians during the time he served as a lawyer under Domitian: "It is a rule, Sir, which I inviolably observe, to refer myself to you in all my doubts; for who is more capable of guiding my uncertainty or informing my ignorance? Having never been present at any trials of the Christians, I am unacquainted with the method and limits to be observed either in examining or punishing them." (Pliny, Ep. 10.96.1)

b. This is an incredible statement missed by late-daters.

c. That Pliny, a famous lawyer in Asia, had never been in a trial persecuting Christians under Domitian, lays an axe at the root of the notion of the "great Domitian persecution of Christians.

d. But it gets worse. Not only had Pliny never witnessed a Christian persecution trial before the time of Trajan, there was no "case law", precedents or any examples he was even familiar with!

e. This proves that Pliny's persecution of Christians was unique, new and local.

f. Pliny's persecutions plowed previously pristine prosecution property.

3. Christians were never charged with treason for refusing to worship the Emperor:

a. Jesus and Paul were accused of treason to Caesar, not because they would not worship the emperor, but because they refused to follow his laws as a form of civil Zealot-like insurrection.

b. The Jews had from the time of the Maccabees been exempt from all participation of Greek or Roman paganism through a collection of formal treaties or "edicts of toleration". Sure, "Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome" (Acts 18:1) but he didn't kill them. The fallacy of the "confess Caesar or die" fiction, is that if the Romans always tolerated the Jews' formal denunciations of Caesar as God, they would not suddenly be offended by the new cult of the Nazarene either. Historically, Christians were never put to death on the charge of "treason" for refusing to worship the Roman Caesar.

c. Pliny persecuted Christians by demanding they worship both pagan gods and Caesar Trajan in Bithynia in a special "monkey trial" court process that specifically excluded treason: "In c. 112, Pliny was sent by the emperor Trajan (98-117) to Bithynia to restore the province from ravages caused by maladministration and corruption. He toured the province and when he reached the far east end, near Amastris, he encountered Christians. Pliny, though a lawyer by profession, had never been at a trial of Christians. The procedure he used was the same as for the vast majority of criminal cases in the province: cognitio extra ordinem, an arbitrary system of trial before a magistrate for offenses that fell outside the range of "statutory crimes" such as treason, forgery, or adultery." (Persecution in the Early Church, William H. C. Frend, Christian History Magazine, Issue 27, 1990 AD)

d. It is clear that refusing to worship Caesar Trajan was not considered legal grounds to charge Christians with treason.

4. Pliny reports to Trajan that he was unable to find real legal grounds to punish Christians, noting that their guilt was a typical church service. Trajan even tortured two female Christians to confess the inner secret crimes that Christians were thought to be committing but came up with no information to report. Again, the idea of "treason for not worshipping Trajan" is absent:

a. If it was simply a refusal to worship Caesar, this entire process would not have been needed.

b. Notice they were determined to be Christians through torture, but he does not say he executed them.

c. "They affirmed, however, the whole of their guilt, or their error, was, that they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food-but food of an ordinary and innocent kind. [Early Christians were suspected of cannibalism or infant sacrifice which included drinking their blood.] ... I judged it so much the more necessary to extract the real truth, with the assistance of torture, from two female slaves, who were styled deaconesses: but I could discover nothing more than depraved and excessive superstition." (Pliny, Letters 10.96, 112 AD)

5. Pliny reports to Trajan that the pagan temples were abandoned due to high conversion rates among Christians. The resulting lost trade and commerce in AD 112 echoes what Paul experienced at Ephesus years earlier in AD 50.

a. "For this contagious superstition is not confined to the cities only but has spread through the villages and rural districts; it seems possible, however, to check and cure it. It is certain at least that the temples, which had been almost deserted, begin now to be frequented; and the sacred festivals, after a long intermission, are again revived; while there is a general demand for sacrificial animals, which for some time past have met with but few purchasers. From hence it is easy to imagine what multitudes may be reclaimed from this error, if a door be left open to repentance." (Pliny, Letters 10.96, 112 AD)

b. "Pliny, as governor of Bithynia, is typical of the caution with which the magistrate would proceed in this imprecise legal area. The Christians must be checked-this was assumed -but how to proceed without a specific charge was the problem. Trajan's acceptance of the suspicio attached to the nomen Christianum remained the legal precedent, and Pliny's sacrifice test (which he had blundered into) remained the ultimate obstacle which plagued the unfortunate Christians down to the times of the Decian persecution. Different magistrates throughout the world would be faced with different charges and different circumstances, but these two precedents remained the same ... One final point should be stressed. Pliny's letter to Trajan (x. 96) also supplies us with a third element which remained valid down to the end of the period of persecution: the motive of government authorities. Pliny's mention of his efforts to fill the temples in his area, and to encourage the celebration of sacra sollemnia diu intermissa, gives us the necessary clue, and one which could well have served as a precedent for the ages to come." (Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Herbert Musurillo, p lxii, 1972 AD)

c. "For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen; these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, "Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. "You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all. "Not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship will even be dethroned from her magnificence." (Acts 19:24-27)

6. Pliny used pagan idol worship as a method to determine the crime of being a Christian: AD 110

a. "However, it was ***not*** especially the refusal to venerate the emperor that led to the persecutions of Christians, as appears from Pliny's famous letter to Trajan and the Rescript (Ep. 10.96-97) and Christian martyr texts. Until the reign of Decius [AD 248] the emperor did not take steps against the Christians on his own initiative, and only responded to questions from the provinces. Usually the refusal by arrested Christians to worship the gods in general (including the emperor) led to their execution" (Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, Ruler Cult, p715, 1995 AD)

7. The crime was being a Christian, the test was worshiping pagan idols:

a. If a man confessed to being a Christian, he was executed without being asked to worship idols and Caesar.

b. If a man denied he was a Christian, he was ordered to worship Roman Idols and Caesar.

c. There was no Imperial decree from Caesar, it was the locals who wanted to kill the Christians because the pagan temples were empty and the craftsman were losing money.

d. "I interrogated them whether they were Christians; if they confessed it, I repeated the question twice again, adding the threat of capital punishment; if they still persevered, I ordered them to be executed." (Pliny, Letters 10.96, 112 AD)

e. Pliny knew Christians would not worship idols, pagan deities or the Emperor as god. So, Pliny created a test to determine if a man was a Christian by gathering together a collection of several pagan idols including a statue of the Emperor himself. He would then command the Christian to worship the collection of idol gods that included the image of Trajan. What is important here, is that worshipping the statue of the Roman Caesar was not used to determine if "treason" charges could be laid against the Christian. Instead, it was a simple test to determine if the man was pagan or Christian. The man would not be charged with "treason", he was charged with being a "Christian". If the charge was treason, there would have been no need to have the collection of idols in addition to the statue of Trajan. The crime was being a Christian, not treason!

f. "Those who denied they were, or had ever been, Christians, who repeated after me an invocation to the [pagan] gods, and offered worship, with wine and frankincense, to your [Trajan's] image, which I had ordered to be brought for that purpose, together with those of the [pagan] gods... They all worshipped your statue and the images of the gods, and cursed Christ." (Pliny, Letters 10.96)

8. Most important is Caesar Trajan's reply to Pliny which utterly refutes the late-dater's fiction of "emperor worship". Notice Trajan replies that the Christians must merely worship pagan gods, not himself as a Caesar god. If Christians were being executed for not worshipping the emperor, Trajan, the emperor would have surely said so right here.

a. "The method you have pursued, my dear Pliny, in sifting the cases of those denounced to you as Christians is extremely proper. ... however, when the party denies himself to be a Christian, and shall give proof that he is not -that is, by adoring our gods- he shall be pardoned on the ground of repentance" (Pliny, Letters 10.97, Trajan replies to Pliny)

b. Late-laters needed Trajan to reply this way: "The method you have pursued, my dear Pliny wrong. I don't care if they worship other gods. My edict requires them to worship me, the emperor as god. If a man worships Roman gods but not me, he is to be executed according to my Edict posted throughout the entire Roman empire. But if he bows to my image, sacrifices to me or burns incense to me he shall be pardoned and not be execute." (Pliny, Late-date "sure wish he had said that" version, 2018 AD)

9. Things lacking in Pliny's letter that late-daters need:

a. No Empire wide decree that all must worship Caesar or die. In fact, no decree of any kind had been issued by Trajan.

b. Pliny or Trajan made no reference to any decree or order that had been issued. If an order or decree had been issued Pliny would have said, "according to your order/decree" and Trajan would have replied, "my decree must be enforced to worship me as a god".

c. No "order from the top" that locals must hunt down Christians and execute them if they didn't worship the emperor. In fact, it was the locals who brought the demand to execute Christians "up to Caesar" in exactly the same way Paul had to appeal to Caesar because of local persecution in Jerusalem.

d. No requirement to worship the emperor to the exclusion of the other Roman pagan idol gods. In fact, Trajan himself, the "god to be worshipped", replied to Pliny that the requirement was only to worship Roman gods specifically excluding the need to worship him as emperor. If Emperor worship was as late-daters wrongly portray it, Trajan would have replied that the requirement was to worship him, since that is what the legal decree said. Of course, there was no decree.

10. The persecution of Christians under Trajan were:

a. New, as indicated by Pliny's never witnessed a trial of Christians.

b. Local, as indicated that this was in the province of Bithynia not empire wide.

c. Brief, as indicated by Hadrian outlawing Pliny's monkey trials against Christians after Trajan died with formal imperial edicts.

11. As we will see next, the trials and persecutions of Christians by Pliny under Trajan were quickly outlawed under Hadrian who passes specific laws to protect Christians.

M. Hadrian as a case example of emperor worship in AD 117-138

1. In AD 165, Justin Martyr recorded the edict of Caesar Hadrian (AD 117-138) that protected Christians from the kind of monkey trials under his predecessor Trajan. In other words, at the time of Hadrian, Christians were afforded full legal rights to defend themselves AS CHRISTIANS. Notice the idea of treason for refusing to worship the Emperor is absent:

a. "Accordingly, if the inhabitants of your province will so far sustain this petition of theirs as to accuse the Christians in some court of law, I do not prohibit them from doing so. But I will not suffer them to make use of mere entreaties and outcries. For it is far more just, if any one desires to make an accusation, that you give judgment upon it. If, therefore, any one makes the accusation, and furnishes proof that the said men do anything contrary to the laws, you shall adjudge punishments in proportion to the offences." (Justin Martyr, 1 Apology 68, Edict of Hadrian, 165 AD)

b. The edict of Caesar Hadrian specifically targeted and outlawed the very kinds of "Christian witch hunts" and "monkey trials" conducted by Pliny under Caesar Trajan.

2. During the reign of Hadrian we are certain that the idea of "worship Caesar or die" did not exist.

a. It is noteworthy that Hadrian issued decrees protecting Christians while conducting a major holocaust against Jews during his reign in AD 135 by killing Jews, renaming Judea "Palestine" (ie. Land of the Philistines) and renaming Jerusalem "Aelia Capitolina" and building a Temple of Jupiter on the Temple mount.

b. So thoroughly did Hadrian remove anything Jewish from the city of Jerusalem, not one of the 480 synagogues in use at the time of Jesus the Nazarene have never been discovered or excavated.

"'The house of the Lord' refers to the Temple. 'And the king's house' refers to the palace of Zedekiah. 'And all the houses of Jerusalem' refers to the 480 synagogues that were in Jerusalem. For R. Phineas in the name of R. Hoshaiah: "There were 480 synagogues in Jerusalem and every one of them had a schoolhouse and a house for learning, a schoolhouse for Scripture and a house of learning for Mishnah." (Jerusalem Talmud, y. Meg. 3:1, II.2.D-E)

3. Hadrian was the 15th Caesar from Julian, including the three usurpers and acted as an agent of God to finish his wrath against the Jewish nation for persecuting Christians and crucifying His son, Jesus of Nazareth, the risen Son of God.

a. Hadrian issued decrees protecting Christians while carrying out a ruthless campaign of extinction to anything Jewish in the land of Judea.

4. Up to AD 139 when Hadrian died, was a time of peace for Christians in regards to state persecution from the Romans.

a. Christians were persecuted by Jews not the Romans during the time of Hadrian as Justin Martyr describes was rampant in AD 165.

b. Christians who were persecuted during the second century AD (like Polycarp) resulted from local citizen-initiated attacks not state sponsored campaigns of persecution.

N. Martyrdom of Polycarp as a case example of emperor worship under Pius in AD 156

1. The Martyrdom of Polycarp on 22 February 22 AD 156

a. Under Caesar Antoninus Pius (AD 138-161) "The captain of police, Herod, and his father Nicetas met him, and took him into their own carriage and seated at his side, tried to persuade him, saying: 'But what harm is there in saying, "Caesar is Lord," and in offering incense, and so forth, to be saved? At first he did not answer, but, when they persisted, he said: 'I am not going to do what you advise me.' 3 On failing to convince him, they spoke threateningly to him and made him descend so quickly that he bruised his shin as he got down from the carriage. Without even turning around, as though he had suffered nothing, he continued on his way eagerly and speedily, and was led into the stadium. The uproar in the stadium was such that nobody could be heard at all. ... 1 Upon Polycarp's entrance into the arena there came a voice from heaven, 'Be brave, Polycarp, and act like a man.' No one saw the speaker, but our people who were present heard the voice. 2 Finally, when he was brought forward, the Proconsul asked him if he were Polycarp; when he admitted it, he tried to persuade him to a denial of the faith, saying: 'Have regard for your age,' and other suggestions such as they usually make: 'Swear by the genius of Caesar; change your mind and say, "Away with the atheists!" ' Then Polycarp, with solemn countenance, gazed on the whole crowd of lawless pagans in the stadium, waved his hand at them, groaned, looked up to heaven, and said: 'Away with the atheists!' 3 As the Proconsul urged him and said: 'Take the oath and I release you; revile Christ,' Polycarp said: 'Eighty-six years have I served Him, and He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who has saved me?' ... As he further insisted and said: 'Swear by the genius of Caesar [Ginn spirit that indwells for protection and prosperity of the Roman Empire],' Polycarp replied: 'If you vainly imagine that I will swear by the genius [Ginn spirit that indwells] of Caesar, as you say, and pretend not to know who I am, let me tell you plainly: I am a Christian. ... Then they decided to shout out unanimously to have Polycarp burned alive. For the vision revealed to him on the pillow had to be fulfilled (when he saw it burning as he prayed, and he turned and spoke prophetically to the faithful with him, 'I must be burned alive'). This happened with indescribable speed. The crowds gathered and collected wood and bundles of brush from the shops and baths, the Jews in particular, as is usual with them, lending zealous assistance in this." (Martyrdom of Polycarp 8-13.1, 156 AD)

2. Martyrdom of Polycarp is likely a 3rd century pseudepigrapha rewrite of a much simpler original account: While it seems quite likely that some form of this story of how Polycarp was killed was sent, the story smells suspiciously of being an embellished rewrite of the original version from the fourth century.

a. Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History 4.15 records most of the details of the letter, so the pseudepigrapha probably dates to the period of the final persecutions of Christians by Diocletian up to AD 303.

b. While the Bible teaches that Jesus is Creator God and the Holy Spirit is a person, the developed trinitarian formula seems over-emphasized and a bit early.

c. Polycarp being called "THE Bishop" rather than "A presbyter" marks the story after AD 200. The evolution from a plurality of elders (a presbytery) to the full-blown papal system is well documented. At the time of Polycarp's death, in AD 150 church organization had only begun to view one of the many elders as the "head elder" or "exalted bishop" During this period of "The rise of the exalted elder" nobody was ever called THE BISHOP or THE ELDER. He was still seen as having equal authority as the rest of his fellow bishops/elders but was viewed as the "first among equals" or the presider of the body of his fellow bishops. It is interesting that today, the Orthodox church practices an autocephalous style organization and still describes their "pope" (I.e. the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople) as the "first among equals" in relation to the other regional/national popes around the globe. It was not until after AD 200-250 that one man became the sole authority for a local church known as "THE BISHOP". Today most denominations pattern their organizations after this corrupt 3rd century organization, by calling their preacher THE PASTOR who is the top authority in a local church with veto power over his body of elders/presbyters, if they have one.

i. In scripture, the first century top office in a local church was described interchangeably with all the three following terms: "elder/presbyter, shepherd/pastor, overseer/bishop (Acts 20:17,28; Tit 1:5,7; 1 Pe 5:1-2). This New Testament pattern is reflected perfectly in Polycarp to the Philippians which dates to c. AD 110 and is very different from the language of THE BISHOP found throughout the Martyrdom of Polycarp.

ii. The two distinct titles of presbyter vs. Bishop used to describe Polycarp between his own letter to the Philippians and another's later account of his martyrdom, are a huge red flag that the Martyrdom of Polycarp was composed centuries after his death.

iii. The word presbytery is never used in the "Martyrdom of Polycarp" and the word bishop is never used in "Polycarp to the Philippians".

iv. In Polycarp to the Philippians, Polycarp is describes himself as one of several presbyters and is never calls himself a Bishop even once: "Polycarp, and the presbyters with him ... be subject to the presbyters and deacons as to God and Christ" (Polycarp to the Philippians, intro, 5:3, 110 AD).

v. Such language as "obey your presbyters" was extinct by AD 250 where obedience to the ONE Diocesan Bishop was required. The repeated calling Polycarp "THE Bishop of Smyrna" betrays the composition as pseudepigrapha.

vi. Philip Schaff correctly notes: "We proceed to the officers of local congregations who were charged with carrying forward in particular places the work begun by the apostles and their delegates. These were of two kinds, Presbyters or Bishops, and Deacons or Helpers. They multiplied in proportion as Christianity extended, while the number of the apostles diminished by death, and could, in the nature of the case, not be filled up by witnesses of the life and resurrection of Christ. The extraordinary officers were necessary for the founding and being of the church, the ordinary officers for its preservation and well-being. The terms Presbyter (or Elder) and Bishop (or Overseer, Superintendent) denote in the New Testament one and the same office, with this difference only, that the first is borrowed from the Synagogue, the second from the Greek communities; and that the one signifies the dignity, the other the duty. 1. The identity of these officers is very evident from the following facts: a. They appear always as a plurality or as a college in one and the same congregation, even in smaller cities) as Philippi. b. The same officers of the church of Ephesus are alternately called presbyters and bishops. c. Paul sends greetings to the "bishops" and "deacons" of Philippi, but omits the presbyters because they were included in the first term; as also the plural indicates. d. In the Pastoral Epistles, where Paul intends to give the qualifications for all church officers, he again mentions only two, bishops and deacons, but uses the term presbyter afterwards for bishop. Peter urges the "presbyters" to "tend the flock of God," and to "fulfil the office of bishops" with disinterested devotion and without "lording it over the charge allotted to them." e. The interchange of terms continued in use to the close of the first century, as is evident from the Epistle of Clement of Rome (about 95), and the Didache, and still lingered towards the close of the second [century]. (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, book 1, chapter 10)

d. The use of the word "bishop" combined with the letter being addressed to 'all the congregations of the Holy and Catholic Church in every place', belies a later date after AD 250.

i. "The word 'catholic,' i.e., universal, occurs in the Greek classics, as in Aristotle and Polybius, and was freely used by the earlier Christian writers in what may be called its primitive and non-ecclesiastical sense. The combination, 'the Catholic Church,' appears for the first time in the letter of St. Ignatius to the Smynaeans (purported: AD 110 but actually AD 250). From this time on, the technical and ecclesiastical meaning of the word appears with increasing frequency both in the East and the West. By the beginning of the fourth century it has essentially supplanted the primitive and more general meaning. (Eusebius of Caesarea, R. J. Deferrari, p233, 1953 AD)

ii. Within the both the Martyrdom of Polycarp and the letter of St. Ignatius to the Smynaeans are the two same powerful clues that both are clearly a forgery from a later time. In Ignatius to the Smynaeans is the "supposed" very first historical reference to the "Catholic Church" is nestled warmly between very strong commands to obey the bishop as you would Jesus Christ and the only valid baptism or communion service is one by the bishop's authority.

iii. "Let all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ did the Father, and the priests, as you would the Apostles. Reverence the deacons as you would the command of God. Apart from the bishop, let no one perform any of the functions that pertain to the Church. Let that Eucharist be held valid which is offered by the bishop or by one to whom the bishop has committed this charge. Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful to baptize or give communion without the consent of the bishop. On the other hand, whatever has his approval is pleasing to God." (Ignatius to Smyrna 8, AD 250)

iv. "He is also the first who uses the term "catholic church," as if episcopacy and catholicity sprung up simultaneously. The whole story of Ignatius is more legendary than real, and his writings are subject to grave suspicion of fraudulent interpolation." (History of the Christian Church, Philip Schaff, Vol 2, p145)

v. All this brings the Martyrdom of Polycarp into suspect as a genuine document written in AD 156.

e. The story of Polycarp's death reads like a highly edited and polished sermon rather than a simple letter written by one man as he sat down at a desk and scribbled out his thoughts with carbon ink on papyrus. The highly developed imagery and allusions and metaphors are too perfect for a first-generation version of the story. Many well known biblical motifs are masterfully echoed, including:

i. Being purified by fire like silver and gold in 1 Peter 1:7

ii. Body saved from fire like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Dan 3.

iii. A Roman speared the dead body and blood gushed out.

f. The miraculous events are too perfect:

i. Polycarp's dream of a burning pillow as an announcement he would be burned was something only he would know.

ii. Miracle flames, incense, body not burnt but turned appearance of gold, the spear and blood coming out that extinguished the entire flames.

iii. God's voice announced to Irenaeus in Rome that Polycarp was dead.

g. The letter asks for wide distribution, a concept absent from most genuine New Testament epistles: "So when you have this information, send the letter to the brethren further on." (MPoly 20.1)

3. Polycarp's crime was being a Christian and the test was to worship idols which included Caesar.

a. To determine if someone was a Christian, they would ask them to renounce Christ, worship pagan gods.

b. There was no decree from Caesar to worship him or die. There is no evidence that any laws were broken.

c. It was the mob, not Caesar who required Polycarp to confess "Caesar is Lord" or "Swear by the genius of Caesar" [pagan Ginn spirit/demon that indwells].

d. In the final condemnation, there was no reference to Emperor worship, just the general Roman gods: "the whole mob of pagans and Jews living in Smyrna shouted out with uncontrollable anger and in a loud voice: 'This is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, the destroyer of our gods, who has taught many not to sacrifice and not to adore.'"

e. "the Proconsul ... sent his own herald into the middle of the arena to announce three times: 'Polycarp has confessed himself to be a Christian.'" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 12.1, 156 AD)

f. Polycarp was to offer incense to Caesar, not throw a pinch of salt as commonly misreported.

4. Polycarp's persecution was not the result of an imperial decree from the top-down, but a local persecution of Romans and Jews.

a. "So, after this, the whole crowd, amazed at the nobility of the God-loving and God-fearing race of Christians, shouted out: 'Down with the atheists; let Polycarp be found." (Martyrdom of Polycarp 3:2, 156 AD)

b. It was an initiative of the local population not Caesar exactly like Demetrius the silversmith stirred up the entire city of Ephesus. (Acts 19:21)

c. There was no mention of an imperial decree or any Roman law: "Martyrs and their apologists exploited this tentativeness, ambiguity, and imprecision. Germanicus, a bit player in the martyrdom of Polycarp, pulled a beast onto himself so he could "be released sooner from unjust and lawless life." The apologists saw Roman officials as arbitrary, pliable, and manipulable by angry crowds who did not condemn Christians on the basis of law, for Christians were peaceable and law-abiding citizens of the empire. They condemned Christians on the basis of a name. ... Martyrdom exposed the impotence of state violence. Torture did not change most Christians. As Salisbury writes, the Romans misconstrued the psychology of torture. Torture does not "reassociate" but "disassociates" its victims. Roman torturers tried to force Christians back into conformity with Romanitas, but the more they tortured, the more Christians detached themselves from Rome. Roman power met its limits because the Christian Church had already opened doors to a new world within the Roman world, a social and heavenly world to which Christians were more attached than they were to Rome. No amount of pain could force them back in, and the more Rome tried, the more Rome showed its impotence. Before the martyrs, Roman law was unmasked as brute power and arbitrary will and, what was worse, ineffective power and will." (Witness unto Death, Peter Leithart, First Things #229, p47, 2013 AD).

d. As seen throughout the period, the local townspeople blamed the Christians (who insulted the pagan gods) for any misfortune. The pagan priests hated the Christians for bankrupting their business fortunes exactly like Paul in Ephesus in Acts 19.

e. The mob determined the punishment in an almost exact mirror of the trials of Jesus when mob cried, "crucify Him".

f. Polycarp is the only person executed and the only one arrested, indicating that Christians in general were not put through the same process.

5. Only 13 died at this period of time and the persecutions targeted the leaders, not the Christians in general:

a. "These are the details concerning the Blessed Polycarp, who suffered martyrdom in Smyrna, together with eleven others from Philadelphia." (Martyrdom of Polycarp 19.1)

b. Only two leaders, and Polycarp were martyred. Except for Germanicus, Polycarp and 11 others in Philadelphia, there was no door to door hunt for all who confessed to be a Christian.

c. At the arrest of Polycarp, the Christian who had harbored him were not arrested: "so he went out secretly to a farm not a great distance from the city and, remaining with a few [Christian] friends" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 5.1)

d. The pagan and Jewish mob witnessed a group of Christians, desirous to physically touch and allowed them to carry away the burnt body Polycarp without harm: "And so, afterwards, we took up his bones, more valuable than precious stones and finer than gold, and put them in a proper place." (Martyrdom of Polycarp 18.1)

6. Polycarp was a special divine approved example of be "faithful to death"

a. Polycarp is put forward as a one-up example sacrificed by the will of God: "And, as he prayed, he fell into an ecstasy three days before his arrest, and he saw the pillow under him burning with fire, and, turning to those who were with him he said: 'I must be burned alive.'" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 5.2)

b. Polycarp was a leader with a special destiny to die and not part of a state wide hunt for Christians in general: "Then the police captain called Herod-that is the very name he had-hastened to bring him to the stadium so that, becoming a partaker of Christ, he might fulfill his special destiny." (Martyrdom of Polycarp 6.2)

c. "he might have escaped into another place; but he refused, saying, "The will of God be done." (Martyrdom of Polycarp 7.1)

d. At first, the flames arched around Polycarp with him in the middle. Instead of his flesh burning, it turned to the colour of silver and gold and gave off the smell of sweet costly incense: "When he had uttered the Amen and finished his prayer, the men in charge of the fire lighted it. As a great flame flashed out, we saw a miracle, that is, those of us to whom it was granted to see. Yes! And we were preserved to report to others what happened. 2 For the fire took the shape of an arch, like a ship's sail filled with wind, and stood around the body of the martyr; and he was there in the midst, not like flesh burning, but like bread being baked, or gold and silver being purified in a furnace. And we also perceived a fragrant odor such as the scent of incense or the scent of some other costly spices." (Martyrdom of Polycarp 15)

e. Miraculously, Polycarp's body could not burnt in the fire and when the Romans pierced his body with a dagger so much blood came out that the fire was completely extinguished. "Finally, the lawless men, seeing that his body could not be consumed by fire, ordered an executioner to approach and stab him with a dagger. When he had done this, there came out much blood, so that the fire was extinguished, and the whole crowd marveled that there was such a difference between the unbelievers and the elect. 2 For the most glorious Polycarp certainly was one of the elect, an apostolic and prophetic teacher among our contemporaries and bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna; and every word which proceeded from his lips has been fulfilled and will be fulfilled." (Martyrdom of Polycarp 16)

f. This proves that the persecutions were targeted to the leaders at the time of Polycarp, not the general Christian population.

g. This also proves that Polycarp was a special and exceptional case of martyrdom.

7. Notice that the local Jews were part of the active arena mob and central in persecuting Christians at this time.

a. The Jews, like some Christians must have decided it was better to take the oath and sacrifice rather than die. How else can you account for the Jews sitting in the crowds and calling for the Christians to be executed for not sacrificing to the Roman gods.

b. Ironically, no good Torah compliant Jew would ever offer sacrifices to Idols to escape death any more than Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Dan 3.

c. "The crowds gathered and collected wood and bundles of brush from the shops and baths, the Jews in particular, as is usual with them, lending zealous assistance in this" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 13.1, 156 AD)

d. "'Polycarp has confessed himself to be a Christian.' After this proclamation by the herald, the whole mob of pagans and Jews living in Smyrna shouted out with uncontrollable anger and in a loud voice." (Martyrdom of Polycarp 12.1-2, 156 AD)

e. The Jews did not want the Christians to carry away the burnt body of Polycarp: "So he [the Devil] took measures that his poor body should not be taken away by us, although many desired to do this and to touch his holy flesh. 2 So he put up Nicetas the father of Herod, and the brother of Alce, to request the Governor not to surrender his body, 'Lest,' it was said, 'they might abandon the crucified one and begin to worship this man.' They said this at the suggestion and instigation of the Jews who also watched as we were going to take the body from the fire. ... On seeing the quarrel stirred up by the Jews, the centurion put the body in the middle, as was their custom, and burned it." (Martyrdom of Polycarp 17.1; 18.1, 156 AD)

8. The martyrdom of Polycarp does not provide most of the essential details that late-daters require.

a. There is no edict that failure to worship the Imperial Cult was a death sentence.

b. Only the leaders were targeted rather than massive local or state-wide persecution against large numbers of Christians.

c. There was no charge of treason.

d. The crime was being a Christian or failure to worship idols.

e. The final judgement was based upon failure to worship Roman idols, not the emperor.

f. The entire story as we have it today is very likely a 3rd century rewrite of a much simpler version and therefore a pseudepigrapha that is worthless to use as any evidence of emperor worship.

O. The Martyrdom of Ptolemaeus and Lucius as an example of emperor worship under Pius in c. AD 160

1. Letter to Caesar Antoninus Pius: AD 138-161: "[Dear Pius] There was a woman married to a man of evil life, in which she too had formerly participated. But once she had come to know the teachings of Christ she became reformed and tried in turn to persuade her husband to reform his own life, calling to his mind the doctrines of Christ and warning him of the eternal fire prepared for those who live not according to discipline and right reason. But the man persisted in his licentiousness and alienated his wife by his actions. His wife then thought it would be wrong to continue to live with a man who sought his pleasures from any source whatsoever, no matter whether it was against justice or the natural law; and so she wished to have a divorce. ... he [husband] filed a complaint against her on the ground that she had left him without his consent, adding that she was a Christian. She then submitted a petition to you, Emperor [Pius] ... Her former husband, no longer being able to sustain the same complaint, turned his attention in the following way to a certain Ptolemaeus, the man who had been her instructor in Christian doctrine, and who had been punished as a criminal by Urbicus. Now since the centurion who arrested Ptolemaeus was a friend of his, the husband persuaded him to lay hands on Ptolemaeus and ask him merely whether he was a Christian. Ptolemaeus, who was a lover of truth, and not deceitful or a liar by disposition, admitted that he was a Christian, and so the centurion had him put in chains and had him punished for a long time in jail. At length, when he was brought before Urbicus he was again merely asked whether he was a Christian. And once again, fully aware of the benefits he enjoyed because of Christ's doctrine, he confessed to the instruction in divine virtue. Now when Urbicus ordered him to be executed, a man named Lucius, who was also a Christian, seeing how unreasonable the sentence was, said to Urbicus: 'What is the charge? He has not been convicted of adultery, fornication, murder, clothes-stealing, robbery, or of any crime whatsoever; yet you have punished this man because he confesses the name of Christian? Your sentence, Urbicus, does not befit the Emperor Pius [AD 138-161], his philosopher son [Caesar Marcus Aurelius: 161-180], or the holy senate!' Urbicus made no further reply, but said to Lucius: 'I think you too are one of them. And when Lucius said, 'Indeed, I am', he ordered him to be executed as well." (Martyrdom of Ptolemaeus and Lucius, 160 AD)

a. Most important is to note that the letter is addressed to Caesar Antoninus Pius as a complaint to report a miscarriage of justice. It references Pius, his son Aurelius and the Roman senate. All throughout the letter Pius is addressed in the first person as "you". The letter stops abruptly without making a request for justice, but it is obvious that is the intent of the letter. This is the second time Emperor Pius has been involved in this divorce. The first time, the woman wrote the Emperor who rendered judgement on behalf of the wife.

b. Echoing the story of Abagail and worthless Nabal at the time of David, this woman was married to a rich, powerful, sinful fool whom she detested being married to.

c. While he is away on a trip, she seeks the advice of a church leader named Ptolemaeus who counseled her to divorce her husband. Although the cause of adultery is not named, the storyline paints him as a womanizer. "a man who sought his pleasures from any source whatsoever, no matter whether it was against justice or the natural law". (Mt 19:9; 1 Cor 7:12-15)

d. The husband filed a counter lawsuit to the court specifically stating she was a Christian.

e. This triggers the wife to "appeal to Caesar" like Apostle Paul did. Clearly, she understood that the Emperor would know she was a Christian.

f. When Caesar Pius dismisses the case against the husband, he turns his anger against the Christian [Ptolemaeus] who counseled his wife to leave him. He got one of his Centurion buddies to arrest Ptolemaeus upon confession of being a Christian.

g. A second Christian, Lucius, intervenes on behalf of the injustice done to Ptolemaeus and is also arrested for being a Christian.

h. Both men are executed.

i. This entire story was then reported to Caesar as a case of injustice and wrongful punishment and execution of two Christians.

2. This story, which dates to AD 138-161, totally disproves every and all notions of Emperor worship. This story also proves persecutions during the reigns of Hadrian, Pius and Aurelius [AD 117-180] were from the local townsman not a an Empire wide decree from the top to hunt and kill Christians who refused to worship the Emperor.

a. Clearly the husband knew the local authority could act upon the charge of being a Christian because he states such about his wife in the first legal pleading then gets Ptolemaeus thrown in jail solely on the confession of Christ.

b. The woman appeals to Caesar AS A CHRSTIAN and Pius passes judgement in her favour.

c. The fact a second letter was sent to Emperor Pius outlining the execution of two Christians proves the legal disconnect between the locals who viewed being a Christian as a crime and the Emperor, who did not.

d. The most important detail in the letter are the words of Lucius to his executioner: "Your sentence, Urbicus, does not befit the Emperor Pius, his philosopher son [Aurelius], or the holy senate!". It is clear that it was widely understood at the time, that both Caesar and the Roman senate would punish those who persecuted Christians.

3. No Emperor worship enforced on the penalty of death between AD 117-180 (Hadrian to Aurelius):

a. After the monkey trials of Trajan, Hadrian passed specific laws protecting Christians from this exact type of persecution.

b. We know from the letter that both Emperor Pius and Aurelius would seek swift justice against the local officiate Urbicus who murdered two Christians without cause.

c. Unlike other Martyrdom stories, this one has a higher probability of being close to the original and dating to the time of Caesar Pius.

P. The Martyrdom of Justin Martyr as a case example of emperor worship under Aurelius in AD 165

1. Under Caesar Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180), the story of the execution of Justin Martyr and 6 of his friends is likely a true story that dates to AD 165 but the details are likely wrong. The problem is that there are three very different manuscripts, the earliest of which is c. AD 750. It is likely that all three versions are actually latter embellishments from the original story. Further, we do not know if there was an original account in the second century or if it was transmitted by word of mouth then written down a century later with questionable accuracy. The story directly contradicts the Martyrdom of Ptolemaeus and Lucius just five years earlier in AD 160 were the emperor is seen as a savior of Christians being persecuted as opposed to the primary source of their persecutions in the story of Justin.

2. There are three manuscript traditions of the story of the martyrdom of Justin Martyr:

a. Short 8th century manuscript: A shorter version, long known to exist in a Paris manu-script has more recently been given prominence by the studies of G. Lazzati, who believes it to be the original form of the text.

b. Middle 9th century manuscript (AD 890): The vul-gate, or long/middle version, as it has been called, is the one best known and most used; it has for its witness the oldest manu-script.

c. Long 12th century manuscript: The later, literary revision: longer, more literary, and obviously reworked version in a Jerusalem manuscript.

3. No emperor worship in any of the three accounts. Notice the progression in detail in the opening of the story. The short is a single sentence compared to the long as an entire paragraph.

a. "In the days of the wicked decrees of idolatry, the aforementioned saints were arrested and brought before the urban prefect at Rome, a man named Rusticus." (Martyrdom of Justin Martyr, short 8th century manuscript)

b. "In the days of the wicked defenders of idolatry, impious decrees were posted against the pious Christians in town and country alike. This was intended to force them to offer libations to empty images. And so the aforementioned saints were arraigned before the urban prefect at Rome, a man named Rusticus. After they had been brought before his tribunal, the prefect Rusticus said to Justin: 'First of all you must obey the gods and submit to the orders of the emperors.' Justin said: 'There is no blame or condemnation in obeying the commands of our Saviour Jesus Christ.'" (Martyrdom of Justin Martyr, middle 9th century manuscript)

c. "While the wicked Antoninus [Caesar Marcus Aurelius: 161-180] wielded the sceptre of the Roman empire, Rusticus happened to be the despicable prefect at Rome, a terrible man, a plague, and filled with all impiety. Once while he was sitting at the tribunal, a group of the saints was brought before him as prisoners, seven in number. For this was eagerly sought after by the ministers of Satan, to arrest them, afflict them with cruel torments, and thus to deliver them to death by the sword. Now the saints did not have the same native city, for they came from different countries. But the favour of the Spirit bound them together, and taught them to have fraternal thoughts and to have but one head, Christ. At any rate, dragged before the tribunal of the wicked magistrate, as has been said, they were interrogated by him as to their names, their origin, and their religious beliefs. They confessed that they were Christians and made clear to him what their calling was, and said that their only city was God's, the free city, the heavenly Jerusalem, whose craftsman and creator was God. They said to him: 'What advantage is it for you, O tyrant, to know the names of our earthly cities?' Then the prefect in anger said: 'Justin, sacrifice to the immortal gods and fulfil the imperial edicts; and persuade these too who have been deceived by you to do the same with alacrity-unless you wish to lay down your life with them miserably.'" (Martyrdom of Justin Martyr, long 12th century manuscript)

4. Judgement:

a. "The prefect Rusticus passed judgement: 'Those who have refused to sacrifice to the gods are to be scourged and executed in accordance with the laws." (Martyrdom of Justin Martyr, short 8th century manuscript)

b. "'Well then,' said the prefect Rusticus, 'let us come to the point at issue, a necessary and pressing business. Agree together to offer sacrifice to the gods. 'No one of sound mind', said Justin, 'turns from piety to impiety.' The prefect Rusticus said: `If you do not obey, you will be punished without mercy.' ... Similarly the other martyrs said, 'Do what you will. We are Christians and we do not offer sacrifice to idols.' The prefect Rusticus passed judgement, saying: 'Those who have refused to sacrifice to the gods and to yield to the emperor's edict are to be led away to be scourged and beheaded in accordance with the laws.'" (Martyrdom of Justin Martyr, middle 9th century manuscript)

c. "Then the magistrate, speaking generally, said: 'Since this then is your statement, impious ones, let us proceed to the issue that is before us: agree together to sacrifice to the gods, lest you be miserably destroyed. For what person with intelligence would choose to relinquish this sweetest light and prefer death to it?' 'And what person of sound mind', answered Justin, 'would choose to turn from piety to impiety, from light to darkness, and from the living God to soul-destroying demons?' 'Unless you sacrifice,' said the magistrate, 'I shall begin the tortures.' And the saints replied: 'We are confident of this, prefect, this we long for, this we desire, and this will grant us great freedom at the terrible tribunal of Christ, when each one of us shall receive according to his deeds. And so, do what you will. We are Christians, as we have repeatedly said, and we do not sacrifice to idols.' Then the accursed magistrate ordered them to be chastised with whips. And they were scourged until their flesh was torn to shreds, and their blood reddened the ground. When he saw that the martyrs would in no wise yield, he gave sentence against them as follows: 'I decree that those who have defied the imperial edicts and have refused to sacrifice to the gods are to be beheaded with the sword.' (Martyrdom of Justin Martyr, long 12th century manuscript)

5. There is a progression in the source of law over time:

a. Short: local laws likely of the wicked prefect Rusticus.

b. Middle: orders of the Emperors

c. Long: imperial edicts of Marcus Aurelius

6. Contradiction between the Martyrdom of Ptolemaeus/Lucius in AD 160 and Justin Martyr in AD 165:

a. In the Martyrdom of Ptolemaeus/Lucius, Hadrian, Pius and Aurelius are not only portrayed as opposed to any persecution of Christians, they were appealed to the Emperor for justice of wrongful death. Also there were no imperial edicts were issued from any Caesar.

b. In the Martyrdom of Justin Martyr, Caesar Marcus Aurelius he is portrayed as an enemy of Christians issuing decrees to worship idols or be executed.

7. Even with imperial decree to worship idols or die as recorded in the late revision, there is no worship of the Emperor or any hint of an imperial cult. The actual story was likely a group of locals who bribed a local magistrate to convict them against the wishes of Marcus Aurelius who would have executed those who executed the Christians as restorative justice.

Q. Martyrs of Lyons and Vienne as a case example of emperor worship under Aurelius in AD 177

1. Under Caesar Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180), this is very long and gruesome account of many Christians being persecuted in the towns of Lyons and Vienne with the full consent of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. This portrayal of Aurelius as a persecutor of Christians directly contradicts the Martyrdom of Ptolemaeus and Lucius just 17 years earlier in AD 160.

a. "The intervening period [waiting for the Emperor's decision] was neither idle nor fruitless for them for through their perseverance the infinite mercy of Christ was revealed. The dead were restored to life through the living; the martyrs brought favour to those who bore no witness, and the virgin Mother experienced much joy in recovering alive those whom she had cast forth stillborn. For through the martyrs those who had denied the faith for the most part went through the same process and were conceived and quickened again in the womb and learned to confess Christ. Alive now and strengthened they came before the tribunal that they might again be questioned by the governor: for God, who does not desire the death of the sinner but shows him the favour of repentance, made it sweet for them. Now it was the emperor's order that these should be beheaded, but that those who had denied their faith should be released. Thus at the outset of the festival here (and it was one that was crowded with people who had come to it from all countries) the governor brought the blessed martyrs before the tribunal to make a show and a spectacle of them before the crowds. This was the reason why he had them questioned once again, and all those who were thought to possess Roman citizenship he had beheaded; the rest he condemned to the animals." (Martyrs of Lyons and Vienne, 1.45 AD 177)

2. Discussion about the date and revisions:

a. "Eusebius is our sole source for the text of this document which purports to be an encyclical letter written by the communities of Lyons and Vienne, in Gaul, to the churches of Asia and Phrygia. Written in affective and very moving style, the letter offers a brutal portrait of an anti-Christian uprising in Gaul (perhaps in the summer) of the year 177 under Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. Though some (e.g. P. Meinhold) have doubted the date, which depends essentially on Eusebius, practically all modern scholars would accept it. The actual sequence of events is not easy to establish, and the legal authority for the propraetor's procedure seems obscure. (Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Herbert Musurillo, p xx, 1972 AD)

b. However authentic the letter substantially is, this does not exclude the possibility of an editor who may have reworked a primitive document sometime in the third century, lending the earlier account a vividness and excitement of his own. The treatment of the Christian dead (1. 59-60) seems gratui-tously cruel and may well have been invented; and the entire persecution is conceived as the work of the Beast (1. 5, 42, 57, and 2. 6). The virgin Mother mentioned in 1. 45 (cf. 2. 7) is, of course, the Church, and parallels the expression used by Methodius of Olympus in his Symposium (iii. 8)," which dates from the years 260 to 290. Thus, the final edition of the letter as used by Eusebius may well have circulated during the years after the edict of Decius to inspire in the Christians a zeal to resist the coercive efforts of the Roman government. (Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Herbert Musurillo, p xxi, 1972 AD)

2. Most important, the idea of emperor worship is completely foreign to the story.

a. No imperial edicts were issued by the Caesar to worship him as a god or die.

b. Instead, the Christians were ordered to worship idols in general: "Every day they had been brought in to watch the torture of the others, while attempts were made to force them to swear by the pagan idols." (Martyrs of Lyons and Vienne, 1.45 AD 177)

3. There really is no clear reason exactly why the Christians were tortured and killed.

a. The crime was being a Christian and the test was a simple denial of Christ, confessing idols or swearing by idols.

b. There are only two brief, vague references to the Christians being told to swear by idols.

c. The basis of conviction was a simple confession of believing in Christ which removed the need for further enquiries before the tortures began.

d. The crime was not treason for failing to worship the emperor under penalty of death as late-daters have imagined.

R. Martyrs of Scillitan as a case example of emperor worship under Aurelius in AD 180

1. Under Caesar Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180), the Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs records the beheading of 12 Christians, 7 men and 5 women on 17 July AD 180 in a town called Scillitan (Scilli, Sila, Silli) somewhere in North Africa.

a. "In the consulship of Praesens (for the second time) and Claudian, on the seventeenth day of July there were arraigned at Carthage in the governor's chambers Speratus, Nartzalus, Cittinus, Donata, Secunda and Vestia. The proconsul Saturninusz said: 'If you return to your senses, you can obtain the pardon of our lord the emperor.' Speratus said: 'We have never done wrong; we have never lent ourselves to wickedness. Never have we uttered a curse; but when abused, we have given thanks, for we hold our own emperor in honour.' Saturninus the proconsul said: 'We too are a religious people, and our religion is a simple one: we swear by the genius of our lord the emperor and we offer prayers for his health-as you also ought to do.' Speratus said: 'If you will give me a calm hearing, I shall tell you the mystery of simplicity.' 'If you begin to malign our sacred rites,' said Saturninus, 'I shall not listen to you. But swear rather by the Genius of our lord the emperor. Speratus said: 'I do not recognize the empire of this world. Rather, I serve that God whom no man has seen, nor can see, with these eyes. I have not stolen and on any purchase I pay the tax, for I acknowledge my lord Who [Jesus] is the emperor of kings and of all nations.' ... Saturninus the proconsul read his decision from a tablet: 'Whereas Speratus, Nartzalus, Cittinus, Donata, Vestia, Secunda, and the others [Veturius, Felix, Aquilinus, Laetantius, Januaria, Generosa] have confessed that they have been living in accordance with the rites of the Christians, and whereas though given the opportunity to return to the usage of the Romans they have persevered in their obstinacy, they are hereby condemned to be executed by the sword.' Speratus said: 'We thank God!' ... They all said: 'Thanks be to God!' And straightway they were beheaded for the name of Christ." (Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs, 180 AD)

b. "The Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs is our earliest dated document [Codex Vindobonensis Latinus AD 377] from the Latin church and the first to make men-tion of a Latin Bible [line 12]. ... Most scholars have felt that this document, like the court protocol in the Acta Cypriani, is the closest of all our extant Acts to the primitive court records. Still, certain problems remain. In [lines] 11 and 13, we are to presume that the proconsul's suggestion of a postponement for thirty days is directly refused by Speratus, who appears to be the spokesman for the entire group [of twelve]; and so judgement is delivered on the same day as the hearing, 17 July 180. Certain inconsistencies arise from the various lists of the martyrs. ... Despite the serious problems that still remain, the Passio Sanctorum Scillitano rum seems to reflect one of the earliest and most authentic stages in the textual trans-mission of the acta martyrum." (Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Herbert Musurillo, p xxii, 1972 AD)

2. Discussion:

a. The Christians state that they pray for the Emperor health, hold him in honour, pay taxes but will not say an oath to the "Genius of the Emperor".

b. The Genius of the Emperor was a pagan spirit that indwelt the Emperor like a guardian angel to bring success and prosperity to the general Roman Population. It was not Emperor worship, as the Genius/Jinn/Jeannie/spirit/demon resided in the Emperor who was only deified after his death.

3. Local or State persecution:

a. Just 20 years earlier, in the Martyrdom of Ptolemaeus/Lucius (AD 160), Christians, they were appealed to the Emperor for justice against local authorities who persecuted them.

b. The offer of "pardon of our lord the emperor", likely meant, "I will pardon you as a representative of the Emperor"

c. "It is clear from the Acta that considerable hatred of the Christians was still possible in the early years of the reign of the third Antonine emperor, although the rigor of Marcus Aurelius had been much mitigated, as shown by the fact that Saturninus did not resort to torture, but repeatedly offered the Christians time to reconsider. It is also noteworthy that it would appear that the martyr Speratus made a distinction between the Pauline writings and the other books of the New Testament." (New Schaff-Herzog encyclopedia, vol 10, p298, 1914 AD)

d. There was no imperial edict to worship the emperor or die.

e. There is a good chance that these local prosecutions were contrary to the wishes of the Marcus Aurelius.

4. There is no emperor worship in this story.

S. Martyrdom of Apollonius as a case example of emperor worship under Commodus in AD 185

1. Under Emperor Commodus (180-192), the actual story of the Martyrdom of Apollonius during is lost except for this unreliable account from a late manuscript.

a. "'Yes, I am a Christian,' said Apollonius ... `Change your mind', said the proconsul Perennis; 'take my advice, Apollonius, and swear by the Genius of our lord the emperor Commodus.' ... I [Apollonius] beg you to believe, Perennis, that the clear and holy precepts that we have we learned from the Word of God, who knows all the thoughts of men. Further, we have been ordered by him never to swear and in all things to tell the truth. It is already considered a great oath when truth is affirmed by a 'yes'; hence it is wicked for a Chris-tian to swear. ... Perennis the proconsul said: 'Change your mind, Apollonius, and do what I tell you: offer sacrifice to the gods and to the image of the emperor Commodus.' ... In view of the senatorial decree', said the proconsul Perennis, `I urge you to change your mind, and to worship and venerate the gods that all of us worship and venerate, and so to continue to live in our midst.' ... `I am aware of the senatorial decree,' said Apollonius, 'but I am a pious man, Perennis, and I may not worship artificial idols'. ... The proconsul Perennis said: `Apollonius, I had thought that you had now changed from this decision of yours and were going to venerate the gods with us.'. ... Apollonius called Sakkeas fulfilled his mar-tyrdom." (Martyrdom of Apollonius, 185 AD)

b. "The extant acta reflect a poor, obviously late tradition and one widely at variance with the version known to Eusebius. Eusebius (HE v. 21), in referring to a document which was undoubtedly included in his own collection of the acta, asserts that a wealthy and learned Roman by the name of Apollonius was delated at Rome to the magistrate Perennis. This would be Tigidius Perennis, praetorian prefect at Rome from 180 until his murder at the command of Commodus in 185. After a futile speech of defense, delivered, according to Eusebius, before the Roman senate, Apollonius was con-demned under 'an old statute still valid'; but his informer's legs were ordered broken by Perennis (a penalty which the extant acta shifts to Apollonius himself). The Acts, preserved in a unique eleventh-century Greek manuscript from Paris and in a divergent Armenian version, are typical of the degree of distortion these martyrdoms [scripts of the martyr stories] underwent at an early date. ... it is a document to be used with caution, as representing a late, possibly fifth- or sixth-century redaction of a text which, even as known to Eusebius, may not have been free from apologetic distortion and modification." (Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Herbert Musurillo, p xxiii, 1972 AD)

c. Apollonius was ordered to swear and oath to the "Genius of the Emperor", worship idol Roman gods and the image of the emperor Commodus.

d. Apollonius argues that Christians do not swear oaths, but as Jesus said, "let you yes be yes, and your no be no" and therefore cannot take the oath.

2. Eusebius' version contradicts the longer version:

a. "At the same time, in the reign of Commodus, our lot changed to a milder one, as peace by the grace of God came upon the churches throughout the whole world; when, too, the word of salvation was guiding every soul of every race of mankind to the pious worship of the God of the universe, so that now many of those highly noted for riches and family, with all their household and with all their relatives, turned toward their own salvation. Now this, of course, was unendurable to the demon who hates God and who is envious by nature, and so he again stripped for battle, devising various schemes against us. In the city of Rome he brought Apollonius, a man celebrated at that time among the faithful for his education and philosophy, to the judgment seat, stirring up one of his servants, suited for this purpose, to accuse the man. But the martyr, most beloved by God, when the judge very earnestly besought and begged him to make a defense of himself before the Senate, presented before all a most eloquent defense of the faith for which he was being a martyr, and he was put to death by being beheaded, as if by decree of the Senate, since an ancient law among them prevailed that those who once appeared before the judgment seat and did not change their statement should on no condition be released. The words of this Apollonius in the presence of the judge, and the answers which he gave to the questions of Perennius, and his entire defense before the Senate, anyone who pleases to read all this will find it in the collection of the ancient martyrs we compiled." (Eusebius Eccl. History 5:21, 325 AD)

b. Eusebius says nothing about swearing an oath to the Genius of the Emperor, the requirement to worship idols or refusing to bow to a statue of the Emperor because that is not why he was executed.

c. We are told he was executed based upon an ancient law that if he offered no defense of the accusations.

d. We are not even told what false charge was made against him. It may have been a simple corruption charge that nothing to do with being forced to worship idols.

3. Discussion:

a. It is clear from the story, that Emperor worship was not the isolated requirement but one of a list of things the Christian needed to do in order to show they were good Roman citizens.

b. The story records no state-wide, witch hunt and in the end, only one person was executed.

c. Like most of the martyr stories, it is the leaders who are targeted while the general Christian population are left alone.

d. Even this late, unreliable rewrite of a true historic story doesn't provide the level of persecution required that late-daters need for the beast from the Earth to be Emperor worship.

e. The story varies greatly from Eusebius' version and it seems even the version Eusebius copied from had itself been modified and updated. This means it really doesn't paint the correct details of Christian persecution in the 2nd century AD.

f. Eusebius says that Christians experienced peace under Emperor Commodus but the later revision fabricates a fiction of Emperor worship.

T. Martyrdom of Potamiaena and Basilides as a case example of emperor worship under Severus in AD 210

1. Under Caesar Septimius Severus (AD 193-211) "The story goes that her judge, a man named Aquila,' subjected her entire body to cruel torments, and then threatened to hand her over to his gladiators to assault her physically. For a moment the girl reflected, and then when asked what her decision was, she gave some answer which impressed them as being contrary to their religion. No sooner had she uttered the word and received the sentence of condemnation, when a man named Basilides, who was one of those in the armed services, seized the condemned girl and led her off to execution. The crowd then tried to annoy her and to insult her with vulgar remarks; but Basilides, showing her the utmost pity and kindness, prevented them and drove them off. ... Not long afterwards Basilides for one reason or another was asked by his fellow soldiers to take an oath; but he insisted that he was not at all allowed to do so, since he was a Christian and made no secret of it. For a while they thought at first that he was joking; but then when he persistently assured them it was so, he was brought before the magistrate, and when he admitted the situation he was put into prison." (Martyrdom of Potamiaena and Basilides, 210 AD)

2. There is no emperor worship in the story.

a. The oath that Basilides is not specified and may not have been the Oath to the Genius of the Emperor.

b. In both cases it was the fact that they were Christians that they were executed based upon confession of Christ.

U. Martyrdom of Pionius the Presbyter as a case example of emperor worship under Decius in AD 250

6. Selected text of the story:

a. "This took place when Julius Proculus Quintillians was proconsul of Asia, under the consulship of the Emperor Gaius Messius Quintus Trajan Decius Augustus for the second time and Vettius Gratus, on the fourth day before the Ides of March according to the Roman calendar [12 March AD 250]" (Martyrdom of Pionius 23, 250 AD)

b. "On the second day of the sixth month, on the occasion of a great Sabbath, and on the anniversary of the blessed martyr Polycarp, while the persecution of Decius [249 to 251 AD] was still on, there were arrested the presbyter Pionius, the holy woman Sabina, Asclepiades, Macedonia, and Limnos, a presbyter of the Catholic Church. ... Polemon the [pagan] temple verger [priest] came in on them with his men in order to seek out the Christians and drag them off to offer sacrifice and to taste forbidden meats. 'Surely you are aware', said the verger, 'of the emperor's edict commanding us to sacrifice to the gods.'" (Martyrdom of Pionius 2, 250 AD)

c. "all the forum and the upper stories of the porches were crowded with Greeks, Jews, and women. They were on holiday because it was a great Sabbath ... 'At whom then do the Jews laugh without sympathy? For even if, as they claim, we are their enemies, we are at any rate men, and men who have been treated unjustly. They claim we have our chance to speak out. Yes, but whom have we offended? Did we murder anyone? Did we prosecute anyone? Did we force anyone to worship false gods? Or perhaps they think that their crimes are similar to those now committed by men out of fear. Rather, their sins differ as much as voluntary sins are different from indeliberate ones. Who forced the Jews to sacrifice to Beelphegor? Or partake of the sacrifices offered to the dead? Or to fornicate with the daughters of foreigners? Or to sacrifice their sons and daughters to idols? To murmur against God? To slander Moses? ... 'Do they [Jews] ask why was it that some, without any pressure, came to sacrifice of their own accord? But would you condemn all Christians because of these?" (Martyrdom of Pionius 3-4, 250 AD)

d. "'Once on a journey I travelled all through Palestine, and crossing the Jordan river I saw a land that bears witness even to this day of the divine anger that has afflicted it by reason of the sins committed by its inhabitants. ... 'Hence we bear witness to you of the judgement by fire that is to come, accomplished by God through his Word, Jesus Christ. And so for this reason we do not worship your so-called gods, nor will we adore the golden idol [I.e. Dan 3].'" (Martyrdom of Pionius 4, 250 AD)

e. "'Pionius, even though you do not wish to sacrifice, at least go into the temple of Nemesis [twin goddesses of Smyna].' ... Pionius said: 'Would that I were able to persuade you to become Christians.' The men laughed aloud at him. 'You have not such power that we should be burnt alive', they said. 'It is far worse', said Pionius, 'to burn after death.' Sabina smiled at this, and the verger and his men said: 'You laugh?' 'If God so wills,' she said, 'I do. You see, we are Christians. Those who believe in Christ will laugh unhesitatingly in everlasting joy.' They told her: 'You are going to suffer something you do not like. Women who refuse to sacrifice are put into a brothel.' 'The God who is all holy', she said, 'will take care of this.'" (Martyrdom of Pionius 7, 250 AD)

f. "'Make a sacrifice at least to the emperor,' said Polemon. 'I am a Christian,' said Pionius. 'I do not offer sacrifice to men.'" (Martyrdom of Pionius 8, 250 AD)

g. "'I understand also that the Jews have been inviting some of you to their synagogues. Beware lest you fall into a greater, more deliberate sin, lest anyone commit the unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, Do not become with them rulers of Sodom and people of Gomorrah, whose hands are tainted with blood. We did not slay our prophets nor did we betray Christ and crucify him. But why need I say much to you? Recall what you have heard; and now put into practice what you have learned. For you have also heard that the Jews say: Christ was a man, and he died a criminal. But let them tell us, what other criminal has filled the entire world with his disciples? What other criminal had his disciples and others with them to die for the name of their master? ... 'For my part, this lie that is repeated now as though it were recent, I have heard uttered by Jewish people since I was a child." (Martyrdom of Pionius 13-14, 250 AD)

h. "'Look, Euctemon [turncoat Christian], one of your leaders, offered sacrifice. So should you too be persuaded. Lepidus and Euctemon are asking for you in the temple of Nemesis [twin goddesses of Smyrna].'" (Martyrdom of Pionius 15, 250 AD)

i. "you were ordered to punish us, not force us against our wills [to sacrifice to idols].'" (Martyrdom of Pionius 16, 250 AD)

j. "'After your condemnation I shall ask for you to compete in single combat with my son.'" (Martyrdom of Pionius 18, 250 AD)

k. "Later it was said that Euctemon [a Christian leader who renounced Christ] had decided to force our hand . He had brought a little lamb to the temple of Nemesis, and after it was roasted and he had eaten of it, he intended to bring all the rest back home. He had indeed become ridiculous because of his false oath, wearing his crown and swearing by the emperor's genius and the goddesses of Fate that he was not a Christian." (Martyrdom of Pionius 18, 250 AD)

l. "The sentence was then read in Latin from a tablet: ' 'Whereas Pionius has admitted that he is a Christian, we hereby sentence him to be burnt alive.' 21. Hastily he went to the amphitheatre because of the zeal of his faith, and he gladly removed his clothes as the prison-keeper stood by. Then realizing the holiness and dignity of his own body, he was filled with great joy; and looking up to heaven he gave thanks to God who had preserved him so; then he stretched himself out on the gibbet and allowed the soldier to hammer in the nails. When Pionius had been nailed down the public executioner said to him once again: 'Change your mind and the nails will be taken out.' ... And so they raised him up on the gibbet, and then afterwards a man named Metrodorus from the Marcionitesect.s1 It happened that Pionius was on the right and Metrodorus was on the left, though both faced the east. After they brought the firewood and piled up the logs in a circle, Pionius shut his eyes so that the crowd thought that he was dead. But he was praying in secret, and when he came to the end of his prayer he opened his eyes. The flames were just beginning to rise as he pronounced his last Amen with a joyful countenance and said: 'Lord, receive my soul.'" (Martyrdom of Pionius 20-21, 250 AD)

7. Two different dates for the Martyrdom:

a. While the story, as we have it today, gives a precise date of 12 March AD 250, some of the details date the story to Diocletian after AD 300.

b. Eusebius contracts the date of AD 250 by placing it at the time of Polycarp c 156: "Moreover, a famous martyr of those at that time [Polycarp c AD 156] was Pionius." (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 4.15)

c. "A date in the last decades of the third century. Given the vagueness of the legal background, it seems impossible to determine whether Pionius and his companions were taken during the Decian persecutions. The prominence of Polemon the temple verger, the emperor's edict (3.2), and finally the explicit dating to the second consulship of Decius under the proconsul Iulius Proculus Quintilianus this would seem to make us all but certain of the date. And yet the questionings, the imprisonment, and the rest are not what we should expect as a result of the Decian edict, which merely commanded a certificate of sacrifice to be obtained under pain of capital punishment. Thus it is not impossible that our pious author, writing shortly before or after 300, has confused details from various periods, both before and after the reign of Decius." (Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Herbert Musurillo, p xxix, 1972 AD)

8. No requirement to worship the emperor or die!

a. The charge was being a Christian which was tested by sacrificing to idols.

b. A decree had been issued that each man must provide evidence he had sacrificed to ANY pagan idol god. Worshipping the emperor was acceptable evidence but not mandatory.

c. Notice that when Pionius refused to sacrifice to Nemesis, the twin goddesses of Smyrna, he was offered a second option: "Make a sacrifice at least to the emperor" (Martyrdom of Pionius 8, 250 AD). The language of "at least" speaks volumes and proves that this was not an edict from the top down, where the emperor demanded HE be worshipped or else die!

9. The words of Decius' Edict are unknown but and 46 Certificates of Libelli that have been excavated.

10. Jewish persecution of Christians

a. The Jews were exempted from the Edict because of ancient laws exempting them from the time of Julius Caesar.

b. The Jews hypocritically rejoiced in the theatres along with the pagans when Christians were condemned to death.

c. In a survey of the entire Old Testament, Pionius points out how the Jews themselves had a long history of worshipping idols.

V. Martyrdom of Conon as a case example of emperor worship under in Decius AD 250

"The details of the story seem most unconvincing: the prefect's arrival in Magydos only to find an empty city; the search in the surrounding areas, and the seizure of the elderly labourer to 'answer for all the Christians'. The Roman Martyrology makes Conon a martyr under Decius, and this may be close to the truth; but with the undoubted fictional elements in the martyrdom, it would seem useless to attempt any closer approximation. The prominence in the story of the unnamed temple verger, and the insistence on the imperial edict to sacrifice (without any further specification) would incline one to assign the date, if any, to Decius rather than Valerian and Gallienus. But the account, on the whole, however moving, does not commend itself from the historical point of view, and it would seem very likely to be a composition of the post-Constantinian period." (Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Herbert Musurillo, p xxxiii, 1972 AD)

W. Martyrdom of Cyprian as a case example of emperor worship under Valerian in AD 258

1. Outline of the story:

a. Cyprian's hearing before the proconsul Aspasius Paternus at Carthage on 30 Aug. 257 (1:1-2:1)

b. Cyprian's return, arrest on I Sept. 258 and trial before Galerius Maximus on 14 Sept. 258 (2:2-5:1)

c. Cyprian is executed on 14 Sept. 258 (5:2-6).

2. The story of the Martyrdom of Cyprian under Caesar Valerian (253-260 AD)

a. "'The most revered emperors Valerian and Gallienus have graciously sent me a document in which they order all those who do not practise Roman beliefs to acknowledge the Roman rites. I made some inquiries, then, in your connection. What have you to say to me?' Bishop Cyprian said: 'I am a Christian, and a bishop. I recognize no other gods but the one true God who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them. This is the God to whom we Christians pay homage; night and day we supplicate him for you and for all mankind, as well as for the health of the emperors.' ... Paternus said, 'The emperors have also given orders that no meetings are to be held anywhere, nor shall they enter the burial areas [where Christians were assembling for church]. Hence if anyone does not observe this very sound order, he will receive the capital penalty.'" (Martyrdom of Cyprian 1, 258 AD)

b. The entire congregation of his [Cyprian's] fellow Christians forgathered there; and, when the saintly Cyprian learned this, he gave orders that the young girls should be carefully guarded, for everyone had been staying out in the street before the door of the official's residence. (Martyrdom of Cyprian 2, 258 AD)

c. The proconsul Galerius Maximus said: 'The most reverend emperors [note the plural] have ordered [previous edicts of Decius] you to perform the religious rites.' (Martyrdom of Cyprian 3, 258 AD)

d. Galerius Maximus consulted with his advisory staff, and then with difficulty and reluctance [knowing the charges of criminality were false] spoke as follows: 'You have long persisted in your sacrilegious views [Christianity], and you have joined to yourself many other vicious men in a conspiracy. You have set yourself up as an enemy of the gods of Rome and of our religious practices; and the pious and venerable emperors Valerian and Gallienus Augusti and Valerian the most noble of Caesars have not been able to bring you back to the observance of their sacred rites. 'Thus since you have been caught as the instigator and leader of a most atrocious crime, you will be an example for all those whom in your wickedness you have gathered to yourself. Discipline shall have its sanction in your blood.' Then he read his decision from a tablet: 'Thascius Cyprian is sentenced to die by the sword.'" (Martyrdom of Cyprian 4, 258 AD)

e. After the sentence, the crowd of his fellow Christians said, 'Let us also be beheaded with him!' The result was an uproar among the Christians,? and he was followed along by a great throng. Then Cyprian was led out on to the grounds of Sextus' estate behind the proconsular residence. ... His brethren began spreading cloths and napkins in front of him. ... So the blessed Cyprian went to his death, and his body was laid out near by to satisfy the curiosity of the pagans. At nightfall, however, it was removed from there, and, accompanied by a cortege holding tapers and torches, was conducted with prayers in great triumph to the cemetery [normal assembly place of the church] of Macrobius Candidianus the procurator, which lies on the Mappalian Way near the fishponds, and was there buried. A few days later the proconsul Galerius Maximus died. (Martyrdom of Cyprian 5, 258 AD)

3. No Emperor worship:

a. Caesar Valerian (253-260 AD) issued decrees like Decius before him but as we can see, it had nothing to do with Emperor worship.

b. The Edicts forbad Christian assemblies which apparently were taking place in graveyards.

c. "Cyprian had avoided the confrontation with the authorities under the Decian decree. But Valerian's edict of August 257 ordered that Christians 'should not hold assemblies in any place' (Acta procons. 1. 3), including the entrance into cemeteries for the purpose of burial; and his rescript of July 258 ordered that 'bishops, presbyters, and deacons should be straightway punished' (Cyprian, Epist. 80. 1): senators and knights were to receive capital punishment; Christian matrons were to be sent into exile with confiscation of their property. Thus Valerian's legislation particularly attacked the fabric of the Christian community. ... The account was composed within a short time after the execution, possibly by Cyprian's friend Pontius, as Jerome confidently asserts." (Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Herbert Musurillo, p xxxi, 1972 AD)

4. Leaders specifically targeted not the general Christian population:

a. "you [Cyprian as a leader] will be an example for all those whom in your wickedness you have gathered to yourself." (Martyrdom of Cyprian 4, 258 AD)

b. Large numbers of Christians openly stood outside the courthouse, then made a large, loud and obvious procession to bury Cyprian in a cemetery.

c. The Edict indicates that the authorities knew that the cemetery was the normal meeting place of the Christians.

d. Once they arrived at the cemetery, the Christians engaged in their normal worship "conducted with prayers in great triumph".

e. All this shows that only leaders were targeted.

5. Problems for late-daters who interpret Rev 13 as "worship the emperor or die":

a. We are now up to AD 258 in time and there have been no edicts to "worship the emperor or die"

b. Only leaders were targeted and Cyprian was "an example" to others.

c. The general Christian population were left alone.

d. Late-daters interpret Rev 13 as a state-wide persecution of all Christians being hunted down mercilessly like dogs and executed, but as we have seen this is a fiction. There were legal trials, in an orderly fashion for one or two church leaders.

X. Martyrdom of Fructuosus, Augurius, Eulogiusin under Valerian in AD 259

1. The story:

a. "It was on the Lord's day, 16 January, in the year that Aemilianus and Bassus were consuls, 1 that Bishop Fructuosus and his deacons Augurius and Eulogius were arrested." (Martyrdom of Fructuosus 1, 259 AD)

b. "'Were you aware of the emperors' orders?' Fructuosus said: 'I do not know their orders. I am a Christian.' The governor Aemilianus said: 'They have ordered you to worship the gods.' ... if the gods are not worshipped, then the images of the emperors are not adored. ... And he sentenced them to be burnt alive." (Martyrdom of Fructuosus 2, 259 AD)

2. No Emperor worship:

a. The edict was to worship the gods. The reason was because if the gods are not worshipped, then people would disrespect the Emperor.

b. Only church leaders were executed.

c. Only 3 were executed not the general Christian population.

Y. Martyrdom of Marinus as a case example of emperor worship under Gallienus in AD 261

1. The story: "In the time of these persons, when there was peace among the churches everywhere, Marinus, one of those honored by high rank in the army and a man famous for his family and wealth, because of his testimony to Christ was beheaded in Caesarea of Palestine for the following reason. The vine-switch is a kind of mark of honor among Romans, and those who obtain this, it is said, become centurions. When a post became vacant, the order of succession called Marinus to this advancement, and, when now he was on the point of receiving the honor, another came before the tribunal and charged that according to the ancient laws it was not possible for Marinus to share in a rank that belonged to Romans, since he was a Christian and not accustomed to sacrifice to emperors, but that the office fell to himself. The judge (his name was Achaeus), it is said, was disturbed at this, and at first asked of what opinion Marinus was; when he saw that the man steadfastly confessed himself to be a Christian, he gave him an interval of three hours for consideration. When now he came out of the courthouse, Theotecnus, the bishop of that place, took him aside, engaging him in conversation, and taking him by the hand led him forward to the church, and when within he made him stand near the altar itself, and drawing his cloak aside a little he pointed to the sword which girded him, and at the same time he brought and placed before him the Scripture of the divine Gospels, and he ordered him to make his deliberate choice of the two. And when without hesitation he stretched forth his right hand and took the divine Scripture Theotecnus said to him, 'Hold fast, then, hold fast to God, and made strong by Him may you obtain what you have chosen, and go in peace.' Immediately when he returned thence the herald shouted, calling him before the court of justice, for the conditions of the appointed time had already been fulfilled. And now, standing near the judge, he displayed even greater zeal for the faith, and immediately, just as he was, was led away to death and so was perfected." (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 7.15, Martyrdom of Marinus, 261 AD)

2. Comments:

a. Caesar Gallienus: AD 260-268

b. Most important, notice how it was "a time of general peace for Christians EVERWHERE".

c. This story illustrates how the "worship the emperor or die" edicts were selective, arbitrary and generally ignored.

d. Worshipping the Emperor was always included in the broader worship of all the Roman pagan gods. In this situation the worship of the Emperor is focused on because of the high rank Marinus was to have in the Emperor's army.

e. There is obvious corruption and collusion between the solder who wanted Marinus' promotion, and the judge who ordered Marinus executed.

f. Marinus went to a church building where Christians met and returned, proving that there was no general hunt for Christians who refused to worship the Emperor.

Z. The Four Edicts of Diocletian were not Emperor Worship:

Note: Before AD 303, many Christians were in fact serving in Diocletian's army: Martyrdom of Maximilian, 295 AD.

