“And it cometh to pass, in the sixth year, in the sixth [month], in the fifth of the month, I am sitting in my house, and elders of Judah are sitting before me, and fall on me there doth a hand of the Lord Jehovah,
2 and I look, and lo, a likeness as the appearance of fire, from the appearance of His loins and downward — fire, and from His loins and upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of copper.
3 And He putteth forth a form of a hand, and taketh me by a lock of my head, and lift me up doth a spirit between the earth and the heavens, and it bringeth me in to Jerusalem in visions of God, unto the opening of the inner gate that is facing the north, where [is] the seat of the figure of jealousy that is making jealous,
4 and lo, there the honour of the God of Israel, as the appearance that I saw in the valley.
5 And He saith unto me, `Son of man, lift up, I pray thee, thine eyes the way of the north.’ And I lift up mine eyes the way of the north, and lo, on the north of the gate of the altar this figure of jealousy, at the entrance. (Ezek. 8:1-5, YLT)
During the sixth year of Ezekiel’s captivity in Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, the Lord came to him in a vision and showed Ezekiel the evil and wicked acts carried out in the temple in Jerusalem. The inner gate on the path or street (way) led to the court of the priests where the “seat of the figure of jealousy” had been placed at the entrance of the north gate.
The figure of jealousy was the image of an idol that made YHVH jealous as the priests had turned their worship from YHVH and were bowing before a carved statue, or possibly an engraving upon a wall. Clarke’s Commentary offers an opinion from Calmet that this figure was either that of Tamuz or Adonis.
“The name agrees perfectly with him. He was represented as a beautiful youth, beloved by Venus; at which Mars, her paramour, being incensed and filled with jealousy, sent a large boar against Adonis, which killed him with his tusks. Hence it was the image of him who fell a victim to jealousy.” (1)
However, the image of jealousy was not called that in scripture because of any specific false pagan idol that was being worshiped. It was the act of false idol worship which caused our heavenly Father to be jealous for the regard of his people. He was jealous for them.
“And I have caused My fury against thee to rest, And My jealousy hath turned aside from thee, And I have been quiet, and I am not angry any more.” (Ezek. 16:42, YLT)
See also Psa. 79:5; Ezek. 23:25; 36:5-6, Zeph. 1:18; 3:8.
The image of jealousy was that which caused YHVH’s jealousy and fury against His people. They began worshiping idols, images, representations of fake and false beings of their imaginations, as well as images of the animal world (Ezek. 8:8-11). They were worshiping the very lower forms of life that YHVH had created and over which He had given man dominion (Gen. 1:26-28).
The image of jealousy was any false idol which the people set up to worship in their “high” places with their arches and burning altars. The act of worshiping these idols was the abomination before the Lord.
“13 And He saith unto me, `Again thou dost turn, thou dost see great abominations that they are doing.'” (Ezek. 8:13, YLT)
It was the abomination – the false idol worship – that caused YHVH’s jealousy and anger which then resulted in the desolation He sent upon Judah and Jerusalem.
“4 And desolated have been your altars, And broken your images, And I have caused your wounded to fall before your idols,
5 And put the carcases of the sons of Israel before their idols, And scattered your bones round about your altars.
6 In all your dwellings the cities are laid waste, And the high places are desolate, So that waste and desolate are your altars, And broken and ceased have your idols, And cut down have been your images, And blotted out have been your works.“ (Ezek. 6:4-6, YLT)
The Israelite who returned from the Babylonian captivity to rebuild Jerusalem and the second temple were monotheistic, only worshiping YHVH in accordance with the first and second commandments (Ex. 20:1-6). (2) (3)
The lesson they learned through the first destruction of Jerusalem was implanted so firmly in the national politic of Judah and Jerusalem that it was still evident in their resistance to the attempts of the Romans to set up images of Caesar in Jerusalem in the first century AD. (4) (5) (6)
So, as the Jews of the second temple period refused to bow to an idol image of any form, then what was the image of the beast before whom Rev. 13:5, 8, 12, 14 said they bowed?
Reasoning from what we have already explored:
- Revelation was written before the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, before AD 70. This is evidenced internally in many scriptures of the book, but especially in Rev. 11:1-2 where people were still worshiping at the temple in Jerusalem. As no one worshiped there after the temple was destroyed, then it is not possible that this verse could have been written after AD 70. See also the previous posts “The Signs of Revelation – Part I: The Time of His Coming” and “It’s Not The End of The World – Part V: Dating The Book of Revelation.”
- Revelation was the prophesy of the second destruction of Jerusalem that was to come upon the Jews shortly after the book was written (Rev. 1:1; 2:5, 16; 3:11; 22:6, 7, 10, 12, 20). See also the previous posts “The Whore of Babylon” and “The Beast of Revelation”.
- Judea became an occupied Roman province annexed to Syria in 63 BC under Gen. Pompey. (7) (8)
- The sixth king of the beast kingdom of the Roman empire was ruling as listed in Rev. 17:10 that five are fallen and “the one is”. Present tense when written, the sixth king of the 4th beast kingdom was ruling before the temple was destroyed.
- The name of the sixth beast ruler is identified in code in Rev. 13:18: “for the number of a man it is” and that his number “is” 666. Hebrew Gematria for the letters of his name which spelled the Hebrew form of Caesar Nero. (9) (10) (11)
- Caesar Nero ruled from 54 – 68 AD, therefore the latest possible date for the writing of Revelation was 68 AD.
- It was Nero who ordered Vespasian to put down the rebellion in Judea in AD 67, and who was given power to make war for 42 months (Rev. 13:5) and who spoke great blasphemies and evil against God (Rev. 13:6). (12) (13)
- But the Christians had already fled Jerusalem after the retreat of Cestius Gallus in 66 AD. (Ibid, 12, 13) (14)
“ 15 `Whenever, therefore, ye may see the abomination of the desolation, that was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever is reading let him observe) 16 then those in Judea — let them flee to the mounts;“ (Matt. 24:15-16, YLT)
“ 14 `And when ye may see the abomination of the desolation, that was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (whoever is reading let him understand), then those in Judea, let them flee to the mountains;” (Mark 13:14, YLT)
“ 20 `And when ye may see Jerusalem surrounded by encampments, then know that come nigh did her desolation; 21 then those in Judea, let them flee to the mountains; and those in her midst, let them depart out; and those in the countries, let them not come in to her; 22 because these are days of vengeance, to fulfil all things that have been written.” (Luke 21:20-22, YLT)
The abomination of the desolation in both Matt 24 and Mark 13 is restated in Luke 21 as the Roman army encamped around Jerusalem. As Christ had told his disciples to flee to the mountains when they saw the Roman army, and as they did flee after the unexpected retreat of Cestius Gallus in 66 AD, then that confirms the Roman army to have been the agency of the desolation of Jerusalem.
And, still the abomination was not the Roman legions in and of themselves. They were the force of the fourth beast kingdom prophesied in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7. They were the force sent out by the sixth ruler of that fourth beast kingdom, who was the face or image of the beast.
The Roman legions carried standards with banners and emblems of their fighting forces. The XII Fulminata was the thunderbolt legion and their emblem was the lightning bolt. (15)
Pilate had set up standards with either the name of Tiberius Caesar in Jerusalem, or his image which the Jews recognized as a dedication to a person calling himself a “god,” and were therefore dedications to an idol. The Jews successfully protested for their removal. (16)
Every ruler of a kingdom becomes the face or image of that kingdom. He represents that kingdom to the rest of the world. The sixth ruler of the ancient Roman empire was Caesar Nero and was therefore the image of the sea beast in Rev. 13. As the Jews did not allow a standard or statue of Caesar in Jerusalem, then how was a graven image of Caesar Nero being worshiped?