1. 1st Edict of Diocletian: 23 February 303: Prohibited Christian assemblies, destruction church buildings, scriptures, religious books

a. Diocletian set 23 Feb 303 as the "Day of Termination" for Christianity when persecution began: "A favorable and propitious day was sought for carrying out the affair and the Terminalia feast days, which occur seven days before the Kalends of March, were selected especially, so that a terminus, as it were, should be placed on this religion."

b. "This was the nineteenth year of the reign of Diocletian, the month Dystrus, which would be called March among the Romans, in which, as the festival of the Saviour's Passion was approaching, an imperial letter was promulgated everywhere, ordering the churches to be razed to their foundations, and the Scriptures to be put out of existence by fire, and proclaiming that those who held positions of honor be disenfranchized, and that household servants, if they clung to the profession of Christianity, be deprived of their freedom. The first written pronouncement against us was of such a nature. But not long afterwards, as other letters continued to circulate, he ordered that all the bishops of the churches in every place be first committed to prison, then, later, be forced by every device to offer sacrifice. Then, truly, then very many of those in control of the churches eagerly contended with terrible torments, and exhibited examples of mighty conflicts; but countless others, growing numb of soul beforehand because of cowardice, thus readily proved weak at the first attack, and of the rest each endured various forms of torture, one having his body scourged with rods, another being punished by the rack and by unbearable scrapings, because of which some presently obtained an inauspicious end to life. But others again passed through the struggle in other ways: one, as others pushed against him with force and brought him to the abominable and impure sacrifices, was dismissed as if he had sacrificed, even though he had not; another, although he had by no means approached or touched any accursed thing, when others stated that he had sacrificed, departed enduring the calumny in silence; another, being taken up half-dead, was cast aside as if already a corpse; and again, a certain person who was lying on the ground was dragged a long way by the feet, reckoned among those who had sacrificed of their own accord. And one cried out and testified with a loud voice to his refusal to sacrifice, and another that he was a Christian, glorying in the confession of the saving name; another maintained firmly that he had never sacrificed and never would sacrifice. However, they were struck on the mouth and silenced by the many hands of a detachment of soldiers drawn up for this purpose, and being beaten on the face and cheeks they were driven away by force. So important did the enemies of religion regard it to seem by all means to have accomplished their purpose." (Eusebius, History ecclesiastical 8.2-3)

2. 2nd Edict of Diocletian: Summer 303: Imprisonment of all church leaders: Bishops, Deacons etc. but not the average Christian.

a. "In the course of the second year, the persecution against us increased greatly. And at that time Urbanus being governor of the province, imperial edicts were first issued to him, commanding by a general decree that all the people should sacrifice at once in the different cities, and offer libations to the idols. In Gaza, a city of Palestine, Timotheus endured countless tortures, and afterwards was subjected to a slow and moderate fire. Having given, by his patience in all his sufferings, most genuine evidence of sincerest piety toward the Deity, he bore away the crown of the victorious athletes of religion. At the same time Agapius and our contemporary, Thecla, having exhibited most noble constancy, were condemned as food for the wild beasts." (Eusebius, Martyrs of Palestine 3.1)

b. "In this year imperial orders (by Diocletian) were given that the Christian churches were to be destroyed, the sacred books be burnt [1st Edict], and the clergy and all Christians be handed over for torture and be compelled to sacrifice to idols [2nd Edict]. This was the most terrifying persecution of all, producing countless martyrs." (Aramaic Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor, Diocletian 19th year, AM 5795, AD 302/303)

c. "an imperial command went forth that those in charge of the churches everywhere be confined to prison and bonds. And the spectacle of what took place thereafter surpasses all description, when a countless throng was imprisoned in every place, and the prisons everywhere, long ago prepared for murderers and robbers of graves, were then filled by bishops and presbyters and deacons and readers and exorcists, so that there was no longer any place left here for those condemned for wrongdoing." (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 8.6.9, 325 AD)

3. 3rd Edict of Diocletian: 20 November 303: Amnesty for jailed church leaders who sacrifice to Roman gods. No specific mention of Emperor Worship.

a. "And when in turn the first edict was followed by others, in which it had been ordered to permit the imprisoned to walk to freedom if they sacrificed, but to tear them to pieces with countless tortures if they refused, how, then, could anyone here number the multitude of the martyrs in each province, and especially of those in Africa and Mauritania and Thebais and Egypt? From this last country, also, going forth now into other cities and provinces they became distinguished by their martyrdoms." (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 8.6.10, 325 AD)

4. 4th Edict of Diocletian: 23 February 304: All Roman citizens must sacrifice to the gods or be executed. No specific mention of Emperor Worship.

a. "For in the second attack upon us under Maximinus, in the third year of the persecution, edicts of the tyrant were issued for the first time, commanding that the rulers of the cities should diligently and speedily see to it that all the people offered sacrifices. Throughout the city of Cæsarea, by command of the governor, the heralds were summoning men, women, and children to the temples of the idols, and besides this, the chiliarchs were calling out each one by name from a roll, and an immense crowd of the wicked were rushing together from all quarters. Then this youth fearlessly, while no one was aware of his intentions, eluded both us who lived in the house with him and the whole band of soldiers that surrounded the governor, and rushed up to Urbanus as he was offering libations, and fearlessly seizing him by the right hand, straightway put a stop to his sacrificing, and skillfully and persuasively, with a certain divine inspiration, exhorted him to abandon his delusion, because it was not well to forsake the one and only true God, and sacrifice to idols and demons." (Eusebius, Martyrs of Palestine 4.8)

b. "But by some new impulse, I know not what, he who held the power to persecute was again aroused against the Christians. Immediately letters from Maximinus against us were published everywhere in every province. The governors and the military prefect3 urged by edicts and letters and public ordinances the magistrates and generals and notaries in all the cities to carry out the imperial decree, which ordered that the altars of the idols should with all speed be rebuilt; and that all men, women, and children, even infants at the breast, should sacrifice and offer oblations; and that with diligence and care they should cause them to taste of the execrable offerings; and that the things for sale in the market should be polluted with libations from the sacrifices; and that guards should be stationed before the baths in order to defile with the abominable sacrifices those who went to wash in them. When these orders were being carried out, our people, as was natural, were at the beginning greatly distressed in mind; and even the unbelieving heathen blamed the severity and the exceeding absurdity of what was done. For these things appeared to them extreme and burdensome. As the heaviest storm impended over all in every quarter, the divine power of our Saviour again infused such boldness into his athletes, that without being drawn on or dragged forward by any one, they spurned the threats. Three of the faithful joining together, rushed on the governor as he was sacrificing to the idols, and cried out to him to cease from his delusion, there being no other God than the Maker and Creator of the universe. When he asked who they were, they confessed boldly that they were Christians." (Eusebius, Martyrs of Palestine 9:2-4)

5. Why did Diocletian want to persecute Christians through the four Edicts:

a. Romula, the mother of Galerius was hated that the Christians doubled their prayer and fasting when she was sacrificing to idol gods, so she motivated her son Galerius to initiate a persecution against Christians through a decree of Caesar Diocletian. The emperor took council with his advisors, some of whom were in favor and others opposed. Finally he sent priests to get an answer from the god Apollo. "The response came that the God of the Christians was an enemy of the divine religion. Thus he was led away from his own decision; and, although he was not able to resist his friends, his Caesar, and Apollo, he did attempt to hold this moderation, that he ordered the affair to be conducted without bloodshed, although the Caesar wanted those who refused to sacrifice to be burned alive." Lactantius, De Mort. Pers. 11, 320 AD)

b. The two cases of Christian martyrs Maximilian (AD 295) and Marcellus (AD 298) who refused as conscientious objectors to serve in Diocletian's army, in spite of the fact that many Christians were active soldiers, may have been the reason why Diocletian issued his final and 4th edict that Christians must sacrifice to the gods (not to him, the Emperor) or die. Had Christians not quit Diocletian's army as conscientious objectors, there would have been no Christians martyrs during this last period. Christians brought the persecutions upon themselves unnecessarily because today most Christians have no problem serving in the military or being a police officer. Late-daters paint a distorted view of Diocletian because they do not look at original literary sources.

6. The myth of Emperor worship: The lack of any hint of Emperor worship in the four edicts of Diocletian are huge problems for late-daters in their insistence that the beast of Revelation 13 and/or the 8th healed head is most certainly the requirement to worship Diocletian or be executed.

7. Only the leaders were targeted and executed:

a. Bishops, Deacons were selected and the average church member was left alone.

b. Even in the final 4th Edict that required woman and children to sacrifice or die, only leaders were selected.

8. The decrees were not uniformly enforced:

a. Some countries totally ignored all the decrees.

b. Some countries moderately and selectively enforced the decrees.

AA. Martyrdom of Maximilian as a case example of emperor worship under Diocletian in AD 295

1. The story:

a. "On the twelfth day of March at Tebessa [12 March 295], in the consulship of Tuscus and Anullinus, Fabius Victor was summoned to the forum together with Maximilian; Pompeianus was permitted to act as their advocate. The advocate spoke: 'Fabius Victor, agent in charge of the recruiting tax, is present for his hearing along with Valerian Quintianus, imperial representative, and Victor's son Maximilian, an excellent recruit. Seeing that Maximilian [age 21] has good recommendations, I request that he be measured.' The proconsul Dion said: 'What is your name?' Maximilian replied: 'But why do you wish to know my name? I cannot serve because I am a Christian.' The proconsul Dion said: 'Get him ready.' While he was being made ready, Maximilian replied: 'I cannot serve. I cannot commit a sin. I am a Christian.' 'Let him be measured', said the proconsul Dion. After he was measured, one of the staff said: 'He is five foot ten.' Dion said to his staff: 'Let him be given the military seal.' Still resisting, Maximilian replied: 'I will not do it! I cannot serve!' 'Serve, or you will die', said Dion." (Martyrdom of Maximilian, 295 AD)

b. "The proconsul Dion said: 'In the sacred bodyguard of our lords Diocletian and Maximian, Constantius and Maximus, there are soldiers who are Christian, and they serve.'" (Martyrdom of Maximilian, 295 AD)

2. No "worship the Emperor or die" under Diocletian:

a. Caesar Diocletian reigned AD 284-305.

b. The 21-year-old man declared 7 times he was a Christian and would not join the army.

c. Dion, knowing Maximilian was a Christian, rejected it as an excuse 7 times and demanded he serve as a Christian under Diocletian.

3. Conscientious objector:

a. Maximilian was a "conscientious objector" to serving in the military, in spite of the fact that Dion told him that he knew many Christians who were in fact serving the military at that time.

b. See the Martyrdom of Marcellus three years later in AD 298, where Marcellus was acceptable as a Christian in the army but was executed because he was a "conscientious objector".

4. Late-daters have a huge problem in the story of the martyrdom of Maximilian because Diocletian is supposed to be "beast" who hunted down Christians to worship him or die yet here we see many Christians were known to serve in the army.

BB. Martyrdom of Marcellus as a case example of emperor worship under Diocletian in AD 298

1. The story:

a. "In the city of Tingis, while Fortunatus was governor, it was the celebration of the emperor's birthday. At length, when everyone was dining at the banquet table, a centurion named Marcellus rejected these pagan festivities, and after throwing down his soldier's belt in front of the legionary standards which were there at the time, he bore witness in a loud voice: 'I am a soldier of Jesus Christ, the eternal king. From now I cease to serve your emperors and I despise the worship of your gods of wood and stone, for they are deaf and dumb images.' ... Agricolanus said: 'You threw down your weapons?' Marcellus replied: 'Yes, I did. For it is not fitting that a Christian, who fights for Christ his Lord, should fight for the armies of this world.'" (Martyrdom of Marcellus, AD 298 AD)

b. "'I cannot conceal your rash act. And so I must report this to the emperors and to Caesar." (Martyrdom of Marcellus, AD 298 AD)

2. Conscientious objector during the time of Diocletian:

a. There was no objection to Marcellus being a Christian in the army but was executed because he was a "conscientious objector".

b. Maximilian was also "conscientious objector" three years earlier in AD 295.

c. Many Christians were in fact serving in Diocletian's army at that time.

3. No Emperor worship:

a. Diocletian knew that many Christians were soldiers in his army because these cases were reported to him.

b. Maximilian was not executed because he was a Christian, or that he refused to worship the pagan gods, but because he refused to serve in the army.

4. These two cases of Christians refusing to serve in the army as conscientious objectors, may have been the reason why Diocletian issued his final and 4th edict that Christians must sacrifice to the gods (not to him, the Emperor) or die.

CC. Martyrdom of Carpus, Papylus, Agathonice as an example of emperor worship under Diocletian in c. AD 300

4. Two different versions of the same story:

a. Longer Latin version: "In the days of the Emperor Decius, Bishop Carpus of Gordos, the deacon Pamfilus of Thyatira, and the devout woman Agathonice were arrested and brought before the proconsul Optimus." (Martrydom of Carpus, Papylus and Agathonice, longer Latin version)

b. Shorter Greek version: "While the proconsul was in residence in Pergamum there were brought before him the blessed Carpus and Papylus, witnesses of Christ. The proconsul took his seat and said: 'What is your name?' The saint answered: 'My first and most distinctive name is that of Christian; but if you want my name in the world, it is Carpus.' The proconsul said: 'You surely are aware of the emperors' decrees regarding the obligation of venerating the gods who govern all things. And so I suggest that you come forward and offer sacrifice.' `I am a Christian,' said Carpus,' 'and I venerate Christ the Son of God who has come in these latter times for our redemption, and has delivered us from the deceits of the Devil. I will not sacrifice to such idols as these. Do what you like! It is impossible for me to sacrifice to these demons with their deceptive appearances. For those who sacrifice to them are like them. ... `You must offer sacrifice', said the proconsul. 'These are the emperor's orders.' Carpus said: The living do not offer sacrifice to the dead.' The proconsul said: 'Do you think that the gods are dead?' Carpus said: 'Would you learn the truth? Why, these gods never lived born of men so that they could die. ... Immediately then the proconsul ordered him to be hung up and scraped [Latin version adds: "with claws"] ... First of all Papylus was nailed to a stake and lifted up, and after the fire was brought near he prayed in peace and gave up his soul. After him Carpus smiled as he was nailed down. And the bystanders were amazed and said to him: `What are you laughing at?' And the blessed one said: 'I saw the glory of the Lord and I was happy. Besides I am now rid of you and have no share in your sins.' A soldier piled up wood and lit it, and the saintly Carpus said to him as he was hanging: 'We too were born of the same mother, Eve, and we have the same flesh. (Martrydom of Carpus, Papylus and Agathonice, shorter Greek version)

5. Discussion of scholars on dating:

a. "Eusebius (HE iv. 15. 48) refers to these three martyrs of Pergamum immediately after Polycarp and Pionius, who are both dated to the period of Marcus Aurelius.? Though Har-nack, Lietzmann, and others espoused the view that Carpus and his companions were indeed martyred under Aurelius, some modern scholars, relying chiefly on the command to sacrifice in the Acts (A 11), prefer to place the incident in the reign of Decius. ... The Greek and Latin recensions differ widely" (Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Herbert Musurillo, p xv, 1972 AD)

b. "A detailed account of the martyrdoms of Carpus, Papylus, and Agathonice is extant in numerous MSS., and has been published more than once. It has, however, long been recognized as spurious and entirely untrustworthy. But in 1881 Aubè published in the Revue Archæologique (Dec., p. 348 sq.) a shorter form of the Acts of these martyrs, which he had discovered in a Greek MS. in the Paris Library. There is no reason to doubt that these Acts are genuine and, in the main, quite trustworthy. The longer Acts assign the death of these martyrs to the reign of Decius, and they have always been regarded as suffering during that persecution. ... In the spurious account Carpus is called a bishop, and Papylus a deacon. But in the shorter account they are simply Christians, and Papylus informs the judge that he is a citizen of Thyatira." (NPNF2.1, Phillip Schaff, Eusebius of Caesaria, p193, 1890 AD)

6. Many differences between the two versions:

a. The Latin version states the Martyrdom took place at the time of Diocletian (AD 284-305) in spite of the fact that Eusebius assigns the date contemporary to Polycarp under Marcus Aurelius (161-180) While we know of several decrees Diocletian issued to persecute Christians, there is no evidence that Marcus Aurelius ever did.

b. In the Greek version the proceedings take place in Pergamum but this is omitted in the longer Latin version.

c. In the Latin version Carpus is called a Bishop and Papylus a deacon but in the Greek version Carpus and Papylus are called Christians.

d. Carpus and Papylus were killed by being scraped then nailed to a stake and burned. The Latin version adds "scraped by claws".

e. A beautiful woman named Agathonice voluntarily took off her clothes after seeing a vision of glory as Carpus, Papylus had seen. In the Greek version she voluntarily throws herself into the fire but in the Latin version she is arrested at the same time as Carpus, Papylus and men nail her to the stake and then lit a fire under her.

7. Emperor worship totally absent from the account.

a. Both Greek and Latin versions of the story directly state that Caesar had issued a decree that Christians must worship and sacrifice to idols or die.

b. While there is a imperial decree which commanded Christians to offer sacrifices to plural Roman pagan gods, the imperial cult is missing.

c. As we have seen from other accounts, Diocletian never ordered Christians to worship him, only the Roman gods.

8. Leaders only were targeted not the general Christian population:

a. There are two indications that Christians were present at the entire trial to the knowledge of everyone.

b. First: The man from the crowd who defended Papylus as having many spiritual children is not a comment that would be voiced by a pagan.

i. Papylus' comment that he had many spiritual children of Christian faith everywhere in every city proves he was a leader in the shorter Greek edition that does not call him a bishop as the longer Latin version does.

ii. Everyone would immediately recognize this man as a Christian in the audience, yet no action was taken against him.

c. Second: Although done in secred, everybody knew the Christians had collected the bones.

i. "And the Christians secretly collected their remains and protected them for the glory of Christ and the praise of His martyrs." (Martrydom of Carpus, Papylus and Agathonice, shorter Greek version)

9. Developed trinitarian doxology formula at the end of the story indicates its origin is after AD 250.

a. "For to Him belong glory and power, to the father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever and for all ages to come, Amen." (Martrydom of Carpus, Papylus and Agathonice, shorter Greek version)

10. Celibacy theology is a red flag that the story was composed around AD 300:

a. "`Of what city?' asked the proconsul. Papylus said: `Of Thyatira.' The proconsul said: 'Do you have any children?' Papylus said: Yes, many, by God's grace.' But one of the crowd shouted out: 'He means he has children in virtue of the faith which the Christians repose in him.' The proconsul said: 'Why do you lie saying that you have children?' Papylus said: 'Would you like to understand that I do not lie but that I am telling the truth? I have children in the Lord in every province and city.'" (Martrydom of Carpus, Papylus and Agathonice, shorter Greek version)

b. The story emphasizes the fact that fact Papylus was not married, by implication he had no children. That this was brought up at all, is suspicious that leaders were celibate without a wife like Paul. Celibacy of church leaders was openly discussed and formally proposed at the Nicene council in AD 325 but rejected. This trend finally crystallized with a full ban on bishops and priests being married by the 10th century, in spite of the fact the Bible specifically requires bishops to be married in 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1.

c. Socrates Scholasticus and Hermias Sozomen were both died around AD 450 and note that some at the Nicene council of AD 325 intended to make a canon enforcing celibacy of the clergy, but it failed to do so when Paphnutius, a bishop from upper Egypt intervened. It was noted that Constantine himself removed the "unmarried tax" which Roman law place upon it citizens in order to boost the population:

i. Constantine's Law: "There was an ancient Roman law, by which those who were unmarried at the age of twenty-five were not admitted to the same privileges as the married; amongst other clauses in this law, it was specified that those who were not the very nearest kinsmen could gain nothing from a will; and also, that those who were childless were to be deprived of half of any property that might be bequeathed to them. The object of this ancient Roman law was to increase the population of Rome and the subject people, which had been much reduced in numbers by the civil wars, not a long while before this law. The emperor, perceiving that this enactment militated against the interests of those who continued in a state of celibacy and remained childless for the sake of God, and deeming it absurd to attempt the multiplication of the human species by the care and zeal of man (since nature always receiving increase or decrease according to the fiat from on high), made a law enjoining that the unmarried and childless should have the same advantages as the married. He even bestowed peculiar privileges on those who embraced a life of continence and virginity, and permitted them, contrary to the usage which prevailed throughout the Roman empire, to make a will before they attained the age of puberty; for he believed that those who devoted themselves to the service of God and the cultivation of philosophy would, in all cases, judge aright. For a similar reason the ancient Romans permitted the vestal virgins to make a will as soon as they attained the age of six years. That was the greatest proof of the superior reverence for religion. Constantine exempted the clergy everywhere from taxation, and permitted litigants to appeal to the decision of the bishops if they preferred them to the state rulers. He enacted that their decree should be valid, and as far superior to that of other judges as if pronounced by the emperor himself; that the governors and subordinate military officers should see to the execution of these decrees: and that the definitions made by synods should be irreversible. (Hermias Sozomen 1.9, 450 AD)

ii. Socrates' account of Nicene council: "Paphnutius then was bishop of one of the cities in Upper Thebes [Egypt]: he was a man so favored divinely that extraordinary miracles were done by him. In the time of the persecution he had been deprived of one of his eyes. The emperor honored this man exceedingly, and often sent for him to the palace, and kissed the part where the eye had been torn out. So great devoutness characterized the emperor Constantine. Let this single fact respecting Paphnutius suffice: I shall now explain another thing which came to pass in consequence of his advice, both for the good of the Church and the honor of the clergy. It seemed fit to the bishops to introduce a new law into the Church, that those who were in holy orders, I speak of bishops, presbyters, and deacons, should have no conjugal intercourse with the wives whom they had married while still laymen. Now when discussion on this matter was impending, Paphnutius having arisen in the midst of the assembly of bishops, earnestly entreated them not to impose so heavy a yoke on the ministers of religion: asserting that 'marriage itself is honorable, and the bed undefiled';3 urging before God that they ought not to injure the Church by too stringent restrictions." (Socrates Scholasticus, 11, AD 450)

iii. Hermias' account of Nicene council: "Zealous of reforming the life of those who were engaged about the churches, the Synod enacted laws which were called canons. While they were deliberating about this, some thought that a law ought to be passed enacting that bishops and presbyters, deacons and sub-deacons, should hold no intercourse with the wife they had espoused before they entered the priesthood; but Paphnutius, the confessor, stood up and testified against this proposition; he said that marriage was honorable and chaste, and that cohabitation with their own wives was chastity, and advised the Synod not to frame such a law, for it would be difficult to bear, and might serve as an occasion of incontinence to them and their wives; and he reminded them, that according to the ancient tradition of the church, those who were unmarried when they took part in the communion of sacred orders, were required to remain so, but that those who were married, were not to put away their wives. Such was the advice of Paphnutius, although he was himself unmarried, and in accordance with it, the Synod concurred in his counsel, enacted no law about it, but left the matter to the decision of individual judgment, and not to compulsion." (Hermias Sozomen 1.23, 450 AD)

d. The Apostolic Cannons date to c. AD 350 and condemn a man divorcing his wife because of his office. However, marrying the wrong woman as a first wife or remarriage disqualified a man from office in the church:

i. "Let not a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, put away his wife under pretense of religion; but if he put her away, let him be excommunicated; and if he persists, let him be deposed." (Apostolical Canons, 5, 350 AD)

ii. "He who has been twice married after baptism, or who has had a concubine, cannot become a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, or any other of the sacerdotal list." (Apostolical Canons, 17, 350 AD)

iii. "He who married a widow, or a divorced woman, or an harlot, or a servant-maid, or an actress, cannot be a bishop, presbyter, or deacon, or any other of the sacerdotal list." (Apostolical Canons, 18, 350 AD)

e. The requirement that church leaders be celibate was condemned in Quinisext Council also known as that Council in Trullo in AD 692.

f. The modern Roman Catholic church traces its full ban on marriage of priests back to the First and Second Lateran Council (AD 1123 & 1139) but was formalized in the Council of Trent AD 1545. The Orthodox church has never forbidden their leaders to marry down to the present time.

g. That Papylus was and childless, unmarried church leader in the story, provides a hidden cryptic endorsement of banning the marriage of church leaders. This idea simply did not exist before the AD 200 and proves the story surely dates to c. AD 300 during the reign of Diocletian.

11. Finally, late-daters cannot use the Martrydom of Carpus, Papylus and Agathonice as an example of Emperor worship because that idea is totally absent. It is clear that the Martrydom of Carpus, Papylus and Agathonice was composed during the time of Diocletian around AD 300. Historically, the three may have suffered execution centuries earlier, but the details of the story written much later are not reliable.

DD. Martyrdom of Julius as a case example of emperor worship under Diocletian in AD 305

1. The story: "In the time of persecution, when the glorious ordeals which the Christians faced looked to merit the eternal promises, Julius was arrested by the prefect's staff soldiers and he was brought before the prefect Maximus. 'Who is this?' asked Maxim us. One of the staff replied: 'This is a Christian who will not obey the laws.' ...

The prefect Maximus said: 'What is so serious about offering some incense and going away?' Julius replied: 'I cannot despise the divine commandments or appear unfaithful to my God. In all the twenty-seven years in which I made the mistake, so it appears, to serve foolishly in the army, I was never brought before a magistrate either as a criminal or a trouble-maker. I went on seven military campaigns, and never hid behind anyone nor was I the inferior of any man in battle. My chief never found me at fault. And now do you suppose that I, who was always found to be faithful in the past, should now be unfaithful to higher orders?' 'What military service did you have?' asked Maximus the prefect. 'I was in the army,' answered Julius, 'and when I had served my term I re-enlisted as a veteran. All of this time I worshipped in fear the God who made heaven and earth, and even to this day I show him my service.' . 'Julius,' said Maximus the prefect, 'I see that you are a wise and serious person. You shall receive a generous bonus if you will take my advice and sacrifice to the gods.' 'I will not do what you wish,' answered Julius, 'lest I incur an eternal penalty.' 'If you think it a sin,' answered the prefect Maximus, 'let me take the blame. I am the one who is forcing you, so that you may not give the impression of having consented voluntarily. Afterwards you can go home in peace, you will pick up your ten-year bonus, and no one will ever trouble you again.' ... Julius replied: 'I surely suffer for the law-but it is the divine law.' Maximus said: 'You mean the law given you by a man who was crucified and died? Look how foolish you are to fear a dead man more than living emperors!' ... Then he took the blindfold and bound his eyes, bent his neck, and said: 'Lord Jesus Christ, I suffer this for your name. I beg you, deign to receive my spirit together with your holy martyrs.' And so the Devil's servant struck the blessed martyr with a sword and brought his life to an end, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom is honour and glory for ever. Amen." (Martyrdom of Julius, 305 AD)

2. Discussion:

a. The story takes place after the 4th edict of Diocletian which said nothing about worshipping the Emperor.

b. "The martyrdom of Julius, a veteran soldier at Durostorum in Moesia Inferior, had been traditionally commemorated on 27 May in the Martyrologium romanum. ... Diocletian's famous fourth edict against the Christians, commanding sacrifice to the gods under penalty of death, was probably issued in January or February of the year 304, though it may not have reached Moesia before the spring of the year. (Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Herbert Musurillo, p xxxix, 1972 AD)

c. Julius says he openly worshipped Jesus as his God all the 27 years he was in the military and nobody cared.

3. No Emperor worship:

a. The 4th edict of Diocletian only required sacrifice to any pagan god.

b. Notice that the judge had no problem with Christians serving in the army.

c. Julius was required to sacrifice to pagan god's not the emperor.

EE. Martyrdom of Felix as a case example of emperor worship under Diocletian in AD 303

1. The Story: "It was the year of the eighth consulship of Diocletian and the seventh of Maximian, Augusti, when there went forth an edict [I.e. the first edict: 23 Feb. 303] of the emperors Caesars over the entire face of the earth. The order was given to the rulers and magistrates throughout the cities and colonies that each in his locality should take the divine books from the hands of the bishops and presbyters. The decree was consequently promulgated on 5 June in the city of Tibiuca. Magnilianus, the city magistrate, ordered the elders of the Christian community to be brought before him. ... The magistrate Magnilianus said to him: 'Are you Felix the bishop?' 'I am', answered Bishop Felix. 'Hand over whatever books or parchments you possess,' said the magistrate Magnilianus. 'I have them,' answered Bishop Felix, 'but I will not give them up.' The magistrate Magnilianus said: 'Hand the books over to be burned.' 'It would be better for me to be burned,' answered Bishop Felix, 'rather than the divine Scriptures. For it is better to obey God rather than men.' The magistrate Magnilianus said: 'The emperors' orders come before anything you say.' ... the proconsul Anullinus ordered him to be beheaded. It was 15 July [AD 303]. Bishop Felix raised his eyes to heaven and said in a loud voice: 'God, I thank you. I have passed fifty-six years in this world."

(Martyrdom of Felix, 303 AD)

2. No emperor worship:

a. Diocleatin's first edict was issued on 23 February 303.

b. Only scripture was to be burned.

c. Only the leaders were targeted and only the top man, the bishop was executed.

d. The general population of Christians were not even targeted.

FF. Martyrdom of Agape, Chione, Irene as a case example of emperor worship under Diocletian in AD 304

1. Storyline: When Caesar Maximian was co-regent with Caesar Diocletian [AD 286 to 305], three women from Thessalonica fled to live on a mountaintop as a result of the first Edict of Diocletian in AD 303 to destroy scripture. A year later (AD 304) after Diocletian had issued his 4th Edict, the three were captured, brought to trial and executed. The first two girls, Agape and Chione, were executed for failing to sacrifice to the pagan gods under Diocletian's 4th edict. The third, Irene, was executed for failing to surrender scripture found hidden in her storage trunks under Diocletian's 1st Edict and refusing to sacrifice and eat sacrificial meat under the 4th edict.

2. Text of the story:

a. Such were the three saintly women who came from the city of Thessalonica ... When the persecution was raging under the Emperor Maximian [Co-regent with Diocletian AD 286 to 305] these women, who had adorned themselves with virtue, following the precepts of the Gospel, abandoned their native city, their family, property, and possessions because of their love of God and their expectation of heavenly things, performing deeds worthy of their father Abraham. They fled the persecutors, according to the commandment, and took refuge on a high mountain. There they gave themselves to prayer: though their bodies resided on a mountain top, their souls lived in heaven. At any rate, they were here captured [a year later in AD 304] and brought to the official who was conducting the persecution." (Martyrdom of Agape, Chione, Irene 1, 304 AD)

b. 'What is this insanity,' said the prefect Dulcitius, 'that you refuse to obey the order of our most religious emperors and Caesars [Maximian and Diocletian]?' And turning to Agatho, he said: 'When you came to the sacrifices, why did you not perform the cult practices like other religious people?' ... The prefect said: 'Are you willing to partake of the sacrificial meat?' (Martyrdom of Agape, Chione, Irene 3, 304 AD)

c. After the most holy women [Agape and Chione] were consumed in the flames, the saintly girl Irene was once again brought before the court on the following day. Dulcitius said to her: 'It is clear from what we have seen that you are determined in your folly, for you have deliberately kept even till now so many tablets, books, parchments, codices, and pages of the writings of the former Christians of unholy name; even now, though you denied each time that you possessed such writings, you did show a sign of recognition when they were mentioned. You are not satisfied with the punishment of your sisters, nor do you keep before your eyes the terror of death. Therefore you must be punished. ... Will you do the bidding of our emperors and Caesars? Are you prepared to eat the sacrificial meats and to sacrifice to the gods?' ... The prefect Dulcitius said: 'Who was it that advised you to retain those parchments and writings up to the present time?' 'It was almighty God,' said Irene' (Martyrdom of Agape, Chione, Irene 5, 304 AD)

d. 'It was abundantly clear from your earlier testimony', said the prefect Dulcitius, 'that you did not wish to submit religiously to the bidding of the emperors; and now I perceive that you are persisting in the same foolishness. Therefore, you shall pay the appropriate penalty.' He then asked for a sheet of papyrus and wrote the sentence against her as follows: 'Whereas Irene has refused to obey the command of the emperors and to offer sacrifice, and still adheres to a sect called the Christians, I therefore sentence her to be burned alive, as did her two sisters before her.' [April 304] (Martyrdom of Agape, Chione, Irene 6, 304 AD)

3. No Emperor Worship: The women were executed for refusing to surrender scripture and refusing to sacrifice to pagan gods and eat the sacrificial meat. The idea of worshipping Diocletian is totally absent.

GG. Martyrdom of Irenaeus as a case example of emperor worship under Diocletian in AD 304

a. Text of the story:

a. "During the persecution under the emperors Diocletian and Maximian, when the Christians fought together in many different conflicts, with hearts dedicated to God they endured the punishments inflicted by the tyrants and achieved. a share in the eternal rewards. This was what happened to the servant of God Irenaeus, bishop of Sirmium [now in ruins near the modern town of Sremska Mitrovica, in Jugoslavia]." (Martyrdom of lrenaeus 1, 304 AD)

b. "At any rate he was arrested and brought before Probus, prefect of Pannonia. The prefect Probus said to him: 'Obey the divine decrees and off er sacrifice to the gods.' ' Who sacrifices to the gods', answered Bishop Irenaeus, 'and not to God, shall be utterly destroyed. The prefect Probus said: 'The most merciful emperors have ordered you either to sacrifice or to die by torture.'" (Martyrdom of lrenaeus 2, 304 AD)

c. "Irenaeus replied: 'I have a God whom I learned to worship when I was a mere child. Him I adore who comforts me in all things, and to him I offer sacrifice. But I cannot worship gods made by human hands.'" (Martyrdom of lrenaeus 3, 304 AD)

d. Probus then delivered sentence, saying: 'Because of Irenaeus' disobedience to the imperial commands, I hereby order him to be thrown into the river.'" (Martyrdom of lrenaeus 4, 304 AD)

e. "Then did the executioners behead him, and they threw his body into the river Save." (Martyrdom of lrenaeus 5, 304 AD)

f. "The holy servant of God, Bishop Irenaeus of Sirmium, was martyred on the sixth day of April [6 April 304] under the Emperor Diocletian, when Probus was governor, under the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is glory for ever. Amen." (Martyrdom of lrenaeus 6, 304 AD)

2. There is not a trace of Emperor worship in the martyrdom of Irenaeus.

a. Diocletian's 4th edict required the leaders to sacrifice to idols (not the Emperor) or be executed.

b. Irenaeus was beheaded and thrown into the river on 6 April 304. He was young and good looking with a wife and children.

c. The general Christian population were not targeted for execution as evidenced that Irenaeus' wife and children were excepted. While Irenaeus denied he had a wife, fearing they too would be executed, his fears were misplaced because the judge knew he had a wife and children but did not even question them.

HH. Martyrdom of Crispina as a case example of emperor worship under Diocletian in AD 304

1. Text of the story:

a. "It was the fifth day of December [5 Dec. 304] in the ninth consulate of Diocletian Augustus and the eighth of Maximian Augustus in the colony of Tebessa. The proconsul Anullinus sat in judgement on the tribunal in his council-chamber, and the court clerk spoke: 'Crispina, a lady of Toura, is to be tried at your good pleasure: she has spurned the law of our lords the emperors.' 'Bring her in,' said the proconsul Anullinus. When Crispina had come in, the proconsul Anullinus said: 'Are you aware of what is commanded by the sacred decree [Diocetian's 4th Edict]?' 'No,' said Crispina, 'I do not know what has been commanded.' Anullinus said: 'That you should offer sacrifice to all our gods for the welfare of the emperors, in accordance with the law issued by our lords the reverend Augusti Diocletian and Maximian and the most noble Caesars Constantius and Maximus. '" (Martyrdom of Crispina 1, 304 AD)

b. "Anullinus said: 'I put before you the sacred edict. You must obey it.' 'I will obey the edict,' replied Crispina, 'but the one given by my Lord Jesus Christ.' 'I will have you beheaded', said the proconsul Anullinus, 'if you do not obey the edicts of our lords the emperors. You will be forced to yield and obey them: all the province of Africa has offered sacrifice, as you are well aware,' ... Anullinus said: 'But all we ask of your religion is that you bow your head in the sacred temples and offer incense to the gods of Rome.'" (Martyrdom of Crispina 2, 304 AD)

c. "Anullinus said: 'If you despise the worship of our venerable gods, I shall order your head to be cut off.' 'I should thank my God,' replied Crispina, 'if I obtained this. I should be very happy to lose my head for the sake of my God. For I refuse to sacrifice to these ridiculous deaf and dumb statues.' Anullinus the proconsul said: 'And so you absolutely persist in this foolish frame of mind?' Crispina replied: 'My God who is and who abides for ever ordered me to be born; it was he who gave me salvation through the saving waters of baptism: he is at my side, helping me, strengthening his handmaid in all things so that she will not commit sacrilege.'" (Martyrdom of Crispina 3, 304 AD)

d. "The proconsul Anullinus read the sentence from a tablet: 'Seeing that Crispina has persisted in infamous superstition and refuses to offer sacrifice to our gods in accordance with the heavenly decrees of the Augustan law, I have ordered her to be executed with the sword.' ... And making the sign of the cross on her forehead and putting out her neck, she was beheaded for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honour for ever. Amen." (Martyrdom of Crispina 4, 304 AD)

2. There was no Emperor worship under Diocletian's 4th edict as witnessed in this story.

a. Her calling idols "ridiculous deaf and dumb statues" echoes Jeremiah.

b. Water baptism was essential to salvation down to the protestant reformation in AD 1500. The Nicene creed also contains a statement that water baptism is for remission of sins.

JJ. AD 311: Persecution officially ends: The Edict of Toleration by Galerius at Serdica:

1. Ancient record of the Edict issued at Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria)

a. "The most vicious persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire began in 303 under Emperor Diocletian (245-313). When Diocletian abdicated his rule in the East, he was replaced by his son-in-law Galerius, who then intensified the effort to eradicate Christianity. On April 30, 311, while on his deathbed, Galerius-perhaps convinced that his fatal illness was God's judgment on him-issued the Edict of Toleration, which pardoned Christians and allowed them to resume practicing their faith. Soon the prisons were opened and thousands of Christians were released, bearing the scars of their torture. Galerius died five days after issuing his edict." (The Complete Book of When and Where, Sharon Rusten, p113, 2005 AD)

b. "Such were the happenings that were extended throughout the entire persecution, when in the tenth year (AD 313) by the grace of God it ceased completely, although it began to abate and to be certain after the eighth year (AD 311). ... Wrestling with so many evils, he felt conscious-stricken for the deed which he had brazenly committed against the pious, and so reflecting within himself, he first openly confessed to the God of the universe; then, summoning those about him, he commanded them without delay to put an end to the persecution against the Christians, and by an imperial law and decree to urge them to build their churches and to perform their customary rites, offering prayers in behalf of the emperor. Action straightway followed upon his word; royal decrees were promulgated in the cities, one by one, containing the recantation of the edicts issued against us in the following manner: "Among the other measures which we conceive for the good and profit of the people, we wished formerly to set all aright in accord with the ancient laws and public discipline of the Romans, and to make provision for the following: that the Christians, also, whoever had left the religion of their ancestors, should return to a good attitude of mind, since by some reasoning such arrogance had laid hold on them and such folly seized them as to cause them not to follow what had been introduced of old by their ancestors, which perhaps their own forefathers had formerly established, but, according to their own attitude of mind and as each one wished, thus made laws for themselves and observed these and assembled various multitudes in various places. Therefore, when an order by us soon followed to the intent that they transfer themselves to the institutions established by the ancients, a great many gave in to danger, but a great many were harassed and suffered all kinds of death; and since, when the majority persisted in the same attitude of mind we say that they were not carrying on the worship due to the gods of heaven nor attending to Him of the Christians, having regard for our humanity and our invariable custom by which we regularly extended pardon to all men, we thought that in this case, also, we should most eagerly accord our indulgence, that they may be Christians again and build the houses in which they used to gather, provided that they do nothing contrary to the discipline. In another letter we shall show the judges what they shall have to observe. Therefore, according to this indulgence of ours they should beseech their own God for our safety and that of the people and that of themselves, in order that in every way both the welfare of the people may be secured and they may be able to live free from care at their own homes.' Such was the way this edict went in the Latin language, translated as well as possible into the Greek tongue." (Eusebius Hist. eccl. 8.17)

c. "This edict was set forth at Nicomedia on the last day of April, himself and Maximin being consuls again for the eighth time. Then, when the prisons were opened, you were freed from custody, dearest Donatus, with the other confessors, the prison having been as a home to you for six years! However, even after the passing of this edict, he did not receive pardon for his crime from God; but after a few days, when he had commended his wife and son to Licinius and turned them over to his keeping, and since all the parts of his whole body were now disintegrating, he was consumed with the dread decay. And this was learned at Nicomedia in the middle of the same month, where the Twentieth Anniversary celebration was to be held the following first of March." (Lactantius, De Mort. Pers. 34-35, 320 AD)

KK. Constantine's Edict of Milan: 313 AD

1. Text of the Edict: "When we, Constantine and Licinius, emperors, had an interview at Milan, and conferred together with respect to the good and security of the commonweal, it seemed to us that, amongst those things that are profitable to mankind in general, the reverence paid to the Divinity merited our first and chief attention, and that it was proper that the Christians and all others should have liberty to follow that mode of religion which to each of them appeared best; so that that God, who is seated in heaven, might be benign and propitious to us, and to every one under our government. And therefore we judged it a salutary measure, and one highly consonant to right reason, that no man should be denied leave of attaching himself to the rites of the Christians, or to whatever other religion his mind directed him, that thus the supreme Divinity, to whose worship we freely devote ourselves, might continue to vouchsafe His favour and beneficence to us. And accordingly we give you to know that, without regard to any provisos in our former orders to you concerning the Christians, all who choose that religion are to be permitted, freely and absolutely, to remain in it, and not to be disturbed any ways, or molested. And we thought fit to be thus special in the things committed to your charge, that you might understand that the indulgence which we have granted in matters of religion to the Christians is ample and unconditional; and perceive at the same time that the open and free exercise of their respective religions is granted to all others, as well as to the Christians. For it befits the well-ordered state and the tranquillity of our times that each individual be allowed, according to his own choice, to worship the Divinity; and we mean not to derogate aught from the honour due to any religion or its votaries. Moreover, with respect to the Christians, we formerly gave certain orders concerning the places appropriated for their religious assemblies; but now we will that all persons who have purchased such places, either from our exchequer or from any one else, do restore them to the Christians, without money demanded or price claimed, and that this be performed peremptorily and unambiguously; and we will also, that they who have obtained any right to such places by form of gift do forthwith restore them to the Christians: reserving always to such persons, who have either purchased for a price, or gratuitously acquired them, to make application to the judge of the district, if they look on themselves as entitled to any equivalent from our beneficence. "All those places are, by your intervention, to be immediately restored to the Christians. And because it appears that, besides the places appropriated to religious worship, the Christians did possess other places, which belonged not to individuals, but to their society in general, that is, to their churches, we comprehend all such within the regulation aforesaid, and we will that you cause them all to be restored to the society or churches, and that without hesitation or controversy: Provided always, that the persons making restitution without a price paid shall be at liberty to seek indemnification from our bounty. In furthering all which things for the behoof of the Christians, you are to use your utmost diligence, to the end that our orders be speedily obeyed, and our gracious purpose in securing the public tranquillity promoted. So shall that divine favour which, in affairs of the mightiest importance, we have already experienced, continue to give success to us, and in our successes make the commonweal happy. And that the tenor of this our gracious ordinance may be made known unto all, we will that you cause it by your authority to be published everywhere." Licinius having issued this ordinance, made an harangue, in which he exhorted the Christians to rebuild their religious edifices. And thus, from the overthrow of the Church until its restoration, there was a space of ten years and about four months." (Lactantius, De Mort. Pers. 48, 320 AD)

LL. Constantine Converts to Christianity:

1. Diocletian divided the Roman empire into two parts, east and west, at the end of the reign.

a. In AD 305, Diocletian split the empire into two halves wherein Constantine's father, Constantius Chlorus, was appointed to the rank of "Augustus" as the senior western co-emperor of the Roman empire. Diocletian appointed Galerius to the rank of "Augustus" as Senior Eastern co-emperor of the Roman Empire. Roman law requires an "Augustus" (Senior Emperor) and "Caesar" (Junior emperor) like the USA has a president and vice-president. Two Junior Emperors (Caesars) were appointed by Galerius named Maximinus Daia and Severus.

b. In AD 306 Constantius Chlorus died and his son, Constantine the Great was acclaimed by the army to the rank of "Augustus" as the Senior co-emperor of the Western Roman empire with Flavius Severus as his Junior "Caesar" of the west. However, at the same time, Galerius promoted Flavius Severus 306-307 to the rank of Augustus of the west to replace Constantine's father.

c. Because of illness, Galerius elevated Licinius to the rank of Augustus in the West on November 11, 308.

d. In AD 311, shortly before his death, Galerius issued the Edict of Toleration which ended persecutions of Christians.

e. On 28 October 312, Constantine defeated Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian bridge. The night before the sign of the Cross ☧ appeared to him in the sky:

i. "Constantine was directed in a dream to cause the heavenly sign ☧ to be delineated on the shields of his soldiers, and so to proceed to battle. He did as he had been commanded, and he marked on their shields the letter X, with a perpendicular line drawn through it and turned round thus at the top, being the cipher of CHRIST. Having this sign, his troops stood to arms." (Lactanius, De Mort. Pers. 44, 320 AD)

ii. "After defeating Maxentius, Constantine refused to make customary ritual pagan sacrifices at the Temple of Jupiter at Capitoline Hill, indicating Constantine was not going to violate the blessings of the Christian God and bring himself under a curse.

iii. "When Constantine arrived in Rome on 29 October 312, he did so as the victor over Maxentius at the battle of the Milvian Bridge the previous day. His adventus had about it the air of a triumph: it was commemorated, after all, by the erection of a triumphal arch, and Maxentius' head was paraded around the city as a gruesome trophy. But whereas triumphant generals and emperors in the past routinely ascended the Capitoline hill and offered sacrifice at the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, it seems that Constantine did not do this. Although this must be assumed on the basis of an argumentum ex silentio, the total absence of references in all the extant sources to any such sacrifice would appear to be persuasive. The omission of sacrifices to Jupiter from Constantine's triumphal adventus articulated a significant shift in the character of the emperors rule. Constantine had defeated Maxentius with the aid of the Christian God, and his troops had carried a Christian standard into battle: when previous pagan emperors sacrificed to Jupiter, they attributed their victories to the gods; when Constantine did not, he showed his allegiance to a wholly different divinity." (Religion, Dynasty, and Patronage in Early Christian Rome, 300-900, Kate Cooper, Julia Hillner, From Emperor to Pope, Mark Humphries, p31, 2007 AD)

f. In AD 313, Constantine and Licinius (both claiming the same title of "Augustus" (Senior Emperor of the west) jointly issued the Edict of Milan ended the persecutions of Christians until the Islamic age.

g. The Roman Empire was plunged into civil war until Constantine defeated all his rivals became sole Emperor of the entire Roman empire in AD 318-324.

i. Theophanes records: "In this year (AD 318) Constantine the Great, having become sole ruler of all the Roman lands,' gave his mind entirely to holy matters by building churches and enriching them lavishly from public funds. First he legislated that the temples used for idols were to be handed over to persons consecrated to Christ. (his son Crispus was co-signatory of this legislation); second, that only Christians were to serve in the army and to command foreign races and armies, while those who persisted in idolatry were to suffer capital punishment; third, that public business was to cease for the two weeks of Easter (i.e. the week before the Resurrection and the following week). Under these circumstances a deep and calm peace prevailed throughout the inhabited world and there was rejoicing among the faithful as whole nations came over daily to faith in Christ, accepted baptism, and broke up their ancestral idols. Constantine also legislated that in Egypt a cubit of the rise of the river Nile was to be offered to the Church and not in the Sarapion as was the pagan custom. Licinius, before he finally went mad, went to Antioch and there killed the magician Theoteknos and his associates after subjecting them to many tortures." (Aramaic Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor, Constantine 12th year, AM 5810, AD 317/318)

3. While still governing at Rome as the capital city, Constantine was baptized in AD 322 in Rome

a. Theophanes records the full immersion baptism of Constantine.

b. "In this year (AD 322); as some say, Constantine the Great together with his son Crispus was baptized in Rome by Silvester.' The inhabitants of Old Rome preserve even today the baptismal font as evidence that he was baptized in Rome by Silvester after the removal of the tyrants. [Constantine built a baptistery c.315 which still survives next to the Lateran basilica. This was the only baptistery in Rome until the 5th century.] The easterners, on the other hand, claim that he was baptized on his death-bed in Nicomedia by the Arian Eusebius of Nicomedia, at which place he happened to die. They claim that he had deferred baptism in the hope of being baptized in the river Jordan. In my view it is more likely to be true that he was baptized by Silvester in Rome and the decrees addressed to Miltiades that are ascribed to him are Arian forgeries, since they were eager to win some glory from this or else wanted to denigrate this completely pious emperor by revealing in this fashion that he was not baptized, which is absurd and false. For if he had not been baptized at the Council of Nicaea, he could not have taken the holy sacraments nor joined in the prayers of the holy Fathers, something that is most absurd both to say and to hold. The Arians and pagans accuse Constantine the Great of being illegitimate, but they too are lying. For his imperial line goes back even earlier than Diocletian. Indeed, his father Constantius was a grandson of the emperor Claudius" and he fathered Constantine the Great by his first wife Helena. He had other sons by Theodora, Maximianus Herculius' daughter, the sister of that Maxentius who was usurper at Rome and who was destroyed by Constantine [28 October 312] at the Milvian bridge (when the sign of the Cross appeared to him in the sky) and a sister also of Fausta, the wife of Constantine the Great. And let no one be amazed if, being pagans before their baptism, father and son married two sisters." (Aramaic Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor, Constantine 18th year, AM 5813, AD 321/322)

4. In AD 324 Constantine, now a faithful, God-fearing, full immersion water baptized Christian, moved the capital of the Roman empire from Rome to Byzantium which he renamed Constantinople, after himself.

5. In AD 325, Constantine and hosted the first general Council of the 5 city patriarchs of the church at the city of Nicaea.

a. The 5 Patriarchs divided the world church into 5 geographic sections with governance at Rome, Constantinople, Antioch of Paul, Jerusalem and Alexandria. This pentapolis of churches was first formalized under Constantine.

b. Constantine hosted the great Nicene council but was a passive observer in the proceedings. He provided money for travel, food and lodging for the participants and any other supports needed from the background. It is noteworthy that Gnosticism, the first Christian heresy regarding the nature of Christ, questioned the humanity of Christ, not if he was God and fully divine. However by the 4th century Arius had greatly influenced many to deny the eternal preexistence of Creator God Jesus Christ and made the suffering savour into a creature. Arianism therefore, like modern Jehovah's Witnesses and Christadelphians, moved Jesus from the creator side over to the creature side of theology. The council concluded that Jesus was fully God and that Arius was a heretic. They issued the famous Nicene Creed, which also commanded "baptism for the remission of sins" to the horror of modern Baptists and those who teach salvation by faith only apart from water baptism in spite of James 2:24; Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16 and 1 Peter 3:21.

6. Constantine diligently studied the Bible and preached Christian sermons from the time of his salvation through water baptism (Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pe 3:21) until his death:

a. "For himself [Constantine the Great], he sometimes passed sleepless nights in furnishing his mind with Divine knowledge: and much of his time was spent in composing sermons, many of which he delivered in public; for he conceived it to be incumbent on him to govern his subjects by appealing to their reason, and to secure in all respects a rational obedience to his authority. Hence he would sometimes himself call an assembly, on which occasions vast multitudes attended, in the hope of hearing an emperor sustain the part of a philosopher. And if in the course of his speech any occasion offered of touching on sacred topics, he immediately stood erect, and with a grave aspect and subdued tone of voice seemed reverently to be initiating his auditors in the mysteries of the Divine doctrine: and when they greeted him with shouts of acclamation, he would direct them by his gestures to raise their eyes to heaven, and reserve their admiration for the Supreme King alone, and honor him with adoration and praise. He usually divided the subjects of his address, first thoroughly exposing the error of polytheism, and proving the superstition of the Gentiles to be mere fraud, and a cloak for impiety. He then would assert the sole sovereignty of God: passing thence to his Providence, both general and particular. Proceeding next to the topic of salvation, he would demonstrate its necessity, and adaptation to the nature of the case; entering next in order on the doctrine of the Divine judgment. And here especially he appealed most powerfully to the consciences of his hearers, while he denounced the rapacious and violent, and those who were slaves to an inordinate thirst of gain. Nay, he caused some of his own acquaintance who were present to feel the severe lash of his words, and to stand with downcast eyes in the consciousness of guilt, while he testified against them in the clearest and most impressive terms that they would have an account to render of their deeds to God. He reminded them that God himself had given him the empire of the world, portions of which he himself, acting on the same Divine principle, had entrusted to their government; but that all would in due time be alike summoned to give account of their actions to the Supreme Sovereign of all. Such was his constant testimony; such his admonition and instruction. And he himself both felt and uttered these sentiments in the genuine confidence of faith: but his hearers were little disposed to learn, and deaf to sound advice; receiving his words indeed with loud applause, but induced by insatiable cupidity practically to disregard them." (Eusebius, Vit. Const. 4.29.1)

7. From AD 325 to 588, there was no pope or any one man who ruled the church world-wide as the "Universal Bishop". The first man to claim to be pope was John IV the Faster, patriarch of Constantinople in AD 588 of the Orthodox church. The first pope of the Roman Catholic church was Boniface III in AD 606. Here is the history of the first popes to ever claim to be the head of the entire church on earth:

a. AD 588: Constantinopolitan synod: John IV the Faster, patriarch of Constantinople, is granted the title of "oecumenical" or "universal bishop," but doesn't start using it till AD 595.

b. AD 590: Gregory I, the great, becomes Patriarch of Rome, AD 590-604.

c. AD 595: John IV the Faster, starts using the title of "universal bishop" and Gregory I, denies the title even for himself. Biship of Rome, Gregory I protests John IV the Faster's use of the title "universal bishop" saying such a claim is a sign "the antichrist is near" and calls it a "proud and profane title" and equates John IV's to the devil himself.

d. AD 595: John IV the Faster dies on September 2, shortly after claiming to be pope of the world.

e. AD 602: Roman Emperor Maurice is murdered in a coup by Phocas, who then becomes emperor.

f. AD 604: Gregory, the bishop of Rome dies and is replaced by Sabinian, who reigns for two years.

g. AD 606: Sabinian, the bishop of Rome dies and is replaced by Boniface III. Phocas writes to the new bishop of Rome, Boniface III and through imperial decree of the Roman government, proclaims Boniface III, as the "Head of all the Churches" and "Universal Bishop". Phocas transfers the title from Constantinople to Rome. Boniface III, Bishop of Rome takes title: "universal Bishop": Catholicism is formally born in its final evolved form but the east never accepts Rome's claims and finally split fellowship with Rome in AD 1054.

h. AD 607: Boniface III dies on 19 February, shortly after claiming to be pope of the world. It is interesting that the first eastern leader (John IV) to proclaim himself as "universal bishop" and the first western (Boniface III) leader, to do the same, died within 12 months of claiming to be the "universal bishop". Was God sending a message here?

i. In summary, when John IV, Patriarch of Constantinople, started calling himself the "Universal Bishop" Gregory I, Patriarch of Rome, did not say, "Hey that's my title, you have right to wear it." Instead Gregory said that no man should consider himself the "Universal Bishop" calling it the sign the "antichrist" was near referencing 2 Thess 2:3-4. The bishop of Constantinople, John IV. was saying, "I am over you", Gregory was saying, "we are equal", even though Gregory would readily make the false claim that he, not John, was a successor of Apostle Peter.

j. So, the first Pope was John IV the Faster from the Orthodox church in AD 588 and the Bishop of Rome condemned the idea of one man ruling the universal church at that time... until Boniface III, bishop of Rome came along in AD 606 and was the first Roman Catholic to take the title of pope in world history.

k. The church of the first century was organized congregationally with no ties between local churches. Each local church was self-governed by a plurality of qualified men (1 Tim 3; Tit 1) called Elders/Shepherd/Overseers.

8. In AD 330 The capital of the Roman Empire was transferred from the city of Rome to Constantinople at its official inauguration.

a. A peaceful transfer of the capital was made from Rome to Constantinople in AD 330. This is 5 years after the Nicene council! Neither Rome or the Roman empire suffered destruction of any kind during this period of transition when the capital was moved.

b. Notice that "Old Rome" did not get destroyed to the utter dismay of late-daters who say the entire theme of Revelation is the destruction of Rome or the Roman empire.

c. In fact, the Roman empire continues down to the present time having suffered various invasions but nothing like the catastrophic meltdown of the city described in Revelation.

d. Jerusalem, on the other hand, was destroyed in a one two punch first, by Titus in AD 70 then by Hadrian in AD 135.

MM. Conclusion: The myth of emperor worship validates Revelation written in AD 66:

1. That Christians were executed for refusing to sacrifice to pagan Roman Gods is a clear historical fact.

a. No edict was ever issued to worship the Emperor or die, including under Diocletian.

b. Nobody was ever charged with treason for refusing to worship Caesar.

c. Domitian persecutions of Christians were mild compared to Nero because they were discontinued early in his reign, shortly after they began at which time he released all Christian prisoners from jail. This is a serious blow to Late-dater s who rely on erroneous literary sources that say John remained in prison until Domitian died in AD 96.

d. Trajan permitted Christians to be executed if they failed to worship Roman gods but he never required Christians to worship him, to the exclusion of Roman gods or die. Pliny threw the requirement of Caesar worship into the larger circle of Roman gods as his own private initiate. Correspondence letters from Trajan to Pliny prove that he never required Emperor worship alone as a sole test to determine if someone was a Christian.

e. The first state-wide persecutions that required Christians to worship idols (but not the Emperor) occurred under Decius (AD 249-251) which lasted only three years.

f. Certificates of Libellus under Decius (AD 249-251) mandated the requirement to sacrifice to pagan Roman gods, not Caesar.

g. The four Edicts of Diocletian (AD 284-305) never required Christians to worship him.

h. The Diocletian persecution was very short, lasting only one year with high intensity (AD 303-304) until he died, then gradually ending entirely in year 8 with the Edict of Toleration AD 311 and year 10 with the Edict of Milan AD 313.

i. During this ten year period of persecution many places did not enforce it to the point of death except in a few places like Egypt and North Africa.

j. Only Diocletian's very last Edict #4, ordered Christian executed for not worshipping idols.

k. During the time of these four decrees, Diocletian was stricken with illness that triggered his resignation in AD 305 and death on 3 December 312.

l. In AD 311, shortly before his death, Galerius issued the Edict of Toleration which ended persecutions of Christians. In AD 313, Constantine and Licinius (both claiming the same title of "Augustus" (Senior Emperor of the west) jointly issued the Edict of Milan ended the persecutions of Christians until the Islamic age.

m. In the 7th century, in a single generation, the Muslims executed or force-converted 80% of Christians in the world by first killing the leaders, most of the men and old women. Then each Muslim male, under the direct commandments of Islamic leaders, took on up to 4 Christian wives, each of whom bore up to 15 children, all of whom learned Arabic. These same principles will soon repeat themselves today in modern Europe, once Muslims reach "critical rebellion population percentage".

2. No legal basis for arresting Christians before the decrees of Valerian (257), Decius and Diocletian (303):

a. "Before the edict of Decius, then, we may imagine the process to have been somewhat as follows. Libelli would be laid before the local magistrate accusing the Christians of any number of vague crimes, homicidium, vis, incestus, sacrilegium, and the governor would be forced to investigate. Where specific names were mentioned (as seems to have happened in the case of the martyrs of Lyons and Vienne) these would be called before the tribunal. So far as we can see, Trajan's directive, conquirendi non sint, was generally respected. When it became clear to the magistrate that the accused were actually Christiani, he would follow the terms of his mandala in exercising his coercitio; this would be particularly hard on the humiliores and the non-citizen classes (to which most Christians belonged before the Constitutio Antoniniana of A.D. 212), and if the crowd collaborated in the discomfiture of the martyrs, the prefect would not interfere to make their lot easier.'" (Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Herbert Musurillo, p lxi, 1972 AD)

b. "A survey of the best-authenticated acta martyrum should naturally conclude with an assessment of the light they throw upon the age-old question of the legal basis of the persecutions. ... reveals remarkable clarity from the time of Valerian's two edicts in 257/8 [down to the 4th edict of Diocletian]. ... But on the question of the basis for the persecutions before Decius and Valerian, I cannot feel that the actual texts of the acta offer any solution." (Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Herbert Musurillo, p lvii, 1972 AD)

c. "A study of the authentic texts does not help to clear up the problem. The legal basis of the persecutions remains vague; and this precisely corresponds with the actual state of things. Even the Romans themselves would have been hard put to explain the legal foundations of what they did. For the constant assumption was that the nomen Christianum meant trouble -sedition, treason, riot, no one knew clearly what-and hence there was no question in the Roman mind but that the sect must be repressed. There was no general law, and yet from at least the time of Nero the constant suspicion of jlagitia cohaerentia. Hence once again we are forced back to the theory of coercitio, used to curb the possibility of different alleged crimes, none definite or clearly evidenced." (Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Herbert Musurillo, p lxi, 1972 AD)

3. While emperors were historically deified after death down to the time of Constantine, the Jews had from the time of the Maccabees been exempt from all participation of Greek or Roman paganism through a collection of formal treaties or "edicts of toleration".

a. Every Roman knew that Jews would never confess any man to be God, especially the Emperor!

b. "Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome" (Acts 18:1) but he didn't kill them.

c. The "confess Caesar or die" fiction, is shown to be false because if the Romans always tolerated Jews formal denunciations of Caesar as God, they would not suddenly be offended by the new cult of the Nazarene either.

d. In fact, during the first century, Christians were viewed as sect of the Jews by the pagan Romans which meant that the Christians would be grandfathered into the Hellenistic decrees and Edicts of protection of Julius Caesar.

e. The "denial" of the "Imperial cult" was widespread among the population, including the Emperor's themselves and nobody ever died for failure to worship the Caesar or else the entire Roman empire would have been wiped out.

f. Obviously then, the notion that Christians were put to death for denying the emperor's deity is absurd. Christians were executed under Diocletian's 4th edict if they refused to worship idols, which would have included worshipping the Emperor as a subset of the larger group.

4. Contrary to the depictions of Hollywood and pop culture that the Caesars were insane, the Roman Caesars were generally, highly respected and rational army commanders.

a. Vespasian was a highly successful army general sent by Nero to destroy Jerusalem in December AD 66. In the spring of AD 68 the Jerusalemites beg Vespasian to save the city from destruction at the hands of the Jewish Rebel leaders. (Josephus Wars 4:410)

b. Titus his son, came to Jerusalem in the spring of AD 70 and showed more reason, morality, justice and righteousness, than the Jews inside the city walls. Many times, Titus pleaded with the Jewish Rebel leaders to stop the war but they refused. Titus even twice sent Josephus to beg the Jewish Rebels to surrender in order to save Jerusalem from destruction. (Josephus Wars 5:105,391)

c. The idea that these two key players, in the destruction of Jerusalem were mad or executed those who would not worship them as gods, is pure fiction, unsubstantiated by any source.

5. The persecution of Christians was sporadic in time and often isolated to small geographic areas as seen in Pliny's persecution in Bithynia.

6. According to "Late-dater s" Domitian was the great persecutor of Christians who forced, upon the threat of death, renouncing Christ and confession of Caesar as God.

a. Yes, Domitian persecuted Christians but that persecution had nothing to do with refusing to worship him a god.

b. Christians being killed for refuting to worship Domitian never happened and there are no historical references to validate it.

c. What history does record, is that after Domitian died, the entire Roman Senate removed statues, inscriptions and written references to him. (Suetonius, Domitian 23)

d. Proving once again, that even the Roman's "rolled their eyes" at the emperor's claims of deity and played along while he lived.

7. Ancient sources identify reasons why Christians were persecuted and "treason for failing to worship the emperor" was not one of them: Listed reasons include:

a. "arson [Rome-Nero] ... hatred of the human race [ie. Jewish/Christian conflicts]" (Tacitus, Annales 15.44, 100 AD).

b. During the reign of Marcus Aurelius (AD 160) Christians were blamed for causing natural disasters because they refused to worship the patron deities.

c. "stubborn and inflexible obstinacy in holding to their creed" (Pliny, Letters 10.96, 112 AD).

d. "mere profession of Christianity, without crimes" (Pliny, Letters 10.96, 112 AD)

8. A man who refused to bow to the image of Caesar was not charged with treason, he was charged with being a Christian. Without the "Emperor Cult" where Christians were hunted and executed merely for refusing to bow to Caesar, Hailey's, Harkrider's and King's interpretation of the beast from the Earth must be rejected. Even though Pliny the Younger punished Christians who refused to bow to the image of Trajan, a careful reading proves the opposite of what late-daters say was happening in their interpretation of Rev 13.

9. Above all, until validated though ancient literary sources, the "Emperor Cult" as wrongly defined by "Late-dater s" for the core of their interpretation of Revelation 13:11 as the beast of the Earth, will remain a fiction.

10. Persecution of Christians in Revelation 13:

a. The beast from the Sea represented the specific persecution by Nero but showed the Christians expect this persecution from Roman culture for many years to come. It is the Beast from the Sea wherein any possible notion of "Emperor worship" might be found.

b. The beast from the Earth represented persecution from the Jews.

11. Even if some new ancient literary source is discovered of an Imperial Decree to worship the Emperor or be executed as a treason were to be found, it still has nothing to do with the Book of Revelation whose event terminate with the destruction of the city of Jerusalem in AD 70.

12. The persecution under Nero for 3.5 years was an incidental side-show to the central theme of God avenging Christians persecuted by Jews and crucifixion of the true Temple of God on 3 April AD 33.

13. Jewish persecution of Christians

a. The Jews were exempted from worshipping the Roman gods under Diocletian's 4th Edict in AD 304 because of ancient laws exempting them from the time of Julius Caesar.

b. The Jews hypocritically rejoiced in the theatres along with the pagans when Christians refused to worship any God but the same one the Jews worshipped: YHWH.

c. The Jews zealously gathered the firewood, when Christians were condemned to be nailed to a stake and be burned alive.

d. Old Testament passages command Jews not to rejoice when your enemy falls. Edom was banished into extinction for lighting the fires of Solomon's Temple in 587 BC then rejoicing over the misfortunes of the Jews under the wrath of God because of Jewish idol worship. The blind hatred the Jews had for the Christians is, well, very unchristian-like.

i. "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;" (Proverbs 24:17)

ii. "So that everyone may be cut off from the mountain of Esau by slaughter. "Because of violence to your brother Jacob, You will be covered with shame, And you will be cut off forever. "On the day [587 BC] that you stood aloof, On the day that strangers carried off his wealth, And foreigners entered his gate And cast lots for Jerusalem- You too were as one of them. Do not gloat over your brother's day, The day of his misfortune [587 BC]. And do not rejoice over the sons of Judah In the day of their destruction; Yes, do not boast In the day of their distress. "Do not enter the gate [Jerusalem-burned temple-587 BC] of My people in the day of their disaster. Yes, you, do not gloat over their calamity in the day of their disaster. And do not loot their wealth [in Jerusalem] in the day of their disaster. "Do not stand at the fork of the road [near Arad] to cut down their fugitives; And do not imprison their survivors In the day of their distress." (Obadiah 9-14)

iii. "If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the Lord will reward you." (Proverbs 25:21-22)

iv. "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. "Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.... you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men." (Luke 6:27-35)

v. "Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord." (Romans 12:19)

14. Wrath of God upon Executed church leaders for their apostacy: 1 Tim 4:1-4; 2 Tim 4:1-5

a. The apostacy of the first century church was reaching a peak at the first council of Nicaea.

i. Mary was being adorned.

ii. Images were becoming sanctified in churches.

iii. Diocesan bishops are totally foreign to the New Testament organization of the church which was congregational under a plurality of qualified men according to 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1.

iv. Only bishops could baptize or conduct communion.

v. Preachers were forbidden unless they had been authorized by a bishop.

vi. Transubstantiation

b. Just as the Christians didn't understand why they were being persecuted by a pagan polytheist named Domitian, so too they didn't understand why 80% of the church was wiped out by a pagan monotheist named Muhammed in the 7th century.

c. The level of theological departure by the time of Muhammad was extreme:

i. The first pope in AD 606 was four years before Muhammed got his first "Vision".

ii. The veneration of dead Christian's bones as physical objects that bring blessings like a Rabbit's Foot

iii. icon, image and idol worship

iv. prayer to and worship of Mary

v. Infant baptism

d. Just as God wiped out thousands of Jews at a time countless times in the Old Testament for their disobedience, so too God wiped out hundreds of Christian leaders under Diocletian and millions of Christians under Muhammed for their apostacy.

NN. Master summary of Emperor worship:

1. Tiberias renounced and mocked emperor worship: AD 14-37: (Tacitus, Annales 4.37-38)

2. Caligula wanted to erect a statue of himself in the Jerusalem temple as a deity. Herod Agrippa intervened and rescinded the imperial order to worship the emperor in AD 41, yet, this direct defiance against Caligula's "godhood" went unpunished, neither was he charged with treason. (Philo Embassy 331)

3. Nero persecuted Christians but not because they refused to worship him or idols.

4. Vespasian never persecuted Christians and mocked Emperor worship on his deathbed saying "I am already becoming a god." (Dio Cassius 66.17.2-3)

5. Domitian lightly persecuted Christians for a short time at the beginning of his reign then stopped; at which time he released all the Christians from prisons. He never issued any edicts to worship himself as god or die. There are no records of anyone being executed for failing to worship him as god. Many scholars reject that Domitian persecuted Christians at all based upon the earliest literary sources. Tertullian says Domitian was lesser in cruelty than Nero, that he only made "some attempts" and was "to a certain degree human", and he stopped the persecutions shortly after they began, at which time he released all jailed Christians. If apostle John was in jail on Patmos at this time, it would certainly include him but this destroys the late-date theory. (Tertullian Apol. 5.2-4, 200 AD) Eusebius says that ONLY Nero and Domitian persecuted Christians in the first century through slanderous accusations that were not used in courts of law, but as gossip in the general public. (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 4.26.9) Pliny was a lawyer under both Domitian and Trajan and was unaware of any Christian trials that took place under Domitian (Pliny, Ep. 10.96.1)

6. Trajan' lawyer, Pliny initiated a small persecution against Christian leaders through "monkey trials" that was limited to the geographic area of Bithynia. It is clear that local pagan priests were upset with the large number of conversions to Christianity that were bankrupting their fortunes and leaving their pagan temples "almost deserted". (Pliny, Letters 10.96, 112 AD) It was not a top town persecution from the Caesar, but a local regional citizen's complaint brought up through the courts to Caesar. The events under Caesar Trajan echo the persecution of Christians in AD 52 at Ephesus lead by Demetrius, a silversmith as a "citizen's complaint". (Acts 19:24-27) Pliny executed Christians outside the normal boundaries of law if they confessed to be Christians. (Pliny, Letters 10.96, 112 AD). While Pliny's letter to Trajan zealously included worshipping both the Roman gods and the Emperor, Trajan's reply letter to Pliny noticeably excluded the requirement to worship the emperor. (Pliny, Letters 10.97, Trajan replies to Pliny). The crime was not refusing to worship pagan gods or Caesar. The crime was being a Christian and the test was worshipping pagan gods.

7. Hadrian did not persecute Christians, instead he issued decrees that outlawed the monkey trials by Pliny under Trajan and passed specific laws that protected Christians from such persecutions. (Justin Martyr, 1 Apology 68, Edict of Hadrian, 165 AD) At the time of Hadrian, Christians were afforded full legal rights to defend themselves AS CHRISTIANS who refused to worship any pagan gods. AD 117-138, until Hadrian died, was a time of peace for Christians regarding state persecution from the Romans.

8. The martyrdom of Polycarp under Pius in AD 156 does not provide most of the essential details that late-daters require. There is no edict that failure to worship the Imperial Cult was a death sentence. Only the local leaders were targeted rather than a state-wide persecution against large numbers of Christians. There was no charge of treason. The crime was being a Christian or failure to worship idols. The final judgement was based upon failure to worship Roman idols, not the emperor. The entire story as we have it today is very likely a late 3rd century rewrite of a much simpler version and therefore a pseudepigrapha that is worthless to use as any evidence of emperor worship.

9. The Martyrdom of Ptolemaeus and Lucius AD 160 proves that Caesar Pius, his son Aurelius and the entire senate were opposed to persecuting Christians for any reason. So from Hadrian down to the Beginning of the reign of Aurelius was a time of peace for Christians AD 117-161 (Hadrian, Pius). Perhaps Aurelius initiated persecutions after his father died but not before. A woman named Ptolemaeus appeals her divorce case to Caesar Pius whose adulterous husband accused her of being a Christian. Pius, knowing she is a Christian passes judgement in favor of the wife. Enraged, her husband brings local charges "of being a Christian" to both her and the Christian man Lucius who told her to leave her husband and both were executed. Just before being executed Lucius said: "Your sentence, Urbicus, does not befit the Emperor Pius [AD 138-161], his philosopher son [Caesar Marcus Aurelius: 161-180], or the holy senate!"(Martyrdom of Ptolemaeus and Lucius, 160 AD) This story, which dates to AD 138-161, totally disproves every and all notions of Emperor worship and proves Christian persecution of the late second century were driven from local complains to the courts.

10. The Martyrdom of Justin Martyr under Aurelius in AD 165 contains no emperor worship. The three extant recension manuscript stories show a progression over time regarding the legal basis of the executions. Earliest/Shortest: local laws likely of the wicked prefect Rusticus. Middle: orders of the Emperors. Youngest/Longest: imperial edicts of Marcus Aurelius. These recensions demonstrate why ancient literary sources are unreliable, confusing and sometimes contradictory. In the actual story, Justin is executed by a wicked and corrupt local activist ruler/judge. In the second recension suddenly Justin is executed by order of the Emperors. (plural). In the final recension, Aurelius has issued an edict to worship idols or die. Of course we know this to be utterly false because the first of these edicts did not happen until the time of Decius in AD 250.

11. The Martyrs of Lyons and Vienne under Aurelius in AD 177 contain no emperor worship.

12. The Martyrs of Scillitan under Aurelius in AD 180 contain no emperor worship. However they refused to sacrifice to the pagan gods and the "Genius of the Emperor, which is a demon god that indwells the mortal emperor. The emperor himself was not the object of worship.

13. The Martyrdom of Apollonius under Commodus in AD 185 contains the requirement to sacrifice to the gods and the "Genius of the Emperor" but the full story is lost except for one unreliable late manuscript.

14. Martyrdom of Potamiaena and Basilides under Severus in AD 210 contains no emperor worship in the story.

15. Martyrdom of Pionius under Decius in AD 250 contains an Edict that required Christians to sacrifice to the gods under a state approved supervisor who would then issue a Certificate of Libellus proving compliance. When Pionius refused to worship the gods, he was told, 'Make a sacrifice at least to the emperor,' as a secondary, lesser requirement. Like Paul at Ephesus and the monkey trials under Trajan, these persecutions were initiated by the local pagan priests Martyrdom of Pionius 2, 250 AD) The words of Decius' Edict are unknown but and 46 Certificates of Libelli that have been excavated. The Edict of Decius did not mention Emperor Worship, only the requirement was to sacrifice to one of any the Roman gods. Only leaders were targeted.