Nero’s Gold Coin
Minted in 56/57 AD, and discovered in 2016 at the Mount Zion archeological dig south of the Old City of Jerusalem, it has on the face (obverse) “NERO CAESAR AVG IMP” (Nero Caesar Augustus Imperator).” (17)
On the back (reverse) would have been the inscription ““EX S C” (Ex Senatus Consulto—“ meaning by order of the Senate – as well as ““PONTIF MAX TR P III”.
An example with the reverse side of these coins:
From the article at Biblical Archeology:
“Pontifex Maximus means ‘greatest priest,’ and it was the most important religious position in Rome,” explained Jane Sancinito, a Ph.D. candidate in Ancient History at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in Roman imperial and Byzantine numismatics, in an email to Bible History Daily. “The Tribunicia Potestas, or tribunician power, was an important legal power first given to Augustus. The legend says this is the third (III) year in a row that Nero held this power and thus provides us with the date. Nero became emperor in 54 C.E., so three years later is 56/57 C.E., depending on the month.” (Ibid, 17)
The area of the dig is thought to have been the wealthy quarter in the Upper City which were the homes of the priests and aristocracy of Jerusalem. (18) (19)
The title Pontifex Maximus literally means “greatest Pontiff,” or high priest, and was the highest office of the state religion of Rome. (20) (21)
” for a root of all the evils is the love of money,…” (1 Tim. 6:10, YLT)
Ezekiel’s vision was of the priests in the temple worshiping and bowing before graven images of pagan idols. Revelation’s image of the beast was a graven image on a gold coin of a man calling himself a “god” and a “high priest,” that was the face of the fourth beast kingdom which ruled Judea and Jerusalem in the first century AD, and which the Sanhedrin priests received for services rendered in subjecting the people to that pagan beast ruler.
“ 16 And it maketh all, the small, and the great, and the rich, and the poor, and the freemen, and the servants, that it may give to them a mark upon their right hand or upon their foreheads,
17 and that no one may be able to buy, or to sell, except he who is having the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Rev. 13:16-17, YLT)
1) Clarke’s Commentary on Ezekiel 8:3 – here
2) Babylonian Exile – here
3) Ezra and Nehemia – My Jewish Learning
4) Non-violent Resistance of the Jews to the Roman… – Beki
5) Pilate & Caligula – here
6) Emperor Worship – Jewish Virtual Library
7) Pompey’s Siege of Jerusalem – Livius
8) Pompey The Great – Jewish Encyclopedia
9) Calculating the Number of The Beast – American Vision
10) The Gematria of the The Number of The Beast – 666 – Agape Bible Study
11) Comments of Eduard Wilhelm Reuss, David Chilton, & F.W. Farrar at Preterist Archive
12) The First Jewish-Roman War – HistoryNet
13) Jewish War (66-70) – Livius3
14) The Campaign of Cestius Gallus … – Josephus
15) Legio XII Fulminata – Livius
16) Pontius Pilate – Livius4
17) Nero’s Gold Coin – BAR
18) Rare, 2,000-year-old Roman Coin – here
19) Rare Gold Coin with Nero’s Face – LiveScience
20) Pontifex Maximus – here
21) Pontifex Maximus – Livius
27 thoughts on “Ezekiel in Revelation – Part IV: The Image of Jealousy / The Image of The Beast”
Question about Thessalonians where it says, “we who are still alive will be caught up” . What exactly happened to those who were still alive in 70 A.D. ? Did they did a natural death as we do? Were those living at the time, taken up in the clouds instantly, in a way that dispensationalists would call rapture? Just trying to understand what “caught up” means. Also, was the resurrection of the dead and event that took place in a physical event on Earth? Or was it a spiritual event that did not take place on Earth?
They lived out their lives until their bodily death, and then were gathered home. Pls read The Gathering of the Elect.
What is your response to people who say Jesus will return in the flesh, pointing to the following passage:
Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up at the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.
Acts 1:9… “a cloud did receive him from their site.” How did they see Christ going into heaven? In a cloud. How did the angel say He would return? the same way… in a cloud. Matt. 26:64, “…hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the power, and coming upon the clouds, of the heaven.'” Coming in the clouds… judgment language = a day of the Lord = destruction of the wicked, specifically the Jews who crucified Christ.
I have several family members who are Catholic. When they recite their profession of faith, there are two lines that jump out to me:
1. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead
2. We look for the resurrection of the dead.
Just to be clear, the judgement of the “living and the dead” and the “resurrection of the dead” took place in the 1st century. That’s my understanding after reading scripture and with the help of your site. Am I l correct in this understanding?
Yes, both the resurrection from Hades, and the judgment of the “living” – those in Christ, and the “dead” – those not in Christ happened in the first century AD at the destruction of Jerusalem AD 70. The judgment included the war against the Jews, the destruction of their city and temple, and the judgment of those who were already in the grave. But, that was the beginning of the continual process of judgment and resurrection. Rev. 14:13, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: …” (KJV). Henceforth, that is after the fall of Jerusalem (Babylon, Rev. 14:8) all those who die in the Lord… continual process…are blessed in that they do not have to go to the prison of Hades. B/c God threw Hades into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20::14) – or destroyed it – after all the sheep & goats were separated out (Matt. 25: 33-34; Rev, 20:17). Ever since, whenever anyone in the Lord dies the angels take those who are in Christ, covered by His blood home to heaven (Luke 16:22), and those wicked rebellious souls are cast into outer darkness (Matt. 22:13; 2 Pet. 2:17). Those souls who die in Christ, being covered by the blood experience the true passover – never to die again – death passes over us (John 5″24).
Even though I agree with the preterist view, one issue that troubles me is that the preterists I’ve listened to, tend to speak as though the writer of Revelation is using a type of literary style by design. For example in Rev ch 13, preterists generally make it sound like the writer of Rev is making a conscious effort to match the 7 heads of the beast with the 7 Roman emperors. Was the writer intentionally using a certain literary device here? Is there a conscious effort to utilize all the symbols in this book? Or was he simply writing down the details of the vision, without any conscious intent? I ask this question because preterists tend to come across as more scholarly in their approach, while dispensationalists tend to come across as more faith based in their belief. At least that is the perception.
Faith: Strong’s Gr. 4102 – pistis, which is defined as faith or faithfulness; and used as faith, belief, trust, confidence, fidelity, faithfulness. Faith is the result of knowing. You cannot have faith in some one you do not know. I like the way John Calvin put it best: “”Faith is knowing what is His will toward us; therefore, we hold faith to be the knowledge of God’s will toward us” (John Calvin, as quoted by R. McAfee Brown in Is Faith Obsolete?).” Rom. 10:17, ” So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Knowing the scriptures, the word of God builds faith. The more you know, the more faith you have. So, is the “scholarly” approach you speak of without faith? Not at all! In fact it has the most faith as it is based solely upon scripture, and not assumption. Faith is not exactly belief, but many ppl use it almost interchangeably. There is an assumption in the last statement that the knowledge of God’s word is somehow apart from faith. I would rather say that the traditional dispensationalists are ignoring scripture, refusing to analyze scripture to prefer a system of indoctrinated beliefs that is not based upon God’s word.
Literary style of Revelation is from the OT prophesies, not from the writer. The author of all of the books is the Holy Spirit, who moved the men to write and speak His word (2 Pet. 1:21). Therefore the literary style is also of the Holy Spirit, and the design is based upon the OT usages, one of which was that “heads” were rulers and kings; also chief cities of nations. The meaning is not arbitrarily assigned, but is from established OT prophetic use.