16. Martyrdom of Cyprian under Valerian in AD 258 references an Edict: 'The emperors have also given orders that no meetings are to be held anywhere, nor shall they enter the burial areas [where Christians were assembling for church]. Hence if anyone does not observe this very sound order, he will receive the capital penalty.'" (Martyrdom of Cyprian 1, 258 AD) There is no Emperor worship and leaders specifically targeted not the general Christian population.

17. Martyrdom of Fructuosus, Augurius, Eulogiusin under Valerian in AD 259 says, "'They have ordered you to worship the gods.' ... if the gods are not worshipped, then the images of the emperors are not adored. ... And he sentenced them to be burnt alive." (Martyrdom of Fructuosus 2, 259 AD) No Emperor worship and only 3 church leaders were executed not the general Christian population.

18. Martyrdom of Marinus under Gallienus in AD 261. Eusebius beings the story with, "when there was peace among the churches everywhere, Marinus, one of those honored by high rank in the army was ... beheaded in Caesarea"... since he was a Christian and not accustomed to sacrifice to emperors ... because ... another came before the tribunal and charged that according to the ancient laws it was not possible for Marinus to share in a rank that belonged to Romans in order to secure the office for himself" (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 7.15, Martyrdom of Marinus, 261 AD) Notice how it was "a time of general peace for Christians EVERWHERE" during the reign of Caesar Gallienus [AD 260-268]. Worshipping the Emperor was always included in the broader worship of all the Roman pagan gods. In this situation the worship of the Emperor is focused on because of the high rank Marinus was to have in the Emperor's army. There is obvious corruption and collusion between the solder who wanted Marinus' promotion, and the judge who ordered Marinus executed. Finally, in the story Marinus went to a formal church building before his execution with the knowledge of the judge, where many Christians had met to pray together with him, then he returned to court and was beheaded. This proves that there was no general hunt for Christians who refused to worship the Emperor. This story illustrates how the "worship the emperor or die" persecutions were selective, arbitrary and generally ignored.

19. The Four Edicts of Diocletian were not Emperor Worship: The 1st Edict of Diocletian on 23 February 303, prohibited Christian assemblies, destruction church buildings, scriptures, religious books. The 2nd Edict of Diocletian in the Summer of AD 303 ordered Imprisonment of all church leaders including Bishops, Deacons etc. but not the average Christian. The 3rd Edict of Diocletian on 20 November 303 ordered amnesty for jailed church leaders if they changed their minds and sacrificed to Roman gods. No specific mention of Emperor Worship. The 4th Edict of Diocletian on 23 February 304 ordered that all Roman citizens must sacrifice to the gods or be executed. No specific mention of Emperor Worship. Only the leaders were targeted and executed: Bishops, Deacons were selected and the average church member was left alone. Even in the final 4th Edict that required woman and children to sacrifice or die, only leaders were finally selected. The decrees were not uniformly enforced: Some countries totally ignored all the decrees. Some countries moderately and selectively enforced the decrees. The myth of Emperor worship: The lack of any hint of Emperor worship in the four edicts of Diocletian is a huge problem for late-daters in their insistence that the beast of Revelation 13 and/or the 8th healed head is most certainly the requirement to worship Diocletian or be executed.

20. Martyrdom of Two "conscientious objectors" under Diocletian. The First in AD 295 was Maximilian, a 21-year-old man who declared 7 times, as a "conscientious objector" that he was a Christian and would not join the army. Proconsul Dion, knowing Maximilian was a Christian, rejected it as an excuse 7 times and demanded he serve as a Christian under Diocletian. "The proconsul Dion said: 'In the sacred bodyguard of our lords Diocletian and Maximian, Constantius and Maximus, there are soldiers who are Christian, and they serve.'" (Martyrdom of Maximilian, 295 AD)

21. The second was Marcellus in AD 298 was was asked to serve in the army as a Christian but refused. There was no objection to Marcellus being a Christian in the army but was executed because he was a "conscientious objector". No Emperor worship in either stories. These two cases of Christians refusing to serve in the army as conscientious objectors, may have been the reason why Diocletian issued his final and 4th edict that Christians must sacrifice to the gods (not to him, the Emperor) or die. Many Christians served in Diocletian's army at the beginning of his reign.

22. Martyrdom of Carpus, Papylus, Agathonice Diocletian in c. AD 300. Emperor worship totally absent from the account and only leaders were targeted not the general Christian population:

23. Martyrdom of Felix under Diocletian's 1st edict in AD 303. Felix the bishop refused to turn over scriptures to be burned and was executed. Only the leaders were targeted and there is no emperor worship.

24. Martyrdom of Agape, Chione, Irene under Diocletian in AD 304. The first two girls, Agape and Chione, were executed for failing to sacrifice to the pagan gods under Diocletian's 4th edict. The third, Irene, was executed for failing to surrender scripture found hidden in her storage trunks under Diocletian's 1st Edict and refusing to sacrifice and eat sacrificial meat under the 4th edict. No Emperor Worship in the story.

25. Martyrdom of Irenaeus under Diocletian's 4th Edict in AD 304. The famous young Bishop Irenaeus was beheaded under Diocletian's 4th edict which required the leaders to sacrifice to idols (not the Emperor) or be executed. The general Christian population were not targeted for execution as evidenced that Irenaeus' wife and children were excepted.

26. Martyrdom of Crispina under Diocletian in AD 304 tells the story of her being arrested and ordered to "offer sacrifice to all our gods for the welfare of the emperors". (Martyrdom of Crispina 1, 304 AD). She states that water baptism saved her. There was no Emperor worship and she probably was a leader among the women.

27. Martyrdom of Julius under Diocletian in AD 305 tells the story of a veteran solder named Julius who served in the army for 27 years. He was executed under the 4th edict of Diocletian which required him to sacrifice to any pagan god. There is no Emperor worship and the judge had no problem with Christians serving in the army.

28. Persecution officially ends: The Edict of Toleration by Galerius at Serdica in AD 311 and Constantine's Edict of Milan in 313 AD.

Introduction 9:

Why was Revelation written to the 7 churches?

Why was Revelation written to 7 churches in Asia and not Jerusalem?

1. "Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea." 1:11

2. "As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches." 1:20

3. "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." (Revelation 22:16)

Why was Revelation written to 7 churches in Asia if it is a warning for the Jerusalem Christians to flee?

A. Discussion:

I call this the "What about the thief on the cross" argument in response to the passages in Mk 16:16, Acts 2:38; 22:16, 1 Pe 3:21 which clearly teach the essentiality of full immersion for salvation and contacting the blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sins. If you think asking "What about the thief on the cross" refutes the Bible doctrine that water baptism is essential to salvation, click here. It is puzzling that the first objection most often raised to reject the early date of AD 66 for Revelation is "Why was it was written to 7 churches in Asia?". A better question is "Since Revelation was written to warn the Jerusalem Christians to flee the city, why did John send it to 7 churches in Asia?" God in his gracious providence, did not want the Jerusalem Christians to become homeless vagrants wandering aimlessly outside the city with no place to live.

Ever wonder why God wrote the book of Revelation for the Jerusalem Christians but sent it to the 7 churches of Asia? The same reason Ezekiel performed many theatrical "Sign Acts" in 593 BC for the local Jews living in Al-Yahuda Babylon to warn the Jews living in Jerusalem 1000 km (5400 Stadia) away. (The author discovered using Google Earth, that both John and Ezekiel were prisoners in a foreign land the exact same distance, 1000 km, from Jerusalem.)

A better question to ask, since Revelation was written for the Jerusalem Jews 1000 km away, is "why deliver it to the 7 nearby churches of Asia"? In 593 BC, Ezekiel's message of "come out from among them" was carried 1000 km to Jerusalem by messengers and those who obeyed would voluntarily follow the Jewish messengers 1000 km back to Al-Yahuda. This is what happened in AD 66. John wrote seven autograph/duplicate copies of Revelation and sent it to the seven nearby churches of Asia, who in turn, each sent their copy via a designated messenger to 1000 km Jerusalem. The 7 messengers who carried their local church's copy of Revelation 1000 km to Jerusalem, may have been the same congregational messengers who had accompanied Paul 12 years earlier in 54 AD, with their cash gifts to the needy Christians in Jerusalem. (1 Cor 16:3). The Jerusalem refugee Christians followed the 7 messengers back to their home churches in Asia and started a new life. In direct contrast to the dark lampstand in Jerusalem, the seven churches were bright guiding lights to follow. The Jerusalem Christians could chose one of seven cities to make their home, complete with mature churches that could take them in, give employment and re-establish them into a brand-new life of peace and prosperity as their previous home of Jerusalem burned to the ground.

The 7 Angels of the 7 churches may refer to the 7 messenger men who carried the letter:

"It has been proposed that the angels are messengers from the seven churches sent to John and/or the messengers from John entrusted to deliver the letters. Although virtually always being a reference to a heavenly messenger, aggelos is used occasionally in both the OT (Mal 2:7; 3:1) and the NT (Matt 11:10; Luke 7:24; 9:52; Jas 2:25) to refer to a human messenger. The leaders of the church, perhaps their bishops, is also a possible identification." (ABD, Angels of the Seven Churches, Volume 1, Page 255)

The Synagogue was the exact prototype of the church and Philo (Good man 81) and the Jerusalem Talmud, record that synagogue seating was grouped by working trade: "They did not sit in a jumble, but the goldsmiths sat by themselves, the silversmiths by themselves, the weavers by themselves, the bronze-workers by themselves, and the blacksmiths by themselves. "All this why? So that when a traveller came along, he could find his fellow craftsmen, and on that basis he could gain a living". (y. Sukk. 5:1, I.5.A-H) So the love of God for his children, is illustrated in providing the first successful mass refugee relocation program of Christians living in Jerusalem who moved to Asia and were able to quickly find work!

The Christians who moved to these seven cities knew in advance each local church's strengths and failures and were likely used by God as outside instruments to aid these 7 churches in spiritual restoration. Indeed, the 7 local churches would greatly desire to have these original Jewish Hebrew Christians begin worshipping with them every Lord's Day. It would be like 50 members of the "Douglas Hills church in Louisville KY" permanently moving to live and worship with some small struggling foreign church with 15 members.

B. Ancient Literary sources on the Flight from Jerusalem to Pella during the 1st Jewish War:

1. Pella is one of the 10 cities of the Decapolis located 10 km east of Beth Shean on the east side of the Jordan river.

2. Ancient Literary sources on Christians fleeing Jerusalem to Pella:

a. Eusebius: AD 325

i. "But the people of the Church at Jerusalem were commanded by an oracle given out by revelation before the war to esteemed men there to depart from the city and to inhabit a city of Peraea which they called Pella. Those who believed in Christ migrated to this city from Jerusalem, that, when holy men had entirely abandoned the royal capital [Jerusalem] of the Jews and the entire land of Judaea, the judgment of God might soon overtake them for their many crimes against Christ and His Apostles and utterly destroy that generation of the wicked from among men. Whoever wishes can gather accurately from the history written by Josephus." (Eus., Hist. eccl. 3.5, 325 AD)

b. Pseudo-Clementines: AD 375

i. "And all this he [Moses] contrived for them, that . . . those who believed in him (Jesus), in the Wisdom of God, would be led to a secure place of the land that they might survive and be preserved from the war, which afterward came upon those who did not believe, because of their division for their destruction." (Pseudo-Clementines Recognitions 1.37.2, Syriac Version, 375 AD)

ii. "So that when they pleased God in his ineffable wisdom, they [Christians] would be saved from the war which was about to come for the destruction of those who were not persuaded [Jews]." (Pseudo-Clementines Recognitions 1.39.3, Syriac Version, 375 AD)

iii. "Subsequently also an evident proof of this great mystery is supplied in the fact, that everyone who, believing [Christians] in this Prophet who had been foretold by Moses, is baptized in His name, shall be kept unhurt from the destruction of war which impends over the unbelieving nation [Jews], and the place itself; but that those who do not believe shall be made exiles from their place and kingdom, that even against their will they may understand and obey the will of God." (Pseudo-Clementines Recognitions 1.39.3, Latin Version, 406 AD)

c. Epiphanius of Salamis: AD 400

i. "This sect of Nazoraeans [heretics] is to be found in Beroea near Coelesyria, in the Decapolis near Pella, and in Bashanitis at the place called Cocabe-Khokhabe in Hebrew. For that was its place of origin, since all the disciples had settled in Pella after their remove from Jerusalem-Christ having told them to abandon Jerusalem and withdraw from it because of the siege it was about to undergo. And they settled in Peraea for this reason and, as I said, lived their lives there. It was from this that the Nazoraean sect had its origin." (Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion, Against Nazoraeans 29.7.7, 400 AD)

ii. "Their [Ebionites] origin came after the fall of Jerusalem. For since practically all who had come to faith in Christ had settled in Peraea then, in Pella, a town in the "Decapolis" the Gospel mentions, which is near Batanaea and Bashanitis-as they had moved there then and were living there, this provided an opportunity for Ebion." (Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion, Against Ebionites 30.2.7, 400 AD)

iii. "So Aquila, while he was in Jerusalem, also saw the disciples of the disciples of the apostles flourishing in the faith and working great signs, healings, and other miracles. For they were such as had come back from the city of Pella to Jerusalem and were living there and teaching. For when the city was about to be taken and destroyed by the Romans, it was revealed in advance to all the disciples by an angel of God that they should remove from the city, as it was going to be completely destroyed. They sojourned as emigrants in Pella, the city above mentioned in Transjordania. And this city is said to be of the Decapolis. But after the destruction of Jerusalem, when they had returned to Jerusalem, as I have said, they wrought great signs, as I have already said." (Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, De Mensuris et Ponderibus, On Weights and Measures 15, 400 AD)

iv. "Koester convincingly demonstrates the superiority of the Syriac version of the Recognitions over their Latin translation: in his view the Syriac rendering best conveys the genuine Jewish-Christian character of these writings. He agrees therefore with Strecker that these passages once circulated among the Christian communities east of the Jordan." (The Jewish Christians Move From Jerusalem as a Pragmatic Choice, Jonathan Bourgel, p114, 2010 AD)

d. Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria: AD 940

i. There are serious chronological problems with the Arabic story by Eutychius. We know three things: 1. We know James was stoned around Dec AD 62. 2. We know that Nero began persecuting Christians in Dec AD 64. 3. We know that Nero sent Vespasian to destroy Jerusalem in Dec AD 66. Yet, Eutychius says the death of James (Dec AD 62) triggered the Christians to flee Transjordan (Dec AD 62) and when Nero found out, he sent Vespasian to attack the Jews in (Dec AD 66) to avenge the Christians who had been expelled by the Jews to Pella. If this story is true, then Nero began his own persecution of Christians Dec AD 64 by falsely blaming them for the burning of Rome, 2 years after the Jews began persecuting Christians in Jerusalem Dec AD 62. Then in AD 66, two years after Nero began his own persecution of Christians in AD 64, Nero suddenly learns (in AD 66) that Jews had banished Christians to Pella 4 years earlier (in AD 62) and in righteous indignation, sends Vespasian in December AD 66 to destroy the Jews because they persecuted Christians who fled to Pella. If anything, Nero would send Vespasian to kill the Christians in Pella! The chronology is hopelessly contradictory, and the account must be dismissed entirely as a wild fabrication.

ii. "Qistus, governor of Jerusalem, died and the city was without any authority or sovereign to govern it. The Jews then arose and rioted and killed James, son of Joseph, known as the "brother of the Lord", stoning him to death (October AD 62). Then they harassed a group of disciples and expelled them from the city. The Christians abandoned Jerusalem, crossed the Jordan and settled in those places (Perea, Pella?). Informed of this fact, Nero Caesar sent word to the commander stationed in the East, named Vespasian, to rally his troops and go to Judea with orders to kill all the inhabitants, sparing none, and to destroy the houses." (Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria 9:7, 940 AD)

iii. AD 73: "When the Christians, who fled away from the Jews and had crossed the Jordan and settled in those places, learned that Titus had destroyed the city and killed the Jews, they returned to Jerusalem, which was in ruins, and lived there and built a church and put at its head a second bishop named Simon, son of Cleophas. This Cleophas was the brother of Joseph who had brought up Christ our Lord. This happened in the fourth year of the reign of Vespasian." (Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria 9:10, 940 AD)

iv. "Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned" (Josephus Antiquities 20.200, October 62 AD)

3. One of the historical problems with Eusebius's account of the Christians fleeing to Pella BEFORE the war started in AD 66, is that Josephus says that the Jews destroyed and set on fire Pella in September AD 66.

a. When the Romans killed 20,000 Jews living in Caesarea, so that none remained, the Jews retaliated by destroying many cities with fire including Pella in the September of AD 66: "Now the people of Caesarea had slain the Jews that were among them on the very same day and hour [when the soldiers were slain], which one would think must have come to pass by the direction of Providence; insomuch that in one hour's time above twenty thousand Jews were killed, and all Cesarea was emptied of its Jewish inhabitants; for Florus caught such as ran away, and sent them in bonds to the galleys. (458) Upon which attack that the Jews received at Caesarea, the whole nation was greatly enraged; so they divided themselves into several parties, and laid waste the villages of the Syrians, and their neighboring cities, Philadelphia, and Sebonitis, and Gerasa, and Pella, and Scythopolis [Beth Shean], (459) and after them Gadara, and Hippos; and falling upon Gaulonitis, some cities they destroyed there, and some they set on fire, and then they went to Kedasa, belonging to the Tyrians, and to Ptolemais, and to Gaba, and to Cesarea; (460) nor was either Sabaste (Samaria) or Askelon, able to oppose the violence with which they were attacked; and when they had burned these to the ground, they entirely demolished Anthedon and Gaza; many also of the villages that were about every one of those cities were plundered, and an immense slaughter was made of the men who were caught in them." (Josephus Wars 2.457-460, Sept AD 66)

b. The Christians were given prophecy to leave the city for Pella in AD 65, only to have their new homes burnt down at Pella by vengeance seeking Jews against the Romans who would certainly not show any mercy to the resident Christians given their persistent persecutions.

c. "The destruction of Pella by the Jewish rebels in the late summer of 66 and the stubborn hostility of the pagan inhabitants towards the Jews make it unlikely that the Jewish Christians settled in this city before 68 C.E." (The Jewish Christians Move from Jerusalem as a Pragmatic Choice, Jonathan Bourgel, p122, 2010 AD)

4. In c. 100 BC, Pella was destroyed by the Jews because they would not permit convert to Judaism or tolerate Jewish practices under Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 BC).

a. "Now at this time the Jews were in possession of the following cities that had belonged to the Syrians, and Idumeans, and Phoenicians: At the seaside, Strato's Tower, Apollonia, Joppa, Jamnia, Ashdod, Gaza, Anthedon, Raphia, and Rhinocolura; in the middle of the country, near to Idumea, Adora, and Marissa; near the country of Samaria, Mount Carmel, and Mount Tabor, Scythopolis, and Gadara; of the country of the Gaulonites, Seleucia, and Gabala; in the country of Moab, Heshbon, and Medaba, Lemba, and Oronas, Gelithon, Zara, the valley of the Cilices, and Pella; which last they utterly destroyed, because its inhabitants would not bear to change their religious rites for those peculiar to the Jews. The Jews also possessed others of the principal cities of Syria, which had been destroyed." (Josephus Antiquities 13.395-397, 103-76 BC)

b. The Romans made Pella into one of the 10 Decapolis cities, likely driving out the Jews, which is why the Jews rose up and burnt it in Sept AD 66 for the second time!

5. Both Eusebius and Epiphanius indicate that the Christians freely moved between Jerusalem and Pella and back both before and after the war.

a. Perhaps the records from the 4th century that Christians from Jerusalem fled to Pella, was in fact a result of them surrendering to Titus in AD 69-70 and he settled them there, as was his custom to resettle captives in cities that had already been subdued. Since Pella had been destroyed and burnt by the Jews in the fall of AD 66, sending the Christians there would help rebuild the important Decapolis city.

b. "Thus the difficulty in question could be overcome by considering that the Jewish-Christians did not choose to take refuge at Pella but were settled there by the Roman authorities." (The Jewish Christians Move From Jerusalem as a Pragmatic Choice, Jonathan Bourgel, p121, 2010 AD)

C. Christians had to flee Jerusalem before Oct AD 66, outside Judea, to the 7 churches of Asia (Rev 2-3)

1. AD 65-66: It seems unlikely that the Jerusalem Christians would flee in AD 65-66 and then chose to live anywhere in Judea.

a. Christians would not flee to Pella: Josephus says that the Jews destroyed and set on fire Pella in September AD 66. (Josephus Wars 2.457-460)

b. The first Jewish war was not put down by the Romans until AD 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed and the rebel leaders were captured and paraded in Rome. The Titus Arch likely features the Jewish Rebel leaders.

c. It wasn't until Monday 12th April AD 73 when Masada finally fell when 960 Jews committed suicide.

d. "Nor was there now any part of Judea that was not in a miserable condition, as well as its most eminent city also." (Josephus Wars 4.409, March AD 68)

2. Passover 28 April AD 66: Book of Revelation arrives in Jerusalem and a mass wave of Christians flee city:

a. Most of the Christians fled the city when the 7 emissaries from the 7 churches of Asia (Rev 2-3) arrived with 7 autograph copies of the book of Revelation around Passover AD 66.

b. They would follow the emissaries back to each of their respective 7 churches of Asia and start a new secure life with the help of local Christians.

c. Remaining Christians flee Jerusalem 15th September AD 66:

d. The city was controlled by Jews starting in Sept AD 66. LIBERATION OF JERUSALEM: 15th September AD 66: [6th Elul AD 66, Wars 2.433-440]: Synchronism between the Two Witnesses preaching 42 months starting when Jerusalem fully liberated till the arrival of Nebuchadnezzar/Titus. Jewish Manahem surrounds Jerusalem with his armies fulfilling Lk 21:20 and then the High Priest executed.

e. After September, Christians would likely be permitted to "leave it all behind" by the Jews without being killed, if they just left the city.

f. Any Christians who did not leave the city by October AD 66 were likely persecuted and executed by the Jews by the Rebel leaders.

3. Dec AD 66: Nero sends Vespasian to destroy Jerusalem and end the First Jewish War.

4. July AD 67: Vespasian captures Josephus at Jotapata and destroys Magdala, Gischala and Gamla. The entire nation is under attack by the Romans, no cities are safe.

5. Feb AD 68: Christians could not escape Jerusalem after and would have been killed by the Jews:

a. The Jews would kill fellow Jews who tried to escape as traitors to the Romans. Christians would be doubly suspect and have even greater difficulty escaping the city. Only the richest were able to escape.

b. "the Jews are vexed to pieces every day by their civil wars and dissensions, and are under greater misfortunes than, if they were once taken, could be inflicted on them by us. (376) Whether, therefore, anyone hath regard to what is for our safety, he ought to suffer these Jews to destroy one another; or whether he hath regard to the greater glory of the action, we ought by no means to meddle with these men, now they are afflicted with a distemper at home; for should we now conquer them, it would be said the conquest was not owing to our bravery, but to their sedition. And now the commanders joined in their approbation of what Vespasian had said, and it was soon discovered how wise an opinion he had given; and indeed many there were of the Jews that deserted every day, and fled away from the zealots, (378) although their flight was very difficult, since they had guarded every passage out of the city, and slew every one that was caught at them, as taking it for granted they were going over to the Romans; (379) yet did he who gave them money get clear off, while he only that gave them none was voted a traitor. So the upshot was this, that the rich purchased their flight by money, while all the poor were slain. (380) Along all the roads also vast numbers of dead bodies lay in heaps, and even many of those that were so zealous in deserting, at length chose rather to perish within the city; for the hopes of burial made death in their own city appear of the two less terrible to them. (381) But these zealots came at last to that degree of barbarity, as not to bestow a burial either on those slain in the city, or on those that lay along the roads" (Josephus Wars 4.375-381, Feb AD 68)

c. "But because the city had to struggle with three of the greatest misfortunes, war, and tyranny, and sedition, it appeared, upon the comparison, that the war was the least troublesome to the populace of them all. Accordingly they ran away from their own houses to foreigners, and obtained that preservation from the Romans, which they despaired to obtain among their own people." (Josephus Wars 4.397, Feb AD 68)

6. 9 June AD 68: Nero commits suicide while Vespasian is conquering Judean cities on route to start sieging Jerusalem.

7. June AD 68 - April AD 69: Two Rebel unofficial Caesars: Galba and Otho

8. 17th April AD 69: Third Rebel unofficial Caesar Vitellius succeeds Otho. (Josephus Wars 4.545-549)

9. June AD 69: After Vespasian arrives in Jerusalem nobody could get out of the city easily if at all. The Rebel leaders killed any Jews who tried to escape the city while the Roman armies surrounded the city with a siege preventing anyone also from getting out.

a. "Nor was there now any part of Judea that was not in a miserable condition, as well as its most eminent city also. These things were told Vespasian by deserters; for although the seditious watched all the passages out of the city, and destroyed all, whosoever they were, that came hither, yet were there some that had concealed themselves, and, when they had fled to the Romans, persuaded their general to come to their city's assistance, and save the remainder of the people; (411) informing him withal, that it was upon account of the people's good will to the Romans [I.e siding with the Romans] that many of them were already slain [as traitors], and the survivors in danger of the same treatment. (412) Vespasian did, indeed, already pity the calamities these men were in, and arose, in appearance, as though he was going to besiege Jerusalem,-but in reality to deliver them from a [worse] siege they were already under." (Josephus Wars 4.409-412, Feb AD 69)

b. "And now the war having gone through all the mountainous country, and all the plain country also, those that were at Jerusalem were deprived of the liberty of going out of the city; for as to such as had a mind to desert, they were watched by the zealots; and as to such as were not yet on the side of the Romans, their army kept them in, by encompassing the city round about on all sides." (Josephus Wars of the Jews 4.490, June AD 69)

10. 22 December AD 69: Vitellius is beheaded the same month Titus is sent to destroy Jerusalem.

a. The Roman troops stationed at Caesarea and Alexandria both formally proclaim Vespasian as Caesar. (Josephus Wars 4:601-621)

b. Vespasian travels to Alexandria and goes to Rome. Vespasian sends Titus to Jerusalem to destroy the city. Titus gathers army at Alexandria and leaves for Jerusalem. (Josephus Wars 4:656-568)

11. Monday 7th March AD 70: Titus arrives in Jerusalem and 5-month siege begins.

a. Titus and his forces began the siege of Jerusalem just a little before Passover AD 70. (Wars 5.67-108).

b. Jesus son of Ananus, one of the witnesses of Rev 11 is killed by the Jews at the time the final siege begins. Notice one of the Witness of Revelation named JESUS son of Ananus (same name as High Priest who killed Jesus, possibly his son) was killed by a ballista stone while the three waring Jewish rebel leaders were fighting but the Romans were not. "Woe, woe, to the city again, and to the people, and to the holy house!" And just as he added at the last,-"Woe, woe, to myself also!" there came a stone out of one of the engines [Jewish-from inside the city], and smote him, and killed him immediately; and as he was uttering the very same presages, he gave up the ghost" (Wars 6:309)

12. June AD 70: The Jews were swallowing gold, then using the gold to buy their freedom from the Romans. Many of them were killed and their bellies were cut open in search of gold. The Jewish Rebel leaders began watching anybody leaving the city more than worrying about Romans entering the city. It was very difficult to escape the city because if you escaped execution by the Jews inside, you would be killed by those outside. The initial group Titus allowed to go free, but then these were killed by gold hunters.

a. Titus let these initial deserters go free: "accordingly, some of them sold what they had, and even the most precious things that had been laid up as treasures by them, for a very small matter, and swallowed down pieces of gold, that they might not be found out by the robbers; and when they had escaped to the Romans, went to stool, and had wherewithal to provide plentifully for themselves; (422) for Titus let a great number of them go away into the country, whither they pleased" (Josephus Wars 5:421-422, Thursday 24th May AD 70)

b. However the two remaining revel leaders kill their fellow Jews who try to escape, "John and Simon, with their factions, did more carefully watch these men's going out than they did the coming in of the Romans; and, if any one did but afford the least shadow of suspicion of such an intention, his throat was cut immediately." (Josephus Wars 5.423, Thursday 24th May AD 70)

c. 5th June AD 70, Tuesday: 2000 Jews who swallowed gold had bellies cut open by the Syrians and Arabs but Titus forbad his troops to do the same and executed the offending Syrians and Arabs. Once again the honour, moral uprightness and justice of the Romans exceeded both the Jews and the nations around them. "Yet did another plague seize upon those that were thus preserved; for there was found among the Syrian deserters a certain person who was caught gathering pieces of gold out of the excrements of the Jews' bellies; for the deserters used to swallow such pieces of gold, as we told you before, when they came out; and for these did the seditious search them all; for there was a great quantity of gold in the city, insomuch that as much was now sold [in the Roman camp] for twelve Attic [drams], as was sold before for twenty-five; (551) but when this contrivance was discovered in one instance, the fame of it filled their several camps, that the deserters came to them full of gold. So the multitude of the Arabians, with the Syrians, cut up those that came as supplicants, and searched their bellies. (552) Nor does it seem to me that any misery befell the Jews that was more terrible than this, since in one night's time about two thousand of these deserters were thus dissected. When Titus came to the knowledge of this wicked practice, he had like to have surrounded those that had been guilty of it with his horse, and have shot them dead; and he had done it, had not their number been so very great, and those that were liable to this punishment would have been manifold, more than those whom they had slain." (Josephus Wars 5.550-553, Tuesday 5th June AD 70)

13. Sabbath 14th July AD 70: [17 Tammuz/Panemus]: John stops temple sacrifices.

a. Synchronism with Daniel 9:27 Abomination of Desolation= John stops temple sacrifices: Dan 12:1 = Mt 24 = Josephus Wars 6.93-129

b. The 70 weeks of Daniel 9 end at the resurrection, but it goes on to say that after, will be a complete destruction of the temple in AD 70. Dan 12:1 jumps from the Greek kingdom (Dan 11) to the end in AD 70.

14. Monday 6th August AD 70 [10 Av AD 70]: Temple destroyed with fire.

a. Roman destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in AD 70 happened on same day of the year as the Babylonian in 587 BC.

b. Temple destroyed by burning after Jews attack Romans. Fire was cast into the inner Temple, essentially completing the destruction of the city (Josephus Wars 6:244-264).

c. "So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and resolved to storm the temple the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army, and to encamp round about the holy house; but, as for that house, God had for certain long ago doomed it to the fire; and now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of ages; it was the tenth day of the month Lous [Ab], upon which it was formerly burnt by the king of Babylon" (Josephus Wars 6.249-250)

15. Sunday 2nd September AD 70, [Gorpiaeus/Elul 8]: 1.1 million Jews died including the now famous Jews hiding drainage tunnel under the ascent stairs of the Pool of Siloam.

a. "Now the number of those that were carried captive during this whole war was collected to be 97,000; as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege 1,100,000 [eleven hundred thousand], (421) the greater part of whom were indeed of the same nation [with the citizens of Jerusalem], but not belonging to the city itself; for they were come up from all the country to the feast of unleavened bread, and were on a sudden shut up by an army, which, at the very first, occasioned so great a straightness among them that there came a pestilential destruction upon them, and soon afterward such a famine, as destroyed them more suddenly." (Josephus Wars 6.420-428)

b. "Now this vast multitude is indeed collected out of remote places, but the entire nation was now shut up by fate as in a prison ... they made search for underground, and when they found where they were, they broke up the ground and slew all they met with. There were also found slain there above two thousand persons, partly by their own hands, and partly by one another, but chiefly destroyed by the famine; (431) but then, the ill savor of the dead bodies was most offensive to those that lighted upon them" (Josephus Wars 6.428-433)

D. Conclusion: Christians fled Jerusalem to Asia before December AD 66

1. Christians needed to have fled Jerusalem before Dec AD 66 to the 7 churches of Asia (Rev 2-3).

a. Most of the Christians fled the city when the 7 emissaries from the 7 churches of Asia (Rev 2-3) arrived with 7 autograph copies of the book of Revelation a month or so before Passover AD 66. They would follow the emissaries back to each of their respective 7 churches of Asia and start a new secure life with the help of local Christians.

b. Remaining Christians flee Jerusalem 15th September AD 66: The city was controlled by Jews after 15th September AD 66 (Wars 2.433-440) when they saw the Jewish armies of Manahem surrounded Jerusalem fulfilling Lk 21:20.

c. After December AD 66, any Christians who tried to leave the Jerusalem would die of famine or be killed by the Jews for trying to escape.

d. By May AD 70 conditions were catastrophic for anyone left in the city: "Hereupon some of the deserters, having no other way, leaped down from the wall immediately, while others of them went out of the city with stones, as if they would fight them; but thereupon, they fled away to the Romans:-but here a worse fate accompanied these than what they had found within the city; and they met with a quicker dispatch from the too great abundance they had among the Romans, than they could have done from the famine among the Jews; (549) for when they came first to the Romans, they were puffed up by the famine, and swelled like men in a dropsy; after which they all on the sudden over-filled those bodies that were before empty, and so burst asunder, excepting such only as were skillful enough to restrain their appetites, and, by degrees, took in their food into bodies unaccustomed thereto." (Wars 5.548-549, 24th May AD 70)

e. The Jerusalem Christians would flee the entire promised land as defined by the original territory of the 12 tribes assigned under Joshua. If they moved from Jerusalem to any city located inside Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Perea or any Transjordan location from Damascus down to Macherus in Moab, they would experience 4 years of wars between the Romans and Jews. The Romans would relocate them a second time and the Jewish persecutions upon the Christians would be intense.

f. They would flee to Asia because there was no Roman persecution at this time, only in Rome by Nero. They would still experience persecution from the Jews in their new homes in the cities of the seven churches of Asia of Rev 2-3, but they could establish their lives with no threat of being relocated a second time. In Asia, they were outside the battle zone of the First Jewish War AD 66-70.

2. Christians would not flee to any place inside Judea: Jewish War: AD 66-70

a. Eusebius says that all the Christians fled OUT of Judea before the war started: "Those who believed in Christ migrated to this city from Jerusalem, that, when holy men had entirely abandoned the royal capital [Jerusalem] of the Jews and the entire land of Judaea, the judgment of God might soon overtake them for their many crimes against Christ and His Apostles." (Eus., Hist. eccl. 3.5, 325 AD)

b. Sept AD 66: The Jews destroyed and burned Kedasa, belonging to the Tyrians, Ptolemais, Gaba, Cesarea, Sabaste (Samaria) or Askelon, Anthedon and Gaza. (Josephus Wars 2.457-460, Sept AD 66)

c. July AD 67 After Vespasian captures Josephus at Jotapata he completely destroyed the all the cites of the Galilee including Jotapata, (Wars 3.240) Magdala (Life 155), Gischala (Wars 4.83).

d. Oct AD 67: "There were besides disorders and civil wars in every city; and all those that were at quiet from the Romans turned their hands one against another." (Josephus, Wars 4:129-131, Fall AD 67)

e. Oct AD 67: "Titus went from Gischala to Cesarea; Vespasian from Cesarea to Jamnia and Azotus, and took them both; and when he had put garrisons into them he came back with a great number of the people, who were come over to him, upon his giving them his right hand for their preservation." (Josephus, Wars 4:129-131, Fall AD 67)

f. March AD 68: All the cities of Judea were in a state of war: "Nor was there now any part of Judea that was not in a miserable condition, as well as its most eminent city also." (Josephus Wars 4.409, March AD 68)

g. May AD 68: "laying waste and burning all the neighboring villages [of Antipatris]. And when he had laid waste all the places about the toparchy of Thamnas, he passed on to Lydda and Jamnia" (Josephus, Wars 4:444)

h. June AD 69: "Vespasian ... marched against those places of Judea which were not yet overthrown. So he went up to the mountainous country, and took those two toparchies that were called the Gophnitick and Acrabattene toparchies. After which he took Bethel and Ephraim [Kh. El-Maqatir], two small cities; and when he had put garrisons into them, he rode as far as Jerusalem, in which march he took many prisoners, and many captives." (Josephus Wars 4:551, June AD 69)

i. The first Jewish war was not put down by the Romans until AD 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed and the rebel leaders were captured and paraded in Rome. The Titus Arch likely features the Jewish Rebel leaders etched in the stone.

j. The turmoil in Judea continued until Monday 12th April AD 73, when Masada finally fell.

k. There is no point of leaving Jerusalem for another Judean city only to be captured by the Romans and be relocated a second time if you survived.

3. Christians would not flee to any Transjordan city in the entire Perea region:

a. "If anyone will suppose that Galilee is inferior to Perea in magnitude, he will be obliged to prefer it before it in its strength: for this is all capable of cultivation, and is everywhere fruitful; but for Perea, which is indeed much larger in extent ... Now the length of Perea is from Macherus to Pella, and its breadth from Philadelphia to Jordan; (47) its northern parts are bounded by Pella, as we have already said, as well as its western with Jordan; the land of Moab is it southern border, and its eastern limits reach to Arabia, and Silbonitis, and besides to Philadelphene and Gerasa." (Josephus Wars 3.44-47)

b. In sept AD 66: The Jews destroyed and burned the villages of the Syrians, Philadelphia [modern Ammon], and Sebonitis, and Gerasa, and Pella, and Scythopolis [Beth Shean], Gadara, Hippos, Gaulonitis"

(Josephus Wars 2.457-460)

c. July AD 67 After Vespasian completely destroyed Gamla. (Wars 4:1,78).

d. March AD 68: However, he was obliged at first to overthrow what remained elsewhere, and to leave nothing out of Jerusalem behind him that might interrupt him in that siege. Accordingly, he marched against Gadara, the metropolis of Perea, which was a place of strength, and entered that city on the fourth day of the month Dystrus [Adar]" (Josephus 4:414, 21 March AD 68)

e. May AD 68: "Placidus [commander under Vespasian] ... fell violently upon the neighboring smaller cities and villages; when he took Abila, and Julias, and Bezemoth, and all those that lay as far as the lake Asphaltitis ... insomuch that all Perea [Transjordan] had either surrendered themselves, or were taken by the Romans, as far as Macherus." (Josephus Wars 4:438-439, May AD 68)

f. Although no precise dating is given, it seems that the conquest of Peraea, which started with the capture of Gadara on March 21, 68 C.E. (BJ IV, 414) was completed shortly before the taking of Jericho on June 21, 68 (BJ IV, 450).

g. 21 June AD 68: "he pitched his camp, on the second day of the month Daesius [Sivan]; and on the day following he came to Jericho; on which day Trajan, one of his commanders, joined him with the forces he brought out of Perea, all the places beyond Jordan being subdued already. Hereupon a great multitude prevented their approach, and came out of Jericho, and fled to those mountainous parts that lay over against Jerusalem, while that part which was left behind was in a great measure destroyed; they also found the city desolate. It is situated in a plain; but a naked and barren mountain, of a great length, hangs over it which extends itself to the land about Scythopolis northward." (Josephus Wars 4.449-453)

4. Christians would not flee to Pella:

a. Eusebius said all of Judea fled to Pella: "holy men had entirely abandoned the royal capital of the Jews and the entire land of Judaea" (Eus., Hist. eccl. 3.5, 325 AD)

i. The Pella story of Eusebius says that every Christian in the entire land of Judea fled to Pella before the war started (AD 66), not just those living in Jerusalem.

ii. It seems very unlikely that Pella could accommodate such a large population of Christians.

iii. Luke records 3000 were saved by baptism on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38-41), 5000 men (Acts 4:4), numbers greatly increased daily in Jerusalem including many priests (Acts 5:14 Acts 6:7) and the disciples multiplied rapidly.

iv. By AD 36 the population of Christians was large in the land: "So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase." (Acts 9:31)

b. Sept AD 66: Josephus says that the Jews destroyed and set on fire Pella in September AD 66. (Josephus Wars 2.457-460)

c. May AD 68: Vespasian's army commander Placidus "took all Perea" (Josephus Wars 4:438) "Perea is from Macherus to Pella" (Josephus Wars 3.44-47)

d. The flight to Pella of Jerusalem Christians recorded by Eusebius (AD 325), Pseudo-Clementines (AD 375), Epiphanius of Salamis (AD 400), Eutychius of Alexandria (AD 940) are all late accounts which not only contradict each other, but Josephus.

e. If the Pella story is true, that Christians left Jerusalem for Pella, these were probably the few Christians who escaped or were captured by either Vespasian or Titus and sent to live in Pella to rebuilt it after the Jews destroyed it. Then they would be able to freely move back and forth to Jerusalem after AD 70 as these sources suggest.

f. "It is very unlikely that the Jewish-Christian community (which certainly included children, women and old men) would have managed to travel safely through Peraea, which had been successively devastated by the Jewish rebels and the Roman troops. However, if we assume that the Jewish-Christians actually surrendered to the Romans, this difficulty is overcome. ... a Jewish-Christian settlement in Pella during the course of the Great Revolt is physically possible, if we concede that it was under the supervision of the Roman authorities." (The Jewish Christians Move from Jerusalem as a Pragmatic Choice, Jonathan Bourgel, p127, p129, 2010 AD)

g. Given the destruction of Pella by the Jews in AD 66, then the Romans in May AD 68, the earliest any Christians would be sent to Pella would be the Summer of AD 68.

h. The idea that a large group of Christians with women and children, were able to escape Jerusalem after AD 68 and surrender to the Romans in a distinct block is almost impossible. The Rebel leaders guarded the exits and killed their fellow "Torah compliant" Jews as traitors if they attempted to escape. How much more would a large block of Christians be easily identified and executed as they even approached the exit gates.

i. Slightly less impossible would be a large group of Christians mixed with Jews who escaped the city and surrendered to Titus.

j. There is no reason to believe that Titus would separate the Christian and Jewish deserters and send Christians only to Pella and the Jews to another place. If Titus sent Christians to Pella, he would also send Jews with them.

k. It is also clear that any prophet who warned the Christians to flee Jerusalem voluntarily for Pella before the summer of AD 68 made a grave error.

5. The four waves of Christians who fled Jerusalem in AD 66-70, corresponds to the four waves of Jews who fled Jerusalem in 605-582 BC.

a. 1ST WAVE: March AD 66: Book of Revelation arrives in Jerusalem: Seven autograph copies of the Book of Revelation arrive in Jerusalem via the seven messengers of the 7 Churches of Asia (Rev 2-3). This is likely when the first wave of Christians fled the city. They would follow the 7 messengers back to the 7 churches and find support and refuge. Like the Babylonian Captivity, there were three waves of the righteous who left the city. This first wave in early spring of AD 66 corresponds to the first message of Jeremiah to "leave it all behind" in 605 BC where Daniel, Meshach Shadrach and Abednego all voluntarily surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar upon his arrival in in the Summer of 605 BC. (Jer 21:8-10) This first wave is the spiritual "cream of the crop" and they would be of great spiritual to the weaker churches in Revelation in both encouragement and knowledge of the Old Testament. These Christians were able to take some of their wealth, even selling lands/houses/possessions and would be in Asia before any of the war reached Jerusalem. Passover, Monday 28th April AD 66: The war started in the mind of Roman appointed governor of Judea, Florus on Passover, when the Jews complained bitterly about his treachery to Syrian governor Cestius. (Wars 2.280)

b. 2nd WAVE: Jerusalem Liberated 15th September AD 66: Wars 2.433-440] Manahem surrounds Jerusalem with his armies fulfilling Lk 21:20. This was likely when the second wave the Christians fled the city. While the Jews would have felt safe, the Christians knew disaster was near for the city. This corresponds to the second attach of Nebuchadnezzar on Jerusalem on 9th December 598 BC when Jehoiachin/Jeconiah/Coniah and Ezekiel obey the order of Jeremiah and surrender voluntarily (2 Kings 24:10-16). They are deported along with a group of 3023 Jews who surrendered by Nebuzaradan: Jer 52:29. These would likely have been caught up in the weedy and rocky soils of life (parable of the sower) but they finally obeyed the second command to leave. They would likely only get out of the city with the easiest of possessions to convert to cash. The Christians would have fled the entire area of the promised land for Asia or Egypt etc.

c. 3rd WAVE: About Nov 10, AD 66: Roman Syrian Governor Cestius Gallus, withdraws his armies secretly to Antipatris and stops attacking Jerusalem: The Romans begin attacking the city walls but Cestius devised a trick to secretly retreat his army to Antipatris. (Wars 2.551). The Jews took possession of many mechanical war machines like the Ballista (see below for photo), that the Roman's left behind. (Wars 2.554). This was likely when the third wave of Christians fled the city. Persecutions from the Jews would have begun and they likely left with only what they could take in a panic after the Roman armies left. While the Jews were bringing in Ballista and Scorpion machines of war into the city, the Christians were fleeing the city. This corresponds to the third deportation of 587 BC when 832 Jews were deported to Babylon upon capture. (Jer 52:29) The Christians would have fled the entire area of the promised land to any foreign nation.

d. 4th WAVE: Trickle of Escapees: Jan AD 66 - Aug AD 70: Some Christians were able to bribe or sneak their way out of Jerusalem and immediately surrender to either Vespasian or Titus. This is likely the 4th wave of Christians to leave the city. This corresponds to the 4th deportation of 582 Jews who ignored all commands to surrender and fled from Jerusalem to Egypt only to be captured by Nebuchadnezzar. (Jer 44:30; 52:30; Josephus Antiquities 10:181) These Christians refused to leave the city with the first three waves and were trapped inside after Jan AD67. If they made it out alive they were likely the ones who were sent to Pella by Titus. These lost every material possession for their disobedience to Christ because they were worldly and lukewarm Christians. In hindsight, they regret not leaving when they first read the book of Revelation when in arrived early Spring AD 66. The Christians would have remained in the Pella area to rebuild the city and be free to travel back and forth to Jerusalem after it was destroyed in AD 70.

e. Jan AD 68: Jerusalem surrounded by 20,000: Ananus son of Ananus: Moderate, Former High Priest, gives a speech to the people and says the Zealots must be defeated. (Josephus Wars 162-192) but the Zealots catch wind and attack first. The Zealots are routed and retreat back inside the temple. John of Gischala is asked by Ananus to negotiate with the Zealots but instead lies to them that Ananus is secretly planning on a new attack with the personal help of Vespasian. (Josephus Wars 4:208-223). The Zealots seek help of Idumeans (at Petra) and they agree and bring and army of 20,000 to Jerusalem. (Josephus Wars 4:225-235) Ananus locks them out of the city and they become enraged but camp over night outside and endure a violent lightening storm which the Josephus viewed as a bad omen. He records that the Jews inside the city viewed the event as God fighting against the army outside the wall. Here again we have Jerusalem surrounded by an army of 20,000! (Josephus Wars 4:235,283-287) The Idumeans cut through the city gate during the storm and kill 8500 inside the city during random looting. (Josephus Wars 4:305-314). The Idumeans and Zealots join forces and the two High Priests, Ananus ben Ananus and Jesus ben Gamaliel are killed, (Josephus Wars 4:315,325) but the Idumeans learn they were lied to about Ananus being a traitor, they leave the city. (Josephus Wars 4:345-352) The departure of the Idumeans back to Petra triggers a massive killing spree of the Zealots against anyone who opposes them. (Josephus Wars 4:354-365) All this internal was is reported to Vespasian who decides to let the Jews kill themselves off a bit longer and he delays attacking the city. (Josephus Wars 4: 366-376) The irreligious of the city attack religion itself as the problem. (Josephus Wars 4:377-388).

f. Feb AD 68: The surrounding of the city by 20,000 is another clear sign the city it soon to be destroyed, especially in light of the violent overnight thunderstorm which all viewed as a sign from God. At this point any Christians left in the city would be killed either by the Jews who hated them or the irreligious who blamed religion as the "root of all trouble".

g. Titus arrives to destroy Jerusalem: 7th March AD 70, 6th August AD 70: Temple burned.

Introduction 10:

Jews Persecute Christians in Revelation

A. Jewish persecution of Christians Revelation: AD 66

1. Those who date Revelation to AD 96 (late-daters) and say there was no Roman persecution by Nero in Asia entirely miss the mark because the persecution of the seven churches was clearly from the Jews not the Romans.

a. "I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus." (Revelation 1:9)

b. Jewish persecution in Smyrna:

i. "'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not [physical non-Christian Jews], but are a synagogue of Satan [literal synagogue]. 'Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Rev 2:9-10)

ii. Persecution & blasphemy: physical and verbal abuse

iii. Poverty: caused by being fired, seizure of property, financially shunned by their former Jewish community to do business with them or buy their products in the markets.

iv. Killed by Jews: Jesus commanded them "do not fear" because in 10 days after getting the letter, some of them may have been killed by the Jews.

c. Jewish persecution in Philadelphia:

i. "'Behold, I will cause those [physical non-Christian Jews] of the synagogue of Satan [literal synagogue], who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie-I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you." (Rev 3:9)

ii. Pre-AD 70 synagogues featured freestanding columns (Herodium and Magdala) that were often inscribed with various messages: "'He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name." (Revelation 3:12)

d. Jewish persecution in Pergamum: "'I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells." (Revelation 2:13)

i. "Revelation locates Satan's throne at Pergamum because it is the only one of the seven cities where a Christian has been put to death (2:13). Although Ephesus, Smyrna, Sardis, and Laodicea were also judicial centers (Pliny the Elder, Nat. 5.105-26; Magie, Roman, 2:1059-63), Pergamum is the only city where a Christian has been executed (Aune; Friesen, "Satan's," 366). Calling the city where a Christian has been killed "the throne of Satan" is like giving the epithet "synagogue of Satan" to the synagogues that denounce Christians and place them in danger of imprisonment or death (Rev 2:9-10; 3:9)." (AYBC, Craig R. Koester Revelation 2:13, 2014 AD)

2. Jewish persecution and worldliness vs. the myth of persecution because of emperor worship:

a. Summary of 7 churches:

i. 3 churches experienced persecution.

ii. 4 churches did not experience persecution but were rebuked for being lukewarm and sinful.

3. There is no specific reference to persecution from idol worship, emperor worship.

a. Two churfches (Pergamum and Thyatira) and were warned not to "eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality."

b. Both of these were free-will choice moral defilements and not a source of persecution or death.

c. Like the temple of Dianna at Corinth, you could fornicate with the temple prostitutes and then enjoy a great meal, but nobody got killed for saying, "no thanks". It was a moral choice not a life or death ritual.

4. Emperor worship statements missing in 7 churches:

a. If emperor worship was the central source of persecution of the 7 churches, Jesus failed to tell them.

b. No warning of any kind against worshipping idols.

c. No mention of a conflict over bowing down to the emperor's statue.

5. What these "Late-dater s" fail to notice is that:

a. The Rev 2:9-10 reference to persecution was Jewish persecution of Christians. The reference to a synagogue of Satan was the local Jewish synagogue that initiated the persecution.

b. There is no mention of persecution of any type for six of the seven churches in Rev 2-3.

6. The Roman persecution of Christians in Rome and local surrounding areas for 42 months, is referenced in Rev 13.

a. The Persecution of Christians in Rome started in the fall of AD 64 and the Christians of Asia would have been aware of this when Revelation was written in AD 66.

b. The 42 months of Neronic persecution was likely isolated to Rome, but may have spread as far as Asia and Judea, but the extant record of history is that the persecution was limited to Rome.

c. Rev 13 records Nero's persecution of Christians but DOES NOT say it happened in Jerusalem or Asia. It simply says that Christians were the targets, but where they were persecuted is not revealed.

d. The 7 autograph copies of Revelation were delivered to the 7 churches of Asia who then took the letter to the Christians in Jerusalem to bring them back to their home churches in safety and refuge and to start a new life.

e. Josephus records that Judea and Jerusalem were at a time of peace among the Jews in AD 66.

7. So, the fact that Nero's persecution did not reach Asia was a perfect fit with the two persecution verses of Rev which reference general persecution of all Christians (1:9) and Jewish persecution of Christians (2:9) before AD 70.

B. During the ministry of Jesus, the Jews expelled anyone who believed he was the Messiah:

1. "His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue." (John 9:22)

2. "Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue;" (John 12:42)

3. "Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man." (Luke 6:22)

4. "They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God." (John 16:2)

C. From Pentecost AD 33, Christians were beaten, jailed and persecuted by Jews:

1. AD 33: Jailed and threatened: One day after Pentecost after healing the lame man: "As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. ... "And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard." When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed." (Acts 4:1-3; 18-22)

2. AD 33: Jailed, threatened, beaten: Two Days after Pentecost after healing the lame man "But the High Priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, "Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life." Upon hearing this, they entered into the temple about daybreak and began to teach. Now when the High Priest and his associates came, they called the Council together, even all the Senate of the sons of Israel, and sent orders to the prison house for them to be brought. But the officers who came did not find them in the prison; and they returned and reported back, saying, "We found the prison house locked quite securely and the guards standing at the doors; but when we had opened up, we found no one inside." Now when the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them as to what would come of this. But someone came and reported to them, "The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!" Then the captain went along with the officers and proceeded to bring them back without violence (for they were afraid of the people, that they might be stoned). When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The High Priest questioned them, saying, "We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man's blood upon us." But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men. "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. "He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. "And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him." But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. And he said to them, "Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. "For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. "After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. "So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God." They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ." (Acts 5:17-42)

D. Even Apostle Paul killed and persecuted Christians in AD 36:

1. "Paul who once persecuted us, is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy." (Galatians 1:23)

2. "When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him [Stephen]; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul [Paul]. ... Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul [Paul] began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison." " (Acts 7:58-8:3)

3. "Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." (2 Timothy 3:12)

E. After conversion, Apostle Paul was beaten and stoned by the Jews in AD 40:

1. "Are they [Jews] Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. ... in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned" (2 Corinthians 11:22-25)

2. "But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe." (Acts 14:19-20)

a. Jesus may have resurrected his dead body during on of these persecution incidents, this may be where Paul was caught up to heaven.

b. "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago [42 AD]-whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows-such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man-whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows- was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak." (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)

c. "If, as seems probable, the present letter (chaps. 10-13) was written in the summer of 56 C.E., then the experience referred to here would have occurred sometime around the year 42. By most reckonings this would have been almost a decade before Paul's first visit to Corinth, but also substantially after his call to apostleship." (AYBC, 1 Corinthians 12:2)

F. Justin Martyr describes how Pharisees preached hatred of Christians in their Synagogues in AD 150:

Just as Muslims today openly preach hatred and destruction of Jews in their mosques, so too the ancient Jews openly preached the identical hatred and destruction to Christians in the first century AD.

1. "Now you [Jews] spurn those who hope in Him [Jesus], and in Him who sent Him, namely, Almighty God, the Creator of all things; to the utmost of your power you dishonor and curse [Christians] in your synagogues all those who believe in Christ. Now, indeed, you cannot use violence against us Christians, because of those who are in power, but as often as you [Jews] could, you did employ force against us." (Justin Martyr, Dialogue 16)

2. "The same can be said of those descendants of Abraham [Jews], who follow the Law and refuse to believe in Christ to their very last breath. Especially excluded from eternal salvation are they [Jews] who in their synagogues have cursed and still do curse those who believe [Christians] in that very Christ in order that they may attain salvation and escape the avenging fires of Hell." (Justin Martyr, Dialogue 47)

3. "For, in your synagogues you [Jews] curse all those who through Him have become Christians, and the Gentiles put into effect your curse by killing all those who merely admit that they are Christians. To all our persecutors we say: "You are our brothers; apprehend, rather, the truth of God." But when neither they nor you will listen to us, but you do all in your power to force us to deny Christ, we resist you and prefer to endure death, confident that God will give us all the blessings which He promised us through Christ. Furthermore, we pray for you that you might experience the mercy of Christ; for He in-strutted us to pray even for our enemies, when He said: "Be kind and merciful, even as your Heavenly Father is merciful." We can observe that Almighty God is kind and merciful, causing His sun to shine on the ungrateful and on the just, and sending rain to both the holy and the evil; but all of them, He has told us, He will judge.'" (Justin Martyr, Dialogue 96, 1948 AD translation)

4. "For the statement in the law, 'Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree,' confirms our hope which depends on the crucified Christ, not because He who has been crucified is cursed by God, but because God foretold that which would be done by you all, and by those like to you, who do not know4 that this is He who existed before all, who is the eternal Priest of God, and King, and Christ. And you clearly see that this has come to pass. For you curse in your synagogues all those who are called from Him Christians; and other nations effectively carry out the curse, putting to death those who simply confess themselves to be Christians; to all of whom we say, You are our brethren; rather recognise the truth of God. And while neither they nor you are persuaded by us, but strive earnestly to cause us to deny the name of Christ, we choose rather and submit to death, in the full assurance that all the good which God has promised through Christ He will reward us with. And in addition to all this we pray for you, that Christ may have mercy upon you. For He taught us to pray for our enemies also, saying, 'Love your enemies; be kind and merciful, as your heavenly Father is.'6 For we see that the Almighty God is kind and merciful, causing His sun to rise on the unthankful and on the righteous, and sending rain on the holy and on the wicked; all of whom He has taught us He will judge. " (Justin Martyr, Dialogue 96, 1885 AD translation)

5. "For it would be wonderful if you [Jews] would obey the Scriptures and be circumcised from the hardness of your [Jewish] heart, not with the circumcision which you have according to your deep-rooted idea, for the Scriptures convince us that such a circumcision was given as a sign and not as a work of righteousness. Agree with us, therefore, and do not insult the Son of God; ignoring your Pharisaic teachers, do not scorn the King of Israel as the chiefs of your synagogues instruct you [Jews] to do in your prayers. For, if he who touches those who are not pleasing to God is as he who touches the apple of God's eye, how much more so is he who touches His Beloved. And it has been sufficiently proved that this is He.'" (Justin Martyr, Dialogue 137)

F. Jews help kill 90,000 Christians in Jerusalem in AD 614: Theophanes Confessor

1. Here is a map of the location of the mass grave sites in Jerusalem form the 614 Holocaust of Christians:

2. In 813 AD, Theophanes the Confessor recorded this entry for the year 614 AD:

a. Theophanes the Confessor was an historical who wrote a yearly chronicle and diary of world events in the Byzantine empire including both the Persian (614 AD) and various Islamic conquests of Jerusalem from 284-813 AD.

b. "In this year the Persians took [the region of] the Jordan, Palestine, and the Holy City [Jerusalem] by force of arms and killed many people [Christians] therein through the agency of the Jews: some say it was 90,000. For the Jews bought the Christians, each man according to his means, and killed them. As for Zacharias, patriarch of Jerusalem, and the holy and life-giving Cross, the Persians took them along with many captives and car-ried them off to Persia." (The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor, Byzantine history 284-813 AD, Cyril Mango, Roger Scott, Michael Maas, p431, 1997 AD)

3. 90,000 or 66,509 or 57,000 Christians executed in Jerusalem:

a. The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor says 90,000 killed. (see above)

b. The Chronicle of Antiochus Strategios says 66,509 Killed: La prise de Jérusalem par les perses en 614, Gérard Garitte, 1960 AD, Antiochus Strategios, Chronicles of a 7th century Monk of Palestine, p13-14, records that Jerusalem fell in early May 614 and on pages 50-3 gives a tabulation of the dead toll at 66,509 killed in 614 AD in Jerusalem.

c. The Chronicle of Anastasius of Persia says 57,000 Killed: Anastase saint le Persia 575 - 630 AD, B. Flusin, 1992 AD, , ii. 16o. Sebeos, 69 gives a tabulation of 57,000 dead.

d. It is obvious that these ancient history sources document a massive slaughter of Christians by the Persians and the Jews in Jerusalem in 614 AD.

4. Who is Theophanes the Confessor:

a. Theophanes the Confessor was an historical who wrote a yearly chronicle and diary of world events in the Byzantine empire including both the Persian (614 AD) and various Islamic conquests of Jerusalem from 284-813 AD.

b. "THEOPHANES THE CONFESSOR, SAINT, (born c. 752-died c. 818, island of Samothrace, Greece; feast day March 12) Byzantine monk, theologian, and chronicler, a principal adversary of the heterodox in the Iconoclastic Controversy (concerning the destruction of sacred images). The annals he wrote are the leading source for 7th- and 8th-century Byzantine history. Of a noble family related to the Macedonian dynasty, Theophanes became a monk shortly after marrying a patrician woman; he founded a monastery near Cyzicus. Advocating the early Christian tradition of using religious art to ornament worship, Theophanes, at the second general Council of Nicaea (787), argued for its continued practice in the Eastern Church. He ridiculed Iconoclastic Byzantine emperors. After being imprisoned in Constantinople (814-815) by Emperor Leo V, he was banished to the island of Samothrace, where he died. The Greek and Latin churches revere him as a saintly defender of orthodox faith; hence the title Confessor. Between the years 810 and 814 Theophanes, at the invitation of a friend, the noted historian George Syncellus, wrote his chief work, the Chronographia ("Chronography"), a series of annals on Byzantine, Arabic, and Latin history, which is particularly valuable because it used older sources now lost and is the only comprehensive chronicle of 7th- and 8th-century Byzantium. According to modern historians, Theophanes lacked depth of scholarship, historical insight, and objectivity. His Chronographia, however, presents the sole detailed account of the Byzantine victory over the Arab besiegers of Constantinople (674-678) and describes the famous "Greek fire," an explosive mixture that could be hurled great distances and enabled the Byzantines to destroy the Arab fleet. Theophanes also graphically recorded the disastrous defeat of Emperor Nicephorus I by the Bulgarians near Pliska, July 26, 811, in which the emperor was slain, the first Byzantine ruler to be killed by barbarians since Emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. (Encyclopedia Britannica, Theophanes the Confessor, Saint, 2016 AD)

c. "Theophanes the Confessor: Byzantine chronographer; b. c. 758; d. in Samothrace c. 817. On the eve of his marriage he bound himself and his bride to continence, then became a monk, and soon after founded the monastery "of the great field" near Sigriane on the Sea of Marmora. He advocated image worship at the Second Council of Nicæa in 787, and as a partisan of image worship was imprisoned in Constantinople under Leo the Armenian in 814-815 and then was banished to Samothrace. He wrote his chronography between 810-811 and 814-815 at the request of Georgius Syncellus (d. 810), continuing the latter's chronicle. It comprises the years 284-813 and incorporates material from Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret as found in an epitome by Theodorus Lector; also a Constantinopolitan chronicle. Theophanes' work has the faults of an ascetic turned historian and writing in haste, yet it is better than most of the Byzantine chronicles. A Latin translation by Anastasius Bibliothecarius made between 873 and 878 was much used in the West during the Middle Ages." (THEOPHANES OF BYZANTIUM, Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Volume I-XII Volume 11, Page 403, 1914 AD)

5. Recent professional three-dimensional archeological Excavations confirm many mass graves in Jerusalem that date to 614 AD:

a. The Chronicle of Antiochus Strategios says 66,509 Killed. The Chronicle of Anastasius of Persia says 57,000 Killed: Two of the Chronicles listed (Antiochus Strategios and Anastasius of Persia) have tabulated a list of 35 specific mass grave sites in Jerusalem including the number of Christians in each mass grave location.

b. "Additional support for the association of the mass burials with the Persian conquest comes from the connection of the burial sites to places mentioned by Strategius as the burial sites of the massacre victims. Thirty-five locations are mentioned in his list, and some of them can be identified with places around the city (Milik 1960-1961: 133). The largest number of deceased was found in the Mamilla pool, west of Jaffa Gate. The various manuscripts provide two different numbers, either 4,518 (4,618 according to another version) or 24,518 people who were massa-cred here and buried by Thomas "the Grave Digger"." (The Persian Conquest of Jerusalem, 614 c.e.- An Archaeological Assessment, Gideon Avni, BASOR, No. 357, p35-48, 2010 AD)

c. Archeologically Excavated mass grave sites correspond with ancient locations listed in Historical Chronicles.

6. Archeological excavation details about the 614 murder of 90,000 Christians:

a. Gideon Avni is a well-known and highly respected Jewish archeologist in Israel who simply reported the facts without bias.

b. "The Persian conquest of Palestine in 614 C.E. is described in historical sources as a violent military raid that dramatically affected the political and administrative stability of Byzantine Palestine, involving large-scale damage to churches and a mass killing of the local Christian population. ... The large number of excavated sites in and around Jerusalem in which remains from the Byzantine period were found, together with the detailed historical descriptions on the conquest and massacre of the Christian population, provide an unparalleled opportunity to compare the historical narrative with the archaeological findings." (The Persian Conquest of Jerusalem, 614 c.e.- An Archaeological Assessment, Gideon Avni, BASOR, No. 357, p35-48, 2010 AD)

c. "A detailed analysis of Byzantine burial sites around Jerusalem reveals several large concentrations of human bones. These are not the ordinary type of urban burials, characteristic of the Byzantine period, which included either single shaft tombs or family burial caves (e.g., Avni and Greenhut 1996; Avni 2005; Avni, Dahari, and Kloner 2008), but rather intentional gatherings of numerous corpses into a cave, water cistern, or an existing family burial cave. A careful investigation of this type of sepulcher reveals seven such sites, all located outside the walls of the Old City and clearly associated with the Byzantine period. Most of these were accidentally discovered during construction works and were only briefly mentioned in short notes or preliminary reports. ." (The Persian Conquest of Jerusalem, 614 c.e.- An Archaeological Assessment, Gideon Avni, BASOR, No. 357, p35-48, 2010 AD)

d. "The most explicit mass burial site is a rock-cut cave located in Mamilla, about 120 m west of Jaffa Gate. This area is part of the western urban burial ground of Jerusalem, which was in use from the eighth/seventh centuries B.C.E. to the Byzantine period (Reich 1994; Maeir 1994). Among the common types of tombs and burial caves was a cave exceptional in its shape and contents (Reich 1996). This elongated cave, ca. 12 m long and 3 m wide, was filled with heaps of human bones. A small chapel (ca. 6 x 3 m) was constructed in front of the cave, with an apse facing east. The chapel walls were coated with painted plaster, and the apse bore traces of a fresco depicting an angel extending his hands. The floor was paved with a mosaic decorated with three crosses. A four-line inscription within a tabula ansata was located near the entrance to the cave, containing a prayer "for the redemption and salvation of those, God knows their names" (Reich 1996: 29-30). The chapel had two distinguishable phases of construction, in the second of which benches were added along the walls. A cache of about 30 oil lamps was discovered in the fill under the benches, probably located there at the time of construction as a votive offering (Reich 1996: 30). The lamps are of the large candlestick type, which prevails from the mid-sixth to the late seventh century (Magness 1993: 251). The excavation of the cave itself yielded hundreds of human skeletons. An anthropological analysis indicated that the deceased were relatively young compared with those in contemporary cemeteries, and that women outnumbered men (Naggar 2002). All this suggests that the deceased met a sudden death. The finds inside the cave included cross-shaped pendants, candlestick lamps, and about 130 coins, the latest of which was a gold issue of emperor Phocas (602-610 c.E.). These findings clearly associate the mass burial in the cave with the Christian population of Jerusalem, pointing to the early seventh century as the date of entombment, and connecting it to the Persian invasion (Reich 1996: 31-33). The location of the cave, about 200 m east of the Mamilla pool, correlates with the site mentioned by Strategius as one of the places in which the Christians of Jerusalem were massacred by the Persians following the conquest (Milik 1960-1961: 182-83). After the massacre, Thomas buried the deceased in a nearby cave: "Those whom they found they collected in great haste and with much zeal, and buried them in the grotto of Mamel" (Conybeare 1910: 508). The geographical and chronological contexts of the Mamilla burial cave match the detailed references to the place of massacre and entombment, and it seems highly probable that this was one of the locations in which the massacred Christians of Jerusalem were buried. The construction of the chapel at the entrance of the cave was probably undertaken shortly after the massacre, perhaps within the years of the Persian domination (614-628 c.E.) or when Byzantine rule of Jerusalem was restored under Heraclius (628636 c.E.). " (The Persian Conquest of Jerusalem, 614 c.e.- An Archaeological Assessment, Gideon Avni, BASOR, No. 357, p35-48, 2010 AD)

e. "Another large concentration of bones was accidentally discovered in the course of construction works about 300 m north of the Mamilla burial cave and to the northwest of the Old City walls (Kloner 2001: 137-38; and see fig. 1).2 Four deep trenches were excavated in an area of 10.5 x 8 m, revealing a thick accumulation of bones scattered above bedrock. A cistern and a wall segment were observed nearby. It seems that this was an open stone quarry, in which a water cistern was constructed in a later stage. The quarry and cistern were filled with a thick deposit containing a large quantity of bones. In the lower section of this deposit, large quantities of Byzantine pottery and a heap of white tesserae (maybe the remains of a floor) were found. The thick concentration of bones was found above this layer, associated with additional pottery (Kloner 2001: 138). The pottery includes storage jar fragments and a juglet dated to the sixth and seventh centuries. Several sixth- and seventh-century coins were found as well in the fill that contained the bones.3 Anthropological examination conducted on a sample of the bones suggested that the corpses or the bones were brought to the site from other places and hastily thrown here.4 The pottery and coins found point to the sixth or seventh century as the date of entombment.

f. A similar thick concentration of bones was found in an ancient cistern to the south of Jaffa Gate, outside the Old City wall (see fig. 1). Excavations in this area revealed segments of the western city wall from the Hellenistic to the medieval period (Broshi and Gibson 1994). A large cistern, located ca. 30 m west of the city wall, contained a thick concentration of human bones. The stratigraphic context suggests that a heap of bones was thrown into the cistern sometime before the Ottoman period.5 Although no further evidence for its dating is provided, it seems reasonable to date the cistern to the Byzantine period, as this was the only time in which the western extramural areas of Jerusalem were densely inhabited. A large complex of public buildings from the Byzantine period was excavated north of this cistern (Reich 1994; Maeir 1994), and it may have been connected to these buildings. Additional support for early seventh-century activity in this area was provided by two lead bullae bearing the name "Modestus Presbyter," which were probably found in the area outside the walls, between the Citadel and Mount Zion, and attributed to the time of the Persian conquest (Barag 1988: 55-56). " (The Persian Conquest of Jerusalem, 614 c.e.- An Archaeological Assessment, Gideon Avni, BASOR, No. 357, p35-48, 2010 AD)

g. "Two additional concentrations of human bones within existing burial structures were discovered north of Damascus Gate. One, about 40 m north of the gate, consisted of a vaulted burial chamber, perhaps a crypt of a monastery, with 15 shaft tombs installed in its floor (Dunkel 1902). This type of burial structure is usually dated to the Byzantine period (Avni 2005: 379) and is common in monastic compounds. However, this particular sepulcher contained a massive accumulation of bones. Inside each shaft there were eight to ten corpses, and additional bones were found on the floor of the vaulted chamber, piled up to a height of about 8 feet (Dunkel 1902: 405). A large number of oil lamps, glass vessels, pendant crosses, and coins from the late sixth century were found within the chamber, associated with the bones (Dunkel 1902: 404-5). It seems that the huge number of people brought to rest in this structure show that it was used for mass burial in its later stage. " (The Persian Conquest of Jerusalem, 614 c.e.- An Archaeological Assessment, Gideon Avni, BASOR, No. 357, p35-48, 2010 AD)

h. "A similar large concentration of bones was found farther to the north, within a Byzantine burial structure discovered at the grounds of the Albright Institute (Burrows 1932). This was a large rectangular structure (ca. 15 x 7.5 m), which consisted of two deep-vaulted chambers to the south and two additional chambers to the north (Burrows 1932: 33-34, figs. 8, 9). All chambers were plastered, and the floors were divided into square compartments in which a large accumulation of bones was found. The excavation yielded the remains of more than 100 people, most of them piled one on top of the other within the structure. It seems that the last phase of burial at the site was conducted hastily, when many deceased were laid in the cave within a short period of time (Burrows 1932: 34-35). The finds included some coins, oil lamps, and glass vessels from the Byzantine period. A coin from the reign of Anastasius (490-518 c.E.) was found in one of the compartments. Two large candlestick oil lamps and several intact glass vessels were directly associated with the burials (Burrows 1932: 32, fig. 7). All finds are of typical sixth/seventh-century type (Magness 1993: 251-53 for the oil lamps; Amit and Wolff 2000: 295 for the glass vessels). " (The Persian Conquest of Jerusalem, 614 c.e.- An Archaeological Assessment, Gideon Avni, BASOR, No. 357, p35-48, 2010 AD)

Introduction 11:

Numerology: 7 and 3 ½ in Revelation and Daniel

A. Use of the number 3 ½, 3 and 7 by Elijah and Elisha as source for Daniel and Revelation

1. It is no coincidence that the church began exactly "7" weeks after Christ was crucified: Passover to Pentecost was 49 days or 7 x 7 weeks.

2. Messianic connection of Elijah and Elisha:

a. Elijah were seen as a central messianic figure and this may be where the first century Jews traced the meaning of the numbers back to.

b. Elijah starts his ministry at the beginning of his 3.5-year famine in 870 BC and is taken up to heaven in a whirlwind at the end of Elisha's 7-year famine in 842 BC.

c. See Messianic expectation in Dead Sea Scrolls and Judean coins.

d. We know that in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice and the books of Daniel and Revelation, that the numbers times, time and half a time (3.5 years) 3 and 7 are widely used.

3. The number 3.5: Elijah, Daniel, Revelation:

a. Elijah had a 35 year ministry from 877 - 842 BC. (Elisha had a 70 year ministry because of his double measure)

b. The famous drought of Elijah was 3 ½ years: Jas 5:17

c. The number 3.5: and Daniel/Nero/Revelation: Daniel 7: 3.5 years: The 1260 Days, 42 months: Nero persecution: 64-68 AD

d. The number 3.5: and Daniel/Christ's Resurrection: Daniel 9: 70x7: The 70 weeks, 490 years ending at Resurrection of Christ

e. The number 3.5: and Daniel/Christ's Ministry: Daniel 12: 3.5 years + 1 month: The 1290 Days, 43 months: Ministry of Christ up to between the Ascension and Pentecost.