I agree with you on faith and that the traditional dispensationalists are ignoring scripture. I’ll narrow my question down to this. Do you believe the writer of Revelation was simply writing down what he saw in the vision or was there a conscious intent to employ the various symbols and metaphorical terminology? In Revelation it says he wrote down what was seen in the vision. I’ve seen too many preterists speak about the writer of Revelation as if he is intentionally and very carefully choosing the specific symbols and metaphors. I heard a well-known preterist say that John wrote in this coded way so that it would make it’s way past the Roman censors. The problem I have with this, is that it ignores the fact that the writer of Revelation is simply writing down what he saw in the vision. Let’s face it, if the writer is consciously trying to fool the Roman censors, then he is not merely sharing what he saw in a vision that came from God. I’ve seen a lot of preterists speak like this, which makes it seem like this knowledge did not come from the vision but from the writer’s own mind.
I think that “scholars” tend to fall into a trap of assigning the writers with more autonomy than they should. They begin to argue about personal backgrounds of the Apostles, and styles of their writings, and they leave out the very real substance that the true author is/was the Holy Spirit, and that the writers were His secretaries. It is my viewpoint that the writers (Paul, Peter, John, Mark., etc) were taking dictation. John wrote what he saw in the vision. However, the vision used the metaphors that were already established by the Holy Spirit in the OT.
One issue about Matthew 27: 52-53 that I struggle to understand is this. Many dead bodies arose and walked into the city. How long on this Earth did those resurrected go on living? Did they live another 30 years? 40 years? Wouldn’t there be some historical record or mention of these people in sources outside of scripture? It’s a pretty big deal to have many previously dead bodies walking the Earth. It just seems like there would be sources outside of scripture that would detail the lives of at least a few of these resurrected bodies. Did they walk into the city and then get taken up into heaven very shortly thereafter? It’s a bit puzzling to me.
It is my impression that they ascended to heaven when Christ ascended.
You may have covered this somewhere but I haven’t seen it. Matthew 27:52-53. Is this the resurrection of the dead? I never knew how to interpret these verses where many dead bodies are raised when Jesus gave up his spirit.
Part of it, but not completely. The word “saints” refers to those believers in Christ, the set apart ones. They appeared to many in Jerusalem, so they were known by those people to whom they appeared. That means they were of that generation of believers. As they had died before Jesus’ resurrection, most probably before Jesus’ crucifixion, then they were His disciples during His 3 -1/2 year earthly ministry. Quite possible that John may have been one of them.
Most commentators take this event as a proof set, an affirmation that Jesus had conquered death, and those souls were allowed to appear to family and friends in Jerusalem to show that the resurrection from the dead was real. I have no issue with that as far as that goes. However, I believe there is more to it. I remember Jesus’ prayer before His crucifixion that those who believed on Him would be with Him, where He was to see His glory (John 17:24). I believe God answered that prayer. So, while Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, the souls of the disciples who had recently died also appeared to those they knew in Jerusalem.
And, when Jesus ascended, it is my belief that those few also ascended to be with Him in heaven. I believe that all of His disciples from that point forward were resurrected at each of their deaths and were gathered into heaven to be with Him to witness His coming in glory at the destruction of Jerusalem ( the preview of 1 Thess. 4:17).
But this was not the full separation out of Hades which Jesus told His disciples would happen when He came in His glory to fully establish His kingdom (Matt. 25:31ff). At that time, after the destruction of the earthly temple, He would be sitting upon His throne. That implies He is in court hearing issues for judgment. A king sits on His throne for judgment to issue decrees. The separation out of Hades then would include all of the righteous souls who had died prior to John’s baptism, and prior to Jesus’ ministry all the way back to the beginning with Abel, and Adam.
I believe this judgment and separation out of Hades was timed exactly for the feast of Yom Kippur, 10 days after the Feast of Trumpets on the 10th of Tishri. That puts it within the 10 days of the marriage ceremony and feast of the marriage of the lamb which ties to the judgment in the parable of Matt. 22:1-14 where judgment began at the marriage feast. Because God’s plan followed the feast days.
Thanks for the reply. I wasn’t quite sure if Matt 27:52-53 was the full separation out of Hades. Your explanation makes sense that it wasn’t. Scripture can be frustrating sometimes. Matt 27:52-53 is one of those frustrating pieces. Something as significant as people being raised from the grave and walking into the city, only receives two verses of mention. It’s like, oh by the way, some people came out of their graves…..no big deal….let’s move on. Just kinda leaves us hanging.
):. Yeah, it’s hard for us on this earthly plane to be in full remembrance. Takes some time, study, and analysis to connect all the dots. I’m still working on it. But, God does not forget.
I agree with everything I’ve read here and it’s been very helpful. What is the proper interpretation of Revelation 13:15 about the image of the beast having the power to speak?
Delegation of authority. Many ppl / commentators try to reach into great mystical depths with all of the figurative metaphors, but I lean on the OT examples where the beasts were the political rulers who “caused terror in the land of the living” (Ezek. 32:23-27). So, my first associations are political / nation state actions. The land beast – the two horns / rulers who had the appearance “like a lamb” – they were supposed to be of God, but were not – were of the Judean rulers – the High Priest and the King appointed by the Roman Caesar – specifically at that time Nero. These 2 horns rec’d their authority from Nero / Rome, the head of the sea beast nation. They were given authority and power to speak on behalf of the sea beast who was paying them to do his work in Judea and carry out Caesar’s laws. They were doing every thing in their power as Caesar’s appointed rulers to defeat Christ’s church and to persecute and kill His saints. So they spoke, and death followed through excommunications, and anathematized / cursed saints, and delivery into Roman hands for actual torture and death.
Excellent info you are passing along. One more question….did the old covenant end at the cross, or did it end in 70 A.D. ? I’m still a bit confused on how to view those 40 years between the cross and the temple destruction.
AD 70. The teaching that the law or the old covenant was nailed to the cross is a great misunderstanding of 15th & 16th century English language. What was nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14) was the “handwriting of ordinances” that were the charges against us under the law – the sins / transgressions we committed against God. In old legal language style, the handwriting of ordinances was the list that a magistrate wrote of all of the charges being brought against the defendant in court. It was not the OT Law that was nailed to the cross, but our sins.
An ocean liner cannot stop on a dime. It takes some time to turn it around. The 40 years between the cross and the destruction of the temple, the mirror of the 40 years wandering in the Exodus wilderness, was a time of transition to bring in the spiritual everlasting kingdom, the spiritual promised land. Christ told them that not one jot or tittle would pass until it was all fulfilled (Matt. 5:18) The temple structure / system was allowed to remain in place until the word of the gospel of Christ had been preached throughout all the lands of the Roman empire – all the world (Luke 2:1), and then the end would come (Matt. 24:14). Paul said it had been preached unto every creature under “heaven” in Col. 1:23 in about AD 62-64. Hebrews said that the “old” was ready to vanish away (Heb. 8:13). That means it was in process, in transition, ready to be finished when that temple was torn down.
So, the old covenant completely passed away in AD 70 at the destruction of the earthly temple, when the new spiritual temple came down from heaven to be with men (Rev. 21:1-3). You might read the post “The Promised Land: Between the Cross and the Kingdom” at the right margin.
Thank You! That was a very helpful reply.
What do you think about the idea that Cerinthus in the first century, was the Antichrist. Some preterists will argue that the Beast of the Sea was Rome and the 6th head of the beast was Nero (666), and they will also argue that Cerinthus was the Antichrist. As a preterist, do you believe there was a person in the 1st century that was the Antichrist? Or do we just take the term antichrist to be a vague description of those people in general who reject Christ?
The word Antichrist is not used in Revelation. It means one who denies Christ, or teaches against Christ being the Son of God. The ideas of THE Antichrist in Revelation are being misapplied.