4. The number 3:

a. Elijah "stretched himself upon the child three times" when he raised the widow of Sidon's son from the dead: 1 Kings 17:21

b. Elijah poured four buckets of water over the alter, three times, for a total of 12 buckets of water: 1 Kings 18:34

c. The three prophet's schools of Elijah: Gilgal, Bethel and Jericho. Three times Elijah told Elisha to remain in at each prophet's school: 2 Kings 2:1ff and 2 Kings 4:38

d. Men searched in vain for three days for Elijah after he was taken to heaven: 2 Kings 2:17

e. Ahaziah sent three sets of 50 solders to arrest Elijah, who killed the first two sets of 50: 2 Ki 1:9-13

5. The number 7 in the Elijah and Elisha stories:

a. Elijah prayed 7 times for it to rain again after the 3.5-year drought: 1 Kings 18:43

b. Elisha performed the miracle of water on the 7th day of the Battle of Moab in 849 BC: 2 Kings 3:9-20

c. Elijah was told by God that there were 7000 righteous men in addition to himself: 1 Kings 19:18 (Ahab defeated Ben-Hadad II with an army of 7000 men: 1 Kings 20:15)

d. Elisha raised the Shunammite's son from the dead by laying on him 7 times and the boy sneezed 7 times before he woke up. Note. There is a variant between the MT and the LXX. The LXX is probably correct:

i. LXX: "He turned and went in the house up and down. He ascended and bent down over the boy for seven times, and the boy opened his eyes." (4 Kingdoms 4:35, Greek Septuagint, LXX)

ii. MT: "Then he returned and walked in the house once back and forth, and went up and stretched himself on him; and the lad sneezed seven times and the lad opened his eyes." (2 Kings 4:35, Hebrew Masoretic Text, MT)

e. Elisha told Naaman to dip in the Jordan 7 times: 2 Kings 5:10

f. Elisha caused a 7-year drought (double portion of Elijah's power: 3.5 year drought of Elijah = 7 year drought of Elisha): 2 Kings 8:1

g. Elisha's ministry lasted exactly 70 years from 865-795 BC

6. The number 3, 7 and 10 in Daniel used in important historical events:

a. 10 kings - 3 kings = 7 kings: A core of 7 kings is computed when 3 kings are "subdued/removed" from the 10 kings: "'As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings." (Daniel 7:24)

b. "Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with wrath, and his facial expression was altered toward Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. He answered by giving orders to heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated." (Daniel 3:19)

c. Nebuchadnezzar was stricken in a mental illness for 7 years: ""Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let a beast's mind be given to him, and let seven periods of time pass over him." (Daniel 4:16)

7. Seven miraculous signs predicted by Jesus fulfilled in AD 65-66 at Jerusalem as recorded by Josephus Wars 6:288-300 and Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.8.1-6. It is noteworthy that these miraculous signs began on Passover AD 65 and ended on Passover AD 66, which was 18 days before the First Jewish War was started when the local Greeks in Caesarea defiled the Jewish Synagogue by placing an upside down clay jar of dead birds that had been sacrificed to idols on the entrance to the Synagogue.

a. SIGN #1: YEAR LONG COMET: Duration: 1 year. Wed, 3rd April AD 65 (6 days before Passover) to Passover, Mon 28th April AD 66.

b. SIGN #2: YEAR LONG SWORD STAR: Duration: 1 year. Wed, 3rd April AD 65 (6 days before Passover) to Passover, Mon 28th April AD 66.

c. SIGN #3: TEMPLE/ALTAR SHINE: Duration: Lasted ½ hour at 3 AM on Wednesday, 3rd April AD 65 (6 days before Passover)

d. SIGN #4: COW'S VIRGIN BIRTH OF LAMB: Duration: On Passover (Nisan 14) Tuesday, 9th April AD 65

e. SIGN #5: EASTERN IRON GATE OPENED ON ITS OWN: Duration: On Passover (Nisan 14) Midnight Tuesday, 9th April AD 65

f. SIGN #6: ANGELIC CHARIOT ARMIES: Duration: Before sunset, Thursday, 16th May AD 65

g. SIGN #7: EARTHQUAKE & MYRIAD OF ANGEL VOICES IN TEMPLE: Duration: Pentecost: After sunset, Sunday, 2nd June AD 65

8. The First Jewish War lasted almost exactly 7 years: AD 66-73

a. Started at Caesarea synagogue: Sabbath 17th May AD 66.

b. Ended with mass suicide at Masada: Monday 12th April AD 73.

9. The number 70:

a. The Babylonian captivity lasted 70 years from 605-536 BC.

b. The 70 weeks of Daniel lasted from 458 BC - AD 33.

10. The messianic relationship between the numbers 3.5 and 7

a. Elisha had a "double portion" of power of Elijah: 2 Kings 2:9

b. Isaiah 61:1-7 speaks of a double portion of the Messiah and his followers.

c. Elijah predicted a 3.5-year drought

d. Elisha predicted a 3.5 x 2 = 7-year drought: 2 Kings 8:1

11. Elijah and Elisha are the primary source for the numbers 3, 3.5, 7 in ancient Jewish writings:

a. The book of Daniel: see details on Daniel draws on the numbers from Elijah.

b. First century Jewish synagogue songbook: see details: Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice. Every synagogue used a songbook called "The Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice" that used the number 7 to the point of obsession. It was a collection of 13 songs, sung acapella, (because instrumental music was banned in synagogues), consecutively in a 13-week cycle. The outstanding feature of its use of the number 7 was as familiar to every first century Jew as "Jesus Loves Me" is to Christians today. There are striking similarities with Revelation including the extensive use of the number 7, seven-word descriptors (Rev 5:12 = DSS 4Q403 Frag. 1 i:4), war in heaven, myriads of angels singing in heaven, a climactic detailed throne scene complete with thunder and lightning, detailed description of a beautiful, multi-coloured heavenly temple, judgement followed by silence in heaven, Rev 8:1 = DSS 4Q400 Frag. 1 ii:1-21.

c. As early as 90 BC, Dead Sea Scroll 11QMelchizedek is evidence that the Jews were long using the number 7 as an organizing numeric framework in their literature.

12. The number 7 in the Amarna Tablets: 1406-1350 BC

a. The 382 Amarna tablets are cuneiform clay letters of correspondence between the city-kings being conquered by Joshua and the pharaoh in Egypt. The Amarna letters are one of the greatest archeological proofs that the history of the Bible and the conquest under Joshua of the promised land is true. The story of the conquest of Joshua as told by the Amarna Tablets.

b. Many of the Amarna tablets record a ritual of showing submission to pharaoh, king of Egypt. The Canaan city-state kings would stand before pharaoh then fall to the ground on their face, then rolling over on their back, then get up and repeat it a total of 7 times. This shows that the number 7 had special divine meaning among the pagan gentiles at the time of the Exodus.

c. Amarna Letter EA215: Storyline: Bayawa begs pharaoh to send Yanhamu, an Egyptian ambassador or provincial overseer, to help within the year or the entire land of Canaan will be lost to the Hebrews. Full text translation of Tablet: "To the king, my lord, my Sun, my god: Message of Bayawa, your servant. I fall at the feet of the king, my lord, my Sun, my god, 7 times and 7 times, on the stomach and on the back. 9-17 Should Yanḫamu not be here within this [year, a]ll the lands are [lo]st to the ˓Apiru. So give life to your lands." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 215)

d. Amarna Letter EA288: Full text translation of EA288: "Say [t]o the king, my lord, [my Su]n: [M]essage of ˓Abdi-Ḫeba, your servant. I fall at the feet of the king, my lord, 7 times and 7 times. 5-10 Behold, the king, my lord, has placed his name at the rising of the sun and at the setting of the sun. It is, therefore, impious what they have done to me. Behold, I am not a mayor; I am a soldier of the king, my lord. 11-15 Behold, I am a friend of the king and a tribute-bearer of the king. It was neither my father nor my mother, but the strong arm of the king that [p]laced me in the house of [my] fath[er].3 16-22 [ ... c]ame to me. ... [ ... ]. I gave over [to his char]ge 10 slaves. Šuta, the commissioner of the king, ca[me t]o me; I gave over to Šuta˒s charge 21 girls, [8]0 prisoners, as a gift for the king, my lord. 23-28 May the king give thought to his land; the land of the king is lost. All of it has attacked me. I am at war as far as the land of Šeru and as far as Ginti-kirmil. All the mayors are at peace, but I am at war. 29-33 I am treated like an ˓Apiru, and I do not visit the king, my lord, since I am at war. I am situated like a ship7 in the midst of the sea. 34-40 The strong hand (arm) of the king took the land of Naḫrima and the land of Kasi, but now the ˓Apiru [Hebrews] have taken the very cities of the king. Not a single mayor remains to the king, my lord; all are lost. 41-47 Behold, Turbazu was slain in the city gate of Silu [Shiloh]. The king did nothing. Behold, servants who were joined to the ˓Api[r]u smote Zimredda of Lakisu [Lachish], and Yaptiḫ-Hadda was slain in the city gate of Silu [Shiloh]. The king did nothing. [Wh]y has he not called them to account? 48-53 May the king [pro]vide for [his land] and may he [se]e to it tha[t] archers [come ou]t to h[is] land. If there are no archers this year, all the lands of the king, my lord, are lost. 54-61 They have not reported to the king that the lands of the king, my lord, are lost and all the mayors lost. If there are no archers this year, may the king send a commissioner to fetch me, me along with my brothers, and then we will die near the king, our lord. 62-66 [To] the scribe of the king, my lord: [Message] of ˓Abdi-Ḫeba, (your) servant. [I fa]ll a[t (your) feet]. Present [the words that I hav]e offered to [the king, my lord]: I am your servant [and] your [s]on." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 288)

Amarna Letter EA288

Storyline: Abdi-Heba, mayor of Jerusalem warns Pharaoh that all cities except his are lost to the Hebrews (Habiru). Strangely, he asks why pharaoh allowed Zimredda of Lachish and Yaptiḫ-Hadda of Shiloh (Silu) to be killed without taking any action. Zimredda is a traitor! The Hebrews killed Zimredda of Lachish, even though he had supplied them with oil and food. Likely, Zimredda was discovered to be a traitor to the Hebrews. He was likely claiming submission to both Egypt and Joshua, while seeking total control for himself.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Abdi-Heba, mayor of Jerusalem to king Pharaoh: The Habiru have taken all the cities. Not a single mayor remains. Turbazu & Yaptih-Hadda were slain in the city gate of Silu (Shiloh). Habiru killed Zimredda of Lachish The king did nothing. Why?"

13. So, when Revelation was structured around the numbers 3 ½ and 7, Revelation had the "feel" of "Jewish literature" that the Jews in Jerusalem would be familiar with. This enhanced their acceptance of the message in Revelation to "leave it all behind" and flee Jerusalem or die.

B. Instrumental music banned in synagogues: "Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice"

1. This author is first to identify (to his knowledge) that the book of Revelation (ie. the Holy Spirit) intentionally borrowed its poetic symbolism and content from a synagogue songbook, called The Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice.

a. The Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice was a 1st century synagogue songbook that every Jew and Jewish-Christian had sung countless times.

b. Also known as "The Angelic Liturgy", it is a collection of 13 songs, sung responsively, and acapella, every Sabbath for 13 weeks, once a year.

c. Weekly Synagogue attending Jews in the first century would be very familiar with both the 13 liturgy having personally sang the words in their home synagogue.

d. Jewish-Christian converts in Jerusalem would immediately recognize the similarity in style and content of the 13 songs with the book of Revelation.

2. History thoroughly documents how the apostolic church carried the tradition of not using instrumental music borrowed directly from synagogue worship which universally banned instrumental music.

a. "Music historians have long since made note of the contrast between the elaborate instrumentally-accompanied psalmody of the Temple and the simple vocal [non-instrumental] psalmody of the Synagogue. They assumed that the absence of instruments from the Synagogue was the result of a deliberate legal act and spoke of prohibitions and banishments." (The Exclusion of Musical Instruments from the Ancient Synagogue, James W. McKinnon, Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association, Vol. 106, p78, 1980 AD)

b. "After the destruction of the Temple, instrumental music was banished in Judaism, an expression of mourning over that disaster. The rabbis usually based this injunction upon Isa. 24:9 and Hos. 9:1; yet it is clear that two reasons for the rabbinic opposition to instrumental music were of a quite different nature. Philo and the Sibylline oracles display both contempt for any musical instrument well before the fall of Temple and land. In both cases spiritual worship is regarded as more exalted than any other sensuous ceremonial. Philo, in particular, emphasized the value of spiritual hymns and praises even when they are not actually pronounced by 'tongue or mouth', prayers which only the Deity can hear. In much stronger terms the Sibyl turns against the pagan type of music." (The Sacred Bridge: Liturgical Parallels in Synagogue and Early Church, Eric Werner, p334, 1959 AD)

c. "Instruments were not used in the worship of the ancient synagogue. They belonged to the tabernacle and the Temple, especially the latter; but were never in the congregational assemblies of God's people." (Mcclintock & Strong's Encyclopedia, Music, Instrumental)

d. "It was in the synagogue, however, that music continued to flourish and serve as an emotional and didactic aid to the maintenance of Judaism. The levitical guilds were now gone and instrumental music was forbidden in the synagogue, leaving vocal music to evolve in a new way. Thus the writers of the NT and the founders of the new Christian movement very likely adopted what they knew of synagogue music to their own worship. That would explain why Paul, who is familiar with musical instruments, considered them "lifeless" (1 Cor 14:7-8) and promoted worship in the form of "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord" (Eph 5:19)." (ABD, Music, Volume 4, Page 934)

e. "Orthodox Jews do not allow the organ or any other instrument in their synagogues; only Reformed or Liberal Jews have introduced the organ and many other innovations." (Mcclintock & Strong's Encyclopedia, Music, Instrumental)

f. "In addition to the negative factor of instrumental music's association with the temple worship, there was the even more significant positive consideration of worship in the synagogue. The Jews had developed an alternative form of worship independent of the Temple and animal sacrifice. It was the rational worship of prayer and Scripture instruction practiced in the synagogue. The synagogue had arisen as an independent institution in pre-Christian times. Its organization and procedures were well developed by the first century. Before the destruction of the Temple the synagogue functioned as a complementary institution; after its destruction the synagogue continued as the permanent focus of Jewish religious life." (A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of the Church, Everett Ferguson, p42, 2013 AD)

g. "The synagogue emphasized teaching and did not have instrumental music. The temple emphasized ritual, and it did have instrumental music." (A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of the Church, Everett Ferguson, p106, 2013 AD)

3. The Eastern Greek Orthodox church never used instrumental music from AD 33 to present:

a. The Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic church broke communion with each other in AD 1054 for four doctrinal reasons including the introduction of instrumental music in worship by the Western church.

b. The Greek Orthodox church continues their first century practice of acapella worship down to the present day.

4. Many Protestant reformers were very opposed to instrumental music in church worship service:

a. Martin Luther: "The organ in the worship Is the ensign of Baal" (Martin Luther is quoted, Erinnerungs Schrifft etlicher vom Adel vnd Stedten, pp74-76, 1597 AD)

b. John Calvin: "Musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting of lamps, and the restoration of the other shadows of the law. The Papists therefore, have foolishly borrowed, this, as well as many other things, from the Jews. Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in that noise; but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostles is far more pleasing to him. Paul allows us to bless God in the public assembly of the saints, only in a known tongue (I Cor. 14:16) What shall we then say of chanting, which fills the ears with nothing but an empty sound?" (John Calvin, Commentary on Psalms 33)

c. Adam Clarke, Methodist:

i. Adam Clarke: "But were it even evident, which it is not, either from this or any other place in the sacred writings, that instruments of music were prescribed by divine authority under the law, could this be adduced with any semblance of reason, that they ought to be used in Christian worship? No; the whole spirit, soul, and genius [I.e. Jinn] of the Christian religion are against this; and those who know the Church of God best, and what constitutes its genuine spiritual state, know that these things have been introduced as a substitute for the life and power of religion; and that where they prevail most, there is least of the power of Christianity. Away with such portentous baubles from the worship of that infinite Spirit who requires His followers to worship Him in spirit and truth, for to no such worship are these instruments friendly." (Adam Clarke (Methodist), Clarke's Commentary, Methodist, Vol. II, pp. 690-691.)

ii. Adam Clarke: "I am an old man, and I here declare that I never knew them to be productive of any good in the worship of God, and have reason to believe that they are productive of much evil. Music as a science I esteem and admire, but instrumental music in the house of God I abominate and abhor. This is the abuse of music, and I here register my protest against all such corruption of the worship of the author of Christianity. The late and venerable and most eminent divine, the Rev. John Wesley, who was a lover of music, and an elegant poet, when asked his opinion of instruments of music being introduced into the chapels of the Methodists, said in his terse and powerful manner, 'I have no objections to instruments of music in our chapels, provided they are neither heard nor seen.' I say the same." (Adam Clark, Methodist, Clarke's Commentary, Vol. 4, page 684.)

d. Charles H. Spurgeon, Baptist: "David appears to have had a peculiarly tender remembrance of the singing of the pilgrims, and assuredly it is the most delightful part of worship and that which comes nearest to the adoration of heaven. What a degradation to supplant the intelligent song of the whole congregation by the theatrical prettinesses of a quartette, the refined niceties of a choir, or the blowing off of wind from inanimate bellows and pipes! We might as well pray by machinery as praise by it." (Baptist: Charles H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, Psalm 42:4)

e. Presbyterian:

i. John Knox, founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, died 1572 AD: "The organs of this period were not favored by the Scottish Divines. John Knox spoke of the instrument as a "Kist of Whistles", and had one removed from Kirk." (Proceedings of the Evening Meetings of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, p16, 1870 AD)

ii. Presbyterian: "Question 6. Is there any authority for instrumental music in the worship of God under the present dispensation? Answer. Not the least, only the singing of psalms and hymns and spiritual songs was appointed by the apostles; not a syllable is said in the New Testament in favor of instrumental music nor was it ever introduced into the Church until after the eighth century, after the Catholics had corrupted the simplicity of the gospel by their carnal inventions. It was not allowed in the Synagogues, the parish churches of the Jews, but was confined to the Temple service and was abolished with the rites of that dispensation." (Questions on the Confession of Faith and Form of Government of The Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, published by the Presbyterian Board of Publications, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1842, pg. 55.)

f. John Wesley: "I have no objection to instruments of music in our worship, provided they are neither seen nor heard." (John Wesley, founder of Methodism, quoted in Adam Clarke's Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 685)

5. Church historians on the history of instrument music in the church:

a. McClintock & Strong: "The early Reformers, when they came out of Rome, removed them as the monuments of idolatry [ie. instrumental music.] Luther called the organ an ensign of Baal; Calvin said that instrumental music was not fitter to be adopted into the Christian Church than the incense and the candlestick; Knox called the organ a kist [chest] of whistles. The Church of England revived them, against a very strong protest, and the English dissenters would not touch them." (McClintock & Strong's Encyclopedia, Music, Instrumental)

b. Philip Schaff: "The use of organs in churches is ascribed to Pope Vitalian (657-672). Constantine Copronymos sent an organ with other presents to King Pepin of France in 767. Charlemagne received one as a present from the Caliph Haroun al Rashid, and had it put up in the cathedral of Aixia-Chapelle... The attitude of the churches toward the organ varies. It shared, to some extent, the fate of images, except that it never was an object of worship... The Greek church disapproved the use of organs. The Latin church introduced it pretty generally, but not without the protest of eminent men, so that even in the Council of Trent a motion was made, though not carried, to prohibit the organ at least in the mass." (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 4, pg. 439.)

c. Philip Schaff: "The first organ certainly known to exist and be used in a church was put in the cathedral at Aix-la-chapel by the German emperor, Charlemange, who came to the throne in 768AD. It met with great opposition among the Romanists, especially among the monks, and that it made its was but slowly into common use. So great was the opposition even as late as the 16th century that it would have been abolished by the council of Trent but for the influence of the Emperor Ferdinand. In the Greek church the organ never came into use... The Reform church discarded it; and though the church of Basel very early introduced it, it was in other places admitted only sparingly and after long hesitation." (Shaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, Vol 2, p. 1702)

6. The "Angelic Liturgy" was sung acapella in responsive style in all of the 480 Jerusalem synagogues at the time of Christ but never sung at all in the Jerusalem Temple. Synagogues, which never used instruments, were controlled by Pharisees who believed in angels. The Jerusalem Temple, which used instruments, was controlled by Sadducees who didn't believe in angels (Acts 23:8) and would never tolerate 13 weeks of songs about singing angels. Instrumental music was banned in Synagogues before Christ and since the synagogue was an exact prototype of the church in form, function and worship including also Byzantine church building architecture, that explains why the first century church (which was an exact replica of the synagogue) sang in responsive acapella style without musical instruments. Suddenly the liturgy of the first century church (borrowed directly from synagogue worship) becomes clear when Paul said, "When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching" (1 Cor 14:26). Each Lord's Day a member would prepare a new different sermon and another would prepare a new different song and lead the congregational choir who would echo his words back to him responsively. The new songs would be based upon a small number of known tunes but the words changed every song. Echo singing, was how the first century song leaders could lead a congregation to a song with new words they had never heard before just like a sermon. Although the Jewish synagogues before the birth of the church used responsive singing, the "Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice" was different because it was a fixed 13-week format. Dead Sea Scroll 11Q5 proves that Psalm 145 was sung responsively. If churches want to be more like the church you can read about in the Bible, perhaps they should sing more songs responsively. The author has led singing for 40 years and the songbook used in weekly church services only contained 5 out of 750 responsive style songs. (Click here to find a local church in your home town that does not use instrumental music.) Familiarity the Angelic Liturgy is what gave the book of Revelation that unique Jewish feel so that it was instantly accepted as a direct message from the God of Abraham to the Jerusalem Jews they must flee the city or die.

7. Now the point is that every Jew before the time of Christ, knew this song well from childhood like "Amazing Grace" is known today. When the Jews in Jerusalem read Revelation, it would immediately be associated with the "Angelic Liturgy" giving Revelation a familiar "Jewish feel".

C. Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice as a template/prototype for Revelation

1. Revelation, Ezekiel, Dead Sea Scrolls and the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice:

a. The imagery of Revelation is drawn from Ezekiel.

b. The literary style of Revelation is drawn from the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, which was current Jewish thought as witnessed in other Dead Sea Scrolls.

c. The unmistakable connection between both is the use of the number 7. Every Jew in the first century was familiar with the obsession to the point of monotony that the Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice has with the number 7. The book of Revelation was written in 66 AD to warn the first century Jewish Christians living in Jerusalem to flees the city and would immediately make a connection between Revelation and the Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice. Revelation uses the number 7 it in a far more creative and clever fashion interwoven into a terrifying adventure story where the reader is told, "Behold I come quickly" which was their cue to flee the city in 70 AD or die.

2. Key similarities between Revelation and Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice (SSS):

a. Both take place entirely in the spirit world, complete with the scene of the heavenly temple and God's throne, with attending spirit beings constantly praising God. (4,5)

b. Both paint heaven as a beautiful multi-colour place.

c. Both feature a war between God and Angels (Elohim)

d. Both, of course have angels singing.

e. There are striking similarities with Revelation including the extensive use of the number 7, seven-word descriptors (Rev 5:12 = SSS DSS 4Q403 Frag. 1 i:4), war in heaven, myriads of angels singing in heaven, a climactic detailed throne scene complete with thunder and lightning, detailed description of a beautiful, multi-coloured heavenly temple, judgement followed by silence in heaven, Rev 8:1 = SSS DSS 4Q400 Frag. 1 ii:1-21).

f. The number 7 is widely used and the 7th song climaxes with a view of God himself inside his throne room.

3. The number 7 and seven-word formulas (cf. Rev 5:12 and SSS 4Q403 frag. 1 i 1-29)

a. "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." (Revelation 5:12)

b. "He will give thanks to the honoured God se[ven times, with se]v[en wor]ds of wonderful thanksgivings. [Psalm] of exultation) (SSS 4Q403 Frag. 1 i:4)

4. The high frequency of the use of the number "7" in Ezekiel, Revelation and Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice.

a. 123 times: "number 7's" in the Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice, most of which are used in song 6 as an anticipatory preparation for the 7th climax song the following week.

b. 55 times: "number 7's" in revelation

c. 17 times: "number 7's" in Ezekiel

d. Only 3 times: "number 7's" in Jeremiah

e. Only 3 times: "number 7's" Isaiah

f. Only Jews would recognize the connection to the number 7 proving it was a warning to Jews alone living in Jerusalem.

5. The Seventh Song:

a. Both have the throne scene (Rev 4-5, SSS song 7) with chapters before and after with the intensive use of 7's. Revelation 1-3 and 6-10 use 7 as the core structure around which to build the content. SSS songs 6 & 8 likely have more intense use of 7 than in other chapters.

b. "The emphatic position of the middle songs (the sixth through the eighth) has been discussed above. The change in style and content in these songs, with their repetitious, almost hypnotic quality, produces a change in mood. The aesthetic/emotional effect of the sevenfold sequences is especially significant. A list of numbered elements involves an almost involuntary participation by the audience, as the audience's anticipation is matched by the execution of the sequence. Moreover, for an audience which considered the number seven to have an objective, transcendent, and holy quality, the intersection of the "internal" repetition of the number seven in the text with the "external" occurrence of the seventh Sabbath would have produced an intense effect on the religious emotions. The ecstatic quality of the seventh Sabbath song underscores its significance." (Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, critical edition, Carol Newsom, p15, 1985 AD)

6. Both give highly detailed, but different descriptions of heaven, the spiritual temple and the throne of God:

a. "With them praise all the fou[ndations of the hol]y of holies, the supporting columns of the most exalted dwelling, and all the corners of his building. Si[ng] to Go[d, aw]esome in power, [all you spirits of knowledge and of light], to [exal]t together the most pure vault of [his] holy sanctuary. [Praise hi]m, divine spirits, prai[sing for ever and e]ver the main vault of the heig[ht]s, all [its] b[eams] and its walls, a[l]l its [struct]ure, the work of [its] construc[tion. The spi]rits of the hol[y] of holies, the living gods, [the spi]rits of [ever]lasting holine[ss] above all the ho[ly ones in the wonderful vaults, marvel of splendour and majesty, and wonderful is the gl]ory in the most perfect light, and the kno[wledge] [... in all the wonderful sanctuaries. The spirits of the gods (are) around the residence of the king of truth and justice. Al]l [its walls]" (SSS 4Q403 Frag. 1 i:41-46)

b. "Then the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." (Revelation 9:13-14)

7. Silence in heaven for 30 minutes followed by judgments of wicked men:

a. "When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne." (Revelation 8:1-3)

b. "[your] exalted kingdom [...] the heights and ... [...] the beauty of your kingdom [...] in the gates of the exalted heights [...] ... spirit of all [...] the holy ones of the holy of hol[ies ...] king of the gods for the seven [...] the glory of the king. Blank ... [...] his glory in the council of the divinit[ies ...] to the seven pathways [...] for judgments of silence in [...] eternal. Blank [...] And they extol his glory [...] king of the princes [...] holy ones [...] holy [...] divinities and [...] justice. Blank [...] priesthoo[d ...] the favours of Go[d ...] to sanctify oneself ... [...]" (SSS 4Q400 Frag. 1 ii:1-21)

c. "But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him!" (Habakkuk 2:20)

d. "Be silent, all people, before the LORD; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling." (Zechariah 2:13)

e. "The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day," says the Lord GOD; "the dead bodies shall be many, cast out in every place. Be silent!" (Amos 8:3)

f. "Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is near, For the Lord has prepared a sacrifice, He has consecrated His guests. "Then it will come about on the day of the Lord's sacrifice That I will punish the princes, the king's sons And all who clothe themselves with foreign garments." (Zephaniah 1:7-8)

8. Key Differences:

a. Revelation begins with John in the spirit on the Lord's Day, Sunday the day of Christian worship, as opposed to the Jewish Saturday. (2:10)

b. Revelation reveals for Christians, the truth missed in the songs of Sabbath Sacrifice that there are 4 living creatures and 24 elders surrounding the throne of God.

c. The song of the Sabbath Sacrifice never directly quotes other Old Testament passages as Revelation does.

d. The song of the Sabbath Sacrifice borrows imagery from the wheel within a wheel imagery of Ezek 1 but Revelation does not.

e. Revelation borrows extensively from Old Testament imagery, whereas the song of the Sabbath Sacrifice does not.

f. The song of the Sabbath Sacrifice borrows extensively from a flawed pseudepigrapha document written about 250 BC called "Enoch", which itself if filled with rampant, wild and impossible speculations of what is like. The book of Revelation never quotes from any apocryphal books and especially not "Enoch" for its imagery.

g. The song of the Sabbath Sacrifice was a flawed production of human effort and imagination that speculated on a spirit world it had never seen while ignoring patterns of historical events recorded in the Old Testament.

h. The Book of Revelation is a divinely inspired message that satisfies this ancient longing of man to know what heaven is like by giving an accurate first hand eye witness account through John while borrowing familiar imagery from the Old Testament as a spring board for new and deeper truths. In this way Paul's words, "The mystery is revealed in Christ" are fulfilled in the book of Revelation. (Rom 16:25-26)

9. Angels of Knowledge:

a. "Of all the qualities which are associated with the angels in the Sabbath songs, however, knowledge is the most prominent. The angels are repeatedly designated as "angels of knowledge", as "those who know", "those who establish knowledge", etc. In fact, the superiority of the angelic praise arises precisely from their more exalted understanding of divine mysteries. They "declare the splendor of His kingdom according to their knowledge (SSS 4Q400 2 3) ... While "the chiefs of praise offering" have "tongues of knowledge" (SSS 4Q405 23 ii 12), the human worshippers reflect on the poverty of their own praise. "What is the offering of our mortal tongue (compared) with the knowledge of the angels?". (Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, critical edition, Carol Newsom, p30, 1985 AD)

b. In Revelation several angels are the source of knowledge.

10. The Temple:

a. "The survey of the preceding paragraph is sufficient to indicate that the form of the last five chapters does borrow from the logic of the "temple tour," such as one finds in Ezekiel 40-48. To a certain extent, of course, the physical logic of a description of a temple "from the outside in" would produce an arrangement similar to parts of Ezekiel 40-48. It remains necessary to indicate the particular points of contact with Ezekiel 40-48 which provide the basis for the structure and content of these songs. Although one cannot know what the beginning of the ninth Sabbath song contained, SSS 4Q405 14-15 i, which probably comes from the middle of that song, makes reference to vestibules or porches. Ezekiel 40 and 41 abound with references to vestibules, a term used in connection with the description of the outer gates of the compound and of the first of the three main parts of the temple building proper. It is possible that the author of the Shirot is referring to the description of the outer east gate (Ezek 40:5-16). Note that where Ezekiel refers to (Ezek 40:8, 9) the Sabbath songs speak of "the vestibule(s) where the King enters," a phrase which alludes to Ezek 43:1-5, the description of the entry of the enthroned Glory through the eastern gate and into the temple." (Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, critical edition, Carol Newsom, p53, 1985 AD)

11. Chariot throne:

a. The "Angelic Liturgy", like Revelation, draws heavily upon Ezekiel including the "wheeled cherubim beings" which revelation references as "having eyes all around". (Rev 4:6 = SSS songs 7, 11, 12 = Ezek ch 1 & 10).

b. The description of the chariot throne in SSS 4Q405 22 is drawn primarily from the language of Ezekiel 1 and 10

12. The Holy Spirit followed the literary style of the Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice when He inspired Apostle John to write Revelation.

a. This gave the book of Revelation a genuinely "Jewish" providence.

b. This specific design feature of Revelation increased its acceptances by the Jews in Jerusalem when they read it.

D. Dead Sea Scroll "11QMelchizedek" as a template/prototype for Revelation:

1. Dead Sea Scroll, 11QMelchizedek (90 BC) [also known as 11Q13, 11QMelch] contains many poetic sevens, just like revelation:

a. 7 cubit long spear (11QMelchizedek, col 5, line 7)

b. 7 battle lines (11QMelchizedek, col 5, line 16)

c. 7 javelin throws to attack enemy line, then return to fallback position (11QMelchizedek, col 6, line 1)

d. 7 javelins of war (11QMelchizedek, col 6, line 2)

e. 7 Cavalry formations of 700 horses (11QMelchizedek, col 6, line 8-9)

f. 7 priests of Aaron (11QMelchizedek, col 7, line 9)

g. 7 Levites with 7 ram's horns (11QMelchizedek, col 7, line 14)

2. Connection between Melchizedek scroll and Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice:

a. "The last question to be raised in connection with the angelology of the Sabbath Shirot [Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice] is whether there is a single superior angel who presides over the angelic priestly hierarchy. As in so many other matters, a definitive answer is prevented by the broken condition of the text. It appears highly likely, however, that a reference to Melchizedek was originally contained in SSS 4Q401 11 3. A second possible reference to Melchizedek occurs in SSS 4Q401 22 3 in a line immediately following a reference to the ordination of the angelic priests. Other fragments from the same manuscript make reference to a single angelic figure (SSS 4Q401 23 1, SSS 4Q401 20 2; SSS 4Q403 1 ii 23, SSS 4Q403 1 ii 24). Speculation about Melchizedek is attested at Qumran in 11QMelchizedek and, almost certainly, in 4QAmram, although in neither case is the heavenly priesthood of Melchizedek explicitly referred to. What is particularly noteworthy about the reference in 4Q401 11 3 is that its allusion to Ps 82:1 presumes the exegesis of that verse in 11QMelch but goes beyond what is said there to identify Melchizedek's role as specifically priestly. One has to be circumspect in drawing conclusions from such a small and broken fragment as SSS 4Q401 11, but it does not seem likely that the author would have connected Melchizedek's priestly role with Ps 82:1 unless he already knew of the exegesis of that verse in connection with Melchizedek's role as eschatological judge. If so, then one has some clue as to the relationship and relative dates of 11QMelch and the Sabbath Shirot. Melchizedek was probably identified at Qumran with the archangel Michael (1QM xiii 10; xvi 6-8; xvii 7), the angelic leader of the forces of light, who is also called "the prince of light" (1QM xiii 10-11; cf. 1QS ii 20-22 and CD v 17-19) and "the angel of His truth" (1QS iii 24).10 If these equations are sound, then it would seem most plausible that Melchizedek is to be identified with the seventh and highest of the chief princes, as Michael is customarily identified with the highest of the archangels." (Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, critical edition, Carol Newsom, p37, 1985 AD)

3. While the Melchizedek Dead Sea Scroll (11QMelchizedek) shared few literary parallels with the book of Revelation, it witnesses the obsession with the use of the number 7.

a. The Holy Spirit followed the first century tradition of using the number 7 in Revelation.

b. This gave the book of Revelation a genuinely "Jewish" providence.

c. This specific design feature of Revelation increased its acceptances by the Jews in Jerusalem when they read it.

Introduction 12:

Jewish to Julian Calendar Date Conversion

Ancient Jewish, Roman Calendar month names:

Month

Julian

Common

Tiberian

Academic

Syro-Macedonian

Length

1

~April

Nissan

Nīsān

Nisan

Xanthicus

30 days

2

~May

Iyar

ʼIyyār

Iyyar

Artemisius

29 days

3

~June

Siwan

Sīwān

Sivan

Dasius

30 days

4

~July

Tamuz

Tammūz

Tammuz

Panemus

29 days

5

~August

Ab

ʼĀḇ

Av

Loüs

30 days

6

~September

Elul

ʼĔlūl

Elul

Goripiæus

29 days

7

~October

Tishrei

Tišrī

Tishri

Hyperberetæus

30 days

8

~November

Marcheshvan

Marḥešwān

Marẖeshvan

Dius

29/30 days

9

~December

Cheshvan

Kislēw

Kislev

Apellæus

29/30 days

10

~January

Marẖeshwan

Ṭēḇēṯ

Tevet

Audinæus

29 days

11

~February

Kislev

Šəḇāṭ

Shvat

Peritius

30 days

12

~March

Chisleu

ʼĂḏār

Adar I

Dystrus

30 days

12b

Chislev

Adar II

29 days

A. Parker and Dubberstein are the current scholastic standard for Jewish to Julian dates conversion today:

1. In 1971, Parker and Dubberstein published their landmark work in fixing past chronological dates which were consistently in error.

a. Any book published before AD 1971 will in error when converting Bible dates and those used by Josephus of about three weeks later than the true historical date

b. Almost all dates in most published scholastic works have an error of about three weeks.

c. These major chronological errors are caused by using flawed, outdated and obsolete Jewish to Julian conversion tables.

2. The Bible Only Revelation Commentary by Steven Rudd (2018 AD) utilizes the Parker and Dubberstein Hebrew to Julian date conversion tables.

a. Babylonian Chronology: 626 B.C. - A.D. 75, Richard Anthony Parker, Waldo H Dubberstein, 1971 AD

b. See detailed Chronological tables of Parker and Dubberstein

c. See: Online Parker and Dubberstein date converter.

d. Special thanks to Rodger Young who has been an invaluable help in this matter.

3. All dates in this Revelation Commentary follow Parker and Dubberstein.

B. Dating Example 1: Destruction of Jerusalem Temple on 10th Av AD 70

4. The Temple of Jerusalem was burned on 10th Av AD 70 and the correct Julian date according to Parker and Dubberstein is Monday 6th August AD 70.

5. However, Wikipedia (Notoriously inaccurate) many online websites (ie. Gary. J. Goldberg's Josephus Chronology) and published scholastic Bible reference works incorrectly date the 10th Av to 29th August AD 70.

6. This means that the correct Julian date for 10th Av is 23 days (3 weeks) earlier than incorrectly recorded online and in Bible encyclopedias.

a. Correct: Monday 6th August AD 70 (Parker and Dubberstein)

b. Wrong: 29th August AD 70 (23 days later than correct date)

7. Both Nebuchadnezzar and Titus burned the Jerusalem Temple on the exact same day of the year: 10th Av.

8. Modern Jewish Rabbis and Jewish Scholars generally reject Josephus as a corrupted fabrication of Christians and date the burning of the temple to Av 9, one day earlier than Josephus. Of course even Josephus noted that the Jews of the first century were "creeped out" that the 10th Av was the exact same day of the year that Nebuchanezzar burned the Solomonic temple in 587 BC.

C. Dating Example 2: Fall of Masada on 15th Xanthicus AD 73 = 15th Nisan AD 73.

a. Josephus records the mass suicide event: "Those others were nine hundred and sixty in number, the women and children being withal included in that computation. This calamitous slaughter was made on the fifteenth day of the month Xanthicus [Nisan]." (Josephus Wars 7.400-401)

b. Josephus says that Masada fell on 15th Xanthicus AD 73 (15th Nisan) and the correct Julian date according to Parker and Dubberstein is Monday 12th April AD 73.

c. Several Bible Encyclopedias use the incorrect date of 2nd May AD 73 for the fall of Masada and the mass suicide that Josephus says happened on 15th Xanthicus AD 73.

i. "This garrison was soon expelled by the Zealots, who held Masada until 2 May in the year ad 73, when it was finally conquered by the Romans." (The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, Masada)

ii. "According to Josephus the end came on the 15th of Xanthicus, or May 2, a.d. 73" (ISBE, Masada, Volume 3, Page 276, 1988 AD)

d. This means that the correct Julian date for 15th Xanthicus AD 73 is 20 days earlier (3 weeks) than incorrectly recorded online and in Bible encyclopedias.

i. Correct: Monday 12th April AD 73 (Parker and Dubberstein)

ii. Wrong: 2nd May AD 73 (20 days later than correct date)

e. It is exactly 40 years from the crucifixion of Christ on 14th Nisan AD 33 to the end of the First Jewish War on 15th Nisan, when Masada fell. Jesus warned in Matthew 23:36-38 that "this generation" would be punished for rejecting Him as Messiah.

f. Jewish archeologists, modern Jewish Rabbis and Jewish Scholars generally reject Josephus as a corrupted fabrication of Christians and date the fall of Masada to AD 74. They reject there was a mass suicide at all and question many other elements based upon archeological interpretation between what Josephus reported and what the excavators discovered. In fact, there is no dissonance between Josephus and archeology. Such a revised date from AD 73-AD 74 may be motivated by a desire to disconnect the perfect synchronism of 40 years from the death of the Messiah and the final defeat of the Jewish nation.

Revelation 1

Ezekiel 2-3 in July 593 BC

Prophets Commissioned: Ezekiel and John

John and Ezekiel commissioned

A. Synchronism of Jesus in Ezekiel and Revelation:

1. John saw Jesus, "a man" AS GOD in Rev 1:13 who guided John and said, "write what I will show you".

a. "and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash." (Revelation 1:13)

2. Ezekiel saw Jesus, "a man" AS GOD on his throne: Ezekiel 1:26; 43:6-7.

a. "Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man." (Ezekiel 1:26)

b. "Then I heard one speaking to me from the house, while a man was standing beside me. He said to me, "Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever. And the house of Israel will not again defile My holy name, neither they nor their kings, by their harlotry and by the corpses of their kings when they die," (Ezekiel 43:6-7)

3. "A man" measured the temple and guided Ezekiel on a tour in the heavenly temple in Ezek 40:3.

a. "So He brought me there; and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze, with a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand; and he was standing in the gateway." (Ezekiel 40:3)

4. John measured the temple:

a. "Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, "Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it." (Revelation 11:1)

B. "The coming of the Lord is Near" passages in the New Testament:

1. Full list of passages:

a. Rom. 13:11-12; I Cor. 7:29; Phil. 4:5; Heb. 10:25; Heb. 10:37; James 5:7-8; I Peter 4:7; II Peter 3:10-12; I Jn. 2:18; I Jn. 4:3; Rev. 1:1; Rev. 1:3; Rev. 2:25; Rev. 3:10-11; Rev. 22:6-7; Rev. 22:10; Rev. 22:12; Rev. 22:20

2. Eleven "The coming of the Lord is Near passages in the epistles:

a. "Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." (Romans 13:11-12)

i. Comment: The passage simply notes that the fixed day, whenever it was, is closer than the time when they were first baptized.

b. "But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none;" (1 Corinthians 7:29)

i. Comment: The Distress Paul spoke about is likely the 42 month persecution by Nero.

c. "Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near." (Philippians 4:5)

i. Comment: This could be a reference to either the second coming, which is often expressed as urgent or the destruction of Judaism in AD 70. Then again, it may just be saying that the Lord is "close to you in heart" and not distant. "draw near to God and he will draw near to you" etc.

d. "not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:25)

i. Comment: This could be a reference to either the second coming, which is often expressed as urgent or the destruction of Judaism in AD 70.

e. "for yet in a very little while, he who is coming will come, and will not delay." (Hebrews 10:37)

i. Comment: Quotes: destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC "For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay." (Habakkuk 2:3) However, it may be a reference to the still future second coming.

f. "Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near." (James 5:7-8)

i. Comment: James, written in AD 36, might be referring to the still future second coming or the destruction of the Jewish world in AD 70.

g. "The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer." (1 Peter 4:7)

i. Comment: This could be a reference to the destruction of AD 70, where "all Jewish things" came to an end, but more likely parallel with 2 Pe 3:10-12 which speaks of the "uncreation" of matter and the dissolving of the 118 elements of the periodic table at the second coming as Rev 20:11 said, "heaven and earth fled from His presence and no place was found for them".

h. "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!" (2 Peter 3:10-12)

i. Comment: Not AD 70 but the yet future "uncreation" of matter at the second coming and the dissolving of the 118 elements of the periodic table at the second coming as Rev 20:11 said, "heaven and earth fled from His presence and no place was found for them".

i. "Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour." (1 John 2:18)

i. Comment: 1 John was likely written in AD 98, the last hour may refer to the end of the apostolic age where spiritual gifts restrained the Devil, who at that time were represented by the Gnostics who denied Jesus came in the flesh. Although not talking about the anti-christ of 1 John, the 2 Thess 2:6f passage shows how supernatural powers given to men "restrained" the work of Satan to deceive. "And you know what restrains him now (gifts of the Holy Spirit), so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way (when gifts cease at the completion of the Canon as per 1 Cor 13:8-13)." (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7)

3. Eight "The coming of the Lord is Near" passages in Revelation:

a. "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John," (Revelation 1:1)

b. "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near." (Revelation 1:3)

c. "'Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come." (Revelation 2:25)

d. "'Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 'I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown." (Revelation 3:10-11)

e. "And he said to me, "These words are faithful and true"; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place. "And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book." (Revelation 22:6-7)

f. "And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near." (Revelation 22:10)

g. "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done." (Revelation 22:12)

h. "He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus." (Revelation 22:20)

Revelation 2-3

Chapter 2: Ephesus | Smyrna | Pergamum | Thyatira

Chapter 3: Sardis | Philadelphia | Laodicea

I. Message to Jerusalem Christians: Do not be anxious, God will provide!

Another synchronism that the author noticed for the first time (to his knowledge) is that there is a direct parallel between Jeremiah's reassuring letter he sent the Jews who were living 1000 km in captivity in Al-Yahuda Babylon the months before Ezekiel started prophesying in 593 BC and John's letter to the Christians living 1000 km in Jerusalem. Starting in 605 BC, Jeremiah ordered the Jews to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar. The ones who faithfully obeyed and "left it all behind", like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were the spiritual cream of the remnant crop of "first fruits" from among the Jewish people. Jeremiah's letter was sent 1000 km by messenger, to the Jews who were already living in Babylonian captivity in the city of Al-Yahuda. Notice also how Jeremiah reassures those already living in Babylon by telling them "the blessings of Jerusalem" are transferred to Babylon where they live and that the curses of Babylon have been transferred to Jerusalem.

"Now these are the words of the letter which Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the rest of the elders of the exile, the priests, the prophets and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, saying, "Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, 'Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. 'Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. 'Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.' ... 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 'I will be found by you,' declares the Lord." (Jeremiah 29:1-14, 594 BC)

In AD 66 when the Christians in Jerusalem obeyed Jesus through John and "left it all behind" and followed the messengers of the seven churches who brought the seven copies of Revelation to start a new life in Asia. The promises and providence of the letter of Jeremiah written from Jerusalem to the exiles in Babylon in 594 BC and the letter of Jesus written to the Jerusalem Christians in AD 66 would surely bring them comfort and reassurance. What this shows us, is that the core message of the Book of Revelation is not merely one of God's victory over the devil, but God, the loving Father will provide in a time of need.

"God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble."(Psalm 46:1)

"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? ... But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and God will add all these all things to you." (Matthew 6:25,33)

II. The Nicolaitans at Ephesus (Rev 2:6) and Pergamum (Rev 2:15)

A. Nicolaitans echoed the idol worship and fornication of Balaam and Balak in 1406 BC:

1. "But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. 'So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans." (Revelation 2:14-15)

2. Jan 1406 BC: "While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the Lord was angry against Israel. The Lord said to Moses, "Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel." So Moses said to the judges of Israel, "Each of you slay his men who have joined themselves to Baal of Peor." Then behold, one of the sons of Israel came and brought to his relatives a Midianite woman, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, while they were weeping at the doorway of the tent of meeting. When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he arose from the midst of the congregation and took a spear in his hand, and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked. Those who died by the plague were 24,000." (Numbers 25:1-9)

B. Late-daters (AD 96) are in error by using the Nicolaitans to disqualify the early date (AD 66)

1. Late-daters Homer Hailey and Robert Harkrider made puzzlingly inaccurate statements to the effect that the Nicolaitans are a strong evidence against the early date of Revelation. They were apparently unaware of the vast historical detail from ancient literary Christian sources regarding the origin and doctrines of the Nicolaitans that dates to AD 34 in Acts 6.

a. "The influence of the Nicolaitans over the church at Ephesus and Pergamum developed only after Paul's day, and is a strong point in favor of the late date [ie AD 96]" (Hailey, p33)

b. "The existence of a distinct sect called "Nicolaitans" who taught a doctrine the Lord said, "I also hate," infers a period of time long after A.D. 68 because no such sect is even hinted at in any New Testament epistle written within the period of A.D. 62-68. Although many warnings are found intended to guard the disciples against departures from the faith, nothing is said about a distinct heretical group as described in the messages to the churches of Pergamos and Thyatira. However, near the end of the first century a distinct sect had arisen, numbered among the Gnostics, which could easily fit the description of the Nico-laitans given in the letters to these churches. In the expanded version of his letter To The Trallians (ch. 11), Ignatius is represented as referring to the Nicolaitan sect as active in about A.D. 107" (Harkrider, pxxxviii)

i. Harkrider's quote from Ignatius to the Trallians 11 as evidence the Nicolaitans was active in AD 107 is unfortunate and ill informed. It is widely understood that Ignatius is pseudepigraphal, dating to after AD 250.

ii. "The whole story of Ignatius is more legendary than real, and his writings are subject to grave suspicion of fraudulent interpolation." (History of the Christian Church, Philip Shaff, Vol 2, ch 4)

iii. With the vast wealth of reliable sources available, it is a puzzle why Harkrider chose to ignore them but quoted spurious Ignatius.

2. It appears that Harkrider blindly copies Hailey's false statement that "little is known about the Nicolaitans":

a. "Little of known about the Nicolaitans. Several traditions exist and numerous theories have been suggested regarding their origin and doctrines, but these have not been established factually. The Nicolaitans were probably a sect of the Gnostics but history is silent as to their actual origin, peculiar doctrines, and ultimate fate after the Revelation." (Hailey, p123)

b. "Little is known about the Nicolaitans, but they taught "doctrine" that the Lord "hated"." (Harkrider, p29)

3. As we will see, the Nicolaitans are actually a powerful confirmation of the early date of Revelation since the heresy traces back to Acts 6 in AD 34 as seen through ten ancient Christian literary sources.

C. Ten Ancient Christian literary sources about the origin and doctrines of the Nicolaitans:

1. AD 200: Irenaeus:

a. "The Nicolaitanes are the followers of that Nicolas who was one of the seven first ordained to the diaconate by the apostles. They lead lives of unrestrained indulgence. The character of these men is very plainly pointed out in the Apocalypse of John, [when they are represented] as teaching that it is a matter of indifference to practice adultery, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. Wherefore the Word has also spoken of them thus: "But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate." (Irenaeus Against Heresies 1.26.3, AD 200)

b. "John, the disciple of the Lord, preaches this faith, and seeks, by the proclamation of the Gospel, to remove that error which by Cerinthus had been disseminated among men, and a long time previously by those termed Nicolaitans, who are an offset of that "knowledge" [Gnosticism] falsely so called, that he might confound them, and persuade them that there is but one God, who made all things by His Word; and not, as they allege, that the Creator was one, but the Father of the Lord another; and that the Son of the Creator was, forsooth, one, but the Christ from above another, who also continued impossible, descending upon Jesus, the Son of the Creator, and flew back again into His Pleroma; and that Monogenes [i.e. only begotten] was the beginning, but Logos was the true son of Monogenes; and that this creation to which we belong was not made by the primary God, but by some power lying far below Him, and shut off from communion with the things invisible and ineffable. The disciple of the Lord therefore desiring to put an end to all such doctrines, and to establish the rule of truth in the Church, that there is one Almighty God, who made all things by His Word, both visible and invisible; showing at the same time, that by the Word, through whom God made the creation, He also bestowed salvation on the men included in the creation; thus commenced His teaching in the Gospel: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (Irenaeus Against Heresies 3.11.1, AD 200)

2. AD 200: Tertullian:

a. "A brother heretic emerged in Nicolaus. He was one of the seven deacons who were appointed in the Acts of the Apostles. He affirms that Darkness was seized with a concupiscence-and, indeed, a foul and obscene one-after Light: out of this permixture it is a shame to say what fetid and unclean (combinations arose). The rest (of his tenets), too, are obscene. For he tells of certain Æons, sons of turpitude, and of conjunctions of execrable and obscene embraces and per-mixtures, and certain yet baser outcomes of these. He teaches that there were born, moreover, dæmons, and gods, and spirits seven, and other things sufficiently sacrilegious alike and foul, which we blush to recount, and at once pass them by. Enough it is for us that this heresy of the Nicolaitans has been condemned by the Apocalypse of the Lord with the weightiest authority attaching to a sentence, in saying "Because this thou holdest, thou hatest the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which I too hate."" (Tertullian, Against All Heresies 1, 200 AD)

b. "John, however, in the Apocalypse is charged to chastise those "who eat things sacrificed to idols," and "who commit fornication." There are even now another sort of Nicolaitans. Theirs is called the Gaian heresy. But in his epistle he especially designates those as "Antichrists" who "denied that Christ was come in the flesh," and who refused to think that Jesus was the Son of God. The one dogma Marcion maintained; the other, Hebion. The doctrine, however, of Simon's sorcery, which inculcated the worship of angels, was itself actually reckoned amongst idolatries and condemned by the Apostle Peter in Simon's own person." (Tertullian, Prescription Against Heretics 33, 200 AD)

c. "The flesh is not, according to Marcion, immersed in the water of the sacrament, unless it be in virginity, widowhood, or celibacy, or has purchased by divorce a title to baptism, as if even generative impotents did not all receive their flesh from nuptial union. Now, such a scheme as this must no doubt involve the proscription of marriage. Let us see, then, whether it be a just one: not as if we aimed at destroying the happiness of sanctity, as do certain Nicolaitans in their maintenance of lust and luxury, but as those who have come to the knowledge of sanctity, and pursue it and prefer it, without detriment, however, to marriage; not as if we superseded a bad thing by a good, but only a good thing by a better. For we do not reject marriage, but simply refrain from it." (Tertullian, Against Marcion 1.29, 200 AD)

d. "For (the angel of the Thyatirene Church) was secretly introducing into the Church, and urging justly to repentance, an heretical woman, who had taken upon herself to teach what she had learnt from the Nicolaitans. For who has a doubt that an heretic, deceived by (a spurious baptismal) rite, upon discovering his mischance, and expiating it by repentance, both attains pardon and is restored to the bosom of the Church? Whence even among us, as being on a par with an heathen, nay even more than heathen, an heretic likewise, (such an one) is purged through the baptism of truth from each character, and admitted (to the Church). Or else, if you are certain that that woman had, after a living faith, subsequently expired, and turned heretic, in order that you may claim pardon as the result of repentance, not as it were for an heretical, but as it were for a believing, sinner: let her, I grant, repent; but with the view of ceasing from adultery, not however in the prospect of restoration (to Church-fellowship) as well. For this will be a repentance which we, too, acknowledge to be due much more (than you do); but which we reserve, for pardon, to God. In short, this Apocalypse, in its later passages, has assigned "the infamous and fornicators," as well as "the cowardly, and unbelieving, and murderers, and sorcerers, and idolaters," who have been guilty of any such crime while professing the faith, to "the lake of fire," without any conditional condemnation." (Tertullian, On Modesty 19, 200 AD)

3. AD 200: Clement of Alexandria:

a. "I know that I have come upon a heresy [i.e. Nicolaitans] ; and its chief was wont to say that he fought with pleasure by pleasure, this worthy Gnostic advancing on pleasure in feigned combat, for he said he was a Gnostic; since he said it was no great thing for a man that had not tried pleasure to abstain from it, but for one who had mixed in it not to be overcome [was something]; and that therefore by means of it he trained himself in it. The wretched man knew not that he was deceiving himself by the artfulness of voluptuousness. To this opinion, then, manifestly Aristippus the Cyrenian adhered-that of the sophist who boasted of the truth. Accordingly, when reproached for continually cohabiting with the Corinthian courtezan, he said, "I possess Lais, and am not possessed by her." Such also are those who say that they follow Nicolaus, quoting an adage of the man, which they pervert, "that the flesh must be abused." But the worthy man showed that it was necessary to check pleasures and lusts, and by such training to waste away the impulses and propensities of the flesh. But they, abandoning themselves to pleasure like goats, as if insulting the body, lead a life of self-indulgence; not knowing that the body is wasted, being by nature subject to dissolution; while their soul is buried in the mire of vice; following as they do the teaching of pleasure itself, not of the apostolic man. For in what do they differ from Sardanapalus, whose life is shown in the epigram:- "I have what I ate-what I enjoyed wantonly; And the pleasures I felt in love. But those Many objects of happiness are left, For I too am dust, who ruled great Ninus." For the feeling of pleasure is not at all a necessity, but the accompaniment of certain natural needs-hunger, thirst, cold, marriage. If, then, it were possible to drink without it, or take food, or beget children, no other need of it could be shown." (Clement of Alexandria, Miscellaneous 2.20, 200 AD)

4. AD 220: Hippolytus:

a. "There are, however, among the Gnostics diversities of opinion; but we have decided that it would not be worth while to enumerate the silly doctrines of these (heretics), inasmuch as they are (too) numerous and devoid of reason, and full of blasphemy. Now, even those (of the heretics) who are of a more serious turn in regard of the Divinity, and have derived their systems of speculation from the Greeks, must stand convicted (of these charges). But Nicolaus has been a cause of the wide-spread combination of these wicked men. He, as one of the seven (that were chosen) for the diaconate, was appointed by the Apostles. (But Nicolaus) departed from correct doctrine, and was in the habit of inculcating indifferency of both life and food. And when the disciples (of Nicolaus) continued to offer insult to the Holy Spirit, John reproved them in the Apocalypse as fornicators and eaters of things offered unto idols." (Hippolytus, The Refutation of All Heresies 7.24, 200 AD)

5. AD 250: Ignatius:

a. Pseudepigraphal: Claims to be written around AD 110 but was written after AD 250.

b. "Flee also the impure Nicolaitanes, falsely so called, who are lovers of pleasure, and given to calumnious speeches." (Ignatius to the Trallians 11, AD 250)

6. AD 300: Victorinus of Pettau:

a. "This thou hast also, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes." But because thou thyself hatest those who hold the doctrines of the Nicolaitanes, thou expectest praise. Moreover, to hate the works of the Nicolaitanes, which He Himself also hated, this tends to praise. But the works of the Nicolaitanes were in that time false and troublesome men, who, as ministers under the name of Nicolaus, had made for themselves a heresy, to the effect that what had been offered to idols might be exorcised and eaten, and that whoever should have committed fornication might receive peace on the eighth day." (Victorinus, Commentary on Revelation 2:11, 300 AD)

7. AD 325: Eusebius:

a. "At this time the so-called sect of the Nicolaitans made its appearance and lasted for a very short time. Mention is made of it in the Apocalypse of John. They boasted that the author of their sect was Nicolaus, one of the deacons who, with Stephen, were appointed by the apostles for the purpose of ministering to the poor. Clement of Alexandria, in the third book of his Stromata, relates the following things concerning him. 2 "They say that he had a beautiful wife, and after the ascension of the Saviour, being accused by the apostles of jealousy, he led her into their midst and gave permission to any one that wished to marry her. For they say that this was in accord with that saying of his, that one ought to abuse the flesh. And those that have followed his heresy, imitating blindly and foolishly that which was done and said, commit fornication without shame. 3 But I understand that Nicolaus had to do with no other woman than her to whom he was married, and that, so far as his children are concerned, his daughters continued in a state of virginity until old age, and his son remained uncorrupt. If this is so, when he brought his wife, whom he jealously loved, into the midst of the apostles, he was evidently renouncing his passion; and when he used the expression, 'to abuse the flesh,' he was inculcating self-control in the face of those pleasures that are eagerly pursued. For I suppose that, in accordance with the command of the Saviour, he did not wish to serve two masters, pleasure and the Lord." (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.29.1-3, 325 AD)

8. AD 350: Constitutions of The Holy Apostles:

a. "But when we went forth among the Gentiles to preach the word of life, then the devil wrought in the people to send after us false apostles to the corrupting of the word; and they sent forth one Cleobius, and joined him with Simon, and these became disciples to one Dositheus, whom they despising, put him down from the principality. Afterwards also others were the authors of absurd doctrines: Cerinthus, and Marcus, and Menander, and Basilides, and Saturnilus. Of these some own the doctrine of many gods, some only of three, but contrary to each other, without beginning, and ever with one another, and some of an infinite number of them, and those unknown ones also. And some reject marriage; and their doctrine is, that it is not the appointment of God; and others abhor some kinds of food: some are impudent in uncleanness, such as those who are falsely called Nicolaitans." (Constitutions of The Holy Apostles 6.8, 350 AD)

9. AD 400 Jerome:

a. "Bands of women accompanied Nicolas of Antioch that deviser of all uncleanness." (Jerome, Letter 133.4, 400 AD)

b. "For even God repented that he had anointed Saul to be king. Even among the twelve apostles Judas was found a traitor. And Nicolas of Antioch-a deacon like yourself-disseminated the Nicolaitan heresy and all manner of uncleanness." (Jerome, Letter 147.4, 400 AD)

c. "Not all bishops are bishops indeed. You consider Peter; mark Judas as well. You notice Stephen; look also on Nicolas, sentenced in the Apocalypse by the Lord's own lips, whose shameful imaginations gave rise to the heresy of the Nicolaitans." (Jerome, Letter 14.9, AD 400)

d. "Then Nicolas, one of the seven Deacons, and one whose lechery knew no rest by night or day, indulged in his filthy dreams." (Jerome, Dialogue against the Luciferians, 23, AD 379)

e. "As we have made mention of that distinguished saint, let us show also from his Apocalypse that repentance unaccompanied by baptism ought to be allowed valid in the case of heretics. It is imputed (Rev. 2:4) to the angel of Ephesus that he has forsaken his first love. In the angel of the Church of Pergamum the eating of idol-sacrifices is censured (Rev. 2:14), and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans (ib. 15). Likewise the angel of Thyatira is rebuked (ib. 20) on account of Jezebel the prophetess, and the idol meats, and fornication. And yet the Lord encourages all these to repent, and adds a threat, moreover, of future punishment if they do not turn. Now he would not urge them to repent unless he intended to grant pardon to the penitents. Is there any indication of his having said, Let them be re-baptized who have been baptized in the faith of the Nicolaitans? or let hands be laid upon those of the people of Pergamum who at that time believed, having held the doctrine of Balaam? Nay, rather, "Repent therefore," he says, "or else I come to thee quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth." (Jerome, Dialogue against the Luciferians, 24, AD 379)

10. AD 611: Andrew of Caesarea:

a. "So it seems this city had possessed two difficulties: First, the majority was Greek, and second, among those who were called believers, the shameful Nicolaitans had sown evil "tares among the wheat." For this reason he recalled Balaam, saying, who in Balaam taught Balak, through these words signifying that the Balaam of the mind, the devil, by means of the perceptible Balak, taught the stumbling block to the Israelites, fornication and idolatry. For by means of that pleasure <fornication> they were thrown down into performing this <idolatry> to Beelphegor." (Andrew of Caesarea, Commentary on the Apocalypse, Revelation 2:14-15, 611 AD)

b. "For you allow the heresy of Nicolaitans"-clearly identified as Jezebel on account of the impiety and licentiousness-"to speak freely, thus placing a stumbling-block before my servants through their simplicity of thought and attracting them toward food sacrificed to idols, which they rightly renounced. You are obligated to silence her, also because, animated by an evil spirit, she pretends to be a prophet." (Andrew of Caesarea, Commentary on the Apocalypse, Revelation 2:19-20, 611 AD)

C. Scripture and literary sources reveal the origin and theology of the Nicolaitans:

1. Scripture indicates the Nicolaitans ate meat sacrificed to idols and committed fornication:

a. This is one of the earliest heresies in the early church that dates back to the letter sent to the gentiles after the Jerusalem council of AD 49.

b. ""For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell."" (Acts 15:28-29, 49 AD)

c. Since this problem was in full bloom in AD 49, the heresy predated Revelation by more than 25 years.

2. The Nicolaitans are named after Nicolas of Antioch, one of the 7 deacons in Acts 6:5:

a. "The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch." (Acts 6:5)

b. The apostacy of Nicolas who was appointed a deacon in Acts 6 in AD 34, would not have begun until at least 5 years later around AD 40.

c. The apostacy of Nicolas of Antioch around AD 40 provides a perfect synchronism with the Jerusalem letter to the Gentiles in AD 49 (Acts 15:28) it also confirms the early date of Revelation written in AD 66.

3. The literary sources are divided as to whether Nicolas of Antioch (Acts 6) was the founder of the Nicolaitans.

a. Irenaeus, Tertullian (AD 200) and Hippolytus (AD 220) Jerome (AD 400) all name Nicolas of Antioch as the founder of the Nicolaitans.

b. Clement (AD 200) and Eusebius (AD 325) Constitutions of the Apostles (AD 350), both reject that Nicolas of Antioch foundered the Nicolaitans and says that others perverted his words, "the flesh must be abused" and named the sinful sect after an innocent man who would condemn all Nicolaitans.

4. The Nicolaitans were a Gnostic sect that believed the flesh and spirit were two distinct entities and that the sins of the flesh did not affect the purity of the spirit.

5. By AD 200, Tertullian indicated that the Nicolaitan heresy was extinct, but another called the "Gaian heresy" continued in the same Gnostic teaching of fornication and angel worship as a form of idolatry.

6. Tertullian indicates that "Jezebel" in Rev 2:20 was a Nicolaitan herself, teaching what she learned from the Nicolaitans.

a. "'But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 'I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality." (Revelation 2:20-21)

7. The Nicolaitans practiced a water baptism without repentance which required any who left the sect to be rebaptized for the right reasons just like in Acts 19:1-5.

a. In AD 200, Tertullian used the lack of repentance of "Jezebel" in Rev 2 as an example in order to refute the false doctrine of water baptism without repentance practiced by the contemporary Gnostics.

b. In AD 400, Jerome said, "Let them be re-baptized who have been baptized in the faith of the Nicolaitans".

8. In AD 300, Victorinus of Pettau described how the Nicolaitans would sin all week long, then come to church expecting grace and blessings without repentance.

III. Synagogues of the 7 cities in Revelation:

See authors monograph on archeological excavations of Bible synagogues

A. Synagogue at Ephesus: 76 BC

1. New Testament AD 50

a. Revelation 2

b. First missionary journey: "They came to Ephesus, and he left them there. Now he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to stay for a longer time, he did not consent, but taking leave of them and saying, "I will return to you again if God wills," he set sail from Ephesus." (Acts 18:19-21)

c. Second missionary journey: "Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ." (Acts 18:24-28)

d. Second missionary journey: "And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks." (Acts 19:8-10)

2. Philo of Alexandria:

a. "Caius Norbanus Flaccus, proconsul, to the governors of the Ephesians, greeting. "'Caesar has written word to me, that the Jews, wherever they are, are accustomed to assemble [greek: synago] together, in compliance with a peculiar ancient custom of their nation, to contribute money which they send to Jerusalem; and he does not choose that they should have any hindrance offered to them, to prevent them from doing this; therefore I have written to you, that you may know that I command that they shall be allowed to do these things.'" (Philo, Embassy 315)

3. Josephus 43 BC

a. Ephesus 43 BC: "When Artemon was prytanis, on the first day of the month Leneon, Dolabella imperator, to the senate and magistrates, and people of the Ephesians, sendeth greeting. (226) Alexander, the son of Theodorus, the ambassador of Hyrcanus [Hyranus II], the son of Alexander the High Priest and ethnarch of the Jews, appeared before me, to show that his countrymen could not go into their armies, because they are not allowed to bear arms, or to travel on the Sabbath days, nor there to procure themselves those sorts of food which they have been used to eat from the times of their forefathers, I do therefore grant them a freedom from going into the army, as the former prefects have done, and permit them to use the customs of their forefathers, in assembling together for sacred and religious purposes, as their law requires, and for collecting oblations necessary for sacrifices; and my will is, that you write this to the several cities under your jurisdiction." 13. (228) And these were the concessions that Dolabella made to our nation when Hyrcanus sent an embassage to him; but Lucius the consul's decree ran thus:-"I have at my tribunal set these Jews, who are citizens of Rome, and follow the Jewish religious rites, and yet live at Ephesus, free from going into the army, on account of the superstition they are under." (Josephus Antiquities 14.225-228, decree: 43 BC)

b. Ephesus 40 BC: "The decree of the Ephesians. "When Menophilus was prytanis, on the first day of the month Artemisius, this decree was made by the people:-Nicanor, the son of Euphemus, pronounced it, upon the representation of the praetors. (263) Since the Jews that dwell in this city have petitioned Marcus Julius Pomperus, the son of Brutus, the proconsul, that they might be allowed to observe their Sabbaths, and to act in all things according to the customs of their forefathers, without impediment from anybody, the praetor hath granted their petition. (264) Accordingly, it was decreed by the senate and people, that in this affair that concerned the Romans, no one of them should be hindered from keeping the Sabbath day, nor be fined for so doing; but that they may be allowed to do all things according to their own laws." (Josephus Antiquities 14.262-264, Ephesus 40 BC)

B. Synagogue at Smyrna: 200 BC

1. New Testament AD 66:

a. "'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan." (Revelation 2:9)

2. Historical sources:

a. "the Jews are very numerous in every city, Asia and Syria" (Philo Embassy 1.245)

b. The source of the Jewish presence in Asia Minor can be traced back to the time of the Seleucids, as early as 200 BC when Antiochus the Great (261-248 BC) imported 2,000 Jewish families from Babylon to improve his grip on this territory (Josephus Ant. 12.125 "The Jews might have those privileges of citizens which Antiochus, the grandson of Seleucus had bestowed on them").

c. More details below

C. Synagogue at Pergamum: 59 BC

1. New Testament AD 66:

a. "'I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells." (Revelation 2:13)

2. Lucius Valerius Flaccus: 59 BC

a. "The next thing is that charge [stealing] about the Jewish gold. ... As gold, under pretence of being given to the Jews, was accustomed every year to be exported out of Italy and all the provinces to Jerusalem, Flaccus issued an edict establishing a law that it should not be lawful for gold to be exported out of Asia. ... There was a hundredweight of gold, more or less openly seized at Apamea, and weighed out in the forum at the feet of the praetor, by Sextus Caesius, a Roman knight, a most excellent and upright man; twenty pounds weight or a little more were seized at Laodicea, by Lucius Peducaeus, who is here in court, one of our judges; some was seized also at Adramyttium, by Cnaeus Domitius, the lieutenant, and a small quantity at Pergamus." (Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106-54 BC, For Flaccus 28, Speech of M. T. Cicero in defence of Lucius Valerius Flaccus, 59 BC)

D. Synagogue at Thyatira: AD 50

1. Literary sources: New Testament AD 50

a. "A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul." (Acts 16:14)

b. "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:" (Revelation 2:18)

c. "'But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them-I place no other burden on you." (Revelation 2:24)

E. Synagogue at Sardis: 49 BC

1. Archeological Excavation top plan: Sardis 49 BC

2. Literary sources:

a. New Testament AD 66: Revelation 3:1

b. Josephus 49 BC

i. Sardis 49 BC: "Lucius Antonius, the son of Marcus, vice-quaestor, and vice-pretor, to the magistrates, senate, and people of the Sardians, sendeth greeting. Those Jews that are our fellow-citizens of Rome, came to me, and demonstrated that they had an assembly of their own, according to the laws of their forefathers, and this from the beginning, as also a place of their own, wherein they determined their suits and controversies with one another. Upon their petition therefore to me, that these might be lawful for them, I give order that these their privileges be preserved, and they be permitted to do accordingly." (Josephus, Antiquities 14.235, 49 BC)

ii. Sardis 48 BC: "The decree of the Sardians. "This decree was made by the senate and people upon the representation of the praetors:-Whereas those Jews who are our fellow-citizens, and live with us in this city, have ever had great benefits heaped upon them by the people, and have come now into the senate, (260) and desired of the people, that upon the restitution of their law and their liberty, by senate and people of Rome, they may assemble together, according to their ancient legal custom, and that we will not bring any suit against them about it; and that a place may be given them where they may have their congregations, with their wives and children, and may offer, as did their forefathers, their prayers and sacrifices to God. (261) Now the senate and people have decreed to permit them to assemble together on the days formerly appointed, and to act according to their own laws; and that such a place be set apart for them by the praetors, for the building and inhabiting the same, as they shall esteem fit for that purpose: and that those that take care of the provisions for the city, shall take care that such sorts of food as they esteem fit for their eating, may be imported into the city." (Josephus, Antiquities 14.259-261, 48 BC)

F. Synagogue at Philadelphia: 66 AD

1. New Testament AD 66

a. "'Behold, I will cause those [physical non-Christian Jews] of the synagogue of Satan [literal synagogue], who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie-I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you." (Revelation 3:9)

b. Very much like the beast from the earth in Rev 13, where the Jews are a two horned sheep that speaks like a dragon.

G. Synagogue at Laodicea: 76 BC

1. New Testament AD 50:

a. "When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea." (Colossians 4:16)

b. "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked," (Revelation 3:14-17)

2. Josephus 76 BC:

a. "The magistrates of the Laodiceans to Caius Rubilius, the son of Caius, the consul sendeth greeting. Sopater, the ambassador of Hyrcanus the High Priest, hath delivered us an epistle from thee, whereby he lets us know that certain ambassadors were come from Hyrcanus, the High Priest of the Jews, and brought an epistle written concerning their nation, (242) wherein they desire that the Jews may be allowed to observe their Sabbaths and other sacred rites, according to the laws of their forefathers, and that they may be under no command, because they are our friends and confederates: and that nobody may injure them in our provinces. Now although the Trallians there present contradicted them, and were not pleased with these decrees, yet didst thou give order that they should be observed, and informed us that thou hadst been desired to write this to us about them." (Josephus, Antiquities 14.241-242, Hyranus II, 76 BC)

3. Cicero 59 BC: see Pergamum for details.

See authors monograph on

24 Synagogues named in the Bible

See authors Museum on

The Origin of Synagogues

IV. Satan's throne in Pergamum and the cult of Emperor worship:

"'I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells." (Revelation 2:13)

1. Throne of Satan:

a. as connecting Throne of Satan with the local Jews, given two oth

b. Connecting the execution of Antipas with refusing to worship the emperor is speculative

2. Antipas killed for his faith: we are not told details, but given he is singled out as the only martyr, this was not a wide-spread execution of Christians but a single memorable example.

a. "Although the text states that Antipas was killed in Pergamum for his faith, that he was singled out may indicate that he was the only one who lost his life at this time." (Believers Church Bible Commentary: Revelation, John R. Yeatts, p64, 2003 AD)

3. Caesar Tiberias mocked and renounced those who worshipped him in his temple others had built for him at Pergamum:

a. Tacitus records that Caesar Tiberias delivered a speech where he renounces those built the "Temple of Tiberias" to worship him as a god at Pergamum. Tiberias says that it was the senate, not himself, who order the building of his temple at Pergamum. Tacitus then notes that after delivering this speech, "from now onward, even in his private conversations, he persisted in a contemptuous rejection of these divine honours to himself".

b. "Since the deified Augustus had not forbidden the construction of a temple at Pergamum to himself and the City of Rome, observing as I do his every action and word as law, I [Tiberias] followed the precedent already sealed by his [Augustus] approval, with all the more readiness that with worship of myself [Tiberias] was associated veneration of the senate. But, though once to have accepted may be pardonable, yet to be consecrated in the image of deity through all the provinces would be vanity and arrogance, and the honour paid to Augustus will soon be a mockery, if it is vulgarized by promiscuous experiments in flattery." "As for myself, Conscript Fathers, that I [Tiberias] am mortal, that my functions are the functions of men" (Tacitus, Annales 4.37)

V. The church at Smyrna and the Polycarp conundrum:

A. Overview of Smyrna:

1. We do not know anything specific about the date or circumstances of the founding of the church at Smyrna for certain. Except for Revelation, no other reference is found in scripture. The church at Smyrna could have been founded shortly after Pentecost AD 33 or during Paul's second missionary Journey at the same time as he established Ephesus in AD 52 or in AD 65 one year before John wrote revelation.

2. There is a very strong inference that Smyrna, one of the most important cities in Asia and a major seaport, had been established by Paul or one of his companions during the first or second missionary journeys:

a. "This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks." (Acts 19:10)

b. "You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all." (Acts 19:26)

c. "For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face." (Colossians 2:1)

3. Jewish presence and synagogue in Smyrna:

a. Dr. David Graves is a professor of Archeological history and a staff archeologist who worked with the author at the Shiloh Excavation in the 2017 season. David wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on Smyrna and comments about the large Jewish population at Smyrna at the time of Christ: "The source of the Jewish presence in Asia Minor can be traced back to the time of the Seleucids, as early as 200 BC when Antiochus the Great (261-248 BC) imported 2,000 Jewish families from Babylon to improve his grip on this territory (Josephus Ant. 12.125). These Jews were given land, guaranteed privileges, and a separate government. It has also been documented that there was a large Jewish population from the time of Cicero settling in every city in Asia and particularly in western Asia Minor (Cicero Flac. 28.68; Philo Embassy 1.245 "the Jews are very numerous in every city, Asia and Syria"). By the first cent. the Jewish population in Asia Minor perhaps reached in excess of one million. From these data, Ramsay rightly concludes that, "we cannot doubt that this large Jewish population exercised a great influence on the development of the district and of the cities". Persecution of Christians by the Jews during the first two centuries was frequent and also present in Smyrna (cf. Rev 2:10)." (Jesus Speaks to Seven of His Churches, David Graves, p170, 2017 AD)

b. Almost no archeological excavations have been done at Smyrna because the modern city of Ismir is built over much of the ancient ruins.

c. This author wrote a book on pre-AD 70 synagogues and was unable to find any literary sources for a synagogue at Smyrna. This is not unusual because of the thousands of synagogues known to exist at the time of Christ only about 14 excavation sites are known at present.

4. Late-daters hinge their rejection of the early date for Revelation (AD 66) upon a [false] notion that is critical and foundational to their central argument, namely, that the church in Smyrna was an old, well established church when Revelation was written.

a. "Paul died in AD 67/68. John gives us the impression in the Revelation that when he wrote to them the church had already been in existence for a long period of time. So, a pre-AD70 date for the book is unworkable." (Dan King, Revelation, p53, 2018 AD)

b. The problem is that King just states, "John gives us the impression" the church was long established but provides zero evidence, confirmation or information why he got that impression from John.

5. Smyrna was a recently founded young church not an old, well established church:

a. "'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 'Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2:9-10)

b. Jesus identifies these four key elements of the situation at Smyrna: Tribulation, poverty, blasphemy and fear. These are exactly what you would expect to find within the first year of a church being founded in a large, hostile and powerful Jewish community. Since the church at Smyrna was one of the later one's established, the Jews in Smyrna would be familiar with the danger of allowing the preaching Christ in the synagogues for any period of time like Paul did in several other Asian churches. Being familiar with Christianity, the moment any Jew stood on the bema and began teaching about Jesus being prophesied in the Tanakh, they would be swiftly expelled from the synagogue. The new Christians would be financially shunned and ostracized by their former Jewish friends including possible seizure of property, resulting in financial poverty. Any new converts would endure the highest levels of persecution, tribulation and being condemned (blasphemy) by the Jews and they would be terrified. This is why Jesus commanded them "do not fear" because in 10 days after getting the letter, some of them may have been killed by the Jews.

c. Smyrna, as described in Revelation 2:8-11 has all the earmarks of a young church in the initial stages of battle against a large, well organized and well prepared hostile Jewish population waiting persecute the arrival of Christianity. The church may have been founded for less than a year! All this would be impossible if a statement like "you have left your first love" (which was said to the Ephesians) was applied to Smyrna, but that is not the case! The Smyrna entry is the shortest and lacks any criticism indicating the church was young. Both the Smyrna and Philadelphia entries lack any criticism and both refer to the Jewish persecution using the identical phrases "those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan" (Smyrna) and "the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie" (Philadelphia)

6. Therefore, the church at Smyrna could easily have been established in AD 65, or as late as one year before John wrote Revelation in AD 66.

B. The Polycarp quote from AD 155:

1. Those who date Revelation to AD 96 believe the Polycarp quote falsifies an early date of AD 66:

a. Late-daters say the early date is impossible: "a pre-AD 70 date for Revelation is simply unworkable ... virtually impossible... unless the testimony of Polycarp is to be rejected." (Dan King, Revelation, p52,53, 2018 AD)

b. Then late-daters admit the early date is possible in the next sentence: "Smyrna could have been founded no earlier than AD 52 or as late as AD 64." (Dan King, Revelation, p53, 2018 AD)

c. Those who date Revelation to AD 66 agree that Smyrna could have been established as late as AD 65 because, as we will see, John indicates the church of Smyrna was only very recently founded.

2. The Text of Polycarp 11:3:

a. Polycarp 11:2-3 Correct Translation #1: "Or do we forget 'that the saints shall judge the world,' as Paul teaches? [AD 54 in 1 Cor 6:2 ] However, I have not found nor heard anything of the kind among you [living in AD 155], among whom blessed Paul toiled [in AD 54], who were yourselves [those living in AD 54] his epistles in the beginning [i.e. 2 Cor 3:1-3 "You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men"]; For he boasts about you [in AD 54 in 2 Cor 11:8] in all the Churches, which alone knew the Lord in those times [ie. when only Philippi helped Paul financially in AD 54] when we had not yet known Him." (The Apostolic Fathers, Francis X. Glimm, Polycarp 11.3, p142, 1947 AD)

i. Paraphrase of translation #1: The Smyrna church did not exist in AD 54 at which time Paul boasted to the church of Corinth in 2 Cor 11:8 about how Philippi alone financially supported Paul. "I robbed other churches [i.e. Philippi] by taking wages from them to serve you;" (2 Corinthians 11:8)

ii. "What Polycarp means is that Paul boasted about the Philippians among the earliest established churches of Asia and Europe, but that this could not have included Smyrna. In other words, Smyrna had not such a long history as Philippi. But that does not require a post-Pauline date [for the founding of the church at Smyrna], although it might suggest it." (New Testament Introduction, Revelation, Donald Guthrie, p955, 1990 AD)

iii. Note: Polycarp 11-2-3 begins by quoting 1 Cor 6:2, then indirectly references 2 Cor 3:1-3, then finally makes him main point on 2 Cor 11:8 where Phil 4:15-15 is pointing back in time to AD 54.

iv. Note: "The Greek was perhaps τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐπιστολαῖ σαὐτοῦ, and ought to be rendered "who were his epistles in the beginning," with a reference to 2 Cor 3:1-3" (The Apostolic Fathers, Kirsopp Lake Volume 1, Page 297, 1912 AD)

v. This correct translation and interpretation of Polycarp to the Philippians 11:3 indicates that the church at Smyrna was founded after AD 54 when Paul wrote 2 Cor 11:8, or after the third missionary journey in AD 55 when Paul was in prison at Caesarea, or shortly after he was released from prison in Rome in AD 60 or as late as one year before AD 66 when John wrote revelation.

b. Polycarp 11:3 Alternate Translation #2: But I have neither perceived nor heard any such thing among you [living in AD 155], among whom the blessed Paul labored [in AD 54], who are praised [i.e. those living in AD 58-60 who read Paul's letter to the Philippians] in the beginning of his epistle [i.e. Philippians 1:3-5 written in AD 58-60]. For concerning you he boasts [AD 58-60] in all the churches who then [AD 58-60] alone had known the Lord, for we had not yet known him [before AD 58-60]." (The Apostolic Fathers in English, Polycarp 11.3, Rick Brannan, 2012 AD)

i. Paraphrase of translation #2: The church of Smyrna did not exist in AD 58-60 when Paul wrote the book of Philippians while in prison at Rome and boasted about them at the beginning of the epistle of Philippians in chapter 1:3-5 to the other churches how Philippi was the only church that helped Paul back in AD 54.

ii. The only boast Paul made in chapter 1 at the "beginning of his epistle" was their sending Paul money from the beginning down to the present as support. "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now." (Philippians 1:3-5) Yet it was the end of the book where the details of the praise are revealed: "You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs." (Philippians 4:15-16)

iii. Paul's praised Philippi at the end of his epistle: "my joy and crown ... my beloved." (Philippians 4:1) Yet he gave the same praise to the Thessalonians: "For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?" (1 Thessalonians 2:19)

c. Philippians written in AD 58-60: Translation #2 seems to say that the Smyrna church was founded after Paul wrote Philippians while in prison at Rome.

3. Commander Claudius Lysias (Acts 23:26) mistook Paul for the Egyptian messianic figure the day Paul was seized in the Jerusalem temple:

a. "As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the commander, "May I say something to you?" And he said, "Do you know Greek? "Then you are not the Egyptian who some time ago stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?" (Acts 21:37-38)

b. Notice Felix, governor AD 52-57, was the one who squashed the revolt. In fact, this may be why Felix left Paul in prison, because he feared Paul might actually cause some of the same trouble as the Egyptian.

c. Given Paul was in prison from AD 55-57, the Egyptian uprising can be dated to between AD 52-54, which is 3 to 5 years before Paul arrived in Jerusalem.

d. Josephus describes the Egyptian revolt which happened in AD 52-54:

i. "Moreover, there came out of Egypt about this time to Jerusalem, one that said he was a prophet, and advised the multitude of the common people to go along with him to the Mount of Olives, as it was called, which lay over against the city, and at the distance of five furlongs. (170) He said farther, that he would show them from hence, how, at his command, the walls of Jerusalem would fall down; and he promised that he would procure them an entrance into the city through those walls, when they were fallen down. (171) Now when Felix was informed of these things, he ordered his soldiers to take their weapons, and came against them with a great number of horsemen and footmen, from Jerusalem, and attacked the Egyptian and the people that were with him. He also slew four hundred of them, and took two hundred alive. (172) But the Egyptian himself escaped out of the fight, but did not appear any more." (Antiquities 20.169-172)

ii. "But there was an Egyptian false prophet that did the Jews more mischief than the former; for he was a cheat, and pretended to be a prophet also, and got together thirty thousand men that were deluded by him; (262) these he led round about from the wilderness to the mount which was called the Mount of Olives" (Wars 2.261-262)

4. Chronological dating the end of Paul's two-year imprisonment in Caesarea when Festus replaces Felix to AD 57: Acts 24:27

a. There are two different times and places when Paul was in prison when he could have written Philippians:

i. Philippians could have been written during Paul's two years in jail at Caesarea (AD 55-57)

ii. Philippians could have been written during Paul's two years in jail at Rome (AD 58-60)

b. "There is a small window for Paul's appearance before Felix to his hearing before Festus three days after Festus arrived in Judea to replace Felix. Paul could not have appeared before Felix until AD 54 at the earliest, since that is the earliest date for his marriage to Drusilla. The date of Festus's replacing Felix is controversial, but the numismatic evidence points to a new series of Judean coins minted in Nero's fifth year. Nero's fifth year would have commenced either in October AD 58 (if the actual date of his accession was used) or January AD 59 (if official Roman years were used). This new series of coins indicates the change from Felix to Festus took place sometime before AD 58 or 59-at least one year, perhaps 1½ years (hence AD 57 or 58). Since Paul was imprisoned for two years before Festus took office, he must have ended his 3rd missionary journey in either AD 55 or 56. AD 55 is more likely, in my opinion, since it allows more time for the subsequent events in Paul's life. AD 59 or 60 is simply too late and can only be accommodated if one dismisses the numismatic evidence. (See note 531 in FATP which mentions that Smallwood, Moody, and Finegan also agree that Festus began his administration of Judea in AD 57.) It is interesting to note that the Wikipedia page on Festus argues for AD 59 (or AD 60) but then includes a photo of the bronze putrah of Nero's fifth year (which they date AD 58/59) and attributes the putrah to Festus's administration. However, if Festus immediately authorized coinage upon taking office, design of a new series and its minting would have meant that the coins were unlikely to have been issued the same year that Festus took office. Thus, Wikipedia actually gives evidence that Festus arrived in Judea in AD 57 or AD 58 at the latest. (Andrew E. Steinmann, Email, 2019 AD)

c. "Felix had a long tenure of six or seven years (52-58/59). For when his appointment automatically lapsed with the death of Claudius in October 54, Nero immediately confirmed him in his post despite his dislike for his brother Pallas (due to Pallas' allegiance to his mother, with whom he was soon on bad terms), and kept him in office even after Pallas' fall from favour in the following year. (The Jews Under Roman Rule, E. Mary Smallwood, p 269, 1976 AD)

5. Philippians written from Caesarea in AD 55-57: The 2-year Caesarea imprisonment of AD 55-57 is also possible. After being released in AD 57, Paul over-wintered at Malta before arriving in Rome in AD 58 to begin another two year prison term.

a. The references in Philippians to "greetings from Caesar's household" (Phil 4:22) and the "entire Praetorian guard hearing the gospel" (Phil 1:13) are consistent with Caesarea:

i. Caesar's household may in be identical to Praetorian guard and not two different things.

ii. "This interpretation also meant Praetorium (guards) could be found outside Rome; it fits Caesarea" (AYBC, Philippians 1:13, 2008 AD)

iii. "The term is used in Phil. 1:13 with regard to a unit of the Praetorian guard. Greetings from "those from Caesar's household" (Phil. 4:22 HCSB) do not prove Paul was in Rome when he wrote Philippians. The term "Caesar's household" was applied often to the Praetorian guard, and units were dispersed throughout the Roman Empire." (Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 2003 AD)

b. The Praetorian guard was in Caesarea when Paul could have written Philippians:

i. "I (Felix) will give you a hearing after your accusers arrive also," giving orders for him to be kept in Herod's Praetorium." (Acts 23:35)

ii. "But Felix, having a more exact knowledge about the Way, put them off, saying, "When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case." Then he gave orders to the centurion for him to be kept in custody and yet have some freedom, and not to prevent any of his friends from ministering to him." (Acts 24:22-23)

c. The Praetorian guard was in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified in 3 April AD 33.

i. "Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort (Praetorian guard) around Him. They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him." (Matthew 27:27-28)

d. Conclusion: The church at Smyrna could have been established as early as AD 55 if Paul wrote Philippians from Caesarea. Polycarp's statement is saying that the church at Smyrna was not yet founded until after Paul wrote Philippians from Caesarea between AD 55-57.

6. Philippians written in Rome: The 2-year Rome imprisonment of AD 58-60 is the most likely time when Paul penned Philippians.

a. The references to "Caesar's household" (Phil 4:22) and the "Praetorian guard" (Phil 1:13) are a more powerful statement of the impact of the gospel if it references the men who guarded Caesar Nero himself and members of Nero's own family!

b. It is possible at the time of Paul's two year imprisonment at Caesarea that the Praetorian guard was understood to only be located in Rome alone: "During the Julio-Claudian age (Claudia: AD 41-54) the Praetorians saw little active service, though several cohorts are likely to have accompanied Claudius to Britain in a.d. 43. Their chief duties were ceremonial: a guard for the emperor at his palace in Rome, and on state occasions. The Praetorians retained for ceremonial wear the military equipment of the Late Republic (e.g., the oval shield), which was no longer used by the legions." (ABD, Praetorian guard, Volume 5, Page 447, 1992 AD)

c. Paul finished his third missionary journey in AD 55 from then he went to Rome.

d. News of Paul's being sent to Rome from Caesarea would have reached Philippi about the same time Paul over-wintered at Malta winter AD 57 to spring AD 58.

e. Paul was imprisoned at Rome for two years when he arrived in spring of AD 58-60.

f. The Philippians were whom Paul relied upon to supply for himself under Roman law while in prison.

g. Epaphroditus would have been sent to Rome with a money gift from Philippi almost immediately.

h. Taking into account Epaphroditus' delay and illness it seems reasonable that he would have arrived in Rome in AD 58.

i. Paul would have written Philippians sometime in AD 58 or early AD 59.

j. Conclusion: The church at Smyrna could have been established as early as AD 58 if Paul wrote Philippians from Rome. Polycarp's statement is saying that the church at Smyrna was not yet founded until after Paul wrote Philippians from Rome between AD 58-60.

7. Polycarp's confusion: Paul also boasted about the Corinthian church to Philippians and called the church at Corinth a living epistle of Paul:

a. Paul boasted about Philippi to Corinth in AD 54: "I robbed other churches [i.e. Philippi] by taking wages from them to serve you;" (2 Corinthians 11:8)

b. Paul boasted about Corinth to Philippi in AD 54: "for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the Macedonians [Thessalonians and Philippians], namely, that Achaia has been prepared since last year, and your zeal has stirred up most of them." (2 Corinthians 9:2)

c. Paul boasted about Corinth to other churches:

i. "therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure." (2 Thessalonians 1:4)

ii. "Great is my confidence in you; great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction." (2 Corinthians 7:4)

iii. "For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I was not put to shame; but as we spoke all things to you in truth, so also our boasting before Titus proved to be the truth." (2 Corinthians 7:14)

i. Paul ordered the church at Corinth to begin collecting benevolence money in 1 Cor 16:1-2 as the time only Philippi was supporting Paul, but a few months later, Paul praises the Corinthians for their financial generosity.

d. Paul's living Epistle: While Polycarp describes the Philippian church as a living "epistle to Paul", Paul actually called the Corinthians a living epistle in AD 54: "Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." (2 Cor 3:1-3)

8. Acts of Paul Coptic Papyrus from Bodmer collection: AD 150 "Paul visited Smyrna"

a. The Ancient Text: "When Paul had said this, he departed from Smyrna to go to Ephesus. And he went into the house of Aquila and Priscilla, rejoicing to see the brethren whom he, Paul, loved." (New Testament Apocrypha, Wilhelm Schneemelcher, Vol. 2, p263, 1992 AD)

i. This unpublished text from the Bodmer collection in Geneva is an almost complete 4th century of a Coptic papyri seven folios whose dialectal is the subakhmimic type (a late dialect of Coptic standing between Sahidic and Akhmimic, with a fluctuating spelling.) of the fourth century give us the episode of Ephesus in its almost totality.

ii. "The Acts of Paul is another text worth mentioning. According to Tertullian (De Bapt. 17), the text was composed by a presbyter in Asia Minor. Acts of Paul 4 places Paul in Myra (a city on the southern coast of the Roman province of Lycia in Asia Minor), where he heals Hermocrates, who converts. Other manuscripts of Acts of Paul note that he visited Smyrna, but we lack further information on his activities there. (Religious Rivalries and the Struggle for Success in Sardis and Smyrna, Richard S. Ascough, Studies in Christianity and Judaism, 14, Caring for All the Weak: Polytheist and Christian Charity in Sardis and Smyrna, Steven C. Muir, p135, 2005 AD)

iii. Christianity was introduced at Smyrna early, perhaps by Paul or one of his companions (see Acts 19:10, 26; Pseudo-Pionius, Life of Polycarp 1.2.1). (Religious Rivalries and the Struggle for Success in Sardis and Smyrna, Richard S. Ascough, Studies in Christianity and Judaism, 14, Interaction among Religious Groups in Sardis and Smyrna, p8, 2005 AD)

iv. "Measured against the development of the confession of faith in the second century, the author's theology is mainstream and orthodox-not in the least heretical or gnostic. He explicitly combats gnosis, first in the figures of Demas and Hermogenes and later in 3 Corinthians, where the early gnostics Simon and Cleobius appear."

(The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, Hans-Josef Klauck, p74, 2008 AD)

b. Discussion:

i. The Acts of Paul was composed around AD 150 but the Bodmer Coptic papyri dates to the 4th century. Acts of Paul is classified as "Apocrypha New Testament", but that is no less reliable than any quoting Polycarp who wrote his Epistle to the Philippians in AD 155 because all literary sources outside the Bible are known to contain errors. The sum of the Acts of Paul manuscripts are anti-Gnostic. The Bodmer Coptic papyri contains a story of Paul baptizing a lion. In Acts of Paul 41, a woman named Thecla is commissioned by Paul "go and teach the word of God" Tertullian comments how the author, an elder in a local church, was removed from office for writing in the document that women would either preach or baptize. The Acts of Paul, therefore may have been rejected because of its possible connection to Montanism, a movement that began with two women who spoke in tongues around AD 140.

ii. "Acts of Paul is unambiguously anti-gnostic, as we see with particular clarity in the exchange of letters between Paul and Corinth."

(The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, Hans-Josef Klauck, p257, 2008 AD)

iii. "Schmidt entertains the possibility that Acts of Paul was written in Smyrna, because inscriptions from this city contain a number of names that are also found in Acts of Paul. (The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, Hans-Josef Klauck, p50, 2008 AD)

iv. "The Acts of Paul is included in a New Testament canon list in the sixth-century Codex Claromontanus. However, it is among four books (the others are the Epistle of Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas, and the Apocalypse of Peter) listed with a dash written in front of them. This dash is probably intended to indicate an inferior status for those books compared to those in the rest of the list." (Lexham Bible Dictionary, 2017 AD

v. In AD 200, Tertullian comments on the author of Acts of Paul, saying his writings were rejected for allowing women to baptize but makes no mention of disputing the story of Paul baptizing a lion: "But if the writings which wrongly go under Paul's name [Acts of Paul], claim Thecla's example as a license for women's teaching and baptizing, let them know that, in Asia, the presbyter who composed that writing [Acts of Paul], as if he were augmenting Paul's fame from his own store, after being convicted, and confessing that he had done it from love of Paul, was removed from his office. For how credible would it seem, that he who has not permitted a woman even to learn with over-boldness, should give a female the power of teaching and of baptizing! "Let them be silent," he says, "and at home consult their own husbands." (Tertullian, On baptism 17, 200 AD)

vi. "Among the papyri of the Bodmer collection in Geneva are two very ancient texts, which will renew our knowledge of Paul's apocryphal Acts. It is, on the one hand, a Greek papyrus of the third century, containing the text of Paul's apocryphal correspondence with Corinthians; on the other hand, seven folios of a Coptic papyri [The dialectal variety is of the subakhmimic type {a late dialect of Coptic standing between Sahidic and Akhmimic, with a fluctuating spelling.} of the fourth century give us the episode of Ephesus in its almost totality. According to the publishing plan of the Coptic Buddhist papyri, this last text will not appear until after all the Biblical witnesses. However, as it gives us, in its best preserved part, a passage of the Acta Pauli still unpublished, and that several specialists have asked me for information on this subject, I thought it useful to reveal here already the principal elements. I take this opportunity to summarize briefly the current state of research on the subject of the Acts of Paul in general. ... On the other hand, it is not at all sure that we now have [manuscript] fragments of all the episodes that constituted the Acts of Paul; we will see that the Bodmer papyrus presupposes, presumably, the existence of an "episode of Smyrna." (Revue d'Histoire et de Philosophie Religieuses, Acta Pauli, Rodolphe Kasser, p45,48, 1960 AD, translated by Steven Rudd from French.)

C. Smyrna/Polycarp Conclusion:

1. Early-daters who teach Revelation was written in AD 66 have no need to reject Polycarp. Without rejecting Polycarp and accepting his statements at face value, nothing that he said makes a date of AD 66 impossible or unworkable for when the book of Revelation was written.

a. "One objection however can be dismissed, which is constantly repeated from one writer to another. This is that Polycarp in his epistle to the Philippians (11.3) states that his own church at Smyrna had not been founded till after the death of Paul - so that it could not therefore be addressed as it is in Rev. 2.8-11 as early as the late 60s. But, as Lightfoot observed long ago, all that Polycarp actually says is that "the Philippians were converted to the Gospel before the Smyrnaens - a statement which entirely accords with the notices of the two churches in the New Testament." It is astonishing that so much has continued to be built on so little" (Apocalypse of John, Charles Cutler Torrey, p78, 1958 AD)

b. "Polycarp moreover, is misquoted. He is merely complimenting the Philippians church on its very early reputation. He refers expressly to the beginning of Paul's Epistle (Phil. 1:5), and adds: We, the church of Smyrna did not exist at the time when you of Philippi were already praised by Paul, as he went about among the earliest churches (referring to Phil. 4:5f)" (Redating the New Testament, John A T Robinson, p229, 1976 AD)

2. Being uninspired, Polycarp's statement may be wrong and need to be reject. We simply cannot be sure.

3. The correct translation and interpretation of Polycarp to the Philippians 11:3 indicates that the church at Smyrna was founded after AD 54 when Paul wrote 2 Cor 11:8, or after the third missionary journey in AD 55 when Paul was in prison at Caesarea, or shortly after he was released from prison in Rome in AD 60 or as late as one year before AD 66 when John wrote revelation.

4. Polycarp vs. Acts of Paul:

a. Polycarp and Acts of Paul may not contradict each other because the correct interpretation and translation of Polycarp says Smyrna was not established until after he wrote 2 Cor 11:8.

b. Polycarp and Acts of Paul may contradict each other because one interpretation and translation of Polycarp says Smyrna was not established when Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians while Acts of Paul says Paul visited Smyrna on his third missionary journey, indicating the church had already been established when he visited.

c. Neither Polycarp or the Acts of Paul are inspired.

5. It is just as wrong to blindly accept the statement of Polycarp as it is to outright reject the statement in the Acts of Paul that Paul visited Smyrna during the third missionary journey.

6. As can be seen from the discussion, late-daters are very wrong, for a long list of reasons, when they say: "a pre-AD 70 date for Revelation is simply unworkable ... virtually impossible... unless the testimony of Polycarp is to be rejected." (Dan King, Revelation, p52,53, 2018 AD)

7. Taking into account the Bible statements that for two years all of Asia heard the gospel, there is a good chance that the Polycarp quote is wrong and Paul not only visited the church at Smyrna but might have personally founded it.

Scene of God's Throne

Revelation 4-5

Ezekiel 1 in July 593 BC

Worship of God on His Throne: Rev 4

Rev 4:10 the 24 elders throw down their crowns just like when King Tiridates 1st threw his crown down before the statue of Nero in AD 66.

"It was then arranged that Tiridates should lay the emblem of his royalty [crown] before the statue of the emperor, to resume it only from the hand of Nero; and the dialogue was closed by a kiss. Then, after a few days' interval, came an impressive pageant on both sides: on the one hand, cavalry ranged in squadrons and carrying their national decorations; on the other, columns of legionaries standing amid a glitter of eagles and standards and effigies of gods which gave the scene some resemblance to a temple: in the centre, the tribunal sustained a curule chair, and the chair a statue of Nero. To this Tiridates advanced, and, after the usual sacrifice of victims, lifted the diadem from his head and placed it at the feet of the image; arousing among all present a deep emotion increased by the picture of the slaughter or siege of Roman armies which was still imprinted on their eyes:-"But now the tide had turned: Tiridates was about to depart (how little less than a captive!) to be a gazing-stock to the nations!" (Tacitus, Annales 15.29)

Worship of Jesus on His Throne: Rev 5

1. The number 7 traces its origin back to Elijah

a. and was adopted by later prophets, then finally John in Revelation.

2. The number 7 associated with Jesus: horns, eyes

a. Jesus is the slain Lamb with 7 horns/eyes which represent the 7 churches.

b. Had Revelation been written to 10 churches, the Lamb would have had 10 eyes.

c. So, the 7 horns are not an actual number symbolizing Jesus, but the 7 churches of Asia.

3. Jesus already made Christians a kingdom and priests in his church:

a. "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth." (Revelation 5:10)

4. The identical worship is given to Jesus as was given to the Father.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Seals: 4 horses of War

Revelation 6:1-8

Ezekiel 4-5 in Aug 593 BC

7 Seals: Seals 1-4 = Total destruction of Jerusalem

1. Powerful synchronism between Ezekiel's and John's 4 horses.

2. 3 Sign Acts in Ezekiel in 593 BC:

a. Sign Act with siege brick: "Now you son of man, get yourself a brick, place it before you and inscribe a city on it, Jerusalem." (Ezekiel 4:1)

b. Sign Act with bread baked with dung: famine

i. "But as for you, take wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet and spelt, put them in one vessel and make them into bread for yourself; you shall eat it according to the number of the days that you lie on your side, three hundred and ninety days." (Ezekiel 4:9)

ii. "When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, "Come." I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand." (Revelation 6:5)

c. Sign Act with burning hair: Jerusalem burned: "As for you, son of man, take a sharp sword; take and use it as a barber's razor on your head and beard. Then take scales for weighing and divide the hair." (Ezekiel 5:1)

3. Decoding the possible meaning of the numbers "390 or 190" and "40" in Ezekiel 4 which was spoken in 593 BC:

a. Ezekiel is told that each day represents a year of rebellion prior to 593 BC in Ezekiel 4:5.

b. Sin of the House of Judah: 40 years of sinful rebellion before 593 BC:

i. 40 days = 40 years of historic sin and rebellion against God back-dated from 593 BC.

ii. 593 BC + 40 years = 633 BC when Josiah, the chosen one, was age 15 and seeks the lord but the Jews did not all accept his reforms.

iii. The 40 years seems to be connected with the great reformer Josiah, who was himself prophesied long before his birth in 931 BC when Jeroboam made Israel sin with idolatry: "He cried against the altar by the word of the LORD, and said, "O altar, altar, thus says the LORD, 'Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.' " (1 Kings 13:2)

iv. Josiah: "The One", The promised child, The renaissance child from 931 BC.

v. Therefore the 40 years looks back to the enlightenment of Josiah in 633 BC at age 15, who was himself prophesied the year Jeroboam began his idolatry in 931 BC.

c. Sin of the House of Israel: 390/190 years of sinful rebellion before 593 BC:

i. TEXTUAL VARIANT: In Ezek 4:5,9 the Masoretic text reads 390 days, but the Septuagint reads 190 days.

ii. Septuagint: 593 BC + 190 years = 783 BC. (190 years of historic sin and rebellion against God back-dated from 593 BC.) 783 BC is the year Jeroboam II became king in Israel (northern 10 tribes).

iii. Masoretic: 593 BC + 390 years = 983 BC. (340 years of historic sin and rebellion against God back-dated from 593 BC.) 983 dates back to the year David forgave Absalom for murdering Amnon because he raped his sister Tamar. Four year later in 979 BC Absalom becomes king through a coup and David flees Jerusalem to escape death.

d. Perhaps the sum of the entire nation's sin of 390 (Mt) + 40 equals 430 years = time spent in Egypt before Exodus.

e. The meaning of these numbers is unsure.

4. Four seals = Ezek 14:21 = 4 horses: Jer 6:23; Ezek 26:7; 38:4,15; Zech 6:1-6

a. "For thus says the Lord God, "How much more when I send My four severe judgments against Jerusalem: sword, famine, wild beasts and plague to cut off man and beast from it!" (Ezekiel 14:21)

b. "They seize bow and spear; They are cruel and have no mercy; Their voice roars like the sea, And they ride on horses, Arrayed as a man for the battle Against you, O daughter of Zion!" (Jeremiah 6:23)

c. "For thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I will bring upon Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, chariots, cavalry and a great army." (Ezekiel 26:7)

d. "I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords;" (Ezekiel 38:4)

e. "You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army;" (Ezekiel 38:15)

f. "Now I lifted up my eyes again and looked, and behold, four chariots were coming forth from between the two mountains; and the mountains were bronze mountains. With the first chariot were red horses, with the second chariot black horses, with the third chariot white horses, and with the fourth chariot strong dappled horses. Then I spoke and said to the angel who was speaking with me, "What are these, my lord?" The angel replied to me, "These are the four spirits of heaven, going forth after standing before the Lord of all the earth, with one of which the black horses are going forth to the north country; and the white ones go forth after them, while the dappled ones go forth to the south country." (Zechariah 6:1-6)

5. Four Seals 587 BC and AD 70:

a. 1st seal: white horses, Anointed Conqueror: Nebuchadnezzar, Titus

b. 2nd seal: red horses, war: Babylon, first Jewish War AD 66

c. 3rd seal: black horses, Cannibalism:

i. "'Therefore, fathers will eat their sons among you, and sons will eat their fathers; for I will execute judgments on you and scatter all your remnant to every wind." (Ezekiel 5:10)

ii. "I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they will eat one another's flesh in the siege and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life will distress them." '" (Jeremiah 19:9)

iii. "Now of those perished by famine in the city, the number was prodigious, and the miseries they underwent were unspeakable; (194) for if so much as the shadow of any kind of food did anywhere appear, a war was commenced presently; and the dearest friends fell a fighting one with another about it, snatching from each other the most miserable supports of life. (195) Nor would men believe that those who were dying had no food; but the robbers would search them when they were expiring, lest any one should have concealed food in their bosoms, and counterfeited dying: (196) nay, these robbers gaped for want, and ran about stumbling and staggering along like mad dogs, and reeling against the doors of the houses like drunken men; they would also, in the great distress they were in, rush into the very same houses two or three times in one and the same day. (197) Moreover, their hunger was so intolerable, that it obliged them to chew everything, while they gathered such things as the most sordid animals would not touch, and endured to eat them; nor did they at length abstain from girdles and shoes; and the very leather which belonged to their shields they pulled off and gnawed: (198) the very wisps of old hay became food to some; and some gathered up fibers, and sold a very small weight of them for four Attic [drachmae]. (199) But why do I describe the shameless impudence that the famine brought on men in their eating inanimate things, while I am going to relate a matter of fact, the like to which no history relates, either among the Greeks or Barbarians! It is horrible to speak of it, and incredible when heard. (200) I had indeed willingly omitted this calamity of ours, that I might not seem to deliver what is so portentous to posterity, but that I have innumerable witnesses to it in my own age; and, besides, my country would have had little reason to thank me for suppressing the miseries that she underwent at this time. 4. (201) There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan, her name was Mary; her father was Eleazar, of the village Bethezub, which signifies the House of Hyssop. She was eminent for her family and her wealth, and had fled away to Jerusalem with the rest of the multitude, and was with them besieged therein at this time. (202) The other effects of this woman had been already seized upon; such I mean as she had brought with her out of Perea, and removed to the city. What she had treasured up besides, as also what food she had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious guards, who came every day running into her house for that purpose. (203) This put the poor woman into a very great passion, and by the frequent reproaches and imprecations she cast at these rapacious villains, she had provoked them to anger against her; (204) but none of them, either out of the indignation she had raised against herself, or out of the commiseration of her case, would take away her life; and if she found any food, she perceived her labors were for others, and not for herself; and it was now become impossible for her anyway to find anymore food, while the famine pierced through her very bowels and marrow, when also her passion was fired to a degree beyond the famine itself; nor did she consult with anything but with her passion and the necessity she was in. She then attempted a most unnatural thing; (205) and snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast, she said, "O, thou miserable infant! For whom shall I preserve thee in this war, this famine, and this sedition? (206) As to the war with the Romans, if they preserve our lives, we must be slaves! This famine also will destroy us, even before that slavery comes upon us:-yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. (207) Come on; be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets and a byword to the world, which is all that is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews." (208) As soon as she had said this she slew her son; and then roasted him, and ate the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealed. (209) Upon this the seditous came in presently, and smelling the horrid scent of this food, they threatened her, that they would cut her throat immediately if she did not show them what food she had gotten ready. She replied, that she had saved a very fine portion of it for them; and withal uncovered what was left of her son. (210) Hereupon they were seized with a horror and amazement of mind, and stood astonished at the sight; when she said to them, "This is my own son; and what hath been done was mine own doing! Come, eat of this food; for I have eaten of it myself! (211) Do not you pretend to be either more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother; but if you be so scrupulous and do abominate this my sacrifice, as I have eaten the one half, let the rest be reserved for me also." (212) After which, those men went out trembling, being never so much affrighted at anything as they were at this, and with some difficulty they left the rest of that meat to the mother. Upon which the whole city was full of this horrid action immediately; and while every body laid his miserable case before their own eyes, they trembled, as if this unheard-of action had been by themselves. (213) So those that were thus distressed by the famine were very desirous to die; and those already dead were esteemed happy, because they had not lived long enough either to hear or to see such miseries. 5. (214) This sad instance was quickly told to the Romans, some of whom could not believe it, and others pitied the distress which the Jews were under; but there were many of them who were hereby induced to a more bitter hatred than ordinary against our nation;-(215) but for Caesar, he excused himself before God as to this matter, and said, that he had proposed peace and liberty to the Jews, as well as an oblivion of all their former insolent practices; but that they, instead of concord, had chosen sedition; instead of peace, war; and before satiety and abundance, a famine. (216) That they had begun with their own hands to burn down that temple, which we have preserved hitherto; and that therefore they deserved to eat such food as this was. (217) That, however, this action of eating one's own child ought to be covered with the overthrown of their very country itself; and men ought not to leave such a city upon the habitable earth to be seen by the sun, wherein mothers are thus fed" (Josephus Wars 6.193-217)

d. 4th seal: ashen horses, Death by sickness, famine and beasts: Ezek 5:17; Rev 6:8

i. "'Moreover, I will send on you famine and wild beasts, and they will bereave you of children; plague and bloodshed also will pass through you, and I will bring the sword on you. I, the Lord, have spoken.'" (Ezekiel 5:17)

ii. "I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth." (Revelation 6:8)

5th Seal: Martyrs beneath Altar

Revelation 6:9-11

Ezekiel 6 in 592 BC

5th Seal: Christians killed seen beneath the Altar

1. Wicked executed by God beneath their pagan altars Ezek 6:13

a. "Then you will know that I am the LORD, when their slain are among their idols around their altars, on every high hill, on all the tops of the mountains, under every green tree and under every leafy oak-the places where they offered soothing aroma to all their idols." (Ezekiel 6:13)

2. Christians martyred beneath God's altar. Rev 6:9

a. "When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;" (Revelation 6:9)

6th Seal: Avenging Terror upon Jerusalem

Revelation 6:12-17

Ezekiel 7-8 in 592 BC

6th Seal: Unique disaster is coming upon Jerusalem

1. Synchronism between Ezekiel in 587 BC and John in AD 70:

2. Terror of God upon 4 corners of earth:

a. 587 BC: begins: "And you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD to the land of Israel, 'An end! The end is coming on the four corners of the land." (Ezekiel 7:2)

b. AD 70: paused: "After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree." (Revelation 7:1)

3. Commanders hiding in caves:

a. Friday, 19th January 586 BC: "Thus you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "As I live, surely those who are in the waste places will fall by the sword, and whoever is in the open field I will give to the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in the strongholds and in the caves will die of pestilence." (Ezekiel 33:27)

b. 587 BC: "Now all the commanders of the forces that were in the field [possibly in caves], they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam over the land and that he had put him in charge of the men, women and children, those of the poorest of the land who had not been exiled to Babylon." (Jeremiah 40:7)

c. AD 70: "Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains;" (Revelation 6:15)

4. Seek true prophets but only false speak:

a. 587 BC: "'Disaster will come upon disaster and rumor will be added to rumor; then they will seek a vision from a prophet, but the law will be lost from the priest and counsel from the elders." (Ezekiel 7:26)

b. AD 70: "A false prophet was the occasion of these people's destruction, who had made a public proclamation in the city that very day, that God commanded them to get up upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance. (286) Now, there was then a great number of false prophets suborned by the tyrants to impose upon the people, who denounced this to them, that they should wait for deliverance from God: and this was in order to keep them from deserting, and that they might be buoyed up above fear and care by such hopes. (287) Now, a man that is in adversity does easily comply with such promises; for when such a seducer makes him believe that he shall be delivered from those miseries which oppress him, then it is that the patient is full of hopes of such deliverance." Josephus Wars 6:285-287)

5. God has withdrawn his grace from Jerusalem will be destroyed: "Therefore, I indeed will deal in wrath. My eye will have no pity nor will I spare; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, yet I will not listen to them." (Ezekiel 8:18)

Christians marked on forehead with Seal of God

Revelation 7

Ezekiel 9 in Sept 592 BC

A. Marking/Sealing foreheads of saints

1. Ezekiel 9:4 also sealed the foreheads of the Righteous in 592 BC.

a. "The Lord said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst." (Ezekiel 9:4)

b. "saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads." (Revelation 7:3)

c. "They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads." (Revelation 9:4)

2. 144,000 = Christians: Rev 2:9; Rom 2:28-29.

a. Notice the reference to a literal first century synagogue in Rev 2:9. See authors eBook on the Origin of Synagogues

b. "'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan." (Revelation 2:9)

c. "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God." (Romans 2:28-29)

3. Rev 7:9 describes the 144,000 as both Jew and Gentile "from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues" proving these are Christians not physical Jews.

a. "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;" (Revelation 7:9)

4. 144,000 Christians escape the destruction of Jerusalem which is the GREAT TRIBULATION:

a. "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will." (Matthew 24:21)

b. "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Revelation 7:14)

c. In 587 BC, tighteous men who endured the "great tribulation" of having their home destroyed and being deported to a foreign land: For Ezekiel the Jews were deported to El-Yahudah in Babylon. Revelation tells the Christians to "leave everything" echoing Jesus' own warning to flee Jerusalem before its destruction. It would be natural for the fleeing Christians to follow the messengers from the 7 churches of Asia who brought the Revelation letter, back to their 7 home churches to start a new life in a foreign Gentile land.

5. Notice the Tribes of Dan and Ephraim are not included for their historic leading role in idol worship which brought about the extinction through Jeroboam, of the ten northern tribes in 723 BC. In their place are Levi and Joseph making exactly 12 tribes.

6. See authors book on Seals and Bulla

B. Dead Sea Scroll: CD-B, Cairo Damascus Documentb, CD-B Col. xix:10 lines, 5-15, 90 BC

Dead Sea Scroll

Mark on forehead of the righteous: Ezek 9:4, Rev 7:3; 9:4

Cairo Damascus Documentb (CD-B)

90 BC

"But (over) all those who despise the precepts and the ordinances, may be emptied over them the punishment of the wicked, when God visits the earth, when there comes the word which is written by the hand of the prophet Zechariah: Zech 13:7 «Wake up, sword, against my shepherd, and against the male who is my companion-oracle of God-strike the shepherd, and the flock may scatter, and I shall turn my hand against the little ones». Those who revere him are Zech 11:11 «the poor ones of the flock». These shall escape in the age of the visitation; but those that remain shall be delivered up to the sword when there comes the Messiah of Aaron and Israel. As happened in the age of the first visitation, as {Ezekiel} he said by the hand of Ezekiel: Blank Ezek 9:4 «{...} To mark with a tau [x or + letter of Hebrew alphabet] the foreheads of those who sigh and groan». But those who remained were delivered up to the sword, which carries out the vengeance of the covenant. Thus will be the judgment of all those entering his covenant, who do not remain steadfast in these precepts; they shall be visited for destruction at the hand of Belial. This is the day when God will make a visitation."

CD-B, Cairo Damascus Documentb, CD-B Col. xix:10 lines, 5-15, 90 BC

1. When the Messiah came, the Jews expected the righteous would be marked on the forehead just like in Revelation.

2. Notice the use of the Messianic text in Zech 13:7 of striking down the shepherd which is applied to the fleeing of the disciples at the arrest of Jesus.

a. "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate," Declares the LORD of hosts. "Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones." (Zechariah 13:7)

b. "Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, 'I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP OF THE FLOCK SHALL BE SCATTERED.' "But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee." (Matthew 26:31-32)

C. Destruction of Jerusalem was the Greatest tribulation in world history: AD 70

"These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Revelation 7:14)

1. Predictions that AD 70 would be the worst in history:

a. "Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone [the Christians] who is found written in the book, will be rescued." (Daniel 12:1)

b. "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you [Jews who rejected Jesus] may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation [40 years=30-AD 70]. "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!" (Matthew 23:34-38)

c. "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will." (Matthew 24:21)

d. "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. "Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. "Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." (Luke 21:20-24)

2. Josephus summed up the wickedness of his fellow Jews and how the suffering of the city was the worst in history:

a. Josephus shows the Fulfilment:

1. "it had so come to pass, that our city Jerusalem had arrived at a higher degree of felicity than any other city under the Roman government, and yet at last fell into the sorest of calamities again. (12) Accordingly it appears to me, that the misfortunes of all men, from the beginning of the world, if they be compared to these of the Jews [AD 70], are not so considerable as they [Jews in AD 70] were." (Josephus Wars 1.11-12)

2. "It is therefore impossible to go distinctly over every instance of these men's iniquity. I shall therefore speak my mind here at once briefly:-That neither did any other city ever suffer such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from the beginning of the world.." (Josephus Wars 5.442, 26th May AD 70, Sabbath):

3. God's justice: Mass crucifixion of the very Jews who crucified Jesus:

a. God's Justice System: Crucifixion for crucifixion: "But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise." (Exodus 21:23-25)

b. "So the soldiers out of the wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest; when their multitude was so great, that room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses wanting for the bodies." (Josephus Wars of the Jews 5.451)

c. "Reland very properly takes notice here, how justly this judgment came upon the Jews, when they were crucified in such multitudes together, that the Romans wanted room for the crosses, and crosses for the bodies of these Jews, since they had brought this judgment on themselves by the crucifixion of their Messiah." (The Works of Josephus, William Whiston, p720, 1987 AD)

7th Seal: Grace withdrawn, Destruction Decreed

Revelation 8:1-5

Ezekiel 10:1-2 in Sept 592 BC

A. The Seven Angels from Ancient Literary sources: Rev 8:2

1. "And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them." (Revelation 8:2)

2. 200 years before Revelation was written, the Jews understood there were seven angels of God who would engage in war against evil man and Belial (devil).

3. 150 BC: 1 Enoch: Names and Functions of the Seven Archangels:

a. "And these are the names of the [seven] holy angels who watch. 2 Uriel, one of the holy angels, who is over the world and over Tartarus. 3 Raphael, one of the holy angels, who is over the spirits of men. 4 Raguel, one of the holy angels who †takes vengeance on† the world of the luminaries. 5 Michael, one of the holy angels, to wit, he that is set over the best part of mankind and over chaos. 6 Saraqâêl [Sariel], one of the holy angels, who is set over the spirits, who sin in the spirit. 7 Gabriel, one of the holy angels, who is over Paradise and the serpents and the Cherubim. 8 Remiel, one of the holy angels, whom God set over those who rise." (1 Enoch 20.1-8, 150 BC)

4. 150 BC: The War Scroll: Dead Sea Scroll 1Q33: Trumpets and Angels:

a. "The trumpets shall continue sounding, to guide the slingers until they have finished throwing seven times." (1Q33, Col VIII, line 1)

b. "The tower will have two gates, one on [the right and] the other on the left. And on all the shields of the towers they shall write: on the first: «Michael», [on the second: «Gabriel», on the third:] «Sariel», on the fourth: «Raphael»; «Michael» and «Gabriel» on [the right, and «Sariel/Urial» and «Raphael» on the left ...]" (1Q33, Col IX, lines 14-16)

B. 7th seal: silence = grace officially withdrawn from temple

1. 597 BC: "Then the Lord said to me, "Even though Moses and Samuel were to stand before Me, My heart would not be with this people; send them away from My presence and let them go! "And it shall be that when they say to you, 'Where should we go?' then you are to tell them, 'Thus says the Lord: "Those destined for death, to death; And those destined for the sword, to the sword; And those destined for famine, to famine; And those destined for captivity, to captivity." ' "I will appoint over them four kinds of doom," declares the Lord: "the sword to slay, the dogs to drag off, and the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy. "I will make them an object of horror among all the kingdoms of the earth because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem. "Indeed, who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem, Or who will mourn for you, Or who will turn aside to ask about your welfare? "You who have forsaken Me," declares the Lord, "You keep going backward. So I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you; I am tired of relenting!" (Jeremiah 15:1-6, 597 BC)

2. 597 BC: "You shall not take a wife for yourself nor have sons or daughters in this place." For thus says the LORD concerning the sons and daughters born in this place, and concerning their mothers who bear them, and their fathers who beget them in this land: "They will die of deadly diseases, they will not be lamented or buried; they will be as dung on the surface of the ground and come to an end by sword and famine, and their carcasses will become food for the birds of the sky and for the beasts of the earth." For thus says the LORD, "Do not enter a house of mourning, or go to lament or to console them; for I have withdrawn My peace from this people," declares the LORD, "My lovingkindness and compassion. "Both great men and small will die in this land; they will not be buried, they will not be lamented, nor will anyone gash himself or shave his head for them." (Jeremiah 16:2-6, 597 BC)

3. Notice the connection of Jer 16:2-6 with Paul's advice not to marry in AD 54 because of the "present distress" that will be "trouble" for families was used also of the destruction of Jerusalem:

a. The Jews were the primary persecutors of Christians before the great persecution by Nero that lasted 42 months from AD 64-68.

b. The present distress was a combination of both current Jewish and future Roman persecutions under Nero.

c. "Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. I think then that this is good in view of the present distress [Strongs # 318-"annanke"], that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you. But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away. But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife," (1 Corinthians 7:25-33)

d. "Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress [Strongs # 318-"annanke"] upon the land and wrath to this people" (Luke 21:23)

4. The false prophets contradicted God when He said there would be peace in 609, 597 BC:

a. "They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no peace." (Jeremiah 6:14, 609 BC)

b. "They heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no peace." (Jeremiah 8:11. 609 BC)

c. "But, "Ah, Lord God!" I said, "Look, the prophets are telling them, 'You will not see the sword nor will you have famine, but I will give you lasting peace in this place.' " (Jeremiah 14:13, 597 BC)

C. Coals from Altar of Sacrifice: Final destruction begins

1. Ezekiel: Physical altar in Jerusalem temple. Revelation: True altar in heaven

2. Angel throws burning coals into temple:

a. 592 BC: "And He spoke to the man clothed in linen and said, "Enter between the whirling wheels under the cherubim and fill your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubim and scatter them over the city." And he entered in my sight." (Ezekiel 10:2, 592 BC)

b. AD 70: "Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake." (Revelation 8:5)

3. Zedekiah's rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar in 593 BC was the last straw for God.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Trumpets against Jerusalem

Revelation 8:6-13

Ezekiel 10-12 in Sept 592 BC

7 Woe Trumpets against Jerusalem

1st Trumpet: Rev 8:7 Hail & fire & blood: 7th Egyptian plague Ex 9:24

1. "a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up" Rev 8:7

2. Mass deforestation: 1/3 of the trees burned up

3. Josephus records that by 3rd June AD 70, all trees had been cut down within 18 km of Jerusalem. "Titus found materials hard to find for all the trees that were about the city had been already cut down for the making of the former banks. Yet did the soldiers bring with them other materials from the distance of ninety furlongs (18km, 11 miles), (Josephus Wars 5:523)

2nd Trumpet: Rev 8:8 Water to blood: 1st Egyptian plague: 2nd bowl = 2nd trumpet = 1st plague of Egypt: Rev 16:3-4 = Rev 8:8 = Ex. 7:14-25

1. "'Thus says the Lord, "By this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, I will strike the water that is in the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it will be turned to blood. "The fish that are in the Nile will die, and the Nile will become foul, and the Egyptians will find difficulty in drinking water from the Nile." ' " (Exodus 7:17-18)

2. "The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died. Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood." (Revelation 16:3-4)

3. "The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood," (Revelation 8:8)

3rd Trumpet: Rev 8:10 Wormwood star: Jer 9:14-15; 23:15; Deut 29:18

1. "but have walked after the stubbornness of their heart and after the Baals, as their fathers taught them," therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, "behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood and give them poisoned water to drink." (Jeremiah 9:14-15)

2. "Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets, 'Behold, I am going to feed them wormwood And make them drink poisonous water, For from the prophets of Jerusalem Pollution has gone forth into all the land.' " (Jeremiah 23:15)

3. "so that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; that there will not be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood." (Deuteronomy 29:18)

4th Trumpet: Rev 8:12 Two-thirds darkness: 9th Egyptian plague: Ex 10:21; Messianic prophecy of Jesus crucifixion resulted in 2/3rd darkness: Zech 13:7-9

1. Ezek 11 was about the destruction of Jerusalem and is the same as the first 4 trumpets of Revelation.

2. Both sections in Rev and Ezek contain messianic-prophetic content:

a. Ezek 11:19-20 is messianic, echoing the New Covenant of Jer 31:31ff.

i. "And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God." (Ezekiel 11:19-20)

ii. "Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah," (Jeremiah 31:31)

b. The 1/3rd fire of Rev 8:12, as noted above, echoes the messianic prophecy in Zech 13:7-9

i. "The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way." (Revelation 8:12)

ii. "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate," Declares the Lord of hosts. "Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones. "It will come about in all the land," Declares the Lord, "That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. "And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' And they will say, 'The Lord is my God.' " (Zechariah 13:7-9)

2nd Sign Acts of Ezekiel confirm Jerusalem will be destroyed

1. Ezek 12:1-16: mimics going into exile with baggage, digging a hole in the house wall for escape, and fleeing city.

a. "Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house. "Therefore, son of man, prepare for yourself baggage for exile and go into exile by day in their sight; even go into exile from your place to another place in their sight. Perhaps they will understand though they are a rebellious house. "Bring your baggage out by day in their sight, as baggage for exile. Then you will go out at evening in their sight, as those going into exile. "Dig a hole through the wall in their sight and go out through it. "Load the baggage on your shoulder in their sight and carry it out in the dark. You shall cover your face so that you cannot see the land, for I have set you as a sign to the house of Israel." I did so, as I had been commanded. By day I brought out my baggage like the baggage of an exile. Then in the evening I dug through the wall with my hands; I went out in the dark and carried the baggage on my shoulder in their sight. In the morning the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Son of man, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, 'What are you doing?' "Say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God, "This burden concerns the prince in Jerusalem as well as all the house of Israel who are in it." ' "Say, 'I am a sign to you. As I have done, so it will be done to them; they will go into exile, into captivity.' "The prince who is among them will load his baggage on his shoulder in the dark and go out. They will dig a hole through the wall to bring it out. He will cover his face so that he can not see the land with his eyes. "I will also spread My net over him, and he will be caught in My snare. And I will bring him to Babylon in the land of the Chaldeans; yet he will not see it, though he will die there. "I will scatter to every wind all who are around him, his helpers and all his troops; and I will draw out a sword after them. "So they will know that I am the Lord when I scatter them among the nations and spread them among the countries. "But I will spare a few of them from the sword, the famine and the pestilence that they may tell all their abominations among the nations where they go, and may know that I am the Lord." (Ezekiel 12:1-16)

2. Ezek 12:17-20: eats trembling in horror as if the city is under siege

a. "Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me saying, "Son of man, eat your bread with trembling and drink your water with quivering and anxiety. "Then say to the people of the land, 'Thus says the Lord God concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the land of Israel, "They will eat their bread with anxiety and drink their water with horror, because their land will be stripped of its fullness on account of the violence of all who live in it. "The inhabited cities will be laid waste and the land will be a desolation. So you will know that I am the Lord." ' " (Ezekiel 12:17-20)

5th Trumpet/1st Woe: 5 month Civil War

Revelation 9:1-12

1 Maccabees 6:48-52

Five-Month Civil War and 5 months Siege of Rev 9:5, 10: Monday 7th March AD 70 - Monday 6th August AD 70

A. Overview:

1. There is a correspondence between the 6th and 7th trumpets and the 6th and 7th bowls.

a. Trumpets 1-4 = Bowls 1-4: We already know that the first four trumpets and bowls are the same.

b. Again, Rev 9 and 16 (trumpet 6,7 and bowl 6,7) are discussing EXACTLY the same time period.

c. The 6th trumpet (2nd woe) of Rev 9 = 6th bowl of Rev 16

d. The 7th trumpet (3rd woe) of Rev 9 = 7th bowl of Rev 16

2. Twice Revelation 9 gave the specific time of torment to the Jews:

a. "And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man." (Revelation 9:5)

b. "They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months." (Revelation 9:10)

3. The symbols of the locust and scorpion represent the Roman catapult which was LITERALLY called "the scorpion" commonly in the first century.

4. The Holy Spirit was careful to show that this includes a siege, not just open warfare where men a killed.

a. Notice it causes pain not death

b. Those afflicted wished for death, but did not die.

5. The 5-month Jewish civil war inside Jerusalem between the three rebel leaders: Oct AD 69 - March AD 70

a. We know that when Titus arrived, the Jewish civil war inside the city of Jerusalem was in full action and at the peak of battle.

b. Josephus records that Titus actually decided to wait a few days for the Jews to weaken themselves through the civil war, hoping they would surrender to him.

c. This means that the civil war had been raging for sometime earlier, so 5 months is a good fit for the heat of battle between the three rebel leaders inside the city walls.

6. The 5 months siege of Jerusalem:

a. Start when Titus arrives: Monday 7th March AD 70

b. Ends: Monday 6th August AD 70

B. 5th Trumpet = 1st Woe: 5-month Civil war: Rev 9:5,10 (Oct 69 - March 70)

1. The 5th trumpet is the 3-way civil war.

a. The event was prepared in advance of when it happened.

b. Just like the destroying armies of the next trumpet (6th) was summoned, but takes time to arrive in Jerusalem.

c. This is an example of where a future event was placed in a different chronological order than normally expected. But if you look at it closely, the abyss opens releasing the Devil who will cause the torment, then God sends Titus. After Titus arrived, the 5 months of torment happens during the siege that followed till the city was destroyed.

2. The Jews were like the foolish woman who tore her own house (city) down:

a. "The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands." (Proverbs 14:1)

b. There is long pattern of the enemies of the Jews destroying themselves. Here is a case where God allows the Jews who crucified Jesus to destroy themselves. When Titus arrives, he actually waits a few days to allow the Jews to weaken themselves through self-destruction, making his job easier.

3. Those without their foreheads marked with a seal were harmed: Rev 9:4 = Ezek 9:4

a. Rev 9:4 Torment to those "men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads" means, the Jews who rejected Christ. "They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads." (Revelation 9:4)

b. Ezekiel 9:4 Righteous marked, wicked did not get the seal. "The Lord said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst." (Ezekiel 9:4)

c. See the authors book on Seals and Bullae

C. The Roman Catapult was symbolized as Scorpions and Locusts: Rev 9:7-10

1. These catapult machines are known as "SCORPIONS":

a. Scorpions were noisy

b. Scorpions threw arrows

c. Scorpions threw fire

2. Rev 9:7-10:

a. "The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months." (Revelation 9:7-10)

b. Every first century Jew knew that locust caused famine and scorpions caused pain.

c. This is exactly what happened in Jerusalem with widespread reports of famine, cannibalism, disease and physical injury/pain/suffering.

3. 1 Macc 6:48-52 says the Romans had "fire throwing machines" and engines of war that threw large stones (ballista), smaller tennis ball sized sling stones and arrows:

a. "And from the army of the king, they went up to meet them in Jerusalem, and the king camped in Judah and in Mount Zion. And he made peace with those from Beth-zur, and he came out from the city because there were no supplies for them there to close themselves in it, because it was a Sabbath year for the land. And the king captured Beth-zur and commanded a garrison there to hold it. And he camped at the sanctuary many days and built there siege towers and engines of war and fire machines and catapults and a scorpion for launching arrows and slings. And they [Judeans] also made war machines to match their war machines, and they fought many days." (1 Macc 6:48-52)

4. Five-month period stated twice: This may represent two different periods:

a. The civil war: November AD 69-7th March AD 70

b. The Roman siege: Monday 7th March AD 70 - Monday 6th August AD 70

c. Titus arrived at Jerusalem Monday 7th March AD 70 and began the 5-month siege that ended with the burning of the temple.

d. "And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man." (Revelation 9:5)

e. "They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months." (Revelation 9:10)

5. F-16 FIGHTER JETS? NO! Futurists wrongly see 21st century warfare:

a. Futurists misapply this 1st century war poetry and see 21st century F-16 fighter jets and nuclear bombers in the locusts and scorpions:

i. "The appearance of the locusts (F-16's and bombers) was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like the hair of women (exhaust smoke), and their teeth were like the teeth of lions. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron (Metal F-16's); and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots (jets engines make loud sound), of many horses rushing to battle. They have tails like scorpions (bombs), and stings (nuclear bomb); and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months." (Revelation 9:7-10)

b. Those who see F-16 fighter jets whose wings make a loud sound overlook the fact that the symbolic language exactly describes the appearance, sound and harm Scorpion catapults cause and would be immediately recognized as such by the Jews in Jerusalem.

c. "Hair like a woman" = the smoke trail the fire darts made as they flew through the air.

d. The author has caught many scorpions and locust in Israel!

D. Dead Sea Scrolls: Common Jewish Messianic terminology used in Revelation:

1. Terminology used in the 5th trumpet that was common Jewish vernacular at the time of Christ:

a. Rev 9:1 Abyss opened, 5 months pain on unsealed men at the hands of the Devil. (Mt 9:34; 12:24; Mk 3:22; Lk 11:17)

b. "But the Pharisees were saying, "He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons." (Matthew 9:34)

c. "But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons." (Matthew 12:24)

d. "The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons." (Mark 3:22)

e. "The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." And He said to them, "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. "Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven." (Luke 10:17-20)

f. The "angel of the abyss" was Satan of the pit and was common Jewish thought before Christ.

2. Abaddon is used in scripture in a way that doesn't directly connect first century BC Jewish thought with the well-developed imagery of Revelation as seen in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Abaddon is found in Prov 15:11; Ps 88:11; Job 26:6, also used in the Dead Sea scrolls.

a. "Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord, How much more the hearts of men!" (Proverbs 15:11)

b. "Will Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave, Your faithfulness in Abaddon?" (Psalm 88:11)

c. "Naked is Sheol before Him, And Abaddon has no covering." (Job 26:6)

3. "Angel of the Pit" (Rev 9:11) is drawn directly from imagery of first century thought witnessed in many Dead Sea Scrolls The "angel of the abyss" was Satan of the pit and was common Jewish thinging before Christ:

Dead Sea Scrolls

"Angel of the Pit": Rev 9:11

90-50 BC

DSS 4Q286 Frag. 7 ii:6 (50 BC) reads: "the sons of Beli[al] in all the iniquities of their office until their annihilation [... Amen. Amen.] Blank 7 And [cursed be ... the ange]l of the pit and the sp[irits of des]truction in al[l] the designs of [your] g[uilty] inclination"

DSS 1Q33 Col. xiii:10 (50 BC) reads: "From of old you appointed the Prince of light to assist us, and in [his] ha[nd are all the angels of just]ice, and all the spirits of truth are under his dominion. You 11 made Belial for the pit, angel of enmity; in dark[ness] is his [dom]ain, his counsel is to bring about wickedness and guilt. All the spirits 12 of his lot are angels of destruction, they walk in the laws of darkness; towards it goes their only [de]sire."

DSS 11Q11 Col. ii:2 (50 BC) reads: "he will invo[ke ...] 3 [... the spir]its and the demons, [...] 4 [...] These are [the de]mons, and the Pri[nce of Animosi]ty 5 [... w]ho [...] the aby[ss ...]

Song 5 of 13, 4Q401, Frags. 3-4, 50 BC

3. "Abaddon" (Rev 9:11) 5th trumpet: Abaddon found in Prov 15:11; Ps 88:11; Job 26:6, also used in the Dead Sea scrolls:

Dead Sea Scrolls

"Abaddon": Rev 9:11

90-50 BC

DSS 4Q491: Frags. 8-10 i:15 (50 BC) reads: "[Rise up, ri]se up, Oh God of gods, and raise with power, King of ki[ngs! ...] you have [pl]aced over 14 [...] may scatter [from] before you all the sons of darkness, and [may your] great light [...] and men 15 [... a fire bu]rning in the dark places of Abbadon, in the places of destruction of Sheol may it bu[rn to consume everlasting ... the s]inners 16 [...] in all the times appointed forever."

DSS 1QHa: Col. xi:32 (50 BC) reads: "The torrents of Belial break into Abaddon."

DSS 11Q11: (50 BC) reads: "who will [bring] you [down] to the great abyss, 8 [and to] the deepest [Sheol.] And ... [...] ... And it will be very dark 9 [in the gr]eat [abyss. No ... lo]nger over the earth 10 [...] for ever. And [...] with the curse of Aba[ddon,] 11 [...] the fury of Y[HWH]'s anger. [... in] darkness for a[ll] 12 [periods of] humiliation [...] your gift"

4Q491, 1QHa, 11Q11, 50 BC

6th Trumpet/2nd Woe: Destroying armies of Titus arrive

Revelation 9:13

Ezekiel 24 in 589 BC

6th Trumpet = 2nd Woe: Destroying armies of Titus arrive: 7th March AD 70. Rev 9:13-21 = Ezek 10:3-22

1. Synchronisms with Ezekiel:

a. "The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day. Now the cherubim were standing on the right side of the temple when the man entered, and the cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub to the threshold of the temple, and the temple was filled with the cloud and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the Lord. Moreover, the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when He speaks. It came about when He commanded the man clothed in linen, saying, "Take fire from between the whirling wheels, from between the cherubim," he entered and stood beside a wheel. Then the cherub stretched out his hand from between the cherubim to the fire which was between the cherubim, took some and put it into the hands of the one clothed in linen, who took it and went out. The cherubim appeared to have the form of a man's hand under their wings. Then I looked, and behold, four wheels beside the cherubim, one wheel beside each cherub; and the appearance of the wheels was like the gleam of a Tarshish stone. As for their appearance, all four of them had the same likeness, as if one wheel were within another wheel. When they moved, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went; but they followed in the direction which they faced, without turning as they went. Their whole body, their backs, their hands, their wings and the wheels were full of eyes all around, the wheels belonging to all four of them. The wheels were called in my hearing, the whirling wheels. And each one had four faces. The first face was the face of a cherub, the second face was the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. Then the cherubim rose up. They are the living beings that I saw by the river Chebar. Now when the cherubim moved, the wheels would go beside them; also when the cherubim lifted up their wings to rise from the ground, the wheels would not turn from beside them. When the cherubim stood still, the wheels would stand still; and when they rose up, the wheels would rise with them, for the spirit of the living beings was in them. Then the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the Lord's house, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them. These are the living beings that I saw beneath the God of Israel by the river Chebar; so I knew that they were cherubim. Each one had four faces and each one four wings, and beneath their wings was the form of human hands. As for the likeness of their faces, they were the same faces whose appearance I had seen by the river Chebar. Each one went straight ahead." (Ezekiel 10:3-22)

2. Direct synchronism between Babylonian armies in 587 BC and Titus in AD 70.

a. Nabopolassar sent his son, Nebuchadnezzar who later became king and Vespasian sent his son, Titus who later became Caesar.

b. Both came from the north through Sebaste south to Jerusalem in AD 70.

c. 200 million = Both Babylon and Romans had unstoppable armies.

3. The Euphrates River is the historic origin of both destructions of the 10 northern tribes by Assyria in 723 BC and Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 587 BC. So, Revelation borrows this well known association and applies it to Rome who used the same route in AD 70.

a. Ezekiel sees 4 cherubim with coals of fire at a tributary of the Euphrates: Ezek 10:12,20.

b. John sees 4 fire and brimstone breathing angels at the Euphrates: Rev 9:14, 17.

c. The Euphrates is the historic northern border of Israel: Gen 15:18.

4. Roman Armies sent:

a. Nero sent Vespasian in December AD 66 (Wars 3:6) who in AD 69 came from the north, destroyed Khirbet el-Maqatir (Ephraim of Jn 11) where the author excavated the skeletons of 8 women and children killed by Vespasian on his way to Jerusalem (Josephus Wars 4:551) but delays siege and goes to Alexandria to be appointed Caesar.

b. Vespasian sent Titus on 20th December AD 69 from Alexandria, who moved north along the coast to Caesarea then over to Sebaste, then south to Jerusalem taking the same route Nebuchadnezzar took in 587 BC.

Two Witnesses: Ezekiel & Jesus ben Ananus

Revelation 10-11:14

Ezekiel 2 in July 593 BC

Ezekiel 40-48 in Oct 574 BC

Ezekiel 16 in Sept 592 BC

Ezekiel 23 in Aug 591 BC

Zech 4

Josephus

Rev 10-11:14

Two Witnesses overview and summary

A. Two Witnesses: Ezekiel & Jesus ben Ananus: 10:8-11:14

1. Both Ezekiel and John saw a man who shone like sun with a rainbow and clouds over his head:

a. Ezekiel saw a radiant man (Jesus) on His throne with clouds and rainbow: "Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man. Then I noticed from the appearance of His loins and upward something like glowing metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw something like fire; and there was a radiance around Him. As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking." (Ezekiel 1:26-28)

b. Rainbow around God's Throne: "And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance." (Revelation 4:3)

c. John saw a radiant angel with clouds and rainbow: "I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire;" (Revelation 10:1)

2. John ate bitter-sweet book and was told to prophecy 42 months.

3. John measured temple = prophesying destruction.

4. Two Witnesses prophecy 42 months as John is measuring the temple.

B. 7 Lampstands & 2 olive trees of Zechariah 4

1. 7 lampstands = word of God = "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit": Zech 4:6 Faith not war machinery will win

2. 2 Olive trees: "These are the two anointed ones who are standing by the Lord of the whole earth." Zech 4:14

C. Two Witnesses and Elijah:

1. Both called for fire down from heaven:

a. "Elijah replied to the captain of fifty, "If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty." Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty." (2 Kings 1:10)

2. Both can start and stop the rain:

a. "Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word." The word of the Lord came to him, saying, "Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. "It shall be that you will drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there." So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and lived by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he would drink from the brook. It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land." (1 Kings 17:1-7)

b. "Now it happened after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, "Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth." (1 Kings 18:1)

c. "It came about at the seventh time, that he said, "Behold, a cloud as small as a man's hand is coming up from the sea." And he said, "Go up, say to Ahab, 'Prepare your chariot and go down, so that the heavy shower does not stop you.' " (1 Kings 18:44)

3. Both were taken up to heaven directly by God:

a. "As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven." (2 Kings 2:11)

4. 7000 men:

a. 7000 faithful: "Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him." (1 Kings 19:18)

b. 7000 killed: "And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven." (Revelation 11:13)

D. Ezekiel and John measure temple:

1. John measured the physical temple that was standing in Jerusalem in AD 66: Rev 11:1

2. Ezekiel measures the future spiritual messianic temple, which is the Church of Christ (Rom 16:16).

a. Ezekiel was told to measure the temple in 574 BC, 12 years AFTER Solomon's temple was already destroyed in 587 BC.

b. He has an elaborate vision of the third temple, which is the church and also the heavenly sanctuary seen in Rev 21.

c. The entire vision is messianic, fulfilled in the church in the first century.

E. 2 Witnesses: 7 Synchronisms: Ezekiel & Jesus ben Ananus

1. Same 3-stage process: Revelation 10:9-11:3; 21:15 Ezekiel 2:8-3:7:

a. Eat scroll

b. Prophecy to Jews.

c. measure temple

2. Initial Peace: 1 Thessalonians 5:3; Jeremiah 28:3-4; Josephus Wars 6:300

3. Same message: "Woe, Woe". Rev 8:13; 18:10,16,19; Ezekiel 2:10; 16:23; Josephus Wars 6:304

4. Prophesied 7 yrs:

5. Mute-prophets for 7 yrs:

6. 42 months: From Liberation of Jerusalem to start of siege: Rev 11:3,15 2 witnesses killed=7th trumpet blows.

7. Persecuted: Rev 11:5; Ezek 2:6; 3:25; Wars 6:302

F. Jerusalem = Holy City, Sodom & Egypt

The critical statement is: And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great Holy city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt.

1. Jerusalem = The Holy City: Rev 11:2 (Cannot be Rome!)

2. Jerusalem = Sodom: In 587 BC: Ezekiel 16:46; In Jer 23:14-15 notice Sodom and wormwood in same passage, cf 3rd trumpet: Rev 8:11; Josephus called Jerusalem "Sodom" in Wars 5.566

3. Jerusalem = Egypt: In 591 BC: Ezekiel 23:2-27.

a. Two different chapters in Ezekiel (16 & 32) record the allegory of two sisters but in chapter 16 Jerusalem is "Sodom sister" and in chapter 23 Jerusalem is "Egypt sister".

b. In both 587 BC and AD 70 Jerusalem was called Sodom and Egypt. In 730 BC, Isaiah called Jerusalem both Sodom and a Harlot (Isa 1:10,21).

c. Jesus said any city that rejects the Gospel will be as guilty as Sodom. (Mt 10:15)

4. Jerusalem = Crucifixion city: "where also their Lord was crucified"

G. 2nd Woe: 1/10th of the city and 7000 died in earthquake

1. The timing of the 2nd woe is the death of the two witnesses

2. These must be the men who physically hurt or harmed Jesus ben Ananus while he prophesied.

Rev 10-11:14

Two Witnesses: Jesus Christ predicted literal signs in stars and heavens

A. Literal and Symbolic signs in the Bible:

1. Literal heavenly signs were used at the birth of Jesus which the Magi followed from Babylon to Bethlehem.

a. "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him." (Matthew 2:2)

b. "Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared." (Matthew 2:7)

c. "After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was." (Matthew 2:9)

2. CRUCIFIXION SIGNS: Joel 2:28 predicted literal darkening of the sun and moon on 3 April AD 33

a. "I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. "The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes." (Joel 2:30-31)

b. The sun was darkened from noon to 3 PM on 14th Nisan AD 33. This was a miracle of God not a solar eclipse.

c. There was a literal "NASA VALIDATED" Lunar Eclipse at 6 PM 14th Nisan AD 33. This lunar eclipse was caused by the providence of God at the time of creation.

d. See outline on the NASA Lunar Eclipse of 3 April AD 33 predicted by Joel 2:28 in 588 BC.

3. Jesus Christ used the same language of symbolic heavenly signs that had been previously used by many Old Testament prophets who decreed the literal destructions of cities and nations: The symbolic language of these Old Testament prophets included "day of the Lord", "Lord is coming quickly", "riding on clouds", "sun and moon dark", "turned to blood", "dark day" etc. Jesus borrowed this same symbolic language for the destruction Jerusalem in Lk 21:20 etc. Apostle Peter also borrowed this well known Old Testament symbolic language and applied it to the destruction of heaven and earth at the future second coming.

a. Babylon 539 BC: "Wail, for the day of the LORD is near! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Therefore all hands will fall limp, And every man's heart will melt. They will be terrified, Pains and anguish will take hold of them; They will writhe like a woman in labor, They will look at one another in astonishment, Their faces aflame. Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises And the moon will not shed its light. Thus I will punish the world for its evil And the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless. I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold And mankind than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, And the earth will be shaken from its place At the fury of the LORD of hosts In the day of His burning anger." (Isaiah 13:6-13)

b. Egypt: 568 BC: "The oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt; The idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence, And the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them." (Isaiah 19:1)

c. Edom 550 BC: "And all the host of heaven will wear away, And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; All their hosts will also wither away As a leaf withers from the vine, Or as one withers from the fig tree. For My sword is satiated in heaven, Behold it shall descend for judgment upon Edom And upon the people whom I have devoted to destruction." (Isaiah 34:4-5)

d. Egypt: 568 BC: "For the day is near, Even the day of the LORD is near; It will be a day of clouds, A time of doom for the nations. "A sword will come upon Egypt, And anguish will be in Ethiopia; When the slain fall in Egypt, They take away her wealth, And her foundations are torn down." (Ezekiel 30:3-4)

e. Egypt: 568 BC: "And when I extinguish you, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud And the moon will not give its light. "All the shining lights in the heavens I will darken over you And will set darkness on your land," Declares the Lord GOD." (Ezekiel 32:7-8)

f. Israel/Samaria 723 BC: "Alas, you who are longing for the day of the LORD, For what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you? It will be darkness and not light; As when a man flees from a lion And a bear meets him, Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall And a snake bites him. Will not the day of the LORD be darkness instead of light, Even gloom with no brightness in it?" (Amos 5:18-20)

g. Israel/Samaria 723 BC: "It will come about in that day," declares the Lord GOD, "That I will make the sun go down at noon And make the earth dark in broad daylight." (Amos 8:9)

h. Jerusalem 587 BC: "Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near, For the LORD has prepared a sacrifice, He has consecrated His guests." (Zephaniah 1:7)

i. Jerusalem 587 BC: "Near is the great day of the LORD, Near and coming very quickly; Listen, the day of the LORD! In it the warrior cries out bitterly. A day of wrath is that day, A day of trouble and distress, A day of destruction and desolation, A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of trumpet and battle cry Against the fortified cities And the high corner towers." (Zephaniah 1:14-16)

j. Jerusalem 587 BC: "I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void; And to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, And all the hills moved to and fro. I looked, and behold, there was no man, And all the birds of the heavens had fled. I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a wilderness, And all its cities were pulled down Before the LORD, before His fierce anger. For thus says the LORD, "The whole land shall be a desolation, Yet I will not execute a complete destruction. "For this the earth shall mourn And the heavens above be dark, Because I have spoken, I have purposed, And I will not change My mind, nor will I turn from it." (Jeremiah 4:23-28)

k. Future second coming: "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells." (2 Peter 3:10-13)

4. Josephus documented that many false prophets killed up to 6000 Jews at a time by their false signs:

a. "The soldiers also came to the rest of the cloisters that were in the outer [court of the] temple, whither the women and children, and a great mixed multitude of the people fled, in number about six thousand. (284) But before Caesar had determined anything about these people, or given the commanders any orders relating to them, the soldiers were in such a rage, that they set the cloister on fire; by which means it came to pass that some of these were destroyed by throwing themselves down headlong, and some were burnt in the cloisters themselves. Nor did any one of them escape with his life. (285) A false prophet was the occasion of these people's destruction, who had made a public proclamation in the city that very day, that God commanded them to get up upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance. (286) Now, there was then a great number of false prophets suborned by the tyrants to impose upon the people, who denounced this to them, that they should wait for deliverance from God: and this was in order to keep them from deserting, and that they might be buoyed up above fear and care by such hopes. (287) Now, a man that is in adversity does easily comply with such promises; for when such a seducer makes him believe that he shall be delivered from those miseries which oppress him, then it is that the patient is full of hopes of such deliverance. (Josephus Wars 6.283-287)

B. Jesus prophesied literal signs in Jerusalem that Josephus recorded after they happened:

1. JESUS GAVE LITERAL STAR SIGNS FOR DESTRUCTION in AD 70:

a. Jesus predicted literal heavenly signs using the same symbolic language. If there was no evidence of the signs by which the disciples could recognize the warnings to flee, then the signs are worthless and Jesus words are pointless.

b. "As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3)

c. "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory." (Matthew 24:30)

d. "and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven." (Luke 21:11)

e. "There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves," (Luke 21:25)

2. Fulfillment: The signs recorded by Josephus:

a. It is entirely possible that Josephus was used as a providential agent of God to record his histories, including partial inspiration. On the other hand, Josephus must be considered as a purely human document and potentially flawed history. We do know that Josephus made several mistakes.

b. Josephus recorded that the two witnesses of Revelation began crying "woe to Jerusalem" in AD 62, for 7 years and 5 months starting at the Feast of Tabernacles "Sukkot" 7th October AD 62 and ending 7th March AD 70. (see section on the two witnesses for details)

c. During the 7-year 5-month period that the two witnesses were crying "woe to Jerusalem" notice that the first and second signs of the sword star and comet lasted for a full year from Passover AD 65 to Passover AD 66, which is the day the first Jewish war started!

d. The first Jewish war began on Passover Monday 28th April AD 66 when Governor Florus desecrates a synagogue in Caesarea. Eighteen days later, on 17th May AD 66, the first uprisings spread to Jerusalem.

e. This means that two signs (star and sword) ended on the very day that Josephus says the First Jewish War started!

f. The sequence of signs recorded by Josephus are stunningly synchronistic with Jesus the Messiah, Revelation and Ezekiel.

g. Josephus, a Jew, missed all the connections with Christianity. Had he made the connection with Jesus of Nazareth he likely would not have recorded them as he did. Josephus does make reference to Jesus Christ a few times, but Christianity is otherwise completely lacking as a discussion topic in his histories. We also know these signs were not a "latter Christian scribal addition" to the manuscript of Josephus, because it completely lacks any direct connections in the narration to Jesus. So, these are Josephus' autograph words.

h. Use of "7" in the signs was like Revelation: The connection with the seven signs and the seven trumpets/woes/seals/bowls of wrath in the book of Revelation is obvious. The signs begin 7 days before and 7 days after Passover.

i. All the signs are connected with the Jews killing Jesus, which was why Jerusalem was being destroyed in AD 70.

Rev 10-11:14

The 7 miraculous signs Josephus recorded in Wars 6:288-300

SEVEN Literal signs in Josephus in Jerusalem: In chronological order AD 62-70:

Note: The author is the first person (to his knowledge) to make the connection with the 7 signs of Josephus that synchronize with Jesus from birth to Ascension, Revelation and Ezekiel.

Seven miraculous signs

Josephus Wars 6:288-300

Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.8.1-6

Total Duration 1 Year, 7 days: Wed, 3rd April AD 65 to Mon 28th April AD 66

SIGN #1: YEAR LONG COMET:

Duration: 1 year. Wed, 3rd April AD 65 (6 days before Passover) to Passover, Mon 28th April AD 66.

SIGN #2: YEAR LONG SWORD STAR:

Duration: 1 year. Wed, 3rd April AD 65 (6 days before Passover) to Passover, Mon 28th April AD 66.

SIGN #3: TEMPLE/ALTAR SHINE:

Duration: Lasted ½ hour at 3 AM on Wednesday, 3rd April AD 65 (6 days before Passover)

SIGN #4: COW'S VIRGIN BIRTH OF LAMB:

Duration: On Passover (Nisan 14) Tuesday, 9th April AD 65

SIGN #5: EASTERN IRON GATE OPENED ON ITS OWN:

Duration: On Passover (Nisan 14) Midnight Tuesday, 9th April AD 65

SIGN #6: ANGELIC CHARIOT ARMIES:

Duration: Before sunset, Thursday, 16th May AD 65

SIGN #7: EARTHQUAKE & MYRIAD OF ANGEL VOICES IN TEMPLE:

Duration: Pentecost: After sunset, Sunday, 2nd June AD 65

"Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as belied God himself; while they did not attend, nor give credit, to the signs that were so evident and did so plainly foretell their future desolation; but, like men infatuated, without either eyes to see, or minds to consider, did not regard the denunciations that God made to them. (289) [Sign #1 & 2] Thus there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year. (290) Thus also, before the Jews' rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war [AD 65], [Sign #3] when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus [8th Nisan= Wed, 3rd April AD 65], and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day time; which light lasted for half an hour. (291) This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes, as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it. (292) [Sign #4] At the same festival also, a heifer, as she was led by the High Priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple. (293) [Sign #5] Moreover, the eastern gate of the inner [court of the] temple, which was of brass, and vastly heavy, and had been with difficulty shut by twenty men, and rested upon a basis armed with iron, and had bolts fastened very deep into the firm floor, which was there made of one entire stone, was seen to be opened of its own accord about the sixth hour of the night. (294) Now, those that kept watch in the temple came hereupon running to the captain of the temple, and told him of it: who then came up thither, and not without great difficulty, was able to shut the gate again. (295) This also appeared to the vulgar to be a very happy prodigy, as if God did thereby open them the gate of happiness. But the men of learning understood it, that the security of their holy house was dissolved of its own accord, and that the gate was opened for the advantage of their enemies. (296) So these publicly declared, that this signal foreshowed the desolation that was coming upon them. [Sign #6] Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the twenty-first day of the month Artemisius [Jyar], (297) a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, (298) and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sunsetting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen (299) running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. [Sign #7] Moreover at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, (300) and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, "Let us remove hence."

Josephus Wars 6:288-300, Wed, 3rd April AD 65 to Mon 28th April AD 66

Seven miraculous signs

Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.8.1-6

"TAKING, then, the work of this author, read what he records in the sixth book of his History. His words are as follows: "Thus were the miserable people won over at this time by the impostors and false prophets; but they did not heed nor give credit to the visions and signs that foretold the approaching desolation. On the contrary, as if struck by lightning, and as if possessing neither eyes nor understanding, they slighted the proclamations of God. 2 [Sign #1 & 2] At one time a star, in form like a sword, stood over the city, and a comet, which lasted for a whole year; [Sign #3] and again before the revolt and before the disturbances that led to the war, when the people were gathered for the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth of the month Xanthicus [8th Nisan= Wed, 3rd April AD 65], at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone about the altar and the temple that it seemed to be bright day; and this continued for half an hour. This seemed to the unskillful a good sign, but was interpreted by the sacred scribes as portending those events which very soon took place. 3 [Sign #4] And at the same feast a cow, led by the High Priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple. 4 [Sign #5] And the eastern gate of the inner temple, which was of bronze and very massive, and which at evening was closed with difficulty by twenty men, and rested upon iron-bound beams, and had bars sunk deep in the ground, was seen at the sixth hour of the night to open of itself. 5 [Sign #6] And not many days after the feast, on the twenty-first of the month Artemisium, a certain marvelous vision was seen which passes belief. The prodigy might seem fabulous were it not related by those who saw it, and were not the calamities which followed deserving of such signs. For before the setting of the sun chariots and armed troops were seen throughout the whole region in mid-air, wheeling through the clouds and encircling the cities. 6 [Sign #7] And at the feast which is called Pentecost, when the priests entered the temple at night, as was their custom, to perform the services, they said that at first they perceived a movement and a noise, and afterward a voice as of a great multitude, saying, 'Let us go hence.'"

Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.8.1-6: Wed, 3rd April AD 65 to Mon 28th April AD 66

A. Correctly dating the 7 miraculous signs to Passover AD 65:

1. Jesus predicted miraculous signs when Jerusalem was destroyed (Lk 21:11,25) which were literally fulfilled in 7 miraculous signs.

a. Duration of the 7 signs: Wed, 3rd April AD 65 to Mon 28th April AD 66

b. The signs were recorded by Josephus Wars 6:288-300 and Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.8.1-6

2. It date these 7 signs to AD 65 the key Josephus passage is: "before the Jews' rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus [8th Nisan= Wed, 3rd April AD 65]" (Wars of the Jews 6.290)

a. The phrase, "before those commotions which preceded the war" unquestionably dates the 7 signs starting around Passover AD 65 which was a full year before the First Jewish War started around Passover AD 66.

b. Josephus' 7th sign happened on Pentecost Sunday, 2nd June AD 65.

c. Full-Preterists wrongly date Josephus' 7th sign one year later on Pentecost Sunday, 22nd June AD 66.

3. The critical passage, missed by Full-Preterists like Ed Stevens and many others, that dates the timing of all seven of the miraculous signs starting in AD 65 is "before those commotions which preceded the war". The 7 signs must happen at Passover AD 65 in order to predate the 4 pre-war commotions:

a. 1st Commotion which preceded the war: (Wars 2.285-286) In the months before Passover AD 66, the Jews conflicted with the local Greeks in Caesarea who were deliberately hindering access to the Jewish synagogue by constructing new buildings within a few feet of the synagogue entrance. It was this synagogue that became the flashpoint that started the war. It is clear that these "commotions before the war started" preceded Passover AD 66 by many months, probably as early as January AD 66. By Passover AD 65, the buildings were already constructed that forced the Jews to access the synagogue with difficulty though a long and narrow alleyway between two buildings.

b. 2nd Commotion which preceded the war: (Wars 2.280-283) Then, just before Passover AD 66, 3 million Jews gathered in Jerusalem to complain to Cestius Gallus about the evils of Florus. Seventeen days after Passover (Friday, 16th May AD 66) Florus arrives in Caesarea and the Jews offer him a bribe of 8 talents (likely of gold) to issue a stop work order of the new buildings that were hindering access to their synagogue. Florus took the money but did nothing then left Caesarea to travel to Sebaste.

c. 3rd Commotion which preceded the war: (Wars 2.287-288) Florus visits Caesarea and accepts bribe of 8 talents from the Jews to stop construction of buildings that hinder access to their synagogue. Florus leaves for Sebaste without doing as promised.

d. 4th Commotion which preceded the war: (Wars 2.289-292) The very next day was Sabbath 17th May AD 66 when local Greeks, likely at the bidding of Florus, desecrated the synagogue with a jar of dead birds sacrificed to pagan gods that were placed at the synagogue entrance way. (Wars 2:284-289).

e. Josephus says the war began in Caesarea on Sabbath, 17th May AD 66, which was 18 days after Passover AD 66. (Wars 2:284)

f. This proves the miraculous signs occur on Passover AD 65 BEFORE the war started on 17th May AD 66 in Caesarea when

7 Miraculous signs started 6 days before Passover AD 65

"before the Jews' rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the 8th Xanthicus [Nisan]"

(Josephus Wars 6.290)

Date

Events

7 signs happened before the 4 commotions below.

6 days before Passover

Wed, 3rd April AD 65

(8th Xanthicus/Nisan)

7 Miraculous signs begin spring AD 65

1st Commotion which preceded the war

Wars 2.285-286

Months before Passover AD 66

Local Greeks hindered Jewish access to the entrance of the synagogue by constructing new buildings.

2nd Commotion which preceded the war

Wars 2.280-283

A few Days before Passover AD 66

3 million Jews gathered in Jerusalem to complain to Cestius Gallus about the evils of Judean governor Florus.

Passover

Josephus Wars 6:288-300 Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.8.1-6

Monday 28th April AD 66

The 7 miraculous signs recorded by Josephus end when the miraculous comet and star disappear.

3rd Commotion which preceded the war

Wars 2.287-288

Sixteen days after Passover AD 66

Friday, 16th May AD 66

Florus visits Caesarea and accepts bribe of 8 talents from the Jews to stop construction of buildings that hinder access to their synagogue. Florus leaves for Sebaste without doing as promised.

4th Commotion which preceded the war

Wars 2.289-292

17 days after Passover

Sabbath, 17th May AD 66

Local Greeks put a clay jar of dead sacrificed birds put at entrance of Synagogue at Caesarea.

Start of 1st Jewish War

Wars 2:284

Sabbath, 17th May AD 66

The defilement of the Caesarea synagogue triggered the first Jewish war.

4. The miraculous signs began on Wed, 3rd April AD 65 which is 6 days before Passover.

a. 8th Xanthicus corresponds to 8th Nisan which corresponds to Wed, 3rd April AD 65. (Cf. Wars 6.290) This is 6 days before Passover.

b. This corresponds to the Triumphal entry of Jesus on Sunday (7 days before Passover: 7th Nisan: Mt 21:1) and the anointing of Jesus by Mary (6 days before Passover: John 12:1-3)

5. A second major chronological error made by Full-Preterists like Ed Stevens and many others involves using flawed, outdated and obsolete Jewish to Julian conversion tables which causes their dates to be about 3 weeks later than the true historical date.

a. Parker and Dubberstein are the current scholastic standard for Jewish to Julian dates conversion today.

b. In 1971, Parker and Dubberstein published their landmark work in fixing past chronological dates which were consistently in error. (Babylonian Chronology: 626 B.C. - A.D. 75, Richard Anthony Parker, Waldo H Dubberstein, 1971 AD)

c. Any book published before AD 1971 will in error when converting Bible dates and those used by Josephus of about three weeks.

d. Almost all dates in most published scholastic works have this three week dating error because they merely copy older works are unaware of the research done by Parker and Dubberstein.

g. For correctly converting dates used by Josephus etc. you can use the detailed Chronological tables of Parker and Dubberstein

h. See also the Online Parker and Dubberstein date converter.

6. There is a one year and three-week cumulative dating error in calculating the 7 miraculous signs that preceded the first Jewish war.

a. A one-year error results from failing to note that the signs happened not only before the war, but also before the "commotions" that "preceded" the war. That clearly puts the signs at Passover AD 65 not Passover AD 66.

b. A three-week error is the result of not using Parker and Dubberstein tables to convert Hebrew to Julian calendar dates.

B. Details of the 7 miraculous signs recorded by Josephus:

1. SIGN #1: YEAR LONG COMET: "Heavenly signs" predicted by Christ

a. Josephus: "a comet, that continued a whole year." (Josephus Wars 6:288-289)

b. Duration/Date: Lasted 1 year from Wednesday, 3rd April AD 65 (6 days before Passover) to Passover, Monday 28th April AD 66. Notice that the first of the seven signs began exactly one week before Passover and in AD 70, Titus arrived to destroy Jerusalem exactly one week before Passover. Then on Passover John of Gischal kills Eleazar who was using the temple as a fortress of war. John then continues to use the temple as his military headquarters until it is burned.

c. Synchronism: Jesus predicted many heavenly signs in Mt 24, Mk 13, Lk 21 (see above)

d. Signs 1,2,3 likely all began the same day.

e. The Comet and Sword Star both lasted about one year. Both started and stopped at the same time.

f. We are not told exactly when the started or stopped except it continued into the period of the war in AD 66.

2. SIGN #2: YEAR LONG SWORD STAR: "Star of Bethlehem"

a. Josephus: "Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as belied God himself; while they did not attend, nor give credit, to the signs that were so evident and did so plainly foretell their future desolation; but, like men infatuated, without either eyes to see, or minds to consider, did not regard the denunciations that God made to them. (289) Thus there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year." (Josephus Wars 6:288-289)

b. Duration/Date: Lasted 1 year from Wednesday, 3rd April AD 65 (6 days before Passover) to Passover, Monday 28th April AD 66.

c. Synchronism: Birth of Christ Josephus Wars 6:288 with Star of Bethlehem: Birth of Christ in Bethlehem, Herod tried to kill, Jews killed

d. Signs 1,2,3 likely all began the same day.

e. Both the Sword Star and Comet shine continuously for one year while 5 other signs occur, from Passover 65 to Passover AD 66.

f. The Star of Bethlehem signalled life through Jesus, but the sword star signalled death through Jesus.

g. The connection with the Star of Bethlehem would not be missed. Herod tried to kill Jesus (Sword Star and Comet) Jesus of "Nazareth" (lit: "the branch of David", born in Bethlehem (Star). When Herod killed the children in 1 BC and the Jews killed Jesus in AD 33, both times there was an eclipse of the moon. Herod tried to kill Jesus, death of many Jewish children would be remembered as a major event. Double visit of the Magi: First, the Magi were attracted to see the birth of Jesus in 1BC, then second, they saw the moon eclipse the day Herod killed the babies as they fled a different way home. See author's outline of the "Qubur Bani megalithic tomb of Rachel weeping for her children".

h. See full outline on: The two lunar eclipses that mark the birth and death of Christ.

i. Both the Sword Star and Comet shine continuously for one year from Wednesday, 3rd April AD 65 - Passover AD 66, while 5 other signs occur between Passover the Pentecost AD 65. The last and 7th sign was the temple earthquake and angelic voices saying in the temple "remove the temple" which occurred on Pentecost 16th June AD 65, exactly 33 years (Jewish inclusive counting) after the church began and church officially replaced the Physical temple as God's object of blessing, forgiveness of grace. When the two star signs stopped shining on Passover 28th April AD 66, it marked the beginning of the First Jewish war in Jerusalem when the Jews complained to Cestius about Florus who then went strait to Caesarea to start the uprising by desecrating a synagogue. (Josephus Wars 2.280). Meanwhile the two witnesses of revelation continue crying "Woe is Jerusalem" till AD 70.

3. SIGN #3: TEMPLE/ALTAR SHINE: "God's glory appears" Ezek 43:1-4. Birth, Triumphal entry, cleanse temple, Anointing

a. Duration/Date: Lasted ½ hour at 3 AM on Wednesday, 3rd April AD 65 (6 days before Passover)

b. Synchronism: Birth, Temple, Transfiguration, Triumphal entry, Temple cleansed: Josephus Wars 6:290 with Ezek 10:17-19; Rev 8:1; Jn 2:18, Mt 21:-1-17

c. Josephus: "Thus also, before the Jews' rebellion (starting 26th August - 15th September AD 66), and before those commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus [Nisan] [Wednesday, 3rd April AD 65], and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day time; which light lasted for half an hour. (291) This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes, as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it. (292) (Josephus Wars 6:290-292)

d. Signs 1,2,3 likely all began the same day.

e. 6 days before Passover: While the two stars were shining, God's illuminated temple with His Glory in advance of His withdrawing His grace and in advance of the birth of the Messiah. God, in a repeat of Ezekiel in 587 BC, sent chariot wheeled Cherubim to remove the glory of God and destroy the city just like in Ezekiel 10:17-19 (Temple shines). You find the new church temple in Ezekiel chapters 40-48.

i. "Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing toward the east; and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. And it was like the appearance of the vision which I saw, like the vision which I saw when He came to destroy the city [of Jerusalem in 587 BC]. And the visions were like the vision which I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face. And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east." (Ezekiel 43:1-4)

ii. "When the cherubim stood still, the wheels would stand still; and when they rose up, the wheels would rise with them, for the spirit of the living beings was in them. Then the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the Lord's house, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them." (Ezekiel 10:17-19)

f. Synchronism: between Ezekiel and Revelation and the three Josephus signs: Glory, East gate opened, Chariot Angels in sky:

i. First: Chariot wheeled cherubim illuminated the temple indicating God's presence was departing. In Rev 8:1 the seventh seal signalled the departing of God's presence and beginning of the destruction of the temple. Notice the silence in heaven for ½ an hour was the same time the temple shone in Josephus which also signalled the commencement of the destruction of the temple. "When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour." (Revelation 8:1)

ii. Second: The Chariot wheeled cherubim leave the city through the EASTERN GATE. The same gate the destroying angels used in Ezekiel.

iii. Third: The Chariot wheeled are seen in the clouds surrounding the city just like in Ezekiel when they lifted up and removed the glory of God from the temple.

g. Birth of Christ came with Shining Glory:

i. "And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened." (Luke 2:9)

h. Jesus presented in temple with Glory:

i. "And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, "Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A Light of revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel." And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him." (Luke 2:27-33)

i. Transfiguration of Glory:

i. "And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him." (Luke 9:30-32)

j. Triumphal entry was 7 days before Passover: Glory, cleansing temple then destroyed it and replaced it with His body, the church of Christ:

i. "As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: "BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" (Luke 19:37-38)

ii. "And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves." (Matthew 21:12)

iii. "The Jews then said to Him, "What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" But He was speaking of the temple of His body. So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken." (John 2:18-22)

k. Apostle John records how Mary anointed Jesus on the exact corresponding day: 8th Nisan

i. "Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover [8th Nisan], came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume." (John 12:1-3)

l. Apostle John records how the Jews purified themselves around the time the miraculous signs began in the days before passover:

i. "Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up to Jerusalem out of the country before the Passover to purify themselves." (John 11:55)

4. SIGN #4: COW'S VIRGIN BIRTH OF LAMB: Jesus the Passover lamb was born on Passover

a. Date: Passover (Nisan 14) Tuesday, 9th April AD 65

b. Synchronism: Virgin birth of Lamb of God: Josephus Wars 6:292 and the virgin birth of Christ: On Passover, a virgin "cow" heifer miraculously gives birth to a "sheep" lamb [Jesus, lamb of God], which was a double miracle because the priests were careful to never let the heifer near a bull and cows don't give birth to sheep.

c. Josephus: "At the same festival [Passover] also, a heifer, as she was led by the High Priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple." (Josephus Wars 6:292)

d. Jesus was most likely born just before Passover 2 BC not December 25th 6 BC. It was Constantine who chose Dec 25th in 325 AD. Many conservative Bible students teach that Christ was born in the spring, which fits Passover time.

e. The author has twice excavated a candidate site for ancient Bethlehem (Kh. el-Qatt) which features a columbarium, a first century burial cave in which was found an alabaster cup and an unfinished ritual purity stone cup, and a byzantine church with mosaic tesserae floor that had an unreadable inscription. It is speculated that this may have been the birthplace of Jesus.

f. A cow giving birth to a baby sheep may be the only case of evolution documented in history!

g. Notice this happened on Nisan 14, the Passover. The connection with the virgin birth of Jesus as the Passover lamb of God, could not be missed, especially while the two stars continued to shine.

h. "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14)

i. Virgin birth of Jesus was a "sign": Isa 7:14; Mt 1:18-25

j. In AD 150 Jews were replacing "virgin" in their Greek synagogue pubic reading Septuagints with "young woman": Justin Martyr Dialogue with Trypho the Rabbinical Jew 84. See detailed outline on Justin. Then in AD 160 the Jews at Zippori, led by Rabbi Yose ben Halafta, deliberately corrupted their Hebrew Tanakh to counter Christian theology and the Masoretic Text was born. See detailed outline on the Jewish corruption of their Masoretic Text. The Septuagint we have today preserves the autograph messianic prophecies before they were corrupted by the Jews in the second century AD.

5. SIGN #5: EASTERN IRON GATE OPENED ON ITS OWN: Arrest, Trials, Crucifixion: Angel departs with glory: Ezekiel 43:1-4

a. Date: Passover (Nisan 14) Midnight Tuesday, 9th April AD 65

b. Passover Synchronism: Arrest, Crucifixion: Josephus Wars 6:293-296, Ezekiel 43:1-3: Physical temple no longer where God's grace was at the death of Christ.

c. Josephus: "Moreover, the eastern gate of the inner [court of the] temple, which was of brass, and vastly heavy, and had been with difficulty shut by twenty men, and rested upon a basis armed with iron, and had bolts fastened very deep into the firm floor, which was there made of one entire stone, was seen to be opened of its own accord about the sixth hour of the night. (294) Now, those that kept watch in the temple came hereupon running to the captain of the temple, and told him of it: who then came up thither, and not without great difficulty, was able to shut the gate again. (295) This also appeared to the vulgar to be a very happy prodigy, as if God did thereby open them the gate of happiness. But the men of learning understood it, that the security of their holy house was dissolved of its own accord, and that the gate was opened for the advantage of their enemies. (296) So these publicly declared, that this signal foreshowed the desolation that was coming upon them. (Josephus Wars 6:293-296)

d. The arrest and trials of Jesus began Passover midnight. Nisan 14 began sundown Thursday till sundown Friday. Thursday 12AM was the arrest/trials and crucifixion was 9AM-3PM Friday. See outline on the Six Trials of Jesus.

e. On Passover: While the two stars were shining, the chariot wheeled Cherubim who came to destroy the city, exited the east gate, just like in Ezekiel 10:17-19. (east gate opens)

f. "When the cherubim stood still, the wheels would stand still; and when they rose up, the wheels would rise with them, for the spirit of the living beings was in them. Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the LORD'S house, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them." (Ezekiel 10:17-19)

g. "Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing toward the east; and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. And it was like the appearance of the vision which I saw, like the vision which I saw when He came to destroy the city [of Jerusalem in 587 BC]. And the visions were like the vision which I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face." (Ezekiel 43:1-3)

Extinction of Mosaic Judaism

Christ made extinct, Mosaic Judaism at the cross and abolished the Law of Moses including the Ten Commandments. God replaced the temple with the church, the physical Jews with Christians and the Law of Moses with the Law of Christ. See detailed outlines on "Ten Commandments Nailed to Cross" and "The church is the Kingdom" and "Replacement theology" as taught by the Apostles and believed by the first century church.

1. "He took it out of the way, having nailed the Ten Commandments to the cross" (Col 2:14-17)

2. "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God." (Romans 2:28-29)

6. SIGN #6: ANGELIC CHARIOT ARMIES: Ascension of Christ, Jesus' sign of Jerusalem's destruction

a. Date: Before sunset, Thursday, 16th May AD 65 (This corresponds to 36 days after Christ arose. The Ascension was 40 days after Resurrection Sunday, Nisan 16, AD 33.

b. Ascension Synchronism: Josephus Wars 6:296-929 with Ascension of Christ (NOT the second coming) and the specific prediction of Christ in Mt 24:30.

c. Josephus: "Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the twenty-first day of the month Artemisius [Iyar], [Thursday 16th May AD 65] (297) a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, (298) and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sunsetting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen (299) running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. (Josephus Wars 6:296-299)

d. It is a direct fulfillment of Jesus sign that Jerusalem was to be destroyed: "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory." (Matthew 24:30)

e. This sign corresponds to 4 days before Jesus ascended in the clouds. Josephus did not make this up because he was an unbeliever. The Christians would have recognized the significance of the timing of 14 days before Pentecost with the Ascension of Christ.

f. The chariot wheeled Cherubim (chariot angels in sky) appeared not only at a time that approximately corresponded to Christ's Ascension in AD 33, but while the while both the comet and the star were also visible in the sky.

g. Josephus may have got the date wrong. To calculate the corresponding Ascension Day of Christ in AD 33 for AD 65, for you simply add two days to Passover (Tuesday, 9th April AD 65) to get Thursday 11th April 65 (corresponding resurrection day) and add 40 days which equals 21th May AD 65 [26rd Iyar]. So, the Ascension Day of Jesus is only four 5 days later than when Josephus said the 6th sign of the angelic armies in the clouds, representing Jesus return in the clouds as an echo of the crucifixion. (Mt 26:64). (21st Artemisius/Iyar = 16th May AD 65)

h. Jesus said to Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin council that would have included Annas: "Jesus said to him, "You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN." (Matthew 26:64) This event that Jesus prophesied happened on Pentecost. Annas was appointed High Priest sometime around AD 6 by Quirinius, who was the governor of Syria. Annas served in this office until ca. AD 14-15, when he was removed by Valerius Gratus. Mt 26:64 could not be speaking of this "sign of Christ coming in clouds" in AD 66 because the High Priests were already old men at the trials of Jesus and surely dead. Remember, Jesus promised Caiaphas that his eyes would see it. We also know that Caiaphas was replaced by Vitellius in AD 37 and reinstalled the son of Ananias named Jonathan. While Mt 26:64 was fulfilled Resurrection day AD 33, the 6th sign could have been an echo and secondary fulfillment of Mt 26:64 for the High Priest living in AD 65.

i. "Therefore it says, "WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN." (Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)" (Ephesians 4:8-10)

ii. "Stephen said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." (Acts 7:56)

i. Full-Preterists would love to apply this "angels in the sky with clouds" to their second coming, but it corresponds with the Ascension not the second coming. The Christians and Jews would clearly associate this as an echo of the Ascension.

7. SIGN #7: EARTHQUAKE & MYRIAD OF ANGEL VOICES IN TEMPLE: Birth of Spiritual Church Temple

a. Date: Pentecost: Night after sunset, Sunday, 2nd June AD 65

b. Synchronism: Josephus Wars 6:299-300 with Revelation 16:17-21 "It is finished-7th bowl" and Acts 2:38-41 when the 3000 souls were added to the New Temple of God, the hurch of Christ. Echoes both the death of Christ through the earthquake in AD 33 and Pentecost AD 33 because it actually happened on Pentecost in AD 65!

c. Josephus: "Moreover at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple [Minora, Table of Showbread, Altar of Incense], as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, (300) and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, "Let us remove hence." (Josephus Wars 6:299-300)

d. Tacitus: "Supernatural omens had occurred, but their expiation by the offering of victims or solemn vows is held to be unlawful by a nation which is the slave of superstition and the enemy of true beliefs. In the sky appeared a vision of armies in conflict, of glittering armour. A sudden lightning flash from the clouds lit up the Temple. The doors of the holy place abruptly opened, a superhuman voice was heard to declare that the gods were leaving it, and in the same instant came the rushing tumult of their departure. Few people placed a sinister interpretation upon this. The majority were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from Judaea would go forth men destined to rule the world. This mysterious prophecy really referred to Vespasian and Titus, but the common people, true to the selfish ambitions of mankind, thought that this mighty destiny was reserved for them, and not even their calamities opened their eyes to the truth. We are told that the number of the besieged, old and young, men and women, amounted to 600,000. All who could bear arms did so, and more than their numbers warranted had the courage necessary. They displayed an inflexible determination, women no less than men, and the thought that they might be compelled to leave their home made them more afraid of living than of dying. This, then, was the city and nation which Titus faced. Since a headlong assault and the element of surprise were ruled out by the lie of the ground, he proposed to employ earthworks and mantlets. Each legion had its allotted task, and there was a lull in the fighting while they pushed on with the construction of every conceivable device for storming Cities, whether invented long ago or due to the ingenuity of modern times. (Tacitus, Histories 5:13, 100 AD)

a. Tacitus records that the voice indicated the gods (angels) were abandoning the temple.

b. Tacitus shows that the correct interpretation was the impeding destruction of the temple fulfilled specifically by Vespasian and Titus.

e. Death and Pentecost connected with the abolition of Mosaic Judaism. While the death of Christ destroyed the Physical temple in Jerusalem and was "rebuilt" when He rose from the dead, the church was not started until Pentecost when Peter used the "keys of the kingdom" and opened the doors, for the first time, to the body of Christ. We get into the body of Christ through water Baptism: Gal 3:26-27; Rom 6:3-4)

i. When Jesus died there was an earthquake as there was in Josephus' sign.

ii. The sign Josephus recorded echoes the Death of Christ: Jesus words, "IT IS FINISHED" and the torn temple veil corresponds to the exact meaning of "Let us remove". Jesus destroyed the temple at the cross in AD 33: "destroy this temple and three days raise it up" (Jn 2:19)

iii. The fact Josephus' sign happened on Pentecost directly connects it with the birth of the Church, which on that day officially, physically and tangibly replaced the temple with the Body of Christ, the Church of Christ.

iv. Why not find this same first century "Church of Christ" in your own hometown to worship with this coming Sunday! Click here to find one.

f. Revelation 19:17-21, Josephus' 7th sign and the First Jewish War on 1st January AD 70 there was a 3-Way civil war in Jerusalem where "The great city was split into three parts" = 7th Bowl of Rev 16:19. As the city was literally divided geographically into three, in a three-way bid for control between the three Jewish rebel leaders Eleazar ben Simon, Simon ben Giora, John of Gischala. Meanwhile, Titus marched from Alexandria to Jerusalem via Caesarea.

g. Pentecost and Revelation: Temple earthquake, voice of angels saying "remove the temple" "Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, "It is done." (Rev 16:17) See detailed outlines on "The church is the Kingdom" and "Replacement theology".

The Church Temple

"So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit." (Ephesians 2:19-22)

h. Pentecost always fell on a Sunday. Regardless of which day of the week Passover fell on, you skip forward to the next Sabbath (7th day) then count 7 Sabbaths (49 days), then the next day was Passover Sunday (49 + 1). If Passover fell on a Friday, as in the 3 April AD 33 when Christ was crucified, you would start counting day one on the Sabbath when Jesus was in the tomb. (4th April 33 AD). This means that the Ascension happened on 15th May 33 AD and Pentecost fell on Sunday 24th May AD 33. In AD 65, however Passover falls on a Tuesday, 9th April AD 65. To calculate Pentecost in AD 65, you start with Passover on Tuesday, 9th April AD 65, add four days to the next sabbath and add 49 days for seven sabbaths and the day after is Sunday 2nd June AD 65.

i. Full-Preterists believe this is the actual second coming of Christ and resurrection of the dead:

i. Full-Preterists say that the Josephus gave us the exact day and hour of the second coming, Pentecost Sunday AD 66 (22nd June), based upon Josephus' 7th sign but as we will see, this creates a cataclysmic contradiction in their theories because the 7th sign occurred one year earlier in AD 65. Full-Preterists, unlike other modern date setters for the second coming, chose a date in the distant past. "Josephus Wars 6:299 gives us the precise "day and hour" [night, Pentecost] when the angelic armies were seen in the sky signaling the beginning of his visitation in reward and judgment." (Edward Stevens, Full-Preterist, 2018 AD)

ii. A second major blow to Full-Preterists using Josephus' 7th sign for the second coming, is that it corresponds to the beginning of the church, not the second coming! Full-Preterists failed to notice that the best match of Josephus' 7 signs with the second coming is the 6th sign, where the army of wheeled-cherubim are seen in the clouds surrounding the city of Jerusalem in the air. Further, for Full-Preterists, Mt 26:64 is a perfect match with the 6th sign and has nothing in common with the 7th sign. But creates a new set of devastatingly contradictory problems for their theories.

iii. Full-preterists teach this Josephus' seventh sign was the invisible second coming which they wrongly date to Pentecost

AD 66, where the souls under the alter are resurrected after they collectively say, "Let us be removed from this place of Hades below the ground" [expanded paraphrase of their meaning]. They connect Revelation 6:9 at the 5th seal were the souls are seen under the alter but told to wait for resurrection a while longer. They connect the earthquake when Jesus died that resulted in the bodily resurrection of some Christians out of the nearby graves. There are a few basic problems with this. First, the voice was heard in the holy place where the altar of incense is, not the outer court where the alter of burnt offerings is. Second, given the context of Josephus centering on how these signs are of the destruction of the city it is clear that when Josephus was told the story, he interpreted it as the temple being removed. Finally, this was supposed to be a sign from God that the city was going to be destroyed to the Jews working in the temple. Since Full-Preterism did not exist 200 years ago as a theology and even the Apostles were unfamiliar with it, the sign would be worthless and misinterpreted if it represented the second coming of Christ and general resurrection. Being a miracle, the priests would only conclude it was the voice of angels and their message could only be interpreted one way: the temple was going to be destroyed. Joseph comments on how this and other signs were so obviously foretelling the destruction.

iv. If we accept the Full-Preterist meaning of the voice "remove us human souls from the temple" it could easily be interpreted by the Christians to mean, "Flee the city" or "remove yourself from the temple-run!"

v. Finally according to Full-Preterists, after this day, every Christian on earth is raptured directly into heaven leaving zero Christians on earth on Pentecost AD 66. The church, now extinct, must restart from scratch using the Bible only. The first new converts, so the story goes, are those who "almost thou makest me a Christian" take that delayed plunge into the waters of Baptism to be born again and become a Christian. Too little too late. If only they had been baptized a few days earlier, they would be in heaven! However, the two witnesses of revelation as we will soon see, are both quite humans who started prophesying "Woe Woe to Jerusalem from AD 62 to AD 70, which refutes their entire system.

Rev 10-11:14

Two Witnesses of Revelation 11: Ezekiel and Jesus son of Ananus

Josephus Wars 6:300-309; Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.8.7-9

The Two Witnesses of Revelation 11:

1. Ezekiel preached "woe, woe" and was mute for 42 months from the time Jerusalem was liberated by Zedekiah on 6th August 593 BC till Nebuchadnezzar arrived on 27th January 586 BC to begin the final siege that ended in the destruction of the temple.

2. Jesus Ben Ananus preached, "woe, woe, is Jerusalem" for 42 months from the time Jerusalem was liberated by Manahem on Monday 15th September AD 66 till he was killed by the Jews when Titus arrived on 7th March AD 70 to begin the final siege that ended in the destruction of the temple.

Overview and text of Josephus Wars 6:300-309:

During a time of peace, one of the two witnesses of Revelation 11 cried "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" day and night throughout all the streets of Jerusalem starting Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) 7th October AD 62 for seven years and 5 months until he was killed on 7th March AD 70. The wealthy and the leaders in Jerusalem were greatly irritated by him and had him whipped but he was silent (like Jesus Christ). They took him to the newly installed Judean Governor Albinus who demanded that he give an account of who he was, but again, like Jesus Christ before Pilate, he remained silent. Albinus had him severely whipped after each stroke he replied, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!". Albinus concluded that he was mad, just as they accused Jesus Christ, and let him go free. Guess what his name was? "Jesus son of Ananus" So the Jews would clearly see the connection with this man named Jesus son of Ananus with the identical name as the High Priest who killed Jesus Christ, (and perhaps the literal son of this High Priest) and Jesus the Messiah in both name and mannerisms.

Two Witnesses of Revelation 11

Josephus Wars 6:300-309

"Woe, Woe, is Jerusalem"

Ezekiel and Jesus ben Ananus

Both were "mute prophets" for 42 months from liberation to siege

Ezekiel's total mute time: is 6.5 yrs: 6th Aug 593 (Ezek 3:24-27) to 19th Jan 586 BC (Ezek 33:21-22)

Ezekiel's 42 months begin: 6 August 593 BC (Ezek 3:24-27) Jerusalem liberated

Ezekiel's 42 months end: Nebuchadnezzar's armies arrived on 27th Jan 589 BC (Ezek 24:25-27)

Jesus total mute time: 7 years 5 months from Sukkot 7th October AD 62 till 7th March AD 70

Jesus' 42 months begin: Monday 15th Sept AD 66, Jerusalem liberated

Jesus' 42 months end: stoned by Jews: 7th March AD 70, Titus' armies arrived

"But, what is still more terrible there was one Jesus, the son of Ananus, a plebeian and a husbandman, who, four years before the war began, and at a time when the city was in very great peace and prosperity, came to that feast [Feast of Booths on 7th October AD 62, Sukkot, 15-22 Tishri] whereon it is our custom for everyone to make tabernacles to God in the temple [Neh 8:16], (301) began on a sudden cry aloud, "A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against this whole people!" This was his cry, as he went about by day and by night, in all the lanes of the city. (302) However, certain of the most eminent among the populace had great indignation at this dire cry of his, and took up the man, and gave him a great number of severe stripes; yet did not he either say anything for himself [silent when beaten like Jesus], or anything peculiar to those that chastised him, but still he went on with the same words which he cried before. (303) Hereupon our rulers supposing, as the case proved to be, that this was a sort of divine fury in the man, brought him [A prophet like Jesus] to the Roman procurator [Albinus: Judean Governor AD 62-64]; (304) where he was whipped till his bones were laid bare; yet did he not make any supplication for himself, nor shed any tears, but turning his voice to the most lamentable tone possible, at every stroke of the whip his answer was, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem! [Like Jesus: Mt 23:13,37]" (305) And when Albinus (for he was then our procurator) asked him who he was [like Jesus before Pilate], and whence he came, and why he uttered such words; he made no manner of reply [like Jesus before Pilate] to what he said, but still did not leave off his melancholy ditty, till Albinus took him to be a madman [like Jesus: Mark 3:21], and dismissed him. (306) Now, during all the time that passed before the war began, this man did not go near any of the citizens, nor was seen by them while he said so; but he every day uttered these lamentable words, as if it were his premeditated vow, "Woe, woe, to Jerusalem!" (307) Nor did he give ill words to any of those that beat him every day, nor good words to those that gave him food; [unmoved like John the Baptist and Jesus] but this was his reply to all men, and indeed no other than a melancholy presage of what was to come. (308) This cry of his was the loudest at the festivals; and he continued this ditty for seven years and five months, without growing hoarse, or being tired therewith, until the very time that he saw his warning in earnest fulfilled in our siege, when it ceased; (309) for as he was going round upon the wall, he cried out with his utmost force, "Woe, woe, to the city again, and to the people, and to the holy house!" And just as he added at the last,-"Woe, woe, to myself also!" there came a stone out of one of the engines [Jewish], and smote him, and killed him immediately; and as he was uttering the very same omens, he gave up the ghost."

Josephus Wars 6:300-309: 7th October AD 62 till 7th March AD 70

Two Witnesses of Revelation 11

Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.8.7-9

"Woe, Woe, is Jerusalem"

Ezekiel and Jesus ben Ananus

"But what follows is still more terrible; for a certain Jesus, the son of Ananias, a common countryman, four years before the war, when the city was particularly prosperous and peaceful, came to the feast, at which it was customary for all to make tents at the temple to the honor of God, and suddenly began to cry out: 'A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the temple, a voice against bridegrooms and brides, a voice against all the people.' Day and night he went through all the alleys crying thus. 8 But certain of the more distinguished citizens, vexed at the ominous cry, seized the man and beat him with many stripes. But without uttering a word in his own behalf, or saying anything in particular to those that were present, he continued to cry out in the same words as before. 9 And the rulers, thinking, as was true, that the man was moved by a higher power, brought him before the Roman governor. And then, though he was scourged to the bone, he neither made supplication nor shed tears, but, changing his voice to the most lamentable tone possible, he answered each stroke with the words, 'Woe, woe unto Jerusalem.'"

Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.8.7-9: 7th October AD 62 till 7th March AD 70

A. Josephus described in detail one of the Two Witnesses of Revelation 17 in Josephus Wars 6:300-309

1. Revelation 11 clearly indicates that there are two witnesses and the natural reading is that they were both worked together for 42 months, were killed together and were raised from the dead after three days together.

a. Josephus viewed Jesus ben Ananus as a true prophet of God.

b. Since Revelation does use symbolism to describe real events, it is entirely possible that the two witnesses were Jesus ben Ananus and Ezekiel even though the latter was never killed and resurrected.

c. Although Josephus described only one man (Jesus ben Ananus) and not two, there may have been a second man he did not describe or did not know about.

d. Although Josephus does not record that Jesus ben Ananus was raised from the dead after 3 days, does not mean it did not happen.

e. Josephus was fully aware of Christianity and deliberately ignored it except in a few places.

f. Even though Josephus believed the 7 signs and the prophetic nature of Jesus ben Ananus as direct supernatural events from God, he viewed it as justice for the wickedness of the Jews living in Jerusalem.

2. A man named Jesus began proclaiming doom to Jerusalem on Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) 7th October AD 62

a. "Ananus, a plebeian and a husbandman" (Josephus Wars 6:300)

b. "Plebeian" means he was a low-ranking poor commoner like John the Baptist.

c. "Husbandman" means he was farmer.

3. Total prophecy time: 7 years and 5 months (Josephus Wars 6:308)

a. Start time: Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) 7th October AD 62

i. Contrary to modern Rabbinic Judaism, Josephus says booth were erected in the actual temple area: "that feast [Feast of Booths on 7th October AD 62, Sukkot, 15-22 Tishri] whereon it is our custom for everyone to make tabernacles to God in the temple (Josephus Wars 6:300).

ii. Nehemiah confirms Josephus: "So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each on his roof, and in their courts and in the courts of the house of God, and in the square at the Water Gate and in the square at the Gate of Ephraim." (Nehemiah 8:16)

b. Death: 7th March AD 70

4. The timing of the death of Jesus ben Ananus is highly synchronistic with Revelation and Ezekiel:

a. This the exact time both Revelation and Josephus say the city was broken into three parts, a symbol of the three Jewish revolt leaders who were engaged in a civil were Jews, nor Romans were destroying the city.

b. This was the exact time Josephus says that Titus arrived in Jerusalem to begin the final siege that destroyed the city.

5. Jesus ben Ananus creates a catastrophic refutation Full-Preterism that teaches all Christian were raptured at the "second coming" on Pentecost AD 66 because Jesus was a common farmer who started preaching on 7th October AD 62 till he was stoned on 7th March AD 70 for a total of 7 years 5 months. (Josephus Wars 6:308)

a. To refute Full-Preterism, all you need is evidence that Christian baptized before the "second coming" lived afterwards.

b. Jesus ben Ananus therefore, falsifies and refutes Full-Preterism.

B. Master Summary of Synchronisms:

1. 7 Synchronisms in the name of Jesus ben Ananus

a. AD 33: Jesus the Nazarene, the Messiah

b. AD 33: High Priest Annas (alternate: Ananus) who condemned Jesus: John 18:13

c. AD 62: Ananus twice: High Priest Ananus ben Ananus stoned James, brother of Jesus: Josephus Ant. 20.197-203

d. AD 62-65: High Priest Jesus ben Damneus

e. AD 65-69: High Priest Jesus ben Gamaliel: Josephus Antiquities 20.213

f. AD 66: High Priest Jesus ben Sapphias, Mayor of Tiberias who was chosen as one of the initial commanders to defend Jerusalem. Hated Josephus "without a cause" as a traitor of the Jewish nation. (Life 66, 134; Wars 2.566,599)

2. 7 Synchronisms between Jesus and Jesus ben Ananus:

a. A prophet: Josephus Wars 6:303

b. Woe Message: Mt 23:13,37; Josephus Wars 6:304

c. Silent when given many severe stripes: "gave him a great number of severe stripes; yet did not he either say anything for himself, or anything peculiar to those that chastised him" (Josephus Wars 6:302)

d. Brought before Governor:

i. Jesus: Pilot: AD 26-36

ii. Jesus ben Ananus: Albinus: AD 62-64 "brought him to the Roman procurator" (Josephus Wars 303)

e. Made no reply before Governor: "And when Albinus (for he was then our procurator) asked him who he was, and whence he came, and why he uttered such words; he made no manner of reply to what he said" (Josephus Wars 305)

f. Thought to be a madman:

i. Jesus: "When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, "He has lost His senses." (Mark 3:21)

ii. Jesus ben Ananus: "Albinus took him to be a madman, and dismissed him" (Josephus Wars 6:305)

g. Killed by Jews of Jerusalem:

i. We know that when Titus arrived at first, he came to the city walls in peace while the Jews tried to hit him with their engines. This proves that Jesus ben Ananus was killed by Jewish ballista ball, not Roman. See Josephus when he began the siege.

h. "there came a stone out of one of the engines, and smote him, and killed him immediately" (Josephus Wars 6:309)

3. 7 Synchronisms between Ezekiel, 2 Witnesses & Jesus ben Ananus

a. Initial Peace: 1 Thessalonians 5:3; Jeremiah 28:3-4; Josephus Wars 6:300

b. Prophesied 7 yrs: Ezekiel: 6.5 yrs (Ezek 3:24-27; 33:21-22) Jesus ben Ananus: 7.5 years: Josephus Wars 6:300

c. Mute-prophets for 7 yrs: Ezekiel 3:26-27; Josephus Wars 6:307

d. 42 mos. from Liberation of Jerusalem to start of siege: Rev 11:3,15 2 witnesses killed=7th trumpet blows. Zedekiah: 6 Aug 593 BC - 27th Jan 589 BC; Jesus ben Ananus died 42 months after Titus arrived 7th March AD 70. 42 mos ended in death: Rev 11:7; Ezek 24:25-27 (wife); Josephus Wars 6:308

e. Persecuted: Rev 11:5; Ezek 2:6; 3:25; Wars 6:302

f. Same message: "Woe, Woe". Rev 8:13; 18:10,16,19; Ezekiel 2:10; 16:23; Josephus Wars 6:304

g. Same 3-stage process: 1. Eat scroll 2. Prophecy to Jews 3. measure temple: Revelation 10:9-11:3; 21:15 Ezekiel 2:8-3:7

C. Synchronisms with the Two witnesses of Revelation 11 with Ezekiel and Jesus ben Ananus:

1. Same job function at a 3-stage initiation process: 1. Eat scroll 2. Prophecy to Jews 3. measure temple

a. Rev 11: Apostle John eats the sweet/bitter scroll and is then given measuring stick for 42 months and must prophecy at the same time that the Two Witnesses prophecy.

i. Notice that the two witnesses like Ezekiel were sent to YHWH believing JEWS not pagan Romans.

ii. "So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he said to me, "Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey." I took the little book out of the angel's hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. And they said to me, "You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings." Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, "Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. "Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread underfoot the holy city for forty-two months. "And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." (Revelation 10:9-11:3)

b. Jesus ben Ananus: The message of "Woe, Woe, to Jerusalem" to Jews is a perfect fit.

c. Ezekiel: Ezekiel was given the sweet/bitter scroll then later told to measure the church/Temple as was the angel in Rev 21.

i. "Now you, son of man, listen to what I am speaking to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house. Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you." Then I looked, and behold, a hand was extended to me; and lo, a scroll was in it. When He spread it out before me, it was written on the front and back, and written on it were lamentations, mourning and woe. Then He said to me, "Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel." So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll. He said to me, "Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you." Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth. Then He said to me, "Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them. "For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or difficult language, but to the house of Israel, nor to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. But I have sent you to them who should listen to you; yet the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, since they are not willing to listen to Me. Surely the whole house of Israel is stubborn and obstinate." (Ezekiel 2:8-3:7)

ii. "So He brought me there; and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze, with a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand; and he was standing in the gateway." (Ezekiel 40:3)

iii. "The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall." (Revelation 21:15)

2. Initial Peace: All three started prophesying during a time of peace:

a. Bible principle: Many of the "comings of the Lord" that involved past destructions of cities, would overtake the wicked like a thief at a time of peace. Jesus said the destruction of Jerusalem would be "While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape." (1 Thessalonians 5:3) "And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. "It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. "It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. "On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back." (Luke 17:26-31)

b. Ezekiel began preaching at the time Zedekiah had rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar and everyone believed it was a time of independence and peace. Zedekiah returned home from dedication ceremony of Daniel 3 and rebeled against Nebuchadnezzar. The Sign Act in Av 594 BC (summer) (Jer 27/28) where Jeremiah uses a yolk to inform Zedekiah he will be a slave to Nebuchadnezzar but the false prophet Hananiah smashes the yolk in front of Jeremiah and the king as a sign Zedekiah would "break the yolk" of Babylon. False prophet Hananiah said: "'Within two years I am going to bring back to this place all the vessels of the Lord's house, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon. 'I am also going to bring back to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the exiles of Judah who went to Babylon,' declares the Lord, 'for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.' " (Jeremiah 28:3-4) Like the Jews who rebelled in AD 66, Zedekiah believed Hananiah, that rebellion against Babylon was a "time of peace".

c. Jesus ben Ananus: "But, what is still more terrible there was one Jesus, the son of Ananus, a plebeian and a husbandman, who, four years before the war began, and at a time when the city was in very great peace and prosperity, came to that feast whereon it is our custom for everyone to make tabernacles to God in the temple, (301) began on a sudden cry aloud, "A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against this whole people!" (Josephus Wars 6:300) Josephus said that Jesus ben Ananus began preaching destruction and "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" at a time of peace. Jesus said the destruction of Jerusalem would be at a time of peace: "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. "For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be." (Matthew 24:37-39) Jesus son of Ananus (one of the two witnesses of Revelation 11) cried "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" day and night throughout all the streets of Jerusalem starting Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) 7th October AD 62 for seven years and 5 months. The fact that Jesus ben Ananus started to proclaim destruction at a time of peace, changed 4 years later into war until the city was destroyed 8 years after he started. So the idea of "like a thief" meant that the population were unaware of their wicked spiritual condition just like the cities and towns Christians live in today but constantly warn of the future second coming that will come without any signs or warnings.

3. Prophesied 7 years: Both Jesus ben Ananus and Ezekiel were prophets for about 7 years:

a. Rev 11: only speaks of 42 months

b. Jesus ben Ananus: Total preaching time is 7 years 5 months from Sukkot AD 62 till 7th March AD 70

c. Ezekiel: Total preaching time is 6.5 years from Sunday 6th Aug 593 (Ezek 3:24-27) till Friday, 19th January 586 BC (Ezek 33:21-22)

4. Mute-prophets for 7 years: Both were "mute" prophets except when the Lord spoke through them. In other words, the only things they said were prophetic. They could have had to use sign language to order their Tim Horton's coffee at the drive-through. When they got to the window and paid, they would say, "Woe, Woe Jerusalem". When a mute-prophet tries to say "pass the salt" at the dinner table, the only thing he can blurt out is, Woe, Woe, to you all"!

a. Ezekiel: "Moreover, I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be mute and cannot be a man who rebukes them, for they are a rebellious house. "But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you will say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God.' He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house." (Ezekiel 3:26-27)

b. Jesus ben Ananus: The only words spoken were prophetic: "Woe, Woe, Jerusalem" etc. Josephus noted that he was to make no personal replies when questioned by the governors. When given bread, he would not say thanks, but "Woe, Woe, Jerusalem" to everyone.

5. 42 months: Both prophesied for 42 months between the time that Jerusalem was liberated to the time when the destroying armies arrived:

a. Rev 11: 1260 days = 42 months

b. Ezekiel: Began being mute at the time Zedekiah liberated Jerusalem: 6 August 593 BC (Ezek 3:24-27) and when Nebuchadnezzar's armies arrived on 27th Jan 589 BC (Ezek 24:25-27) which was exactly 42 months.

c. Jesus ben Ananus: While the total duration of Jesus ben Ananus "ministry" was 7 years and 5 months (Josephus Wars 6:308), it was exactly 42 months from when Jerusalem was liberated on Monday 7 Sept AD 66 and his murder on 7th March AD 70. Start of 42 months: Jerusalem Liberated: Monday 7 Sept AD 66. Killed: Wednesday 7th March AD 70 is 42 months! Count the months for yourself!

6. 42 months started when Jerusalem was liberated from under foreign control:

a. Rev 11: no specific information

b. Jesus ben Ananus: 42 months start: Ezekiel/Jesus when Jerusalem was liberated by Zedekiah 593 BC, Manahem AD 66

c. Ezekiel: 42 months end: Ezekiel/Jesus when armies arrived: Nebuchadnezzar Jan 598 BC, Titus March AD 70

7. 42 months ended when the destroying armies arrived:

a. Rev 11: Perfect fit: The two witnesses are the sixth angel/trumpet which was also the 2nd woe.

i. The angel releases the armies that will come and destroy Jerusalem. (When Titus left Alexandria via Caesarea to Jerusalem)

ii. Bitter-sweet scroll, prophecy and measured the temple 42 months

iii. The two witnesses were killed.

iv. After this, the angel blew the 7th trumpet

b. Jesus ben Ananus: Titus arrived March AD 79

c. Ezekiel: 27th Jan 589 BC. This was the same month when Nebuchadnezzar arrived.

8. 42 months ended in death at the hands of Jews in Jerusalem

a. Rev 11: Two witnesses killed by Jews of City

b. Jesus ben Ananus He was killed by a Jewish ballista stone of the Zealots. We know for certain it was not the Romans who killed him because Josephus said Titus had come to Jerusalem to inspect not to fight. The timing of when Jesus ben Ananus was killed by the Jews and the arrival of Titus who came in peaceful reconciliation not wanting to destroy the city but negotiate, is significant. Titus may have seen Jesus ben Ananus killed.

c. Ezekiel: Ezekiel did not die till after 26th April 571 BC= 1st Nisan (Ezek 29:17-30:19) but his wife died at the end of the 42 months (Ezek 24:25-27). The Jews indirectly killed Ezekiel's wife because their idolatry was the reason the temple was going to be destroyed.

9. Persecuted: All were beaten and bound:

a. Rev 11: It doesn't say that they killed any one who tried to harm them, but echoing "eye for eye" of Jewish law, the physical harm anyone did to the two witnesses, was inflicted as justice on them. "And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way." (Revelation 11:5)

b. Ezekiel:

i. "And you, son of man, neither fear them nor fear their words, though thistles and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions; neither fear their words nor be dismayed at their presence, for they are a rebellious house." (Ezekiel 2:6)

ii. "As for you, son of man, they will put ropes on you and bind you with them so that you cannot go out among them." (Ezekiel 3:25)

c. Jesus ben Ananus: He was beaten and abused by townsfolk and the Governor.

10. Same message: "Woe, Woe". Double woe is only found in Revelation and Ezekiel.

a. Rev 11:

i. We are never told what the Two Witnesses say in Rev 11 but the three woes of the Angel's 5th, 6th and 7th trumpets/3rd woe, happened after the two witnesses in chapter 11.: "Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!" (Revelation 8:13)

b. Three woes of Rev 18:

i. Kings: "standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.'" (Revelation 18:10)

ii. Merchants: "saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls" (Revelation 18:16)

iii. Sailors: "And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!'" (Revelation 18:19)

c. Jesus ben Ananus: "Woe, Woe, to Jerusalem" (Josephus Wars 6:304)

d. Ezekiel:

i. "When He spread the scroll out before me, it was written on the front and back, and written on it were lamentations, mourning and woe." (Ezekiel 2:10)

ii. "Then it came about after all your wickedness ('Woe, woe to you!' declares the Lord GOD)," (Ezekiel 16:23)

D. Synchronisms between the name of Jesus ben Ananus, Jesus Christ and Ananus the High Priest:

When Jesus ben Ananus began walking the streets of Jerusalem yelling, "Woe, Woe, to Jerusalem" the Jews would take note that that he shared his name with Jesus Christ and Ananus the High Priest who crucified Jesus of Nazareth. Further, almost every High Priest between AD 62-AD 70 were called Jesus or Ananus or names that included both Jesus and Ananus. Jesus ben Ananus's name was a double reminder to the Jews in Jerusalem that Ananus had crucified Jesus of Nazareth in AD 33!

1. AD 33: Jesus the Nazarene, the Messiah

2. AD 33: High Priest Annas (alternate spelling of Ananus) who condemned the Messiah at the first trial in AD 33. Annas was appointed High Priest sometime around AD 6 by Quirinius, who was the governor of Syria. Annas served in this office until ca. AD 14-15, when he was removed by Valerius Gratus.

a. His father's name was the same as Annas (variant) the High Priest who tried and killed Jesus in AD 33.

i. "and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year." (John 18:13)

ii. "So Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the High Priest." (John 18:24)

iii. "and Annas the High Priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent." (Acts 4:6)

b. In the author's outline on the Six Trials of Jesus, Annas was the first one to judge and condemn Jesus. Jesus had six trials: Three religious (Jewish), and three civil (Romans). Here are the results:

i. All these six trials were carried out on Good Friday (Nisan 14), from 12 AM to 8 AM, in 8 very stormy hours.

1. Three Jewish religious trials where he was proclaimed a sinner:

a. First Religious Trial (Jewish): Annas, Jn.18:12-14... Decision: Prophetic signal given to execute Jesus. "Expedient one dies for people".

b. Second Religious Trial: Caiaphas, Mt.26:57-68... Decision: Death Sentence, charge of blasphemy, because Jesus proclaimed himself the Messiah, God the Son.

c. Third Religious Trial, Sanhedrin, Mt.27:1-2, Lk.22:63-71... Decision: Death.

2. Three Roman Civic trials where Jesus was proclaimed innocent.

a. First Civil Trial (Roman): Pilate, Jn.18:28-38... Decision: Not guilty.

b. Second Civil Trial: Herod, Lk.23:6-12... Decision: Not guilty.

c. Third Civil Trial: Pilate again, Jn.18:39-19:6. Decision: Not guilty, but turned to the Jews to be crucified (Mt.27:26).

3. AD 62: High Priest Ananus ben Ananus: Stoned Jesus' brother James, killed by the Idumeans inside Jerusalem in January AD 68

a. Appointed by Agrippa in November AD 62 and deposed by Agrippa after 3 months for stoning James, brother of Jesus

b. Josephus viewed the death of Ananus in January AD 68 as the beginning of the destruction of Jerusalem!

i. "I should not mistake if I said that the death of Ananus was the beginning of the destruction of the city, and that from this very day may be dated the overthrow of her wall, and the ruin of her affairs, whereon they saw their High Priest, and the procurer of their preservation, slain in the midst of their city." (Josephus Wars 4:318)

ii. Betrayed and killed Ananus ben Ananus and Jesus ben Gamaliel in January AD 68 (Josephus Wars 4:318)

iii. "Now after these were slain [Ananus and Jesus, the eldest of the High Priests], the zealots and the multitude of the Idumeans fell upon the people as upon a flock of profane animals, and cut their throats." (Josephus Wars 4:238)

c. He ordered James (the Just), brother of Jesus Christ to be stoned:

i. "And now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator; but the king deprived Joseph of the High Priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus. (198) Now the report goes, that this elder Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons, who had all performed the office of a High Priest to God, and he had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our High Priests: (199) but this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the High Priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; (200) when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned; (201) but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; (202) nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrin without his consent;-(203) whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the High Priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, High Priest." (Josephus Antiquities 20.197-203)

d. Ananus ben Ananus was the High Priest who is featured in the story of where he convinced the people to let rebel leader Simon ben Giora into the city in an effort to get rid of rebel leader John of Gischala in Jan AD 68.

i. Dec 67 - Jan AD 68: Ananus son of Ananus: Moderate, Former High Priest who killed James, brother of Jesus Christ, gives a speech to the people and says the Zealots must be defeated. (Josephus Wars 162-192) but the Zealots catch wind and attack first. The Zealots were routed and retreated back inside the temple. John of Gischala was asked by Ananus to negotiate with the Zealots but instead lied to them that Ananus was secretly planning on a new attack with the personal help of Vespasian. (Josephus Wars 4:208-223). The Zealots sought the help of the Idumeans (at Petra) and they agreed to bring an army of 20,000 to Jerusalem. (Josephus Wars 4:225-235) Ananus locked them out of the city and they become enraged but camp over night outside and endure a violent lightening storm which the Jews inside viewed as a bad omen. Here again we have Jerusalem surrounded by an army of 20,000! (Josephus Wars 4:283-287) The Idumeans cut through the city gate during the storm and killed 8500 men inside the city during random looting. (Josephus Wars 4:305-314). The Idumeans and Zealots joined forces and Ananus, the moderate was killed, (Josephus Wars 4:315) but the Idumeans learned they had been lied to about Ananus being a traitor and they left the city. (Josephus Wars 4:345-352) The departure of the Idumeans back to Petra triggers a massive killing spree of the Zealots against anyone who opposes them. It was at this point that any Christians in Jerusalem would have been executed by the Jews (Josephus Wars 4:354-365). All this internal strife was is reported to Vespasian who decided, as a military strategy, to let the Jews kill themselves off a bit longer and he delayed attacking the city. (Josephus Wars 4: 366-376) The irreligious Jews of the city attack religion itself as the problem. (Josephus Wars 4:377-388) It is amazing that non-Christians today say the exact same thing by blaming all the historic wars and present ills of modern society on Christians.

4. AD 62-65: High Priest Jesus ben Damneus: AD 62-65

5. AD 65-67: Jesus ben Gamaliel:

a. "Jesus, the son of Gamaliel, became the successor of Jesus, the son of Damneus, in the High Priesthood, which the king [Agrippa] had taken from the other; on which account a sedition arose between the High Priests, with regard to one another; for they got together bodies of the boldest sort of the people, and frequently came, from reproaches, to throwing of stones at each other; but Ananias was too hard for the rest, by his riches,-which enabled him to gain those that were most ready to receive." (Josephus Antiquities 20.213)

6. December AD 67: Phannias, the son of Samuel: Extinction of priesthood

a. Notice again the Jews, not the Romans brought about the extinction of the priesthood. In January AD 68, the Jews themselves caused the extinction of their own High Priesthood by choosing the unfit Phannias ben Samuel by lot, then executing the two legitimate High Priests, Ananus ben Ananus and Jesus ben Gamaliel, a month later.

b. New High Priest chosen by lot which was never done before. (Josephus Antiquities 4:147-8, 4:153-156)

c. The Jewish Zealots abolish Herodian appointed High Priest dynasty and cast lots, asking God to choose their new High Priest who was a totally unfit in knowledge and morality.

d. Within a few months, the two legitimate High Priests, Ananus ben Ananus and Jesus ben Gamaliel, were killed by the Idumean army that the Zealots let inside the city themselves. (Josephus Wars 4:315,325). "And I cannot but imagine that virtue itself groaned at these men's case and lamented that she was here so terribly conquered by wickedness. And this at last was the end of Ananus and Jesus." (Josephus Wars 4.325)

e. Death of Ananus ben Ananus and Jesus ben Gamaliel marked the beginning of the destruction of Jerusalem: "But the rage of the Idumeans was not satiated by these slaughters; but they now betook themselves to the city, and plundered every house, and slew everyone they met; (315) and for the other multitude, they esteemed it needless to go on with killing them, but they sought for the High Priests, and the generality went with the greatest zeal against them; (316) and as soon as they caught them they slew them, and then standing upon their dead bodies, in way of jest, upbraided Ananus with his kindness to the people, and Jesus with his speech made to them from the wall. (317) Nay, they proceeded to that degree of impiety, as to cast away their dead bodies without burial, although the Jews used to take so much care of the burial of men, that they took down those that were condemned and crucified, and buried them before the going down of the sun. (318) I should not mistake if I said that the death of Ananus was the beginning of the destruction of the city, and that from this very day may be dated the overthrow of her wall, and the ruin of her affairs, whereon they saw their High Priest, and the procurer of their preservation, slain in the midst of their city." (Josephus Wars 4.314-318)

Rev 11:1

Ezekiel Fulfilled: "Foursquare Temple Prophecy"

(Rev 11:1; Ezekiel 40:47; 43:3; Josephus Wars 6.310-315)

The prophecy was fulfilled on 19th July AD 70: Wars 6:164-165

1. Measuring the square temple in Revelation:

a. That John measured the temple for 42 months, is an inference and not a direct statement. The direct statement is that John left out the outer tabernacle because it has been given over to the Gentiles for 42 months. However, the very next statement was that the Two Witnesses prophesy for 42 months. The conclusion is that John's measuring the outer court given to Gentiles and the work of the Two witnesses all happen within the 42 months.

b. Notice the prophesying of John was described as the figurative "measuring the temple" and that the Two Witnesses also prophesy at the same time. "You [Apostle John] must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings." (Revelation 10:11)

c. Revelation 11:1: John measured the temple for 42 months while the two witnesses were prophesying: "Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, "Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it." (Revelation 11:1)

d. The fact that John was to measure the temple at the same time that the two witnesses were prophesying "Woe is Jerusalem" proves John was alive in AD 70 at the same time as Jesus ben Ananus. If Revelation was written in AD 96 "measure the temple of God" that had been non-existent for 26 years.

e. "The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements." (Revelation 21:15-17)

2. The prophecy of the square temple indicating the city would be destroyed came from Ezekiel.

a. Ezekiel measured a square temple on Sabbath, 7th November 574 BC.

b. "He measured the court, a perfect square, a hundred cubits long and a hundred cubits wide; and the altar was in front of the temple." (Ezekiel 40:47)

c. "And it was like the appearance of the vision which I saw, like the vision which I saw when He came to destroy the city. And the visions were like the vision which I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face." (Ezekiel 43:3)

3. The non-Christian Jews in Jerusalem in AD 70 viewed Ezekiel as prophetic of the destruction of the temple.

a. Regardless of how the Jews in Jerusalem interpreted Ezek 40-48, their messianic expectation was that Ezekiel prophesied the destruction of the temple.

b. We do know that they misunderstood other messianic prophecies.

c. Josephus takes note that the Jews in Jerusalem during the war brought about the fulfillment of the foursquare temple themselves!

d. This echoes that the fact that Jews destroyed their own temple while the Romans were trying to preserve it.

4. The echo of Ezekiel's prophecy of the destruction in 587 was secondarily fulfilled on 19th July AD 70.

a. 19th July AD 70, Thursday [22 Panemus/Tammuz] Jews defensively burn the cloister (open arched patio) that adjoined the Antonia Fortress to protect access to the temple.

b. "In the meantime, the Jews were so distressed by the fights they had been in, as the war advanced higher and higher, and creeping up to the holy house itself, that they, as it were, cut off those limbs of their body which were infected, in order to prevent the distemper's spreading farther; (165) for they set the northwest cloister, which was joined to the tower of Antonia, on fire, and after that brake off about twenty cubits of that cloister, and thereby made a beginning in burning the sanctuary" (Josephus Wars 6:164-165)

5. Josephus mentions a Jewish oral prophecy that was written down "in their sacred oracles" that the Jerusalem temple would be destroyed if its dimensions ever became four equal sides: "foursquare".

a. "Now, if any one consider these things, he will find that God takes care of mankind, and by all ways possible foreshows to our race what is for their preservation; but that men perish by those miseries which they madly and voluntarily bring upon themselves; (311) for the Jews by demolishing the tower of Antonia, had made their temple foursquare, while at the same time they had it written in their sacred oracles [Ezekiel 40:47; 43:3],-"That then should their city be taken, as well as their holy house, when once their temple should become foursquare." (312) But now, what did most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, "about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth." (313) The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination. Now, this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian, who was appointed emperor in Judea. (314) However, it is not possible for men to avoid fate, although they see it beforehand. (315) But these men interpreted some of these signals according to their own pleasure; and some of them they utterly despised, until their madness was demonstrated, both by the taking of their city, and their own destruction." (Josephus Wars 6.310-315)

6. When you combine Ezekiel and John measuring a foursquare temple, the oral prophecy tradition of the foursquare temple being destroyed and the cries of Jesus ben Ananus "woe woe Jerusalem", it becomes a powerful message that physical Jerusalem and the temple were doomed to be destroyed. This kind of detail is totally missed by almost all late-daters who say the message of Revelation is the destruction of Rome not Jerusalem.

7th Trumpet/3rd Woe: Temple destroyed-Mosaic Judaism Extinct

Revelation 11:15-19

Jeremiah 31:31

Colossians 2:14

Hebrews 8:6-7; 8:13; 10:9

7th Trumpet = 3rd Woe: Extinction of Mosaic Covenant: Rev 11:15-19

1. The destruction of Jerusalem is the 3rd woe. While not specifically stated, it is implied through these proclamations in Revelation:

a. "in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets" Revelation 10:7

b. "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." Revelation 11:15

c. "You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign" Revelation 11:17

d. "Your wrath came" Revelation 11:18

e. "time for dead to be judged" Revelation 11:18

f. "time to reward Christians" Revelation 11:18

g. "time to destroy those who destroy the earth" (Jews in Jerusalem) Revelation 11:18

2. The 3rd woe corresponds to: 7th March AD 70

a. The death of the Two witnesses: Jesus ben Ananus

b. The arrival of Titus's army to Jerusalem on 7th March AD 70

c. The beginning of the final 5-month siege of Jerusalem ending in the burning of the temple.

3. The 3rd woe is: Destruction of the Physical temple

a. Fulfillment of prophecy: Jer 31:31 "days are coming when I will make a new covenant: Law of Christ replaces law of Moses.

b. The Law of Moses became theologically extinct at the cross (Col 2:14; Heb 8:6-7,13) and functionally extinct with the destruction of the temple in AD 70 and so is to the present day 2000 years later.

c. Final destruction of Jerusalem fulfills "He takes away the first in order to establish the second." Heb 10:9

War in Heaven

Revelation 12

Numbers 24:17

Deuteronomy 33:11

Psalms 89:23

Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice

War in Heaven between God vs. Satan

A. Notes about Rev 12:

1. Oppression and exodus language is used and applied to Christ and the church. Imagery is mixed without specific regard to chronological order in this section.

2. First century Jewish messianic expectation taught that the Messiah would engage in a great war to defeat Satan

a. The Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice "the war of the godlike beings" (SSS 4Q401, Fragments 3-4, Song 5)

b. Countless Dead Sea Scrolls reference a great final spiritual war between the sons of light and the sons of darkness.

c. See author's monograph on "The Messiah in Coins and Dead Sea Scrolls".

d. See author's monograph on "Messianic expectation in the Dead Sea Scrolls".

B. Bible passages used in Dead Sea Scrolls 4Q174 and 4Q175 for Messianic War:

1. Dead Sea Scroll:

a. Archeological Exhibit #1: Dead Sea Scroll: Testimonia (4Q175-4QTestimonia)

b. Archeological Exhibit #2: Dead Sea Scroll: Florilegium (4Q174-4QFlorilegium)

2. "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, A scepter shall rise from Israel, And shall crush through the forehead of Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth." (Numbers 24:17)

3. "O Lord, bless his substance, And accept the work of his hands; Shatter the loins of those who rise up against him, And those who hate him, so that they will not rise again." (Deuteronomy 33:11)

4. "But I shall crush his adversaries before him, And strike those who hate him." (Psalm 89:23)

5. "Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying," (Psalm 2:1-2)

6. "I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly, even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. The Lord also declares to you that the Lord will make a house for you. "When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. "I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men" (2 Samuel 7:10-14)

7. "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist." (Isaiah 11:1-5)

C. War in Heaven: Dead Sea Scroll: Song #5: Songs of The Sabbath Sacrifice: 4Q401, 50 BC

Dead Sea Scroll

Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice

Spiritual War in Heaven: Angels vs Satan

4Q401

50 BC

Translation #1: "And the knowledge of the [most] ho[ly ones ...] their [...] the war of the gods in the per[iod ...] for to the God of the divinities belong [the weapon]s of w[a]r [...] the gods run to [his] muster, and a tumultuous noise [...] the gods in the war of the heavens. (Lines 6-10)

Composite Translation #2 from all known fragments: "5They shall be judged [...] and they shall not come to the Yahad [i.e. assembly] [...] 6without [... those who pro]vide the plan[s] and the knowledge of the utt[erly holy ...] 7light and insigh[t ...] the war of the godlike beings in the [...] 8removing [...] Surely the [weap]ons of war[f]ar[e] belong to the God of divine beings [... the armies] 9of heaven and the won[ders of all the] divine [spirits] shall run at [His] command, while the voice of tumult [... with] 10His might, ar[mies of] divine [spirits] at war in the clouds. But [the victory] shall belong [to the God of divine beings.]" (lines 5-10)

Song 5 of 13, 4Q401, Frags. 3-4, 50 BC

1. Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice was the pre-Christian, first century songbook used in every Jewish synagogue and was as well known as "Jesus loves me" in the church today.

a. Also known as "The Angelic Liturgy", it is a collection of 13 songs, sung responsively, every Sabbath for 13 weeks.

2. Ten copies found in the Dead Sea Scrolls:

a. Ten fragmentary copies found: Nine at Qumran and one at Masada.

b. "Even though all of the ten copies of Sabbath Songs are fragmentary, enough remains to describe the basic structure of the individual compositions as well as the overall structure of the cycle." (Dictionary of New Testament Background, Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, p1137, 2000 AD)

3. Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice, combined with the book of Ezekiel was the template and prototype for the book of Revelation.

a. Song seven was the climax song which featured Throne, Temple, Worship, Singing/praising Angels, Cherubim wheel-beings, Judgement, seven spirits.

b. Revelation sequentially follows the basic outline of thought in Ezekiel chapter by chapter.

c. Revelation echoes many of the concepts in the Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice.

d. Whereas Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice builds to climax in the throne scene of song seven, Revelation begins with this climactic throne scene and increases in intensity making Revelation more profoundly interesting and intense.

4. Read the author's monograph on: The Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice "the war of the godlike beings" (SSS 4Q401, Fragments 3-4, Song 5)

D. War in Heaven in Dead Sea Scroll 11Q13 (11QMelch) 11QMelchizedek (90 BC)

Dead Sea Scroll

Messianic Melchizedek Leader of Spiritual War in Heaven

11Q13

90 BC

"And as for what he said: Lev 25:13 «In [this] year of jubilee, [you shall return, each one, to his respective property», concerning it he said: Deut 15:2 «Th]is is [the manner of the release:] every creditor shall release what he lent [to his neighbour. He shall not coerce his neighbour or his brother, for it has been proclaimed] a release for G[od». Its interpretation] for the last days refers to the captives, who [...] and whose teachers have been hidden and kept secret, and from the inheritance of Melchizedek, fo[r ...] ... and they are the inherita[nce of Melchize]dek, who will make them return. And liberty will be proclaimed for them, to free them from [the debt of] all their iniquities. And this [wil]l [happen] in the first week of the jubilee which follows the ni[ne] jubilees. And the d[ay of aton]ement is the e[nd of] the tenth [ju]bilee in which atonement shall be made for all the sons of [light and] for the men [of] the lot of Mel[chi]zedek. [...] ... over [the]m ... [...] accor[ding to] a[ll] their [wor]ks, for it is the time for the «year of grace» of Melchizedek, and of [his] arm[ies, the nat]ion of the holy ones of God, of the rule of judgment, as is written about him in the songs of David, who said: Ps 82:1 «Elohim will [st]and in the assem[bly of God,] in the midst of the gods he judges». And about him he sai[d: Ps 7:8-9 «And] above [it,] to the heights, return: God will judge the peoples». As for what he sa[id: Ps 82:2 «How long will you] judge unjustly and show partia[lity] to the wicked? [Se]lah.» Its interpretation concerns Belial and the spirits of his lot, wh[o ...] turn[ing aside] from the commandments of God to [commit evil.] But, Melchizedek will carry out the vengeance of Go[d's] judgments, [and on that day he will fr]e[e them from the hand of] Belial and from the hand of all the sp[irits of his lot.] To his aid (shall come) all «the gods of [justice»; and h]e is the one w[ho ...] all the sons of God, and ... [...] This [...] is the day of [peace about whi]ch he said [... through Isa]iah the prophet, who said: [Isa 52:7 «How] beautiful upon the mountains are the feet [of] the messen[ger who] announces peace, the mess[enger of good who announces salvati]on, [sa]ying to Zion: your God [reigns.»] Its interpretation: The mountains [are] the prophet[s ...] ... [...] for all ... [...] And the messenger i[s] the anointed of the spir[it] as Dan[iel] said [about him: Dan 9:25 «Until an anointed, a prince, it is seven weeks.» And the messenger of] good who announ[ces salvation] is the one about whom it is written that [...] «To comfo[rt] the [afflicted», its interpretation:] to instruct them in all the ages of the wo[rld ...] in truth ... [...] ... [...] [...] has turned away from Belial and will re[turn ...] ... [...] [...] in the judgment[s of] God, as is written about him: [Isa 52:7 «Saying to Zi]on: your God rules.» [«Zi]on» i[s] [the congregation of all the sons of justice, those] who establish the covenant, those who avoid walking [on the pa]th of the people. And «your God» is [... Melchizedek, who will fr]e[e them from the ha]nd of Belial. And as for what he said: Lev 25:9 «You shall blow the hor[n in] all the [l]and of [...] ... [...] and know ... [...] God ... [...] and many [...] [...] ... [...] the law [up]on them [...] and he will announce [...] [t]he[y] shall devour Belial with fire [... of] Belial shall rebel [...] with plot[s] in their hearts [...] ... it i[s ...] the rampart[s] of Judah and ... [...] the rampart of Jer[usalem ...] a wall, and to lift a column and ... [...] at its appointed time [...] [...] ... [...] [...] the end of the Ju[bilee ...] ... [...] ... [...] ... [... he] will carry it [...] two hundred [...] in those [...] the week [...] ... [...] [the divi]sions of [the times ...]"

Dead Sea Scroll, 11Q13, 11QMelch, 11QMelchizedek,

Col. ii, lines 1-25; Col. iii frags. 5 + 7, lines 1-20, 90 BC

1. When Jesus Christ came, the Jews had something right and something wrong:

a. They correctly understood that there was going to be a great spiritual war in heaven to defeat Satan (Belial).

b. They mistakenly thought Melchizedek would lead that spiritual war in heaven with God's angels against Satan (Belial)

c. They correctly understood some kind of connection between Melchizedek and the Messiah

d. They correctly knew they were looking for a supernatural being, who was more than a man.

e. They mistakenly thought Melchizedek was that supernatural being.

f. TRUTH: Jesus was a High Priest in the "type" of Melchizedek and Jesus was that supernatural being (God incarnate) who lead the spiritual war, using His angel Michael, to defeat Satan (Belial) through His blood which was shed on the cross.

2. Jews expected Melchizedek to return as a "messianic heavenly being" to defeat Satan in a spiritual war in heaven:

a. It is crystal clear that at the time of Christ, the Jews were expecting Melchizedek as messianic figure.

b. Dead sea scroll 11Q13 (11QMelch) features Melchizedek as a divine being (angel etc.) directly connected with the expectation of the Messiah.

c. "Although 1QapGen 22:14-17 retells the story of Melchizedek without elaboration, in 11QMelchizedek (a fragmentary eschatological midrash from the first century A.D. or .B.C..) Melchizedek ceases to be an earthly figure. He rather becomes an angel called "the heavenly one" (˒elōhı̂m, cf. Ps 82:1), and he is a central figure in the eschatological drama. At the end of days he proclaims release to the captives (11QMelch. 2:6; cf. Lev 25:10), exacts "the vengeance of the judgements of God" (11QMelch 2:13) and delivers the sons of light from Belial (11QMelch 2:13)." (Dictionary of the later New Testament and its developments, Melchizedek, p 729, 1997 AD)

E. Dead Sea Scroll 1Q33 (1QM), The War Scroll: 30 BC

Dead Sea Scroll

The War Scroll

The War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness Scroll

The war scroll likely represents the thinking of the Jews inside Jerusalem during the First Jewish War.

1QM, 1Q33, 1QWar Scroll

Num 24:17-19; Rev 12; 20

150 BC

"For the Ins[tructor: The Rule of] the War. The first attack by the sons of light will be launched against the lot of the sons of darkness, against the army of Belial, against the band of Edom and of Moab and of the sons of Ammon and [...] Philistia, and against the bands of the Kittim of Ashur, who are being helped by the violators of the covenant. The sons of Levi, the sons of Judah and the sons of Benjamin, the exiled of the desert, will wage war against them. [...] against all their bands, when the exiled sons of light return from the desert of the nations to camp in the desert of Jerusalem. And after the war, they shall go up from there [...] of the Kittim in Egypt. And in his time, he will go out with great rage to wage war against the kings of the North, and his anger wants to exterminate and cut off the horn of I[srael. And th]is is a time of salvation for the nation of God and a period of rule for all the men of his lot, and of everlasting destruction for all the lot of Belial. There will be g[reat] panic [among] the sons of Japhet, Ashur shall fall and there will be no help for him; the rule of the Kittim will come to an end, wickedness having been defeated, with no remnant remaining, and there will be no escape for [any of the sons] of darkness." (1Q33, Col I, lines 1-7)

"And on the third javelin they shall write: «Flame of the sword devouring the wicked dead by God's judgment». All these they shall hurl seven times and go back to their position. ... seven levites shall go out with them, with seven ram's horns in their hands." (1Q33, Col VI, lines 3-4, 14)

"The trumpets shall continue sounding, to guide the slingers until they have finished throwing seven times." (1Q33, Col VIII, line 1)

"The tower will have two gates, one on [the right and] the other on the left. And on all the shields of the towers they shall write: on the first: «Michael», [on the second: «Gabriel», on the third:] «Sariel», on the fourth: «Raphael»; «Michael» and «Gabriel» on [the right, and «Sariel/Urial» and «Raphael» on the left ...]" (1Q33, Col IX, lines 14-16)

"Thus you taught us from ancient times, saying: Num 24:17-19 «A star will depart from Jacob, a sceptre will be raised in Israel. It will smash the temples of Moab, it will destroy all the sons of Seth. It will come down from Jacob, it will exterminate the remnant of the city, the enemy will be its possession, and Israel will perform feats». By the hand of your anointed ones, seers of decrees, you taught us the ti[mes of] the wars of your hands, to {fight} /to be glorious/ over our enemies, to fell the hordes of Belial, the seven peoples of futility" (1Q33, Col XI, lines 6-9)

"you shall carry out sentence on Gog and on all his gathering that has ga[th]ered to [him ...] for you shall wage war against them from the heavens [...] upon them, for confusion" (1Q33, Col XI, lines 16-17)

"For there is a multitude of holy ones in heaven and hosts of angels in your holy dwelling to [praise] your [truth.] And the chosen ones of the holy nation you have established for yourself among t[hem.] The book of the names of all their armies is with you in your holy dwelling, and the num[ber of the ju]st in your glorious dwelling. [Your] blissful mercies and the covenant of your peace you engraved for them with the chisel of life, in order to rule [...] during all times eternal, to muster the arm[ies] of your [ch]osen ones according to its thousands and its myriads, together with your holy ones [and with] your angels, to have the upper hand in the battle [and destroy] the rebels of earth in the lawsuit of your judgments, while the nation of the chosen ones of heaven triu[mphs]." (1Q33, Col XII, lines 1-5)

"Fill your land with glory and your inheritance with blessing: may herds of flocks be in your fields, /silver,/ gold, and precious stones in your palaces! Rejoice, Zion, passionately! Shine with jubilation, Jerusalem! Exult, all the cities of Judah! Open your gate[s] continuously so that the wealth of the nations can be brought to you! Their kings shall wait on you, all your oppressors lie prone before you, the dust [of your feet they shall lick. Daughter]s of my nation, shout with jubilant voice! Adorn yourselves with splendid finery! Rule over the king[dom of ...] [... and] Israel to reign for ever. Blank [...] their [...] the heroes of the war, Jerusalem [...] above the heavens, Lord" (1Q33, Col XII, lines 12-18)

"Accursed be Belial for his inimical [hostile] plan, may he be damned for his blameworthy rule. Accursed be all the spirits of his lot for their wicked Blank plan, may they be damned for their deeds of filthy uncleanness. For they are the lot of darkness but the lot of God is for [everlast]ing light." (1Q33, Col XIII, lines 4-6)

"You made Belial for the pit, angel of enmity; in dark[ness] is his [dom]ain, his counsel is to bring about wickedness and guilt. All the spirits of his lot are angels of destruction, they walk in the laws of darkness; towards it goes their only [de]sire. We, instead, in the lot of your truth, rejoice in your mighty hand, we exult in your salvation, we revel in [your] aid [and in] your peace. Who is like you in strength, God of Israel, whose mighty hand is with the poor? And which angel or prince is an aid like [you?] Since ancient time you determined the day of the great battle [...] [...] to [...] because of truth, and destroy because of wickedness, to humiliate darkness and strengthen light, and to [...] for an everlasting stay to exterminate all the sons of darkness" (1Q33, Col XIII, lines 11-16)

"For great is the p[lan of] your [glo]ry and your marvellous mysteries in [your] height[s], in order to r[ai]se from the dust for yourself and to humble those of the gods. Blank Rise up, rise up, Oh God of gods, and raise with pow[er, King of kings! ... may scat]ter [from before you] [al]l the [s]ons of darkness, and may your great light [... and men ... a fire burning in the dark places of Abbadon,] [in the places of destruction of She]ol may it burn to consume". (1Q33, Col XIV, lines 14-18)

"For this will be a time of suffering for Isra[el and a servi]ce of war /against/ all the nations. For God's lot there will be everlasting redemption and destruction for all the wicked nations. All those who are r[eady for] the war shall go and camp opposite the king of the Kittim and opposite all the army of Belial, assembled with him for the day of ven[geance] by God's sword." (1Q33, Col XV, lines 1-3)

"He sends everlasting aid to the lot of his [co]venant by the power of the majestic angel for the sway of Michael in everlasting light, to illuminate with joy the covenant of Israel, peace and blessing to God's lot, to exalt the sway of Michael above all the gods, and the dominion of Israel over all flesh." (1Q33, Col XVII, lines 6-8)

1Q33 (1QM) 1QWar Scroll, 150 BC

1. The war scroll likely represents the thinking of the Jews inside Jerusalem during the First Jewish War.

2. Physical was against all enemy nations, i.e. Rome. (1Q33, Col I, line 1)

3. Eternal destruction of sons of Belial. (1Q33, Col I, lines 5-6)

4. Israel will rule the earth. (1Q33, Col I, lines 5-6)

5. Fire comes down from heaven. (1Q33, Col VI, lines 3-4)

6. Seven cycles of seven Levites with seven ram's horns. (1Q33, Col VI, lines 3-4)

7. Trumpets of war with slinger throwing seven times. (1Q33, Col VI, line 14)

8. Four Archangels: Michael (Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1), Gabriel (Dan. 8:16; 9:21), Sariel/Urial (1 Enoch 10:1), Raphael (Tobit 12:15). (1Q33, Col IX, lines 14-16) 7 Angels of Revelation 2-3; 8:2. (1 Enoch 20.1-8, 150 BC)

9. Messianic Star/Scepter prophecy: Num 24:17-19 (1Q33, Col XI, lines 6)

10. The seven nations of Belial. (1Q33, Col XI, lines 9)

11. War against Gog: (1Q33, Col XI, lines 16-17)

12. Multitude of Angels praising God is heaven: (1Q33, Col XII, lines 1-5)

13. Many angels at war with evil rebels of earth: (1Q33, Col XII, lines 1-5)

14. Wealth of nations are brought into Jerusalem: (1Q33, Col XII, lines 12-17)

15. Israel to reign forever on earth: (1Q33, Col XII, line 18)

16. Belials' [devil] plan defeated and cast into darkness. (1Q33, Col XIII, lines 4-6)

17. Belial [devil] cast into pit: (1Q33, Col XIII, lines 11)

18. Wicked cast into fires of Sheol/Abbadon: (1Q33, Col XIV, lines 14-18)

19. Israel will suffer in war against Belial in the day of vengeance: (1Q33, Col XV, lines 1-3)

20. Archangel Michael is top angel in war against Belial (devil): (1Q33, Col XVII, lines 6-8)

F. Shoot of David Messianic Spiritual war (Isa 10:34): 50 BC

Dead Sea Scroll

Shoot of David Messianic Spiritual war (Isa 10:34)

4Q285

50 BC

"[... as] the Prophet Isaiah [said] Isa 10:34: «And [they] shall cut [the most massive of the] [forest with iron and Lebanon, with its magnificence, will] fall. A shoot will emerge from the stump of Jesse [...] the bud of David. And they will go into battle Blank with [...] and the Prince of the Congregation will kill him, the bu[d of David ...] and with wounds. And [the High] Priest will command [...] [... the s]lai[n of the] Kitti[m ...]"

4Q285 [4QSM] 4QSefer ha-Milhamah Frag. 5, lines 1-6, = 11Q14, 50 BC

1. This is the Messianic war of the Messiah, Seed/Root/Branch of David.

2. What the Jews got right and wrong:

a. The Jews correctly understood that the Messiah was fighting a war against the enemies of truth.

b. The Jews incorrectly thought that this was a physical battle that would overthrow Rome.

c. The Jews were also 180 degrees wrong in that God used the Roman armies to destroy Jerusalem, which was the enemy of truth, having crucified Jesus and killed the prophets.

3. Even Jesus' disciples wrongly believed that Jesus was a physical-warrior-Messiah who would overthrow Rome exactly as the Zealots wanted.

a. "So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;" (Acts 1:6-7)

4. In fact, the Messiah fought a spiritual battle in heaven between God and Satan.

a. Jesus made it clear: I am a king, but not a physical king. If I was a physical king like the disciples and pre-tribulation premillennial rapturists believe, then JESUS' DISCIPLES WOULD BE FIGHTING RIGHT THERE AND THEN.

b. "Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?" Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?" Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm." Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, "I find no guilt in Him." (John 18:33-38)

G. God and Satan at war:

1. Michael and Satan were at war in Daniel 10:13

2. Satan was the historic accuser: Revelation 12:10

a. Satan accused Job 1:9-11

b. Satan accused the High Priest: Zechariah 3:1-7

c. "the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night." (Revelation 12:10)

3. Devil tried to kill the "male child": Baby Moses and Christ

a. The Devil literally tried to kill Moses/Christ both through Pharaoh and Herod

b. In this imagery, the dragon is represented as Rome with 10 horns & 7 heads and echoes back to the time in 1 BC, when Herod the great killed the children surrounding Bethlehem. This imagery is not of the Jewish persecution of the church.

4. Child escaped to the Mountain of God:

a. Moses was caught up to "the mountain of God" at Sinai in Arabia (Midian) when he fled.

b. Christ escapes to Egypt and was caught up at the Ascension, to the true "mountain of God" in heaven.

5. Satan persecuted:

a. When they failed, Pharaoh oppressed with slavery for 40 years and Satan attacked the church through persecution after the cross.

b. At the close of this section, we jump forward to AD 64 when Nero persecuted Christians for 42 months.

6. 43 months Ministry of Christ: Women fleeing was Israel and the church

a. Flee to Mt. Sinai, the mountain of God on "Eagles wings": Exodus 19:4

b. Israel was nourished by God through Moses at Mt. Sinai where he taught Israel the law.

c. The church was nourished by God through Christ during his 3.5-year ministry.

d. Daniel 12:11-12 also speaks of the 43 months/1290 days (not 42 months) of the ~3.5-year ministry of Christ from Baptism to Cross. From Baptism on Wednesday 21 Sept AD 29 to crucifixion on Friday 3rd April AD 33 equals exactly 1290 days.

e. David fled Saul to wilderness: 1 Samuel 23:14

f. Elijah flees to Mt. Sinai for sanctuary: 1 Ki 19

g. Apostle Paul fled Damascus to Mt. Sinai for several months where he was directly taught from God, like Moses, the law of Christ: Gal 1:17-18

7. 42 months protection from Devil: Pentecost Sunday 24th May AD 33 - November AD 36

a. War in heaven occurs after the cross and the devil is defeated by the blood of Christ and thrown down to earth where he is prevented from persecuting Christians for 42 months.

b. The 42 months of protection are from Pentecost to the great dispersion of AD 36 when Stephen was stoned, and the church fled in Acts 8:1-4.

c. While the apostles themselves were persecuted by the Jewish leaders, God miraculously intervened by letting them out of jail (Acts 4:12).

d. Overall, Pentecost Sunday 24th May AD 33 - November AD 36 was a period of rapid grown and peace.

8. In Rev 13, however, after the 42 months of protection, Nero persecuted the church for 42 months AD 64-68.

H. Periods of 42 months: (3-1/2 years)

3. Christians:

a. The disciples of Christ experienced 1290 days (43 months) of sanctuary during the ministry of Christ from baptism to the cross. From Baptism on Wednesday 21 Sept AD 29 to crucifixion on Friday 3rd April AD 33 equals exactly 1290 days. In Dan 12:11-12, "sacrifice is abolished" by the body of Christ as the one true sacrifice at the start of his ministry after Passover when Jesus was baptized on Wednesday 21 Sept AD 29. The 43 months computes to 3 years, 7 months, but is generally rounded off to 3.5 years. The 1,335 days of Daniel 12:12 falls exactly between the ascension of Christ and Pentecost. "How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!" (Daniel 12:12) Yes indeed, how blessed where those disciples who had endured and remained faithful awaiting the arrival of the Kingdom of God (the church) on Pentecost!

b. Christians experienced 42 months of protection after cross Pentecost to great dispersion of Acts 8:1-4 after Stephen was stoned in Acts 7:54.

c. Christians experienced 42 months of persecution from Nero AD 64-68: Rev 13:1-10. Daniel's 42 months: Daniel 7:23-26. Refers to the same 42 month persecution by Nero.

4. Two Witnesses of Revelation 11:

a. Ezekiel preached "woe, woe" and was mute for 42 months from the time Jerusalem was liberated by Zedekiah on 6th August 593 BC till Nebuchadnezzar arrived on 27th January 586 BC to begin the final siege that ended in the destruction of the temple.

b. Jesus Ben Ananus preached, "woe, woe, is Jerusalem" for 42 months from the time Jerusalem was liberated by Manahem on Monday 15th September AD 66 till he was killed by the Jews when Titus arrived on 7th March AD 70 to begin the final siege that ended in the destruction of the temple.

5. Daniel's 70 weeks (Dan 9:24) end at the resurrection, exactly 490 solar years to the day starting on the 8th April 458 BC (decree to rebuild Jerusalem-Ezra 7) to 5th April AD 33 (resurrection). In the LXX the Messiah IS NOT cut off in the middle of the week as is commonly TAUGHT in error. Instead of being "cut off" (Masoretic Text) the messiah "finishes his work" as the end of the 70 weeks (Septuagint).

Beasts from Sea and Earth

Revelation 13

Daniel 7

Rev 13

Overview

A. Beast from Sea = Nero persecuted Christians 42 months

1. Beast from sea indicates a king from a land outside Israel who arrives by ship indicating Nero from Rome.

2. Beast from sea:

a. 10 horns and 7 heads = Rome

b. Ten horns are the 10 Caesars from Julius to Vespasian including the three rebel/usurpers: Galba, Otho and Vitellius.

c. Seven heads are the 7 Caesars from Julius to Vespasian excluding the three rebel/usurpers: Galba, Otho and Vitellius. The eighth head is Titus who destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70.

3. 42 months Nero = 666 who persecuted Christians

a. 42 months: Rev 13:5 (Dan 7:8,21,24) 15th Nov. AD 64-9th June AD 68

b. 42 months start: Nero burned Rome 18th July AD 64, then three months later blames Christians starting 15th Nov. AD 64

c. 42 months ends: Nero commits suicide 9th June AD 68

B. Beast from Earth: = Jewish False Prophet = Jewish Revolt leaders destroy Jerusalem temple

1. Beast from land rises directly from the soils of the land of Judea proper indicating the native Jews.

a. Beast from earth: "horns like a lamb" provides a taxonomic identification as a sheep or goat. Both were used in the Passover.

b. Jesus is identified as a sheep in Isa 53:7; Acts 8:32 but is generally associated only with the species-generic "Lamb of God" which could be either sheep or goat.

c. "Devil in Sheep's clothing"

d. Evil 2-horned Lamb = 2 Jewish rebel leaders captured by Titus (Josephus Wars 6.214-217). The third, Eleazar ben Simon, was Killed by John of Gishala Ezeazar, before the temple burned.

2. The 2 horns represent the last two leaders that remained from Passover AD 70 to burning of temple in August when Eleazar who had been using the temple as a military outpost, was killed and John took over the temple and continued to use it as a military fortress. (Josephus Wars 5:105)

a. Simon ben Giora (Captured by Titus, executed)

b. John of Gischala (Captured by Titus, life in prison)

3. The imagery of the Beast from the Sea echoes the 587 BC destruction of the city were the Jewish False prophets who opposed Jeremiah.

a. The Sheep Beast that speaks like a devil = false prophet.

b. In a reversal of a wolf in sheep's clothing, the sheep (Torah compliant Jews) were in dragons clothing.

c. The specific figure is of a beast that looks a lamb (either sheep or goat) that speaks like a dragon.

d. The Jewish denial of the resurrection of Christ, lying that the disciples stole the body, is a lie of satan.

C. Two beasts on each side of the Jerusalem wall:

1. Notice the earth beast functions IN THE PRESENCE OF the sea beast.

a. The earth beast rules as an equal king in the presence of the sea beast: Rev 13:12

b. The earth beast performs signs in the presence of the sea beast: Rev 13:14.

2. This exactly describes the First Jewish War at Jerusalem:

a. The sea beast was Rome outside the wall, destroying Jerusalem on the outside.

b. The earth beast was the Jews inside the wall, destroying Jerusalem on the inside.

Rev 13:1

The Beast from the Sea: Nero/Rome

A. 10 horned Beast from the Sea: Rome. Nero who persecuted Christians 42 months

1. Beast from sea indicates a king from a land outside Israel who arrives by ship indicating Nero from Rome. Beast from Earth rises directly from the soils of the land of Judea proper indicating the native Jews.

2. The devil was working in concert with Rome and gave his power to Rome to destroy Christians.

3. "And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names." (Revelation 13:1)

a. Ten horns are the 10 Caesars from Julius to Vespasian including the three rebel/usurpers: Galba, Otho and Vitellius.

b. Seven heads are the 7 Caesars from Julius to Vespasian excluding the three rebel/usurpers: Galba, Otho and Vitellius.

4. While the Beast from the Sea is a composite of the 7 Caesars from Julius to Vespasian, the beast can only function through the one of the seven living at the time.

a. Therefore, the beast specifically, at this time refers to Nero who will persecute Christians for 3.5 years until his death.

b. After Nero dies, Vespasian will then be the living head to represent the sea beast when he orders Titus his son to destroy Jerusalem.

c. Finally, while Vespasian is alive, Titus (an 8th that is part of the 7) will also represent the Beast who destroys Jerusalem in that Titus burned the Temple.

d. Ultimately the goal of the beast is to destroy Jerusalem while persecuting Christians along the way to that final goal.

e. As we will see, the earth beast is the Jews who like the beast, persecute Christians and literally destroy Jerusalem with their own hands with the 3-way civil war in AD 69-70.

f. Both the beast from the sea and earth persecute Christians and are agents in carrying out God's vengeful wrath against the city that crucified his Son, Jesus the messiah.

5. Nero's persecution of Christians lasted exactly 3 ½ years starting mid November AD 64 - June AD 68

6. The identification of 666 is the beast from the sea not the beast from the earth:

a. The beast from the earth is in the presence of the "666" beast from the Sea.

b. 666 specifically identified Nero but in general, Rome.

B. Nero the great beast who persecuted Christians and claimed to be god:

1. Sibylline Oracles 5, AD 100:

a. The Sibylline Oracles are a mixed collection of Jewish/Christian writings that date from 250 BC down to the 4th century AD.

b. The Jewish Sibylline Oracles are contained in part, within books 3 to 5. In Sibylline Oracles 5.38-60 the Jews blame Nero for the destruction of the Jewish temple in AD 70 because the Jewish war began while he was Emperor. To them, Nero was very evil because he murdered countless Jews and he viewed himself equal with God.

c. "And one whose mark is fifty [The letter N, initial of Nero, the successor of Claudius. His murders, flight to the East, and expected return are repeatedly referred to in these oracles. Comp. book iv, 150-152; 175, 176] shall be lord, A dreadful serpent, breathing grievous war; He will stretch out his hands against his kin, And cut them off, and spread confusion wide, Fight, kill the people, and dare countless things. And he will cut the isthmus, and with gore besprinkle it. [isthmus of Corinth, which Nero attempted to cut through.] But this destructive one shall pass from sight and then return again, presuming to be equal unto God; But he will sift him as if he were naught. And after him will three kings be destroyed [Galba, Otho, and Vitellius] by one another. Then a great destroyer of pious men shall come, and he shall show conspicuously the letter seven times ten. [The letter O, initial of the Greek form of the name of Vespasian] His son, however, whose initial sign denotes three hundred [Titus], shall usurp the power. And after him shall be a destined one, a soul destroyer, of the number four. [The letter Δ, initial of Domitian] And then an old man numbering fifty comes [Nerva], And next to him, whose first initial marks three hundred, is a Celtic mountaineer; [Trajan is intended, who, however, was not of Celtic origin, but a Spaniard] Hastening away to battle in the East he shall not miserable fate escape." (Sibylline Oracles 5.38-60, 100 AD, translation and notes by Milton S. Terry 1890 AD)

2. Tertullian, AD 200: "So Tiberius, in whose reign the name of Christian entered the world, hearing from Palestine in Syria information which had revealed the truth of Christ's divinity, brought the matter before the Senate, with previous indication of his own approval. The Senators, on the ground that they had not verified the facts, rejected it. Caesar [Tiberus] maintained his opinion and threatened dire measures against those who brought accusations against the Christians. (3) Consult your histories: you will find in them that Nero was the first to rage with the imperial sword against this religion [Christianity] which was just at that particular time coming to life at Rome. We actually glory that such a person took the lead in condemning us. For, whoever knows him can understand that nothing save some magnificent good was ever condemned by Nero. (4) Domitian, too, somewhat of a Nero in cruelty [I.e. sub-type of Nero], made some attempts. But-being also, to a certain degree, human-he soon put a halt to what he had initiated and even recalled those whom he had exiled. Such have always been our persecutors, unjust, wicked, depraved men whom you yourselves are accustomed to condemn, while you have regularly recalled those whom they have condemned." (Tertullian Apol. 5.2-4, 200 AD)

3. Eusebius, AD 325: "While the rule was now being strengthened by Nero, he directed his course into unholy pursuits and began to arm himself against the religion [Christianity] dedicated to the God of the universe. It would not be part of the present study to describe the depravity of such a man as this one became. Since many, to be sure, have handed down his story in most accurate descriptions, it is possible for anyone at his pleasure to examine from them the crudeness of the man's degenerate madness. Under this influence he accomplished the death of so many thousands, quite without reason, and reached such a state of bloodguiltiness that he spared neither his nearest nor dearest and in various ways alike brought to death his mother, brothers, and wife,2 as well as thousands of other family relatives, as if they were enemies and foes. Yet, with all these crimes, there still remained this to be written about him-that he should be the first of the emperors to be pointed out [In Revelation 13] as a foe of divine religion [Christianity]. ... Thus, then, was this man heralded as above all the first fighter against God, and was raised up to slaughter the Apostles. It is recorded that Paul was beheaded in Rome itself and that Peter also was crucified in Nero's time,6 and the title of 'Peter and Paul' over the cemeteries there, which has prevailed to the present day." (Eusebius Hist. eccl. 2.25, 325 AD)

C. 666/616 = Nero (Isopsephy) = Sea Beast

1. The sea beast is identified as 666/616=Nero, not the earth beast.

a. There is a variant found in two ancient manuscripts that have 616 instead of 666.

b. What is important to note is the BOTH 616 and 666 spell "Nero Caesar".

c. This proves beyond any doubt that the early Christians understood the number to be Nero.

2. Isopsephy is the assigning of a single number to each letter of the alphabet so that every word, in any language has a corresponding numeric value. Here are some examples of how numbers are computed from names using isopsephy:

a. The number 666 computes to equal Nero Caesar transliterated into Hebrew: Nrwn Qsr: N = 50. R = 200. W = 6. N = 50. Q = 100. S = 60. R = 200.

b. The number 888 computes to equal Christ: I = 10, H = 8, Σ = 200, O = 70, Υ = 400, Σ = 200.)

c. In AD 79, a Romantic man scribbled a graffiti to his lover named "Adelphe" on the wall of the doomed Pompeii, dating from around AD 79: Φιλω ης αριθμος ϕμε, "I love her whose number is 545."

d. Suetonius AD 120:

i. Suetonius shows just how common isopsephy was at the time of Nero that a play on words depended directly upon noting that in Greek "Nero" and "his mother slew" both equal 1005.

ii. "It is surprising and of special note that all this time he bore nothing with more patience than the curses and abuse of the people, and was particularly lenient towards those who assailed him with gibes and lampoons. Of these many were posted or circulated both in Greek and Latin, for example the following: "Nero, Orestes, Alcmeon their mothers slew." "A calculation new. Nero his mother slew." (Suetonius, Nero 39.1-2, 120 AD)

e. If Nero's mother had been inspired by Johnny Cash and named him "Sue" [שושנה], Nero's number in Revelation 13 would have been 658!

f. What is the number of your name? You may be surprised to find out that YOUR name adds up to 666.

3. The Variant reading of 616:

a. The variant is found in Oxyrhynchus Papyri P115 (c AD 400) and Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (c. AD 450).

b. The 616 Variant ALSO = Nero Caesar transliterated into Latin: Nrw Qsr: N = 50. R = 200. W = 6. Q = 100. S = 60. R = 200.

c. For late-daters, it should be a wake-up call that Nero is the only name that equals both 666 and the variant 616. The chances of this happening by chance are very remote.

4. Irenaeus AD 200, is the only ancient Literary source the attempts to decode 666 through isopsephy.

a. He viewed 666 as the number of the antichrist who would arise at the end of time which of course proves he did not think it referred to Nero.

b. In Adv. Haer. 5.29.2 he notes of use of 6, 60 or 600 (I.e. 600 + 60 + 6 = 666] in scripture including the 600 years of Noah's age when the flood came, Nebuchadnezzar's pagan idol statue in Dan 3 was 6 x 60 cubits. Most intriguing is Irenaeus' use of Jewish "Days of the Messiah" theology that had the Messiah come before the earth was 6000 years old. Since the world was created in -5554 BC that meant that Tertullian expected the antichrist to proceed the second coming in AD 446.

c. In Adv. Haer. 5.30.3 he calculates the name three ways: "Evanthas, Lateinos and Titan".

d. It is therefore more certain, and less hazardous, to await the fulfilment of the prophecy, than to be making surmises, and casting about for any names that may present themselves, inasmuch as many names can be found possessing the number mentioned; and the same question will, after all, remain unsolved. For if there are many names found possessing this number, it will be asked which among them shall the coming man bear. It is not through a want of names containing the number of that name that I say this, but on account of the fear of God, and zeal for the truth: for the name Evanthas (ΕΥΑΝΘΑΣ) contains the required number, but I make no allegation regarding it. Then also Lateinos (ΛΑΤΕΙΝΟΣ) has the number six hundred and sixty-six; and it is a very probable [solution], this being the name of the last kingdom [of the four seen by Daniel]. For the Latins are they who at present bear rule: I will not, however, make any boast over this [coincidence]. Teitan too, (ΤΕΙΤΑΝ, the first syllable being written with the two Greek vowels ε and ι), among all the names which are found among us, is rather worthy of credit. For it has in itself the predicted number, and is composed of six letters, each syllable containing three letters; and [the word itself] is ancient, and removed from ordinary use; for among our kings we find none bearing this name Titan, nor have any of the idols which are worshipped in public among the Greeks and barbarians this appellation. Among many persons, too, this name is accounted divine, so that even the sun is termed "Titan" by those who do now possess [the rule]. This word, too, contains a certain outward appearance of vengeance, and of one inflicting merited punishment because he (Antichrist) pretends that he vindicates the oppressed. And besides this, it is an ancient name, one worthy of credit, of royal dignity, and still further, a name belonging to a tyrant. Inasmuch, then, as this name "Titan" has so much to recommend it, there is a strong degree of probability, that from among the many [names suggested], we infer, that perchance he who is to come shall be called "Titan." (Irenaeus Adv. Haer. 5.30.3)

5. The hidden meaning of 666:

a. There is no biblical and prophetic significance of the number 666.

b. Late-daters use numerology to suggest the meaning behind "6" is "one short of the divine number of 7". Yes this meaning of 6 is absent from literary sources. Further, the idea that 7 equals the God, misses the fact that the origin of use of 3, 3.5 and 7 traces back to the 9th century BC through the ministry of Elijah and Elisha. Irenaeus in Adv. Haer. 5.30.3 connected the number 6 to Noah and Nebuchadnezzar. (see above)

c. The simple meaning behind the number 666 is to repeat "6th Caesar", three times. So "666" equals "6th Caesar, 6th Caesar, 6th Caesar". It is repeated three times for emphasis.

d. What is even more incredible is that not only was Nero the 6th Caesar, but that his name equals 666 transliterated into two different languages.

e. Nero name was a double marker using the number six, where his name equals his king succession number "6".

f. Imagine if sum (isopsephy) of "Donald Trump" (the 45th president of the USA) equalled "45".

g. As we have seen, the numbers 3, 3.5 and 7 are all drawn from the 9th century BC during the Elijah and Elisha ministry. These numbers were picked up first by Daniel, echoed by the first century BC Jews in their writings, then finally used by John in the book of Revelation.

h. There is no special secret symbolism behind the number 6. Some say that 6 represents failure, falling one short of the perfection symbolized in 7 (Hailey, p299). The problem with this, is that the use of seven in Revelation was borrowed from Elijah, Elisha and Daniel, and was widely used in the first century Jewish synagogue songbook called, "The Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice". The Jews valued the number seven because it was special to Elijah, not because it symbolized perfection. Finally, no literary sources associate the number 6 with failure, evil or the devil.

6. Decoding 666 would be not be that difficult for the Greek speaking Jews in Asia to transliterate Nero into Hebrew to produce the sum of 666 on their own. 666 is only one clue given in Rev 13 to identify the beast. The second clue was in Rev 17 and every man woman and child, regardless of their spoken language, would know that the beast was the current Caesar in power: Nero. But the Hebrew speaking Jews in Jerusalem, for whom the book of Revelation was ultimately written for, they would immediately connect Nero with 666 as the number of the man which was immediately confirmed by their knowledge that Nero was the living Caesar. In other words, Nero would be the very first name that came to mind and anybody who didn't speak Hebrew could easily seek out those Hebrew speakers, who immediately solved the riddle that 666 = Nero.

7. Later-dater Homer Hailey, spiritualizes the number 666 through numerology to make "6" simply mean "failure" or one short of the divine number "7". Hailey therefore does not think 666 even refers to any single man including Nero, Domitian or Hitler.

a. Hailey tries to connect the Redivivus Myth of Nero's persecution of Christians, coming alive again in Domitian by quoting Tertullian Apology 5 "Domitian was a man of Nero's type."

b. Here is the full Tertullian quote: "Consult your histories: you will find in them that Nero was the first to rage with the imperial sword against this religion [Christianity] which was just at that particular time coming to life at Rome. We actually glory that such a person took the lead in condemning us. For, whoever knows him can understand that nothing save some magnificent good was ever condemned by Nero. (4) Domitian, too, somewhat of a Nero in cruelty [I.e. sub-type of Nero], made some attempts. But-being also, to a certain degree, human-he soon put a halt to what he had initiated and even recalled those whom he had exiled. Such have always been our persecutors, unjust, wicked, depraved men whom you yourselves are accustomed to condemn, while you have regularly recalled those whom they have condemned." (Tertullian Apol. 5.2-4, 200 AD)

c. The problem is that a simple reading of the entire Tertullian passage shows that he felt that Nero was a much greater persecutor of Christians than Domitian. Tertullian calls Domitian civilized compared to Nero "to a certain degree, human".

d. Tertullian says that Domitian (unlike Nero who history shows persecuted Christians to his death) stopped persecuting Christians and recalled those he exiled. This utterly destroys the late-dater's idea that Domitian was a greater persecutor of Christians than Nero. In fact, Tertullian indicates that it was early in Domitian's 15-year reign (AD 81-96) that he "SOON put a stop" shortly after starting the persecution.

e. Finally, Tertullian says Domitian released his prisoners before he died which directly contradicts Victorious (both fondly quoted by late-daters) who said that John was released from prison AFTER Domitian died (Victorious): "Domitian being killed, all his judgments were discharged. And John being dismissed from the [Patmos] mines, thus subsequently delivered the same Apocalypse"." (Victorious, Revelation 10:11, 300 AD)

8. Late-dater Dan King adopted Hailey's spiritualization of the number 666 as "one short of perfection" (i.e. six is one short of the Divine number 7). But then King expanded upon this by calling 666 a "Satanic Trinity" where the Dragan and the two beasts (1 + 2 = 3) mimic the Death burial and resurrection of Christ through the Nero Redivivus Myth. He finally notes that the name of Christ is symbolized as the number 888 (p259).

a. Then King makes an about face and suggests that if the number 666 does point to Nero, it doesn't actually refer to Nero before he died in 9th June AD 68, but to "his risen self in the form of another ... the second great persecutor of the church, Domitian" (p52).

b. Another classic case of having it both ways at once.

E. Nero is King #6 of Beast from Sea and 666 which dates the book to AD 66:

1. The Text: "Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality." And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, [notice the "mystery" name indicates it is not literal Babylon but Jerusalem!] "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus [crucifixion of Christ and persecution of Christians in Jerusalem]. When I saw her, I wondered greatly. And the angel said to me, "Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. "The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and 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. "Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, and they are seven kings; five have fallen [Julius Caesar - Claudius], one is [Nero, 54-AD 68, NRON QSR = 666, dates book of Revelation to AD 66], the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while." (Revelation 17:1-10)

2. Hermeneutically:

a. Nero is the beast from sea in Rev 13:1

b. Nero = The beast from Sea = 666 (Rev 13) = 8th Caesar in Rev 17

c. Nero is the beast from the sea = 666 in Rev 13:17-18

d. Nero is the 6th Caesar in Rev 17:10

e. Nero is symbolically resurrected the 8th Caesar, Titus in Rev 17:11

f. Connecting the Beast from the Sea with 666 in Rev 13: "he [beast from earth] provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast [of the sea] or the number of his name [Nero-beast from sea]. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast [from sea], for the number is that of a man [Nero]; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six." (Revelation 13:17-18)

3. 666 = Nero:

a. Nero when transliterated into Hebrew equals 666. Nobody denies this, but strangely this is ignored when none of the other Caesar's name come close to equaling 666.

b. Nero is the 6th Caesar from Julius Caesar who founded the Roman Empire and Vespasian is the 7th who destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70 by Titus his son who succeeded his father in AD 79.

4. Babylon = Harlot = Jerusalem

a. Babylon is the "mystery name" of literal Jerusalem.

b. Like a parable of Jesus, the non-Christians Jews would never equate Babylon with Jerusalem, but the Christians immediately understood the connection.

c. Peter, who was a bishop in Jerusalem most of his life, called Jerusalem "Babylon".

i. "She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings." (1 Peter 5:13)

ii. Expanded paraphrase: "The Christians who reside as aliens and exiles in Jerusalem whose native residents are hostile to us, send greetings.

iii. "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen" (1 Peter 1:1)

iv. "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation." (1 Peter 2:11-12)

5. Late-daters are more conflicted than Catwoman, when it comes to the sequence of 7 + 1 Caesars and the meaning of 666. In order to avoid Nero being #6, they write pages about why Julius cannot be the #1 only to throw the literal numbering system out the window altogether and spiritualize the number 7.

a. Late-daters say Domitian, not Nero, was alive when Revelation was written by John. Yet taken at face value, the "living Caesar" is Caesar #6 according to Rev 17:10. But for late-daters, Domitian is actually the 9th Caesar if Julius is correctly counted as the 1st. Since late-daters ignore Julius and Augustus is their preferred starting Caesar in the numeric sequence this makes Domitian is 8th. The obvious problem is that under both scenarios, it is impossible for late-daters to count Domitian as the 6th Caesar.

b. As a late-dater, Homer Hailey said Rev 17:8-12 was the most difficult passage in the book to interpret. For early-daters, it is very easy! Unable to get the numbers to work, late-later Homer Hailey spiritualizes the 7 Caesars so that they do not represent a sequence or anybody specifically (p353). This allowed him to just ignore the contradiction between the Caesar actually alive when John wrote Revelation and the living "who is Caesar" of Rev 10:10. Hailey even spiritualized the 7 churches of Rev 2-3 as not literally 7 local churches but a composite message for the global church. (p353)

c. Dan King also struggles with the a simple literal sequence of 7 kings counting 1 to 7, saying they are "not simple to navigate" (p291) and that John "has not told us enough" to easily identify a sequence of 7 men (p294) and approaches the list of 7 "in a different way" (p49). He wisely rejects Hailey's spiritualization of the 7 churches but then goes on to spiritualize the "7 heads" which are not are a literal, consecutive and precise order of Caesars starting with either Julius or Augustus. To solve his numeric problem, that plagues all Late-daters, King said the 7 heads are simply a "metaphor for the Roman Empire" (p293). Puzzlingly, after emphasizing the totally spiritual nature of the 7 and 10 Caesars, King then does go on to identify Nero as Caesar #1 and Domitian as Caesar #7. Then after a huge-time gap of about 188 years, the 8th Caesar of Rev 17:11 is "probably a future shadowy leader, perhaps the last in the line of Roman Emperors who persecute the church like Diocletian or even the final government figure before the Lord's return" (p50). After Nero (#1) dies, King suggests that each successive leader (#2-#8) is a symbolic reincarnation of Nero, drawing on the Redivivus myth. Each leader acts like a resurrected Nero. King finally settles on Domitian as the 666 beast who was "a single representative of a long line of such men who take to themselves divine epitaphs and make outrageous claims of divinity. He [i.e. Domitian] is also here seen as the persecutor Nero revived (his death stroke was healed). Historically this turned out to be an accurate depiction of Domitian". (p253) This, however, is at variance with the wide belief voiced in literary sources that Nero was the fatally wounded beast in Rev 13 and 17, who also literally comes back from the dead at the end of the world in cohort with the dragon, Satan himself. While some ancient literary sources described Vespasian "Nero-Like" none of them ever directly connected the Redivivus myth to Vespasian or any other Caesar as a Nero-incarnate.

i. King's most serious error is the fact that the idea of "worship the emperor or die" was unknown during the reign of Domitian.

ii. Further, Roman historian Suetonius was alive during the reign of Domitian and describes as a sensible and human man who hated any form of bloodshed at the beginning of his reign: "He [Domitian] administered justice scrupulously and conscientiously, frequently holding special sittings on the tribunal in the Forum. He rescinded such decisions of the Hundred Judges as were made from interested motives. He often warned the arbiters not to grant claims for freedom made under false pretenses. He degraded jurors who accepted bribes, together with all their associates." (Suetonius, Dom. 8.1, 126 AD) "In the earlier part of his [Domitian] reign he so shrank from any form of bloodshed, that while his father was still absent from the city, he planned to issue an edict that no oxen should be offered up." (Suetonius, Dom. 9.1, 126 AD)

iii. In AD 200, Tertullian said that Domitian was "somewhat human" in persecution compared to Nero. Most important is that the persecutions ended at the start of Domitian's reign, at which time he released all the exiles from prisons like Patmos. "Consult your histories: you will find in them that Nero was the first to rage with the imperial sword against this religion [Christianity] ... Domitian, too, somewhat of a Nero in cruelty, made some attempts. But-being also, to a certain degree, human-he soon put a halt to what he had initiated and even recalled those whom he had exiled." (Tertullian Apol. 5.2-4, 200 AD)

iv. All this demonstrates the standard late-dater narrative about Domitian being a greater persecutor of Christians than Nero to be at serious variance with actual historical accounts.

v. Such ancient sources trigger the collapse of the foundation upon which late-daters lay their broader interpretation of Revelation written in AD 96 when Domitian died and John was released from Patmos.

d. Equally bizarre, early-dater Foy Wallace correctly identifies the 7 heads as Julius to Vespasian, but connects the 10 horns with the 10 days of tribulation of the church at Smyrna as 10 persecuting Caesars starting with Nero and ending with Diocletian. This makes Smyrna's 10 days of tribulation last over 200 years! (p371)

e. Early-dater Arthur Ogden correctly identifies Titus as the 8th head that was healed. (p331)

f. It is much easier to just take the simple literal early date view of 7 kings from Julius to Vespasian and the 8th as Titus who burned the Jerusalem temple.

6. All this confusion is avoided by viewing the 7 heads, 8 heads and 10 horns as the identical time period from Julius to Vespasian terminating in AD 70.

a. The 7 heads are Julius to Vespasian without the 3 usurpers and date from 49 BC to AD 70.

b. The 10 horns are Julius to Vespasian including the 3 usurers and date from 49 BC to AD 70.

c. The Angel's statement in Rev 17:12, that the "ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom" references back to the prophecy of Daniel 7. The angel points out the beast with 10 horns and 7 heads spoken of by Daniel in 550 BC, which at that time, all of the 10 kings were still hundreds of years in the future. Additionally, the Angel's statement speaks of the 10 kings as a whole unit, which at the time of John in AD 66 four of them are still future. We know the ten kings are the same Roman Caesars as the 7 heads for certain, because Rev 17:16-18 describes how the ten kings are unified in their mission to destroy Jerusalem (the "Harlot" and "great city"). The 7 heads and ten kings finish their work in AD 70 being the same identical Caesars described in two different ways.

d. These ten kings cannot be the Herods and/or the Governors of Judea as Ogden suggests (p331) because the numbers don't work. There were 6 kings of the Herod Dynasty: Herod, Archelaus, Antipas, Phillip II, Agrippa I, Agrippa II. There were 14 Judean Governors, usually appointed for 2 year reigns: Coponius 6-9 AD, Marcus Ambibulus 9-12 AD, Annius Rufus 12-15 AD, Valerius Gratus 15-26 AD, Pontius Pilate 26-36 AD, Marcellus 36-37 AD, Marullus 37-41 AD, Cuspius Fadus 44-46 AD, Tiberius Alexander 46-48 AD, Cumanus 48-52 AD, Antonius Felix 52-57 AD, Porcius Festus 57-62 AD, Albinus 62-64 AD, Gessius Florus 64-66 AD.

e. Clearly the "ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom" doesn't mean all ten kings will rise after Nero.

f. Julius is the first head, which automatically makes Nero #6 when Revelation was written. The temple was destroyed while Vespasian, the 7th Caesar was emperor. The "8th who was part of the 7" is Titus and he is also the resurrected Nero-figure of the Redivivus Myth that was the actual agent who burned down the temple of God in Jerusalem. It really is that simple.

D. Nero is the 6th Caesar starting with Julius as the 1st:

1. Not including Julius Caesar as the first emperor of the list of 7 is like ignoring George Washington as the first USA president. Although Julius died before ever gaining control of the entire world, he is the true genesis of the Roman empire and first century culture considered Julius the first Caesar. It matters not that full control of all four branches (horns) of the Greek kingdom did not come under full control until the time of Octavian in 31 BC when Anthony and Cleopatra committed suicide.

2. The very term "Caesar" which every one of Julius' successors called themselves and was directly derived from Julius.

a. "It is universally accepted that Julius was the first emperor. Caesar was the family name. After Julius Caesar it was carried on by his successors so that it took on the meaning of "emperor." The name carried over into German as "Kaiser," which is similar to the pronunciation of "Caesar" in Latin. In Russia, it carried over as Tsar." (Rodger Young, email 2022)

3. Julius Caesar was the great conqueror: I came, I saw, I conquered (Veni, vidi, vici)

a. "Amongst the pageantry of the Pontic triumph, a tablet with this inscription was carried before him: I CAME, I SAW, I CONQUERED; not signifying, as other mottos on the like occasion, what was done, so much as the dispatch with which it was done." (Suetonius, Julius 37)

b. "And because he would advertise one of his friends of the suddenness of this victory, he only wrote three words unto Anitius at Rome: ""Veni, vidi, vici:" I came, I saw, I overcame." These three words, ending all with like sound and letter in the Latin, have a certain short grace more pleasant to the ear than can be well expressed in any other tongue." (Plutarchus, Lives of the Roman emperors, Caesar 50, d. 120 AD)

c. "Then he sprang upon his horse and at the first shout put Pharnaces to flight and killed a large number of the enemy, although he had with him only about 1000 of his own cavalry who had accompanied him in the advance. Here it is said that he exclaimed, "O fortunate Pompey, who wast considered and named the Great for warring against such men as these in the time of Mithridates, the father of this man." Of this battle he wrote to Rome the words, "I came, I saw, I conquered." (Appian, Bell. Civ. 2.91)

4. The Jews loved Julius Caesar. To not count Julius as the first Emperor would be contrary to universal Jewish thinking. The Book of Revelation was written to Jews, who understood Julius as the first Caesar.

5. The Jews offered sacrifices at the Jerusalem temple twice a day on behalf of Caesar. This was not Caesar worship, but a way of seeking God's blessing for Julius the same way Christians are told to pray for their kings and rulers.

a. "Petronius then quieted them, and said to them, "Will you then make war against [Julius] Caesar?" (197) The Jews said, "We offer sacrifices twice every day for Caesar, and for the Roman people;" but that if he would place the images among them, he must first sacrifice the whole Jewish nation; and that they were ready to expose themselves, together with their children and wives, to be slain." (Wars 2.196-197)

6. Julius overthrew the Ptolemaic empire, who under Antiochus IV, had desecrated the Jewish temple in 167 BC, an event remembered annually as Hanukkah. To the Jews, Julius was a hero for defeating their enemy. They would surely count him as the first Emperor of Rome.

7. Julius had shown many special acts of kindness and had granted the Jews special legal status rights to worship YHWH in freedom, and an exemption from worshipping the Roman pagan gods. This included the right of synagogues to make collections of money and send the money to Jerusalem. Several decrees had been issued protecting the rights of the Jews. (Details in Emperor worship section.)

8. The Jews loved Julius Caesar and voluntarily mourned in large numbers several days in a row after his assassination:

a. "At the height of the public grief [death of Julius] a throng of foreigners went about lamenting each after the fashion of his country, above all the Jews, who even flocked to the place for several successive nights." (Suetonius, Julius 84.5)

9. Julius called himself emperor and all who followed him called themselves after his name "Caesar":

a. b. "For not only did he accept excessive honours, such as an uninterrupted consulship, the dictatorship for life, and the censorship of public morals, as well as the forename Imperator [praenomen Imperatoris]". (Suetonius, Julius 76.1, AD 120)

b. "In the seven hundred and twenty-second year from the foundation of the city, but the four hundred and eightieth from the expulsion of the kings, the custom was resumed at Rome of absolute obedience to one man, with, instead of rex, the appellation imperator [praenomen Imperatoris- Julius] or the more venerable name Augustus." (Sextus Aurelius Victor, Epitome 1:1)

c. 7 or 10 Caesars? Daniel and Revelation counted both 7 and 10 Caesars:

a. The list of 10 included the usurpers and the list of 7 excludes the 3 usurpers. 7 heads/kings and 10 horns/kings refer to the same time period counted two different ways

b. It is an amazing fulfilled prophecy that Daniel foresaw 650 years in advance, that the three usurper Caesars, Gabla, Otho and Vitellius would occur in sequence during the Roman empire. Daniel predicted the four kingdoms, the 4 way division after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, the sequence of 10 Roman Caesars which included 3 usurpers. What is even more remarkable is that happened within a short time and they are the only rebel Caesars up to AD 100. The detail and precision is a powerful evidence for the inspiration of scripture. Daniel got it exactly right

c. It is not Daniel vs. Revelation, but Daniel agrees with Revelation!!! Daniel counted all ten, but then removed the 3 usurper Caesars. The Revelation, like Daniel uses a double counting system for 10 and 7 Caesars.

d. Historian Suetonius in The Lives Of The Caesars, written AD 70-160 dismisses Gabla, Otho and Vitellius, calling them the "rebellion of the three emperors".

e. We do the same thing when we do not include Absalom as a king, even though he ruled in 979 BC as king in Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 15:10-37) Name the first two kings of the divided kingdom and you will be wrong if you said Rehoboam and Jeroboam! We do not include Ish-bosheth as the first king of the divided kingdom 75 years before Solomon died! You probably never even heard of Ish-bosheth! Yet for two years Ish-bosheth was king of the 11 northern tribes at Mahanaim (1005-1003 BC) while David ruled in Hebron. Ish-bosheth is Saul's youngest son whom Abner made King at age 40. (2 Samuel 2:8-11)

f. The seven heads of Rev 13:1; 17:11 focus on the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 represented in Julius to Vespasian excluding the three usurpers Galba, Otho, and Vitellius.

g. The ten horns of Rev 13:1; 17:12 focus on the Jewish Holocaust and renaming Judea and Jerusalem in AD 135 represented in Julius to Vespasian, including the three usurpers Galba, Otho, and Vitellius.

h. Notice that the all the seven heads were official crowned with diadems but not all of the 10 because of the three usurpers. This is how we are able to decode the meaning that the 7 heads and 10 horns refer to the same time period counting Caesars in two different ways. "Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems." (Revelation 12:3)

i. Revelation was written year AD 66, two years before Nero died and the three usurpers, Galba, Otho, and Vitellius claimed the throne. The Christians would have no problem identifying Nero as the 6th Caesar, then understand, after the fact, the prophetic nature of the two different counting methods of 7 heads (legitimate Caesars) and 10 horns (Legitimate + usurpers). They would understand Vespasian as the last 7th Caesar, under whom Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus the 8th Caesar.

j. We know that Nero the Beast first persecutes Christians in Rome for 3.5 years, then through the Redivivus Myth, Nero rises from the dead symbolically in the person of Titus (8th Caesar), who then destroys Jerusalem in AD 70.

10. Objection to Julius being #1: "Julius was never called a king so he cannot be king #1 of Revelation 17."

a. Late-dater s will refuse to include Julius as king #1 of the list of 7 because he was never called king. In fact, most Roman Caesars refused to be called king. As we will see, this is an historically false hermeneutic. To begin with to be so specific about being called king begs the question that none of them were ever called literal heads or mountains. Remember that John had to be told in Rev 17:9-10 that the 7 heads were 7 mountain, which really were 7 literal kings. John obviously understood the term king was a generic term that denoted the entire house of Julius Caesar down to the present time.

b. For previous centuries, Romans did not like calling their leaders "kings". The same is true in Canada and the USA. Imagine if a sitting president suddenly started demanding he be called a king. (In spite of the fact that he really is in every sense of the definition.) Likewise, Julius had no problem being called "the Divine" or the two traditional republican titles of imperator "emperor" and princeps "first man" but refused to call himself king "rex" due to the social stigma. Julius was only in power for 6 years and had to tread carefully so as to not create unnecessary social problems for himself from his populous. So "odious", as Suetonius records, was being called KING, that even Augustus also initially avoided being called king like Julius.

c. Since both Julius and Augustus refused to be called kings, due to negative social stigma attached to the title of king (rex) among the general Roman population, perhaps Late-dater s should start their KING count with Tiberius.

d. That Augustus/Octavian avoided the term KING is witnessed that REX never appears on any of his hundreds of minted coin denominations. The author has personally excavated the coins of both Nero and Trajan at Kh. El-Maqatir and none of them have REX inscribed on them. Left is a Roman coin of Nero dedicating the port of Ostia, the seaport for the city of Rome. Right is a Judean coin of Festus minted in AD 59, year 5 of Nero, excavated by the author.

e. The fact remains that the New Testament and almost every ancient literary source routinely referred to the sum of all Roman leaders as kings.

f. Suetonius: "To an insult which so plainly showed his contempt for the Senate he added an act of even greater insolence; for at the Latin Festival, as he was returning to the city, amid the extravagant and unprecedented demonstrations of the populace, someone in the press placed on his [Julius'] statue a laurel wreath with a white [colour of royalty] fillet tied to it; and when Epidius Marullus and Caesetius Flavus, tribunes of the commons, gave orders that the ribbon be removed from the crown and the man taken off to prison, [Julius] Caesar sharply rebuked and deposed them [for removing the white ribbon from his statue- indicating he wanted to keep it], either offended that the hint at regal power [of a king] had been received with so little favour [he was expecting much more than a simple white ribbon], or, as he asserted, that he had been robbed of the glory of refusing it [removing the ribbon robbed him of being called king]. But from that time on he could not rid himself of the odium of having aspired to the title of monarch [specifically being called a KING], although he replied to the commons, when they hailed him as king, "I am Caesar and no king," and at the Lupercalia, when the consul Antony several times attempted to place a crown upon his head as he spoke from the rostra, he put it aside and at last sent it to the Capitol, to be offered to Jupiter Optimus Maximus. Nay, more, the report had spread in various quarters that he intended to move to Ilium or Alexandria, taking with him the resources of the state, draining Italy by levies, and leaving it and the charge of the city to his friends; also that at the next meeting of the Senate Lucius Cotta would announce as the decision of the Fifteen [college of fifteen priests in charge of the Sibylline books], that inasmuch as it was written in the books of fate that the Parthians could be conquered only by a king, Caesar should be given that title [of king]." (Suetonius, Julius 79.1-80.1, 120 AD)

F. Ancient literary sources that count Julius 1st, Octavian 2nd and Hadrian 15th:

1. Josephus (AD 70)

a. Antiquities 18:32 "When Cyrenius had now disposed of Archelaus's money, and when the taxings were come to a conclusion, which were made in the thirty-seventh year of [Julius] Caesar's victory over Antony at Actium, he deprived Joazar of the High Priesthood, which dignity had been conferred on him by the multitude, and he appointed Ananus, the son of Seth, to be High Priest; (27) while Herod and Philip had each of them received their own tetrarchy, and settled the affairs thereof. Herod also built a wall about Sepphoris (which is the security of all Galilee), and made it the metropolis of the country. He also built a wall round Betharanphtha, which was itself a city also, and called it Julias, from the name of the emperor's wife. (28) When Philip, also, had built Paneas, a city, at the fountains of Jordan, he named it Cesarea. He also advanced the village Bethsaida, situate at the lake of Gennesareth, unto the dignity of a city, both by the number of inhabitants it contained, and its other grandeur, and called it by the name of Julias, the same name with Caesar's daughter. 2. (29) As Coponius, who we told you was sent along with Cyrenius, was exercising his office of procurator, and governing Judea, the following accidents happened. As the Jews were celebrating the feast of unleavened bread, which we call the Passover, it was customary for the priests to open the temple gates just after midnight. (30) When, therefore, those gates were first opened, some of the Samaritans came privately into Jerusalem, and threw about dead men's bodies in the cloisters; on which account the Jews afterward excluded them out of the temple, which they had not used to do at such festivals; and on other accounts also they watched the temple more carefully than they had formerly done. (31) A little after which accident, Coponius returned to Rome, and Marcus Ambivius came to be his successor in that government; under whom Salome, the sister of king Herod, died, and left to Julia [Caesar's wife], Jamnia, all its toparchy, and Phasaelis in the plain, and Archelaus, where is a great plantation of palm trees, and their fruit is excellent in its king. (32) After him came Annius Rufus, under whom died Caesar [Octavian], the second emperor of Romans, the duration of whose reign was fifty-seven years, besides six months and two days (of which time Antonius ruled together with him fourteen years; but the duration of his life was seventy-seven years); (33) upon whose death Tiberius [Caesar] Nero, his wife Julia's son, succeeded." (Josephus Antiquities 18.25-33)

b. Antiquities 16.162-165: "Caesar Augustus, High Priest and tribune of the people, ordains thus:-Since the nation of the Jews have been found grateful to the Roman people, not only at this time but in times past also, and chiefly Hyrcanus the High Priest, under my father [Augustus here called Julius Caesar his father, though by birth he was only his uncle, on account of his adoption by him. See the same, Antiq. 14.14.4] , Caesar the emperor [Julius], (163) it seemed good to me and my counsellors, according to the sentence and oath of the people of Rome, that the Jews have liberty to make use of their own customs, according to the law of their forefathers, as they made use of them under Hyrcanus, the High Priest of Almighty God; and that their sacred money be not touched, but be sent to Jerusalem, and that it be committed to the care of the receivers at Jerusalem; and that they be not obliged to go before any judge on the Sabbath day, nor on the day of the preparation to it, after the ninth hour; (164) but if any be caught stealing their holy books, or their sacred money, whether it be out of the synagogue or public school, he shall be deemed a sacrilegious person, and his goods shall be brought into the public treasury of the Romans. (165) And I give order that the testimonial which they have given me, on account of my regard to that piety which I exercise toward all mankind, and out of regard to Caius Marcus Censorinus, together with the present decree, be proposed in that most eminent place which hath been consecrated to me by the community of Asia at Ancyra. And if anyone transgress any part of what is above decreed, he shall be severely punished." This was inscribed upon a pillar in the temple of Caesar. (Josephus Antiquities 16.162-165)

2. 2 Esdras 12:10 (AD 90)

a. "Then he answered me: This is the interpretation of this vision that you saw. 11 The eagle you observed coming up out of the sea is the fourth kingdom [Rome] that appeared in a vision to Daniel, your brother. 12 But it was not interpreted to him in the same way that I now interpret [it] to you or as I have interpreted [it]. 13 Indeed, days are coming when a kingdom will rise on earth that will be more dreadful than all the kingdoms that existed before it. 14 Twelve kings will hold sway over it, one after another. 15 The second [Augustus] to assume power will hold [it] longer than [any other one of] the twelve. 16 This is the interpretation of the twelve wings you saw." (2 Esdras 12:10-15, 90 AD)

b. "Then, in the second night, I had a dream [in which] I saw an eagle coming up out of the sea; it had twelve feathered wings and three heads. As I kept looking, it spread out its wings over the whole earth, so that all the winds of heaven blew upon it and the clouds gathered around it. ... 12 When I looked on the right side I saw one wing [Julius Caesar] rise and it held sway over the whole earth. 13 Then after its rule ended it disappeared so that even its place was no longer visible. Then the next one rose up [Octavian] and held sway for a long time." (2 Esdras 11:1-2, 12-13, 90 AD)

c. "The date and purpose of our book are closely related, as in other books of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. 2 Esdras 3-14 almost certainly comes from the last decade of the first century a.d. or soon thereafter, as may be deduced from the eagle vision (chs. 11-12) and the date mentioned in 3:1. Though that vision may have undergone revision, it appears fairly clear that it received its main thrust from events in the Vespasian-Domitianic period (a.d. 69-96). From 10:20 ff. we learn that Jerusalem had been destroyed (Jos. War 6:8:5; 6:10:1; 7:5:2) and its sacred worship paraphernalia plundered (ibid. 6:8:3)."The description given here coincides with that of the Jewish historian. (AYBC, I & II Esdras: Introduction, p 129, 2008 AD)

3. Epistle of Barnabas (AD 100)

a. "And so also speaks the prophet: "Ten kingdoms will reign [Julius to Vespasian] over the earth, and after them a little king will arise [Vespasian], who will subdue three of the kings [Galba, Otho, Viltellius] with a single blow." (5) Similarly Daniel says, concerning the same one: "And I saw the fourth beast, wicked and powerful and more dangerous than all the beasts of the earth, and how ten horns [Julius to Vespasian] sprang up from it, and from these a little offshoot of a horn [Vespasian], and how it subdued three of the large horns [Galba, Otho, Viltellius] with a single blow." (Epistle of Barnabas 4.4-5, 100 AD)

4. Sibylline Oracles (AD 100-175)

a. 15 Caesars of the Sibylline Oracles are counted by starting with Julius and Hadrian as the fifteenth. The only way Hadrian can be the #15, is if you count back to Julius as #1, including Galba, Otho, and Vitellius. Just as the first Jewish war was ended when the 7th head (Vespasian) destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70, so too second Jewish war ended when the 15th king (Hadrian) murdered millions of Jews and renamed Judea and Jerusalem. Historically, the revenge of God for the Jew's rejection of their Messiah and the persecution of Christians brought about the permanent extinction of functional Mosaic Judaism in a two-step process that started with Titus destroying the temple and ended with Hadrian renaming Jerusalem and Judea and building a Temple of Jupiter over the temple mount. The key is that there was special significance in these 15 kings that first involve Vespasian destroying the temple and ending with Hadrian as the second final death blow to the Jewish nation. This Vespasian/Hadrian theme is echoed also in Appian of Alexandria. (see below)

b. Dating the Sibylline Oracles as mixed Jewish and Christian writings:

i. Sibylline Oracles 5: AD 100: "The prominence of the Nero legend in Sibylline Oracles 2,3,4 and 5 requires a date no earlier than a.d. 70 but more probably later than 80. The latest possible date for the collection is supplied by the favorable reference to Hadrian in verses 46-50, which must have been written before the Jewish revolt of a.d. 132." (The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, James H. Charlesworth, Volume 1 Sibylline Oracles 5, Vol 1, Page 390, 1983 AD)

ii. Sibylline Oracles 8: AD 175: "The date of [Sibylline Oracles 8] verses 1-216 can be fixed with some precision. Verses 65-74 envisage the return of Nero during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Therefore this oracle must have been written before the death of that emperor in a.d. 180. Verses 148f. say that Rome will have completed 948 years before it is destroyed. Strictly speaking, that should point to a date of a.d. 195. However, given that this destruction of Rome is still in the future, and that Sibylline chronology is never exact, this statement is quite compatible with a date about a.d. 175." (The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, James H. Charlesworth, Volume 1 Sibylline Oracles 8, Vol 1, Page 416, 1983 AD)

c. "there will be the first prince [Julius] who will sum up twice ten with his initial letter (Kaisar =Caesar; K is 20). He will conquer long in wars. He will have his first letter of ten (Julius), so that after him will reign whoever obtained as initial the first of the alphabet (A = Augustus)." (Sibylline Oracles 5.12-15, AD 100)

d. "But when, luxurious one [I.e. luxury living], you have had fifteen kings [Julius to Hadrian] who enslaved the world from east to west, there will be a gray-haired prince with the name of a nearby sea [#15 = Hadrian/Adrian = Adriatic Sea], inspecting the world with polluted foot, giving gifts. Having abundant gold, he will also gather more silver from his enemies [Jews] and strip and undo them [Jews]. He will participate in all the mysteries of magic shrines. He will display a child as god and undo all objects of reverence [Rename Judea to Palaestina- Palestine "land of the Philistines and Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina]. (Sibylline Oracles 8.50-57, 175 AD)

e. Appian: The Vespasian/Hadrian "15 kings" theme also seen in Appian:

i. Appian confirms the Vespasian/Hadrian involvement in destroying the Jewish nation as a known theme of the "15 Caesars".

ii. "The Jewish nation still resisted, and Pompey conquered them, sent their king, Aristobulus, to Rome, and destroyed their greatest, and to them holiest, city, Jerusalem, as Ptolemy, the first king of Egypt, had formerly done. It was afterward rebuilt and Vespasian destroyed it again [AD 70], and Hadrian did the same in our time [AD 135]. On account of these rebellions the tribute imposed [by Pompey in 63 BC] upon all Jews is heavier per capita than upon the generality of taxpayers." (Appian of Alexandria, Syrian Wars, 8.50, 150 AD)

5. Dio Chrysostom (AD 115)

a. Dio Chrysostom, like Josephus, refers to Augustus as the second Caesar.

b. "For, men of Tarsus, it has come to pass that you are foremost among your people, not merely because your city is the greatest of all the cities of Cilicia and a metropolis from the start, but also because you beyond all others gained the friendly support of the second Caesar [I.e. Augustus]." (Dio Chrysostom, Orator 34:7, 115 AD)

6. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (AD 120)

a. Suetonius wrote an extensive history of each Roman Caesar called The Lives of The Caesars and he starts with Julius and devote 89 chapters until moving on to the second Caesar, Octavian Augustus. He also dismisses Gabla, Otho and Vitellius calling them the "rebellion of the three emperors". We also notice the Julius was considered "deified" by Suetonius and made reference to the Image of Julius that was worshipped.

b. "Then, overtaking his cohorts at the river Rubicon, which was the boundary of his province, he paused for a while, and realising what a step he was taking, he turned to those about him and said: "Even yet we may turn back; but once cross you little bridge, and the whole issue is with the sword." (Suetonius, Julius 31.1-2, AD 120)

c. "Not long afterwards he [Augustus in AD 31]won the sea-fight at Actium ... The young Antony, the elder of Fulvia's two sons, he [Augustus] dragged from the image of the Deified Julius, to which he had fled after many vain entreaties, and slew him." (Suetonius, Suet., Augustus 17.3, AD 120)

d. "the only work [of Suetonius] which has come down to us entire, or nearly so, is the Lives of the Caesars, published in AD 120. It includes the biographies of twelve "Caesars," from Julius to Domitian". (Suetonius, Volumes I & II: The Lives of Caesars, J. C. Rolfe, 1914 AD)

7. Theophilus of Antioch (AD 115-181 AD)

a. "The annual magistrates ruled the Romans, as we say, for 453 years. Afterwards those who are called emperors began in this order: first, Caius Julius, who reigned 3 years 4 months 6 days; then Augustus, 56 years 4 months 1 day; Tiberius, 22 years; then another Caius, 3 years 8 months 7 days; Claudius, 23 years 8 months 24 days; Nero, 13 years 6 months 28 days; Galba, 2 years 7 months 6 days; Otho, 3 months 5 days; Vitellius, 6 months 22 days; Vespasian, 9 years 11 months 22 days; Titus, 2 years 22 days; Domitian, 15 years 5 months 6 days; Nerva, 1 year 4 months 10 days; Trajan, 19 years 6 months 16 days; Adrian, 20 years 10 months 28 days; Antoninus, 22 years 7 months 6 days; Verus, 19 years 10 days. The time therefore of the Cæsars to the death of the Emperor Verus is 237 years 5 days. From the death of Cyrus, therefore, and the reign of Tarquinius Superbus, to the death of the Emperor Verus, the whole time amounts to 744 years." (Theophilus of Antioch to Autolycus 3.27, 115-181 AD)

8. Cassius Dio (AD 155-235)

a. In book 41, Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon River and is consistently called Caesar.

b. "When Caesar was informed of this, he came to Ariminum [modern Rimini], then for the first time overstepping the confines of his own province [I.e. crossed the Rubicon River], and after assembling his soldiers he ordered Curio and the others who had come with him to relate to them what had been done. After this was over he further aroused them by adding such words as the occasion demanded. 2 Next he set out and marched straight upon Rome itself, winning over all the cities on the way without any conflict, since the garrisons either abandoned them, because they were powerless to resist, or preferred his cause. Pompey, perceiving this, became afraid, especially when he learned all his rival's intentions from Labienus; 3 for this officer had abandoned Caesar and deserted to the other side, and he announced all Caesar's secrets to Pompey." (Cassius Dio, Roman History, 4:1-3)

c. "Such was the naval battle [Actium] in which they engaged on the second of September. I do not mention this date without a particular reason, nor am I, in fact, accustomed to do so; but [Julius] Caesar now for the first time held all the power alone, and consequently the years of his reign are properly reckoned from that day." (Cassius Dio 51.1)

9. Jerome (AD 380) "Gaius Julius Caesar was the first among the Romans to attain sole power, from whom Romans holding first rank are called 'Caesars'. First of the Romans, C. JULIUS CAESAR, for 4 years and 7 months. Second of the Romans, Octavianus Caesar Augustus reigned for 56 years and 6 months; from whom the kings of the Romans are called 'Augusti'" (Jerome, Chronicle, AD 380)

10. Chronicon Paschale (AD 630) "Gaius Julius Caesar was appointed to be the first emperor of the Romans. ... Caesar Augustus, also called Octavius, became the second emperor of the Romans, for 56 years and 6 months." (Chronicon Paschale, Olympiads 183.1, 184.3, 630 AD)

11. Georgius Syncellus (AD 800) "Julius Caesar the first monarch of the Romans" (Georgius Syncellus, Chronography, 800 AD)

12. Nicephorus Patriarcha (AD 824) "Julius Caesar was monarch for 5 years" (Nicephorus Patriarcha, Compend of Chronography, 824 AD)

G. Antichrist Nero Redivivus Myth: wounded head rises as antichrist at end of the world:

1. The Redivivus myth, that Nero would come back to life, was still widely believed among both Christians and Jews as late as AD 400 and was referenced by John in Rev 13:3 and 17:10-11

a. "I saw one (Nero) of his heads (the beast is a composite of the seven Caesars) as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;" (Revelation 13:3)

b. The Redivivus myth of Rev 13 is expanded in Rev 17 to identify Nero's [6th Caesar] return with Titus, the 8th Caesar who was directly involved in the literal destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 under the command of his father Vespasian, the 7th Caesar. Only 7 Caesars make up the beast (Julius - Vespasian) because it was while Vespasian that Jerusalem was destroyed. Notice the 8th Caesar, was Titus, who was "part of the 7" when Jerusalem destroyed operating under the authority of the 7th, Vespasian.

c. Remember, the entire theme of Revelation is how the 7-headed beast destroys Jerusalem while the 7th head (Vespasian) was living. Nero as the beast who persecuted Christians in Revelation 13 comes back to life symbolically as the beast "Titus" (the 8th head) who then destroys the city in AD 70. Although Titus was not a Caesar at the time but the "crown prince" who destroyed Jerusalem, the prophecy was expanded from 7 heads to 8 head, in order to include Titus. So, everything is a perfect fit.

2. The Nero/antichrist doctrine disappears after AD 400:

a. Lactantius (AD 320) and Augustine (AD 400) both rejected the Nero/Antichrist doctrine so many believed around them.

b. The Nero/antichrist doctrine is directly tied to the end of the world which was widely believed to happen 6000 years after creation. Since the all first century synagogues and the early church used the Septuagint (LXX) as their Bible translation, we know they believed the end of the world would occur no later than 446 AD given the LXX calculates creation at 5554 BC. The idea that the Messiah would come before year AC 6000 was widely believed by Jews as early as 100 BC and by all Jewish Christians in the first century AD. This is known as Jewish Messianic Theology (see above). Once the latest possible date AD 446 had passed it became clear that all their end of the world predictions, including that Nero would rise again as the antichrist was false.

c. Modern day Premillennialists and Dispensationalists should take close note that although many early literary sources seem to echo their theology, that after AD 400 it began to vanish as a false idea.

3. Inauguration and death of Nero:

a. On the morning of 13th October AD 54, "Nero the Beast" experienced supernatural "omens" that delayed his initial inauguration. These omens were likely real from God, given he will become the arch-persecutor of Christians! "When the death of Claudius was made public, Nero, who was seventeen years old, went forth to the watch between the sixth and seventh hour (noon-1pm), since no earlier time for the formal beginning of his reign seemed suitable because of bad omens throughout the day." (Suetonius, The Lives Of The Caesars, Nero 8, 70-160 AD)

b. Nero committed suicide on 9 June AD 68 and the stories he had come back from the dead lasted from July 68- AD 70 when the city was destroyed. This local "current event" story would have been known to all the Christians and Jews living in Jerusalem.

4. Nero sang and played the cithara (not fiddle) while Rome burned:

a. The following identify the instrument Nero played as a "cithara": Dio Cassius, 62.20.2; S. Aurelius Victor, Caes. 10; Philostratus, Apoll. 7.12; Juvenal, 8.193-206.

b. "The emperor himself viewed the conflagration from the lofty tower of Maecenas, . . . it is said that he declaimed the Iliad in a tragedian's costume." (Orosius 7.7.6)

c. "his measures, popular as their character might be, failed of their effect; for the report had spread that, at the very moment when Rome was aflame, he had mounted his private stage, and, typifying the ills of the present by the calamities of the past, had sung the Destruction of Troy." (Tacitus Ann. 15.39)

d. "Viewing the conflagration from the tower of Maecenas . . . he sang the whole of the Sack of Ilion in his regular stage costume." (Suetonius, Nero 38)

e. "Nero ascended to the roof of the palace from which there was the best general view . . . and assuming the kithara-player's garb, sang the Capture of Troy" (Dio Cassius, 62.18.1, AD 200)

H. Ancient literary sources of the Nero/Antichrist Redivivus Myth:

1. Suetonius AD 70-160: Roman historian

a. "Astrologers had predicted to Nero that he would one day be repudiated, which was the occasion of that well known saying of his: 'A humble art affords us daily bread,' doubtless uttered to justify him in practicing the art of lyre-playing, as an amusement while emperor, but a necessity for a private citizen. Some of them, however, had promised him the rule of the East, when he was cast off, a few expressly naming the sovereignty of Jerusalem and several the restitution of all his former fortunes." Suetonius, Lives Of The Caesars, Nero 40.2-3, 120 AD)

2. Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah AD 90: Christian

a. "Now, therefore, Hezekiah and Josab my son, [these are the days of the completion of the world]. 2 And after it has been brought to completion, Beliar will descend, the great angel, the king of this world, which he has ruled ever since it existed. He will descend from his firmament in the form of a man, a king of iniquity, a murderer of his mother [Nero]-this is the king of this world-3 and will persecute the plant which the twelve apostles of the Beloved will have planted; some of the twelve will be given into his hand. 4 This angel, Beliar, will come in the form of that king, and with him will come all the powers of this world, and they will obey him in every wish. 5 By his word he will cause the sun to rise by night ["The sun will suddenly shine at night, and the moon in the daytime." (4Ezra 5:4); Cf. SibOr 3:63-65], and the moon also he will make to appear at the sixth hour. 6 And he will do everything he wishes in the world; he will act and speak like the Beloved, and will say, "I am the LORD, and before me there was no one." 7 And all men in the world will believe in him. 8 They will sacrifice to him and will serve him, saying, "This is the LORD, and besides him there is no other." 9 And the majority of those who have associated together to receive the Beloved [Jesus' he will turn aside after him [fall away]. 10 And the power of his miracles will be in every city and district, 11 and he will set up his image before him in every city. 12 And he will rule for three years and seven months and twenty-seven days. [1,335 days according to the Julian calendar: Dan 12:12] 13 And many faithful and saints, when they saw him for whom they were hoping, who was crucified, Jesus the LORD Christ-after I, Isaiah, had seen him who was crucified and ascended-and who believed in him, of these few will be left in those days as his servants, fleeing from desert to desert as they await his coming. And after [one thousand] three hundred and thirty-two days [1335 according to Julian calendar: "one thousand" was omitted by mistake, and similarly "two" written by mistake for "five,"] the Lord will come with his angels and with the hosts of the saints from the seventh heaven, with the glory of the seventh heaven, and will drag Beliar, and his hosts also, into Gehenna." (Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah 4.1-13, 90 AD)

b. Dating the Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah: "There are a number of indications which point to the view that 3:13-4:22 was composed at about the end of the first century a.d. This section of the Ascension is clearly later than the death of Nero in a.d. 68 because it refers to the expectation that Nero would come again as the "Antichrist" (see 4:2b-4a); presumably a little time would have been needed for this belief to develop, and this suggests a date at the earliest toward the end of the first century. On the other hand, the picture of the corruption of the Church which is given in 3:21-31 invites comparison with the descriptions of the Church given in 1 and 2 Timothy, 2 Peter, and 1 Clement 3; the similarities with these writings likewise suggest that 3:13-4:22 dates from about the end of the first century. Two other pieces of evidence also point toward this date. First, the author of 4 Baruch 9:20, a work attributed to the early second century, betrays a knowledge of chapters 1-5 of the Ascension in their Christian form and may even have known the complete book; he gives in 9:20 what appears to be a loose quotation of 3:17 of the Ascension. Second, this same passage of the Ascension (3:17) provides a description of the emergence of the Beloved (Jesus) from the tomb which is similar to the description given in the Gospel of Peter 39f., a work which dates from the middle of the second century. Taken together, these indications suggest a date for the composition of 3:13-4:22 at about the end of the first century." (Old Testament pseudepigrapha and the New Testament, James H. Charlesworth, Vol 2, p149, 1985 AD)

3. Tacitus AD 100: Roman historian

a. Tacitus records the story of a con man, who looked physically like Nero was mistaken for Nero's coming to life: A slave from Pontus (or a freedman from Italy). He not only looked like Nero but he played the "harp" like Nero and robbed stores like Nero. Notice this imposter Nero actually had a gathering of men who stupidly and blindly followed him like Forest Gump on his runathon.

b. "The Sarmatae and Suebi rose against us; the Dacians won fame by defeats inflicted and suffered; even the Parthians were almost roused to arms through the trickery of a pretended Nero" (Tacitus, Histories 1.2, 100 AD)

c. "About this time Achaia and Asia were upset by a false alarm. It was rumoured that Nero was on his way to them. There had been conflicting stories about his death, and so numbers of people imagined-and believed-that he was alive. I shall describe the adventures of the other claimants in their chronological context as my story develops. On this occasion the man concerned was a slave from Pontus, or, according to other accounts, a freedman from Italy. The circumstances that he was a harpist and singer by profession when added to a facial resemblance [Nero played the Harp while Rome burned], made the imposture all the more plausible. He was joined by some army deserters who had been roaming about in destitution until he bribed them to follow him by lavish promises. With these men he embarked on board ship. A storm forced him to land on the island of Cythnus, where he recruited some troops returning from the east on leave, or had them murdered when they refused. He also robbed businessmen "He (Nero) would also break into shops and rob them, afterwards opening a market at the Palace with the stolen goods, dividing them by lots, auctioning them himself, and squandering the proceeds." Suetonius Lives of the Twelve Caesars 6.26] and armed the sturdiest of their slaves. A centurion named Sisenna, representing the army of Syria, happened to be bringing some symbolic 'hands' to the praetorians as a token of friendship. He was subjected to a variety of artful approaches, but finally slipped away from the island and fled in fear of his life. This caused a wave of panic, and many restless or discontented creatures rallied with eagerness to a famous name. The bubble reputation, daily increasing, was abruptly pricked by one of the chances of history." (Tacitus, Histories 2.8, 100 AD)

4. Dio Chrysostom AD 120: Greek historian

a. "For Nero was the only man who was utterly regardless of money both in giving and in taking. It was solely on account of this wantonness of his, however, that he lost his life - I mean the way he treated the eunuch. For the latter in anger disclosed the Emperor's designs to his retinue; and so they revolted from him and compelled him to make away with himself as best he could. Indeed the truth about this has not come out even yet; 10 for so far as the rest of his subjects were concerned, there was nothing to prevent his continuing to be Emperor for all time, seeing that even now everybody wishes he were still alive. And the great majority do believe that he is, although in a certain sense he has died not once but often along with those who had been firmly convinced that he was still alive." (Dio Chrysostom, Discourses 21, 120 AD)

5. Christian and Jewish Sibylline Oracles 8, AD 175: Christian

a. "But when he [Nero- Redivivus- after he is raised from dead in the future] cuts through the isthmus [of Corinth- which he failed to do while alive] glancing about, going against everyone, having crossed the sea, then dark blood will pursue the great beast. ... Then again [Redivivus- raised from the dead] the former wretched lord [Nero raised from the dead in the future] will assemble the council and deliberate how he will destroy" (Sibylline Oracles 8.157,176 175 AD)

6. Dio Cassius AD 200: Roman historian

a. "About this time also a man was caught who pretended to be Nero. His name was unknown to Dio. And at last he paid the penalty." (Dio Cassius Roman History 63:9:3, 200 AD)

b. "In his reign [Titus: AD 79-81] also the False Nero appeared, who was an Asiatic named Terentius Maximus. He resembled Nero both in appearance and in voice (for he too sang to the accompaniment of the lyre). He gained a few followers in Asia, and in his advance to the Euphrates attached a far greater number, and finally sought refuge with Artabanus, the Parthian leader, who, because of his anger against Titus, both received him and set about making preparations to restore him to Rome." (Dio Cassius Roman History 66:19:3, 200 AD)

7. Tertullian AD 200: Christian

a. "We read the lives of the Cæsars: At Rome Nero was the first who stained with blood the rising faith." (Tertullian, Scorpiace 15, 200 AD)

b. "His disciples also, spreading over the world, did as their Divine Master bade them; and after suffering greatly themselves from the persecutions of the Jews, and with no unwilling heart, as having faith undoubting in the truth, at last by Nero's cruel sword sowed the seed of Christian blood at Rome." (Tertullian, Apol. 21, 200 AD)

8. Commodianus AD 260: Christian

a. Commodianus 41 AD 260: "Isaiah said: This is the man who moveth the world and so many kings, and under whom the land shall become desert. Hear ye how the prophet foretold concerning him. I have said nothing elaborately, but negligently. Then, doubtless, the world shall be finished when he shall appear. He himself shall divide the globe into three ruling powers, when, moreover, Nero shall be raised up from hell, Elias [Elijah] shall first come to seal the beloved ones; at which things the region of Africa and the northern nation, the whole earth on all sides, for seven years shall tremble. But Elias shall occupy the half of the time, Nero shall occupy half. Then the whore Babylon, being reduced to ashes, its embers shall thence advance to Jerusalem; and the Latin conqueror shall then say, I am Christ, whom ye always pray to; and, indeed, the original ones who were deceived combine to praise him. He does many wonders, since his is the false prophet. Especially that they may believe him, his image shall speak. The Almighty has given it power to appear such. The Jews, recapitulating Scriptures from him, exclaim at the same time to the Highest that they have been deceived." (Commodianus 41, Time of Antichrist, 260 AD)

b. Commodianus' second poem AD 260: "The most interesting part of this second poem is the conclusion [different from Commodianus 41]. It contains a fuller description of Antichrist than the first poem. The author expects that the end of the world will soon come with the seventh persecution; the Goths will conquer Rome and redeem the Christians; but then Nero will appear as the heathen Antichrist, reconquer Rome, and rage against the Christians three years and a-half; he will be conquered in turn by the Jewish and real Antichrist from the east, who after the defeat of Nero and the burning of Rome will return to Judaea, perform false miracles, and be worshipped by the Jews. At last Christ appears, that is God himself (from the Monarchian standpoint of the author), with the lost Twelve Tribes as his army, which had lived beyond Persia in happy simplicity and virtue; under astounding phenomena of nature he will conquer Antichrist and his host, convert all nations and take possession of the holy city of Jerusalem. The concluding description of the judgment is preserved only in broken fragments. The idea of a double Antichrist is derived from the two beasts of the Apocalypse, and combines the Jewish conception of the Anti-messiah, and the heathen Nero-legend. But the remarkable feature is that the second Antichrist is represented as a Jew and as defeating the heathen Nero, as he will be defeated by Christ. The same idea of a double antichrist appears in Lactantius." (History of the Christian Church, Philip Schaff, Commodianus' second poem, Vol 2, p856, 1910 AD)

9. Victorious on Revelation 10:11 AD 300: Christian

a. "And He says unto me, Thou must again prophesy to the peoples, and to the tongues, and to the nations, and to many kings."] He says this, because when John said these things he was in the island of Patmos, condemned to the labour of the mines by Cæsar 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. This, therefore, is what He says: Thou must again prophesy to all nations, because thou seest the crowds of Antichrist rise up; and against them other crowds shall stand, and they shall fall by the sword on the one side and on the other." (Victorious, Revelation 10:11, 300 AD)

10. Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius AD 320: Christian

a. Lactantius like Augustine rejected the Nero/Antichrist doctrine so many believed around them.

b. "And while Nero reigned, the Apostle Peter came to Rome, and, through the power of God committed unto him, wrought certain miracles, and, by turning many to the true religion, built up a faithful and steadfast temple unto the Lord. When Nero heard of those things, and observed that not only in Rome, but in every other place, a great multitude revolted daily from the worship of idols, and, condemning their old ways, went over to the new religion, he, an execrable and pernicious tyrant, sprung forward to raze the heavenly temple and destroy the true faith. He it was who first persecuted the servants of God; he crucified Peter, and slew Paul: nor did he escape with impunity; for God looked on the affliction of His people; and therefore the tyrant, bereaved of authority, and precipitated from the height of empire, suddenly disappeared, and even the burial-place of that noxious wild beast was nowhere to be seen. This has led some persons of extravagant imagination to suppose that, having been conveyed to a distant region, he is still reserved alive; and to him they apply the Sibylline verses concerning "The fugitive, who slew his own mother [Nero], being to come from the uttermost boundaries of the earth; " as if he who was the first should also be the last persecutor, and thus prove the forerunner of Antichrist! But we ought not to believe those who, affirming that the two prophets Enoch and Elias have been translated into some remote place that they might attend our Lord when He shall come to judgment, also fancy that Nero is to appear hereafter as the forerunner of the devil, when he shall come to lay waste the earth and overthrow mankind. After an interval of some years from the death of Nero, there arose another tyrant no less wicked (Domitian), who, although his government was exceedingly odious, for a very long time oppressed his subjects." (Lactantius, De Mort. Pers. 2-3, 320 AD)

11. Sulpicius Severus 400 AD: Christian

a. Risen Nero would assist the Anti-Christ usher in the end of the world:

b. "'One day, we were asking Martin about the end of the world. He said that Nero [risen from the dead- Redivivus myth] and the Antichrist would come first. Nero would subdue ten kings and rule in the regions of the West. A persecution he was to impose would go so far as to require the worship of heathen idols. The Antichrist would first seize the empire of the East; he would have Jerusalem as his seat and imperial capital. Both the city and its temple were to be rebuilt by him. His persecution would require the denial of Christ's divinity (he himself pretending to be Christ) and would by law impose circumcision on all. Finally, Nero himself was to perish at the hands of the Antichrist. In this way, the whole world and all its people would be brought under the latter's yoke, until, at Christ's coming, the impious imposter would be overcome. There was no doubt that the Antichrist, begotten by the evil Spirit, was already born and had now come to the years of boyhood, awaiting the legal age to assume his empire. This we heard Martin say eight years ago. It is for you to judge how near to us now are those fearful events to come.'" (Sulpicius Severus, Dialogue 2.14, 400 AD)

c. "As to Nero, I shall not say that he was the worst of kings, but that he was worthily held the basest of all men, and even of wild beasts. It was he who first began a persecution; and I am not sure but he will be the last also to carry it on, if, indeed, we admit, as many are inclined to believe, that he will yet appear immediately before the coming of Antichrist. Our subject would induce me to set forth his vices at some length, if it were not inconsistent with the purpose of this work to enter upon so vast a topic. I content myself with the remark, that he showed himself in every way most abominable and cruel, and at length even went so far as to be the murderer of his own mother. (Sulpicius Severus, Sacred History, 2.28, 400 AD)

12. Augustine on 2 Thess 2:7 AD 400 Christian

a. Augustine, like Lactantius rejected the Nero/Antichrist doctrine so many believed around them.

b. "Some think that the Apostle Paul referred to the Roman empire, and that he was unwilling to use language more explicit, lest he should incur the calumnious charge of wishing ill to the empire which it was hoped would be eternal; so that in saying, "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work," he alluded to Nero, whose deeds already seemed to be as the deeds of Antichrist. And hence some suppose that he shall rise again and be Antichrist. Others, again, suppose that he is not even dead, but that he was concealed that he might be supposed to have been killed, and that he now lives in concealment in the vigor of that same age which he had reached when he was believed to have perished, and will live until he is revealed in his own time and restored to his kingdom. But I wonder that men can be so audacious in their conjectures." (Augustine, City of God 20.19.4, commenting on 2 Thess 2:7, 400 AD)

13. Jerome on Dan 11:27-30 AD 400 Christian

a. "And so there are many of our viewpoint who think that Domitius Nero [actually Domitius was the name of Nero's father, Ahenobarbus] was the Antichrist because of his outstanding savagery and depravity." (Jerome, Commentary on Daniel 11.27-30, 400 AD)

I. Nero's 42-month persecution of Christians: Nov AD 64-June AD 68

1. July 18th AD 64: Nero burned Rome

2. November 15th AD 64: Nero blames Christians and begins to persecute them

a. "But neither human help, nor imperial munificence, nor all the modes of placating Heaven, could stifle scandal or dispel the belief that the fire had taken place by order [of Nero]. Therefore, to dispel the rumour [that Nero had started the fire], Nero substituted as culprits, and punished with the utmost refinements of cruelty, a class of men, loathed for their vices, whom the crowd styled Christians. Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilatus, and the pernicious superstition was checked for a moment, only to break out once more, not merely in Judaea, the home of the disease, but in the capital itself, where all things horrible or shameful in the world collect and find a vogue. First, then, the confessed members of the sect were arrested; next, on their disclosures, vast numbers were convicted, not so much on the count of arson as for hatred of the human race. And derision accompanied their end: they were covered with wild beasts' skins and torn to death by dogs; or they were fastened on crosses, and, when daylight failed were burned to serve as lamps by night. Nero had offered his Gardens for the spectacle, and gave an exhibition in his Circus, mixing with the crowd in the habit of a charioteer, or mounted on his car. Hence, in spite of a guilt which had earned the most exemplary punishment, there arose a sentiment of pity, due to the impression that they were being sacrificed not for the welfare of the state but to the ferocity of a single man." (The Annals of Tacitus, Book 15:44)

b. "The Neronian 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 Lord1. As a pretext for his cruelty, Nero did not, according to Tacitus, bring forward any accusation against the Christians on account of their religion, but imputed to them the commission of a most heinous crime against the public. For having himself, by way of sport, caused some houses to be set on fire, and thus kindled a conflagration, by which great part of the city of Rome was destroyed, he, in order to divert the tide of popular indignation from its proper channel, denounced the Christians as the authors of this public calamity, and displayed the utmost eagerness in directing against them all the vengeance of the state ; putting them to death without mercy, and even making a jest of their torments. Amongst other horrible cruelties exercised on them by his command, they were wrapped in pitched garments, and, being fastened to stakes, were lighted up as torches to dispel the darkness of the night; their punishment being thus made to bear somewhat of an analogy to the crime whereof they were accused." Footnote 1: "This [mid-November date] has been clearly proved by Al. de Vignoles, in two dissertations de Causa et Inilio Persequutionis Neroniamv, which are to be found in Masson's Histoire critique de la Republique des Leures, tom. viii. p. 74. 117. and torn. ix. p. 172. 166. See also Nicol. Toinard. ad Lactant. de Mortibus Persequutorum, p. 398. ed. Du Fresnoy." (Historical commentaries on the state of Christianity during the first three hundred and twenty-five years, Johann Lorenz Mosheim, died d. 1755, volume 1, p138, 1852 AD)

3. 9th June AD 68: Nero commited suicide.

a. "Now as Vespasian was returned to Caesarea, and was getting ready, with all his army to march directly to Jerusalem, he was informed that Nero was dead, after he had reigned thirteen years and eight days." (Josephus Wars 4.491)

Rev 13:11

The Beast from the Earth: "The dragon in sheep's clothing" = Jews

A. The Beast from the Earth: The 2-Horned lamb that speaks like a dragon is the Jews:

"Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. (Revelation 13:11)

1. Five indicators that the Beast from the Earth was the Jews:

a. "Earth" vs. "Sea: Rome (sea beast) arrived by sea to the land of Judea. The Earth refers to the Jews who were indigenous to the land.

b. The imagery of "fire coming down from heaven" refers directly back to Moses, Elijah and David. Such clear Jewish imagery would not make any sense if applied to anybody except the Jews.

c. The "beast from the earth" a cute little lamb, not some scary monster like the beast from the Sea. Lambs could be either sheep or goats and were sacrificed at Passover.

d. A lamb does not naturally speak lies. We would not expect the "Earth Beast" as an innocent lamb to speak as the devil any more than we would expect the "Sea Beast" to speak like a God-fearing Jew. The lamb represents God's chosen people who, contrary to nature, speak like the devil. Jesus accused the Jewish leaders of speaking like the devil (John 8:44).

e. A lamb does not naturally have horns. The presence of two horns, therefore, indicate two Jewish kings or rulers. This is a perfect fit for the two remaining Jewish Zealot rebel leaders who were destroying and desecrating the city of Jerusalem when Titus arrived in AD 70.

2. Beast from earth rises directly from the soils of the land of Judea proper indicating the native Jews. Beast from sea indicates a king from a land outside Israel who arrives by ship indicating Nero from Rome.

3. The Jews were a "dragon in sheep's clothing".

a. The Jews who were once the precious and holy lambs of god now spoke lies like the devil because they denied the resurrection of Christ and lied that the disciples stole the body! Matthew 28:12-15

b. "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44)

c. This beast is a deliberate taxonomic identification as a sheep/goat. This is not a scary beast but a baby animal with two horns. The beast from the sea, with 10 horns and 7 heads is deliberately NOT taxonomic.

d. "Dragon in Sheep's clothing": The figure is identical to WOLF in SHEEP'S clothing: The Jewish leaders were holy Jewish sheep who spoke like dragons.

e. Two horns are a holy sheep or goat used in Jewish sacrifice but speaks like a dragon.

f. It is natural for a holy sheep to have two horns but is unnatural for a holy sheep to speak like Satan.

g. The "HOLY YHWH-worshipping" High Priests and three Jewish rebel leaders Eleazar ben Simon, Simon ben Giora, John of Gischala, all spoke like the devil!

h. Notice that the Jewish beast from the earth ACTS with the same authority inside Jerusalem, "IN THE PRESENCE OF" the Roman beast from the sea stationed outside Jerusalem.

i. "The Jewish leaders, symbolized by this Beast from the Land, joined forces with the Beast of Rome in an attempt to destroy the Church (Acts 4:24-28; 12:1-3; 13:8; 14:5; 17:5-8; 18:12-13; 21:11; 24:1-9; 25:2-3, 9, 24).... The Book of Acts records several instances of miracle-working Jewish false prophets who came into conflict with the Church (cf. Acts 8:9-24) and worked under Roman officials (cf. Acts 13:6-11); as Jesus foretold (Matt. 7:22-23), some of them even used His name in their incantations (Acts 19:13-16)." (The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation, David Chilton, Rev 13, 1987 AD)

4. The Synagogue at Smyrna was also "Satan in sheep's clothing":

a. "I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan." (Revelation 2:9)

b. The Jews thought they were righteous but in fact their synagogue worship in AD 66 was viewed by God as pagan and idolatrous since they denied Jesus the Messiah rose from the dead.

c. Notice the reference to a literal first century synagogue in Smyrna.

d. See authors Book on the Origin of Synagogues

5. "Fire from heaven" Beast from Earth (Jews) like the three central messianic figures: Moses, Elijah and David!

a. The beast from the sea is directly associated with the Jews who viewed themselves has God's holy servants in their ability to "bring fire down from heaven" as Elijah at Mt. Carmel, Moses or David. The ability to call down fire from heaven designated a person as a God approved. The Jews were so confident God was with them, they actually believed that they could call upon God to destroy the Romans outside the city wall. In fact, the imagery is that the wicked Jews merely mimics this sign to promote the worship of a false god. The ultimate irony is that the Jewish rebel leaders literally caused fire from heaven through the Scorpion flaming spears from both the Romans outside the wall and upon themselves inside the wall. As literal fire fell from heaven onto the streets of Jerusalem from the Roman war engines, the Christians would understand that the false sign of the Jewish dragon lamb brought about the destruction of the Jews themselves.

i. Moses, Elijah and David were the three most important and central figures in first century messianic expectation.

ii. In the great battle between the Jews and the Christians, the Jews were the one's who proved the Christians wrong by bringing fire down from heaven: "Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, He is God." And all the people said, "That is a good idea."" (1 Kings 18:24)

iii. The idea of bringing fire down from heaven was a common first century expression used by the disciples of Jesus: "When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?"" (Luke 9:54)

iv. This imagery would ever be applied to the Romans.

b. Sodom: 2067 BC Fire coming down from heaven represents the judgement of God:

i. "Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven," (Genesis 19:24)

c. Moses:

i. Egypt: 1446 BC "Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt." (Exodus 9:23)

ii. Mt. Sinai: 1446 BC "Then fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces." (Leviticus 9:24)

iii. One stop after leaving Sinai at Taberah: 1445 BC "Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire died out. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them." (Numbers 11:1-3)

d. Elijah:

i. Mt. Carmel: 867 BC "Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench." (1 Kings 18:38)

ii. Samaria: 852 BC "Elijah replied to the captain of fifty, "If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty." Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. So he again sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he said to him, "O man of God, thus says the king, 'Come down quickly.' " Elijah replied to them, "If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty." Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. So he again sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. When the third captain of fifty went up, he came and bowed down on his knees before Elijah, and begged him and said to him, "O man of God, please let my life and the lives of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight. "Behold fire came down from heaven and consumed the first two captains of fifty with their fifties; but now let my life be precious in your sight."" (2 Kings 1:10-14)

e. David:

i. Threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite (Holy of Holies): 993 BC "Then David built an altar to the Lord there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And he called to the Lord and He answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering." (1 Chronicles 21:26)

f. CD-A Cairo Damascus Documenta:

i. "God against their congregation, laying waste all its great number, for their deeds were unclean in front of him. Blank And now, listen to me, all who enter the covenant, and I will open your ears to the paths of the wicked. Blank God loves knowledge; he has established wisdom and counsel before him; prudence and knowledge are at his service; patience is his and abundance of pardon, to atone for those who repent from sin; however, strength and power and a great anger with flames of fire by the «hand» of all the angels of destruction against those turning aside from the path and abominating the precept, without there being for them either a remnant or survivor." (CD-A Cairo Damascus Documenta, Col II, lines 1-7, see also 4Q266)

g. Through the imagery of the "Beast from the Earth" John signals his readers that the Jews, symbolized as a lying two-horned lamb, believed they were like righteous Elijah, preparing the way for the Messiah in AD 66. In fact the Jews were acting on behalf of Satan since they rejected the Messiah 33 years earlier.

B. The two horns refer specifically to the two Jewish rebel leaders: John and Simon

1. Lambs don't normally have horns.

2. The two horns may also identify the last two rebel leaders from Passover AD 70 to it final destruction in August.

a. Passover AD 70: "These followers of John also did now seize upon this inner temple, and upon all the warlike engines therein, and then ventured to oppose Simon. (105) And thus that sedition, which had been divided into three factions, was now reduced to two" (Josephus Wars 5.98-105)

b. Passover, 14th April AD 70 [Nisan 14]: ONLY TWO REBEL LEADERS REMAIN:

c. Eleazar opens the temple gates for worshippers but John sends in assassins who kill many worshippers, defeat Ezeazar and capture the temple fortress.

3. When John defeats Eleazar and captures the temple, it reduced the civil war from three to two which may be symbolized by the two horns on the sheep John saw in Rev 13:11.

C. The Jews inside Jerusalem were an absolute power like Rome:

"He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence." Rev 13:12

1. The three Jewish rebel leaders were in rebellion to the first beast (Rome) by having declared Jerusalem independent.

a. While the Romans were "present" outside Jerusalem, inside the city walls, the Jews were the absolute authority in all matters.

b. In this way the three rebel leaders "exercised all the authority of the first beast in his presence [i.e. while Rome gathered on the Mount of Olives]".

c. Inside Jerusalem, the Jews acted with the same final authority as the Roman Caesars whose "presence" was a .

2. The Jewish rebel leaders portrayed themselves as servants of God like Elijah, but were servants of Satan and agents of death and destruction.

D. The Jews unknowingly forced men to worship Satan in partnership with Nero:

And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed." (Revelation 13:12)

"And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name." (Revelation 13:15-17)

1. By rejecting Jesus of Nazareth as the messiah and lying that the disciples stole the body, they were acting directly on behalf of Satan himself.

a. "They [the Jews] will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone [Jews] who kills you to think that he is offering service to God." (John 16:2)

b. The Jews viewed Christians who would not renounce Christ as apostates and pagan polytheists.

c. To God, the Temple worship of the Jews in AD 66-70 was satanic idolatry because it denied Jesus as the Messiah.

d. To "not worship the image of the beast" means to not renounce Christ and engage in Mosaic Temple worship.

e. Jewish Beast from the Earth compelled Christians to "worship the image of the beast", meaning worship as a Jew.

f. In God's mind, worshipping as a Torah complaint Jew after the death of Christ was to engage in false worship.

g. The law of Moses was nailed to the cross and animal sacrifices were abolished.

2. The Jews persecuted Christians exactly like Nero not comprehending they were acting on behalf of the Rome!

a. The story of Nero burning Rome then triggering a persecution of Christians was widely known in AD 66.

b. The Jews persecuted Christians in Jerusalem like Nero persecuted Christians in Rome.

c. The Jews viewed themselves as holy and the Romans as evil.

d. The Jewish anti-Christian message was as idolatrous as the idol worship of the Romans.

e. When the Jews condemned anyone who believed in Jesus of Nazareth they were actually endorsing the equivalent of idol worship.

f. The Jews inside Jerusalem were the false prophet who causes others to worship Satan whose goal was the destroy the city.

3. Christians living in Jerusalem after the start of the First Jewish War would have been executed long before Titus arrived to destroy the city.

a. The rebel leaders were agents of Satan (the dragon) even though they viewed themselves as holy agents of YHWH who "brought fire down from heaven" like Elijah on Mt. Carmel.

b. The Jews persecuted and executed Christians from the day of Pentecost AD 33 down to the second fall of Jerusalem in AD 614.

c. Inside the city of Jerusalem during the First Jewish War, the Jews actually believed they were as holy as Elijah fighting a "Holy War" with the full backing of God.

d. The Jews who executed of Christians in Jerusalem would be view themselves like Elijah when he executed 850 false prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel.

E. To "worship the image of the beast" was to worship like a Jew, not emperor worship:

1. Many commenters have done sloppy historical research and teach the Beast from the Sea forced Christians to literally bow to idol statues of Caesar or be put to death.

a. The imperial cult and emperor worship existed since the time of Julius Caesar.

b. While emperor worship is a true historical fact, it is a myth that Christians were executed for failing to worship the emperor.

c. Yes, Christians were at times forced to worship Roman pagan idols or be executed only in exceptional and rare circumstances was worshiping the emperor ever included.

d. There are no historical edicts of Caesars commanding Christians to worship him as god or die.

e. Even the four Edicts of Diocletian were not Emperor Worship. The lack of any hint of Emperor worship in the four edicts of Diocletian are huge problems for late-daters in their insistence that the beast of Revelation 13 and/or the 8th healed head is the requirement to worship Diocletian or be executed.

2. Revelation 13 cannot refer to emperor worship if it is mythical and unhistorical:

a. The historical fact that Christians were at times forced to worship Roman idol gods are die is not the same as Emperor worship.

b. No Caesar ever launched a massive, state-wide persecution of Christians that ordered them to worship Caesar or die.

c. Without any forced emperor worship or be killed, the entire foundation of the Late-dater's interpretation of Revelation collapses.

F. The metaphor of Emperor worship in Rev 13:

1. Now that we have debunked as unhistorical, the idea that you had to worship the emperor or die, we are now ready to place emperor worship in its correct context and interpretation in Rev 13:

a. Everybody in the Roman empire was aware of the imperial cult and the worship of living and dead Caesars.

b. Worshipping any Roman god including the Caesar was one of personal choice.

2. Though the idea of being forced to worship Caesar or die was fiction, Jews did persecute Christians and put them to death.

a. Between 100 -300 AD the Jews gleefully assisted others to persecute and execute Christians.

b. Every Christian understood in AD 66 that the Jews, not the Romans, except Nero, were their primary persecutors.

c. Jews caused Christians to be shunned, ostracized and put out of the synagogue, have their employment terminated, lay false charges in Roman courts and of course be stoned.

3. Jews were known to beat and kill Christians during the apostolic age:

a. "But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead." (Acts 14:19)

b. "Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned." (2 Corinthians 11:24-25)

4. When the Christians in Jerusalem read the book of Revelation in Spring AD 66, they would immediately recognize the "Beast from the Earth" as a Jewish figure that forces Christians renounce Christ and worship like Jews or be killed.

a. While the Jews visualized a battle between pagan Christians vs. pure YHWH worshipping Jews, the Christians saw it the opposite way: Satan Jews trying to force Christians to deny Christ.

b. For Christians, the Jewish demands to renounce Christ and worship as ordered by the Jews or die was the same as worshipping a Roman idol or die.

5. In this way they Holy Spirit captures the essence of the times by transforming the literal demand of the Jews to renounce Christ or die, into the metaphor of worshipping the Emperor or die. While no emperor ever demanded he be worshipped as god or die, the Jews had for over 30 years demanded Christians renounce Christ.

a. This all ties into the central theme of the book of Revelation where Jerusalem is destroyed because the Jews crucified Christ and persecuted and killed Christians. Apart from the isolated persecution of Nero in Rome, it was the Jews who were the main enemies of the Christians until AD 70 in Judea.

b. The metaphoric use of emperor worship in Revelation 13 exactly portrayed how Christians felt about Jewish efforts to stamp out Christianity.

6. In Rev 13 Christians identified the metaphor of worshipping Nero or die with the Jew's demand to deny Christ or die.

G. The Jews controlled all commerce and the metaphor of 666:

"And he [Jewish lamb beast of the Earth] causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six." (Revelation 13:16-18)

"The Lord said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst." But to the others He said in my hearing, "Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity and do not spare. "Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary." So they started with the elders who were before the temple. And He said to them, "Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!" Thus they went out and struck down the people in the city. As they were striking the people and I alone was left, I fell on my face and cried out saying, "Alas, Lord God! Are You destroying the whole remnant of Israel by pouring out Your wrath on Jerusalem?" Then He said to me, "The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is very, very great, and the land is filled with blood and the city is full of perversion; for they say, 'The Lord has forsaken the land, and the Lord does not see!' "But as for Me, My eye will have no pity nor will I spare, but I will bring their conduct upon their heads." Then behold, the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case reported, saying, "I have done just as You have commanded me."" (Ezekiel 9:4-11, Sept 592 BC)

1. The three Jewish revel leaders were not only at war with the Romans outside Jerusalem, they were at civil war with one another inside the city.

a. The three Jewish rebel leaders were the one's who determined who got stamped "Nero" on their foreheads.

b. The Jewish leaders controlled the commerce and the distribution of food inside Jerusalem during the Roman siege.

c. Jews, therefore, determined who was worthy and who was not for food rations etc.

2. In a continuation of the worship Nero or die metaphor, Jews would only allow those who worshipped as Jews in the Temple or Synagogues in Jerusalem by putting Nero's number on their forehead.

a. Christians would not get 666 stamped on their foreheads unless they denied Christ.

3. Once again, the Jews thought they were doing "God's work" by persecuting Christians in the city, when in fact they were working for Satan.

a. When the Jewish leaders certified that someone was worthy and righteous enough to buy and sell goods and food, that person walked away totally unaware that Nero/666 had just been metaphorically stamped on their forehead.

b. The delusional Jews were blind to the actual reality of their spiritual condition but the Christians saw it for what it really was.

4. The mark of Revelation 7, 13 and Ezekiel 9

a. In Ezekiel 9 the righteous Jews who "groaned" at the idolatry being practiced in Jerusalem in Sept 592 BC were marked with a Paleo-Hebrew tav on their forehead. The tav was in the shape of a cross + or rotated to form an X. This ancient Hebrew mark of an X is where we get the idea of signing your name with an X.

b. In Revelation 7, Christians are marked on their forehead with the Seal of God.

c. In Revelation 13 the wicked are marked with the "Seal of Satan" (Nero/666).

5. The metaphoric irony of Ezekiel 9 and Revelation 13:

a. In 592 BC, only those who hated idolatry and worshipped YHWH alone and loved his temple were stamped by God and saved.

b. In AD 66-70, only those who hated idolatry and worshipped YHWH alone and loved his temple were stamped by the Jewish revel leaders but in fact it was the stamp of Satan and they were destroyed.

6. During horrible and unjust Nazi persecution of six million Jews in the second world war, innocent Jews were physically marked by the wicked Germans and sent to death camps.

7. Somehow the Jews determined who could buy and sell and who could not. Perhaps it was word of mouth or a bulla stamp or something pinned to their clothing with a toga or perhaps the Jews put a star of David on the foreheads of worthy Jews. Although there is no historical support for any of this, perhaps the metaphor of the Jews stamping Nero's name on the foreheads of fellow righteous Torah complaint Jews did happen in some physical form. If it did happen, the Christians would quickly and easily connect such stamps as marking the wicked for destruction because no Christians received the stamp from the Jews who persecuted them.

H. The Jewish lamb beast destroyed Jerusalem from within:

1. Jewish 3 Rebel leaders (Eleazar ben Simon, Simon ben Giora, John of Gischala) destroyed Jerusalem from the inside. Contrary to popular misconception, Titus made countless efforts to save the city and Temple and made numerous offers that if they would surrender and "come out" they would live.

a. While the Jews were destroying Jerusalem from within, the Romans were trying to save it on the outside by sending Josephus to them twice! For details, see the Josephus chronology of the First Jewish war.

b. On 4th June AD 70, Monday Josephus pleaded with his own people to come out of the city and live: "Josephus soon recovered of his wound, and came out, and cried out aloud, that it would not be long ere they should be punished for this wound they had given him. He also made a fresh exhortation to the people to come out, upon the security that would be given them. (547) This sight of Josephus encouraged the people greatly, and brought a great consternation upon the seditious." (Josephus Wars 5.541-547)

2. Jews polluted and desecrated their own temple with dead bodies:

a. "As for the dead bodies of the people, their relations carried them out to their own houses; but when any of the zealots were wounded, he went up into the temple, and defiled that sacred floor with his blood, insomuch that one may say it was their blood alone that polluted our sanctuary." (Wars 4.201, Feb AD 68)

b. "And now the outer temple was all of it overflowed with blood; and that day, at is came on, saw eight thousand five hundred dead bodies there." (Wars 4:313, Feb AD 68)

c. Josephus says: "And who is there that does not know what the writings of the ancient prophets contain in them,-and particularly that oracle which is just now going to be fulfilled upon this miserable city-for they foretold that this city should be then taken when somebody shall begin the slaughter of his own countrymen! (110) And are not both the city and the entire temple now full of the dead bodies of your countrymen? It is God therefore, it is God himself who is bringing on this fire, to purge that city and temple by means of the Romans, and is going to pluck up this city, which is full of your pollutions." (Wars 6:109-110, 14th July AD 70, Sabbath)

3. The Jewish Rebel leaders were destroying the city from within more than the Romans without:

a. "the Jews are vexed to pieces every day by their civil wars and dissensions, and are under greater misfortunes than, if they were once taken, could be inflicted on them by us. (376) Whether, therefore, anyone hath regard to what is for our safety, he ought to suffer these Jews to destroy one another; or whether he hath regard to the greater glory of the action, we ought by no means to meddle with these men, now they are afflicted with a distemper at home; for should we now conquer them, it would be said the conquest was not owing to our bravery, but to their sedition. And now the commanders joined in their approbation of what Vespasian had said, and it was soon discovered how wise an opinion he had given [to let the Jews kill themselves off inside the city]; and indeed many there were of the Jews that deserted every day, and fled away from the zealots, (378) although their flight was very difficult, since they had guarded every passage out of the city, and slew every one that was caught at them, as taking it for granted they were going over to the Romans; (379) yet did he who gave them money get clear off, while he only that gave them none was voted a traitor. So the upshot was this, that the rich purchased their flight by money, while none but the poor were slain. (380) Along all the roads also vast numbers of dead bodies lay in heaps, and even many of those that were so zealous in deserting, at length chose rather to perish within the city; for the hopes of burial made death in their own city appear of the two less terrible to them. (381) But these zealots came at last to that degree of barbarity, as not to bestow a burial either on those slain in the city, or on those that lay along the roads" (Josephus Wars 4.375-381, Feb AD 68)

b. "Nor was there now any part of Judea that was not in a miserable condition, as well as its most eminent city also. These things were told Vespasian by deserters; for although the seditious watched all the passages out of the city, and destroyed all, whosoever they were, that came hither, yet were there some that had concealed themselves, and, when they had fled to the Romans, persuaded their general to come to their city's assistance, and save the remainder of the people; (411) informing him withal, that it was upon account of the people's good will to the Romans [I.e. some Jews in the city were siding with the Romans] that many of them were already slain [as traitors], and the survivors in danger of the same treatment. (412) Vespasian did, indeed, already pity the calamities these men were in, and arose, in appearance, as though he was going to besiege Jerusalem,-but in reality to deliver them from a [worse] siege they were already under [inside the city]." (Josephus Wars 4.409-412, March AD 68)

4. Titus blamed the destruction of the city upon the Rebel leaders:

a. "This sad instance [cannibalism: mother killing and eating her child] was quickly told to the Romans, some of whom could not believe it, and others pitied the distress which the Jews were under; but there were many of them who were hereby induced to a more bitter hatred than ordinary against our nation;-(215) but for Caesar [Titus], he excused himself before God as to this matter, and said, that he had proposed peace and liberty to the Jews, as well as an oblivion of all their former insolent practices; but that they [Jews], instead of concord, had chosen sedition; instead of peace, war; and before satiety and abundance, a famine. (216) That they [Jews] had begun with their own hands to burn down that temple, which we [Romans] have preserved hitherto; and that therefore they deserved to eat such food as this was. (217) That, however, this action of eating one's own child ought to be covered with the overthrown of their very country itself; and men ought not to leave such a city upon the habitable earth to be seen by the sun, wherein mothers are thus fed" (Josephus Wars 6.214-217)

b. "Now Titus was deeply affected with this state of things, and reproached John and his party, and said to them, "Have not you, vile wretches that you are, by our permission, put up this partition-wall before your sanctuary? (125) Have not you been allowed to put up the pillars thereto belonging at due distances, and on it to engrave in Greek, and in your own letters, this prohibition, that no foreigner should go beyond that wall? (126) Have not we given you leave to kill such as go beyond it, though he were a Roman? And what do you do now, you pernicious villains? Why do you trample upon dead bodies in this temple? And why do you pollute this holy house with the blood both of foreigners and Jews themselves? (127) I appeal to the gods of my own country, and to every god that ever had any regard to this place (for I do not suppose it to be now regarded by any of them); I also appeal to my own army, and to those Jews that are now with me, and even to you yourselves, that I do not force you to defile this your sanctuary; (128) and if you will but change the place whereon you will fight, no Roman shall either come near your sanctuary, or offer any affront to it; nay, I will endeavor to preserve you your holy house, whether you will or not." (Josephus Wars 6:124-128, 14th July AD 70, Sabbath)

c. Titus refers to this inscription: Here is the "No Gentiles permitted" temple warning stele discovered in Jerusalem in 1871 AD. Paul was falsely accused of bringing Greeks into the temple in Acts 21:28. The blood of Jesus abolished the Law of Moses and the Jewish temple and this barrier that separated Jew from Gentile in Eph 2:14-15, "by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace" (Ephesians 2:15) See: Josephus Wars 6:124-128, 14th July AD 70, Sabbath

5. All the while the two witnesses were crying "woe to Jerusalem" starting in AD 62, notice that the first sign of the sword star and comet began happened 6 days before Passover AD 65 and lasted till Pentecost AD 66, which is precisely when Josephus says the First Jewish War started in Caesarea. It was during the time the sword star and comet were in the sky that the other five signs happened. The last sign ended Pentecost AD 66. The two witnesses of Revelation continued crying for exactly 42 months, starting when the sword star and comet vanished on Pentecost AD 66 until they were killed 7th March AD 70. (Pentecost AD 66 - 7th March AD 70 = 42 months)

6. Josephus records how Titus was careful to preserve the Temple and city, doing as little damage as possible to preserve the city for Rome to use:

a. After the Jews first set fire to the outer porticos of the Temple, Titus then order fire extinguishers to save the temple itself and then holds a conference with his generals who all decide NOT to destroy the temple but to put out the fires:

b. "Titus proposed to these that they should give him their advice what should be done about the holy house. (239) Now, some of these thought it would be the best way to act according to the rules of war [and demolish it]; because the Jews would never leave off rebelling while that house was standing; at which house it was that they used to get all together. (240) Others of them were of opinion, that in case the Jews would leave it, and none of them would lay their arms up in it, he might save it; but that in case they got upon it, and fought any more, he might burn it; because it must then be looked upon not as a holy house, but as a citadel; and that the impiety of burning it would then belong to those that forced this to be done, and not to them. (241) But Titus said, that "although the Jews should get upon that holy house, and fight us thence, yet ought we not to revenge ourselves on things that are inanimate, instead of the men themselves;" and that he was not in any case for burning down so vast a work as that was, because this would be a mischief to the Romans themselves, as it would be an ornament to their government while it continued. (242) So Fronto, and Alexander, and Cerealis, grew bold upon that declaration, and agreed to the opinion of Titus. (243) Then was this assembly dissolved, when Titus had given orders to the commanders that the rest of their forces should lie still; but that they should make use of such as were most courageous in this attack. So he commanded that the chosen men that were taken out of the cohorts should make their way through the ruins, and quench the fire." (Josephus Wars 6.238-243, 5th August AD 70, Sunday, 9 Lous/Av)

144,000, Wine Cup of Wrath prepared

Revelation 14

Ezekiel 14:19-22 in 592 BC

Jeremiah 25:15-18 in 587 BC

A. Physical Israel replaced by Christians as first fruits:

1. Physical 144,000 (12k from each tribe) is replaces by Christians.

a. The symbolism is that the first century church was composed of both Jew and Gentile and together, they were organized by God into 12 tribes.

b. This is another example of replacement theology where the church replaces the physical temple and Christians replace physical Jews.

c. See outline on replacement theology is the core theology of Christianity.

2. Feast of First-fruits:

a. "In the exercise of His will He brought us [Christians] forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures." (James 1:18, written AD 36)

b. "Also you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field." (Exodus 23:16)

c. "You shall bring the very first of the first fruits of your soil into the house of the LORD your God. "You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk." (Exodus 34:26)

d. "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest." (Leviticus 23:10)

3. No lie, blameless:

a. "And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless." (Revelation 14:5)

b. "The remnant of Israel will do no wrong And tell no lies, Nor will a deceitful tongue Be found in their mouths; For they will feed and lie down With no one to make them tremble." (Zephaniah 3:13)

B. Jerusalem/Babylon is fallen

1. Literal Babylon:

a. "Now behold, here comes a troop of riders, horsemen in pairs." And one said, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon; And all the images of her gods are shattered on the ground." (Isaiah 21:9)

b. "Declare and proclaim among the nations. Proclaim it and lift up a standard. Do not conceal it but say, 'Babylon has been captured, Bel has been put to shame, Marduk has been shattered; Her images have been put to shame, her idols have been shattered.'" (Jeremiah 50:2)

2. Jerusalem:

a. "And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality." (Revelation 14:8)

b. "And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird." (Revelation 18:2)

C. Worshippers of the beast:

1. Not "emperor worship" or any specific religious worship.

2. Idolatry: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, greed: Col 3:5

3. God always destroyed His people for two reasons: literal idol worship (Non-Christian) and bad living (symbolic worship of the beast/devil)

D. Judgement=destruction: Rev 14:7 "the hour of His judgment has come"

1. Not final judgement at second coming but a common expression used countless times in the Old Testament about a city or nation being destroyed by God.

2. God "judged" Jerusalem in 587 BC:

a. "I will pronounce My judgments on them concerning all their wickedness, whereby they have forsaken Me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands." (Jeremiah 1:16)

b. "Also on your skirts is found The lifeblood of the innocent poor; You did not find them breaking in. But in spite of all these things," (Jeremiah 2:34)

c. "a wind too strong for this-will come at My command; now I will also pronounce judgments against them." (Jeremiah 4:12)

d. "therefore, thus says the Lord God, 'Behold, I, even I, am against you, and I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations." (Ezekiel 5:8)

e. "For thus says the Lord God, "How much more when I send My four severe judgments against Jerusalem: sword, famine, wild beasts and plague to cut off man and beast from it!" (Ezekiel 14:21)

E. Four angelic reapers of the wicked with fire: Dead Sea Scroll: 1QapGen, 50 BC

Dead Sea Scroll

Parable of the Tares

1QapGen (Mt 13:37-42)

50 BC

"and what you saw, all of them [...] will pass, most of them will be wicked. And what you saw, the man coming from the South of the land, with a sickle in his hand and fire with him ... it is ... who come from the South of the land [...] ... [...] and wickedness. He will cast on the fire all ... [...] and he will come between ... and what you saw ... [...] [...] ... [...] ... Four angels [...]"

4Q252 (4QcommGen A) 4QCommentary on Genesis A, Col 5, lines 1-5, 50 BC

1. Four angels destroy the wicked by harvesting them and casting them into fire.

2. The function of the Messiah was to cleanse his kingdom of the wicked.

3. "And He said, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. "So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:37-42)

F. Cup of Wrath to destroy Jerusalem is prepared

1. In 587 BC Jerusalem was destroyed because it was a fruitless vine to be burned:

a. "As the wood of the vine I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given up the inhabitants of Jerusalem, fire will consume them. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I set My face against them." (Ezekiel 15:6-7)

2. Contrast between the harvest of first fruits of righteous Christians and the harvest of wicked Jews who crucified Christ.

a. Bumper crop of fruit of righteousness: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)

b. AD 70: Bumper crop of fruit of wickedness in Jerusalem

3. Winepress outside the city is the Roman Army that God us using instrumentally as his agent to destroy.

a. Neco II, Cyrus, Nebuchadnezzar were all used as God's "anointed servants"

b. All the kings of the four kingdoms of Daniel 2 were appointed by God as his agents.

4. Cup given to Jerusalem in 587 BC:

a. "Soon now I will pour out my wrath upon you; I will spend my anger against you. I will judge you according to your ways, and punish you for all your abominations." (Ezekiel 7:8)

b. "While they were killing, and I was left alone, I fell prostrate on my face and cried out, "Ah Lord GOD! will you destroy all who remain of Israel as you pour out your wrath upon Jerusalem?" (Ezekiel 9:8)

c. "Or if I should send a plague against that country and pour out My wrath in blood on it to cut off man and beast from it, even though Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, as I live," declares the Lord God, "they could not deliver either their son or their daughter. They would deliver only themselves by their righteousness." For thus says the Lord God, "How much more when I send My four severe judgments against Jerusalem: sword, famine, wild beasts and plague to cut off man and beast from it! "Yet, behold, survivors will be left in it who will be brought out, both sons and daughters. Behold, they are going to come forth to you and you will see their conduct and actions; then you will be comforted for the calamity which I have brought against Jerusalem for everything which I have brought upon it." (Ezekiel 14:19-22)

d. "For thus the Lord, the God of Israel, says to me, "Take this cup of the wine of wrath from My hand and cause all the nations to whom I send you to drink it. "They will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them." Then I took the cup from the Lord's hand and made all the nations to whom the Lord sent me drink it: Jerusalem and the cities of Judah and its kings and its princes, to make them a ruin, a horror, a hissing and a curse, as it is this day;" (Jeremiah 25:15-18)

5. Cup given to Jerusalem in AD 70: Rev 16:19; 18:6

7 Bowls to avenge Christians in Heaven

Revelation 15

Ezekiel 24 in 589 BC

A. God avenges Christians killed by Satan, Nero and Jews:

1. The pouring of the bowls is an antitype of when God judged and overthrew Egypt in the Red Sea at the Straits of Tiran.

a. The angels sing the song of Moses twice: Rev 5:3-4 & 16:5-7.

b. It is significant that the original song of Moses was when the Jews triumphed over the Egyptians and here when the Christians triumphed over the Jews!

2. "Christians who had been victorious over the beast [Satan], his image [Earth beast-Jews= False prophet] and the number of his name [Sea beast-Nero]" (Rev 15:2)

a. "beast" = Satan: Rev 9:11; 11:7: "the angel of the abyss, Abaddon, Apollyon." (Revelation 9:11)

b. "His image" = Jews=False prophet, beast from Earth gave life to the fatally wounded beast (Nero)

c. "Number of his name" = Nero = 666

3. The central theme of Revelation is the avenging of Christians and the final destruction of the city is vengeance.

a. "Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord." (Romans 12:19)

b. The Jews killed Jesus.

c. The Jews employed the Romans to kill Jesus.

d. The Romans killed Jesus.

e. If the Jews never delivered innocent sinless Jesus up to the Romans, Jesus never would have been crucified.

f. Both Romans and Jews killed Christians.

4. Jesus directly connected the destruction of Jerusalem with "days of vengeance":

a. Jesus warned in AD 33 flee the city: "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. "Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled." (Luke 21:20-22)

b. "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!" (Matthew 23:34-38)

5. Dead Sea Scrolls viewed the messiah as an agent of Vengeance:

a. "But, Melchizedek will carry out the vengeance of Go[d's] judgments, [and on that day he will fr]e[e them from the hand of] Belial and from the hand of all the sp[irits of his lot.] (Dead Sea Scroll, 11QMelchizedek, Messianic Melchizedek Leader of Spiritual War in Heaven, 90 BC)

b. "But those who remained were delivered up to the sword, which carries out the vengeance of the covenant. Thus will be the judgment of all those entering his covenant, who do not remain steadfast in these precepts; they shall be visited for destruction at the hand of Belial. This is the day when God will make a visitation." (CD-B Damascus Documentb, CD-B Col. xix:10 lines, 5-15, 90 BC)

c. "And the levites shall curse all the men of the lot of Belial [sons of Satan]. They shall begin to speak and shall say: Accursed are you for all your wicked, blameworthy deeds. May God hand you over to terror by the hand of all those carrying out acts of vengeance. May he bring upon you destruction by the hand of all those who accomplish retributions. Accursed are you, without mercy, according to the darkness of your deeds, and sentenced to the gloom of everlasting fire. (1QS 1QRule of the Community, 4Q256 II, 30 BC)

6. For these reasons the wrath of God as vengeance is focused on Jerusalem.

B. 7 angels with bowls/plague: Jan AD 69 - Aug AD 70 and final Siege

1. "Son of man, write the name of the day, this very day. (589 BC) The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day." (Ezekiel 24:2)

2. Out of the "tabernacle of testimony" came seven angels of the 7 bowls of wrath plagues.

3. 587 BC: The identical plagues when the siege of Babylon surrounded the city

a. "One third of you will die by plague or be consumed by famine among you, one third will fall by the sword around you, and one third I will scatter to every wind, and I will unsheathe a sword behind them." (Ezekiel 5:12)

b. "'When I send against them the deadly arrows of famine which were for the destruction of those whom I will send to destroy you, then I will also intensify the famine upon you and break the staff of bread. 'Moreover, I will send on you famine and wild beasts, and they will bereave you of children; plague and bloodshed also will pass through you, and I will bring the sword on you. I, the Lord, have spoken.' " (Ezekiel 5:16-17)

c. "'The sword is outside and the plague and the famine are within. He who is in the field will die by the sword; famine and the plague will also consume those in the city." (Ezekiel 7:15)

4. Tabernacle of testimony is a direct reference to the ark of the covenant which held the "Covenant", law of God, Ten Commandments.

a. Ex 34:27-28: "God wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments."

b. Deut 4:13: "His covenant, the Ten Commandments, two tablets of stone.

c. 1 Ki 8:9,21: nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone, the covenant of the Lord

d. 2 Chro 6:11: "In the ark is the covenant of the Lord

e. 2 Cor 3:2-11, abolished Old Covenant was 10 commandments!

The Law of Christ is now the covenant in the Heavenly tabernacle

a. 1 Cor 9:27: "we are under the law of Christ"

b. Gal 6:2: "fulfill the law of Christ"

Temple closed until the 7 bowls are finished.

7 Bowls of Wrath

Revelation 16

Ezekiel 13 in Sept 592 BC

Ezekiel 23 in Aug 591 BC

Ezekiel 24 in 589 BC

A. Bowls avenge Christians & Jewish prophets killed in Jerusalem by Jews:

1. "Righteous are You, for they [Jews] poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it." (Rev 16:5-6)

2. Just as God destroyed the Egyptians to save the Jews from oppression, here God destroys the Jews to save the Christians from persecution. Just as the Egyptians deserved it, so did the Jews.

3. "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation (AD 30 - 70 = 40 years)." (Matthew 23:34-36)

B. Jan AD 69 - Aug AD 70 Civil War including the final 5 month siege

1. There is a correspondence between the 6th and 7th trumpets and the 6th and 7th bowls.

a. We already know that the first four trumpets and bowls are the same.

b. Again, Rev 9 and 16 (trumpet 6,7 and bowl 6,7) are discussing EXACTLY the same time period.

c. Trumpets 1-4 = Bowls 1-4

d. The 6th trumpet (2nd woe) of Rev 9 = 6th bowl of Rev 16

e. The 7th trumpet (3rd woe) of Rev 9 = 7th bowl of Rev 16

2. 1st bowl of wrath: Boils = DISEASE

a. Rev 6:2 = Ex 9:10 = 6th plague of Egypt

3. 2nd bowl of wrath: sea to blood: INJURY/BLOOD

a. 2nd bowl = 2nd trumpet = 1st plague of Egypt

b. Rev 16:3-4 = Rev 8:8 = Ex. 7:20-21

4. 3rd bowl of wrath: rivers, springs to blood: BITTER/POISON WATER

a. 3rd bowl = 3rd trumpet: Rev 8:10 Wormwood star that made the water's bitter

b. This is the second time the angels sing the song of Moses: Rev 5:3-4 & 16:5-7. The proclamation of the angel closely echoes the song of Moses:

Song of Moses used twice in Revelation

Rev 16:5-7

Ex 15:2-4

"You are just in these judgments"

"Just and true are your ways"

"you who are and who were"

"King of the ages"

"the Holy One"

"you alone are holy"

"because you have so judged"

"your righteous acts are revealed"

It is significant that the original song of Moses was sung when the Jews triumphed over the persecuting Egyptians and here in Revelation the Angels sing the song of Moses when the Christians triumphed over the persecuting Jews!

5. 4th bowl of wrath: Hot sun: HEAT

a. The temperatures in Israel from May to September often rise above 100 degrees F (38c)

b. The 10s of thousands of dead bodies in the city that Josephus documents would putrefy rapidly.

6. 5th bowl of wrath: throne, kingdom darkened: ANARCHY

C. 6th bowl of wrath: Euphrates dried up: THIRST (Rev 16:12-16)

1. This plague is twofold, in that it kills the Jews and summons the Roman armies to destroy the city.

2. This plague hurts the Jews but helps the Romans:

a. The drying up of water creates thirst for the Jews but makes it easy for them to cross the metaphoric Euphrates.

b. FULFILLED: Incredibly, Josephus draws a synchronism between 587 BC and AD 70: The springs of Jerusalem dried up until the arrival of those who would destroy the city (Nebuchadnezzar, Titus) and with their arrival water began to flow abundantly for them. (Josephus Wars 5.409-411)

3. This is the second time destroying armies have been summoned by God to come.

a. 6th Trumpet = 2nd Woe

b. Destroying armies of Titus arrive: 7th March AD 70.

c. Rev 9:13-21 = Ezek 10:3-22 = Rev 16:12

D. Battle of Armageddon (Jerusalem): 3 Frogs = 3 Rebel leaders

1. Synchronism with Ezekiel:

a. False Prophet = Jews: Ezek 13 on Sept 592 BC

2. The three unclean spirit demon frogs:

a. Demon Frog #1: Simon ben Giora

b. Demon Frog #2: John of Gischala

c. Demon Frog #3: Eleazar ben Simon

3. These three will split the city into three-way civil war.

a. Same internal wars happened in 587 BC: "I will call for a sword against him on all My mountains," declares the Lord God. "Every man's sword will be against his brother. "With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones (slingstones), fire and brimstone." (Ezekiel 38:21-22)

b. Josephus describes exactly this in AD 70: "The city of chaos is broken down; Every house is shut up so that none may enter." (Isaiah 24:10)

c. They "gather everyone together for the war" at Jerusalem

d. Jerusalem is Armageddon

4. Hail = white Roman Ballista balls: War at Jerusalem

a. Josephus records a civil war using Ballista on 1st Jan AD 70: 7th Bowl

b. The Romans used these during the 5 month siege.

c. 1 talent hail=Ballista balls: Wars 4.580, 5:4-6

5. Armageddon = Har [mountain] Megiddo [city]

a. Used only in Revelation, it is a symbolic combination of the historic battles fought in the plains that surround Megiddo AND the mountain of Jerusalem.

b. Distinct from the plain or valley (2 Chr 35:22; Zech 12:11) "In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon [Hadad = Baal, Rimmon = pagan god: 2 Ki 5:18] the plain of Megiddo." (Zechariah 12:11)

c. "The name of the battle site, like the visions themselves, fuses elements from multiple biblical passages" (AYBC, Rev 16:16)

d. So "Mountain of Megiddo" is the mystical name for Jerusalem as the location of the final battle in AD 70.

6. Destruction of Jerusalem like Armageddon: Rev 16:13

a. Jerusalem will mourn like Armageddon: Zech. 12:11

b. Deborah vs. Jabin: Judges 4-5

c. Saul vs. Philistines: Samuel 29-31

d. Neco II vs. Josiah: Kings 23:29

E. "Great day of God" (Rev 16:14) = destruction, not second coming

1. 723 Assyrian destruction of Samaria

a. "Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises And the moon will not shed its light." (Isaiah 13:9-10)

b. "Alas, you who are longing for the day of the Lord, For what purpose will the day of the Lord be to you? Will not the day of the Lord be darkness instead of light, Even gloom with no brightness in it?" (Amos 5:18-20)

2. 587 BC Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem:

a. "battle on the day of the Lord" Ezek 13:5

b. Zephaniah was written in 622 BC and was one of the earliest books predicting the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC: "Near is the great day of the LORD, Near and coming very quickly; Listen, the day of the LORD! In it the warrior cries out bitterly. A day of wrath is that day, A day of trouble and distress, A day of destruction and desolation, A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of trumpet and battle cry Against the fortified cities And the high corner towers. I will bring distress on men So that they will walk like the blind, Because they have sinned against the LORD; And their blood will be poured out like dust And their flesh like dung." (Zephaniah 1:14-17)

3. 568 BC Babylonian destruction of Egypt:

a. "The oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt; The idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence, And the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them." (Isaiah 19:1)

b. "Wail, 'Alas for the day!' "For the day is near, Even the day of the Lord is near; It will be a day of clouds, A time of doom for the nations. "A sword will come upon Egypt" (Ezekiel 30:2-4)

4. 589 BC Persian destruction of Babylon:

a. "Wail, for the day of the Lord is near! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. ... Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises And the moon will not shed its light." (Isaiah 13:6,9-10)

5. AD 70 Roman destruction of Jerusalem:

a. "There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." (Luke 21:25-27)

6. Future Second coming:

a. Jesus left and returns with clouds: Acts 1:9

b. "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. ... But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.