The representation of “beasts” (lions, wolves, bears, etc.) throughout OT prophesies were of wicked tyrant kings and rulers who parasitically fed off the people (Psa. 49:12, 20; Isa. 30:1-6; Dan. 7:3, 7, 12,17; etc.) . The sea beast of Revelation was identified by John in chap. 13. Vs.1 refers to 10 horns, or kings. Horns were the rulers and kings in OT prophesy (Deu. 33:17; Dan, 7:8, 20. 24: 8:3, etc). John provides a coded clue that the ppl would understand for the letters of the name of the beast in vs. 18 – the number of A MAN – 666. In the gematria of the day, either in the Hebrew or the Greek spelling, it was Nero.
Rev. 17:10 confirms the sea beast ruler – “one is” meaning that king was ruling when the book was written, and five had already fallen. The 6th one would only rule a short time. Again, Nero who had been the sixth tyrant king / emperor of the 4th beast kingdom, the ancient Roman empire which became an empire under Julius Caesar. See the post “The Beast of Revelation” for more scriptural proofs.
Cerinthus was an anti-christ, one who denied Christ, of which Jesus warned many would appear before His return to destroy the temple (Matt. 24:23-24) and which John said were already bothering them (1 John 2:18, 22). Cerinthus was not a ruler or king of any nation, especially not of Rome which was the 4th beast kingdom (Dan. 2, 7). He cannot be considered to be the man of the sea beast of Revelation. He was just one of many antichrists.
Thanks for your reply. So you reject the idea that the Anti-Christ was a single person? I heard at least one partial-preterist claim that Cerinthus was probably THE Anti-Christ that we see mentioned in 1 John. According to this view, This view recognizes that the Anti-Christ was not the man of the sea beast (that was Nero). The Anti-Christ according to this view is a false teacher. So to be clear, you deny the belief that scripture points to one single man, either past or future, that is THE Anti-Christ. You believe that 1 John is merely pointing out many anti-Christs, not one major Anti-Christ (false teacher).
The concept / teaching a single antichrist – always prefaced with THE antichrist – is not found in the scriptures. This idea was introduced into the “church” at Rome in early days, and became embedded as centuries passed. It is a prime example of how far people get away from God’s word by stepping off the path in the wrong direction.
It was formalized into Catholic Canon with the counter-reformation defense of the pope who called upon his Jesuit friends to come up with an interpretation of Revelation that would counter Martin Luther’s teachings that the pope was The Antichrist. Ribera and Bellarmine coincidentally came up with almost the exact same interpretation of Revelation in the late 16th century which stated that The Antichrist would be a Jew, would combine the 3 religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam into one world-wide religion; that he would rule the world from Jerusalem for a number of years before Christ’s second return to end the world. This so pleased the pope that it became enshrined in the RCC Canon – if memory serves in Vold 2, Chap. 7, about para. 541-546 or thereabouts. See Part VII of It’s Not The End of The World.
The belief became so accepted throughout the churches that no one even thought to question if it was based upon scripture. Justin said it was so, therefore Eusibius said it was so. Irenaeus supposedly heard it from Polycarp, who said John taught it to him, and on and on. But, there is no scripture that supports this idea as it based upon a futuristic, premlilennial, dispensational view. They discarded the prophesies of the OT, and did not consider they were of any use.
All of Revelation is from the OT prophesies. In fact all of the NT is from the OT prophesies. The OT scriptures defined God’s metaphors, and God’s words. God’s meaning of “the end”, and “the last days” are the truth, and they were always speaking of the last days of the tribes of Israeil, (Gen. 49), the last days of the temple system (Isa. 65), and the last days of Jerusalem (Ezek. 16; Joel 2, Amos, Habbakuk, etc.) So, when the “church fathers” expressed their beliefs they did not base those beliefs upon God’s word, but upon their own understandings. They were quite simply wrong.
The scriptures do not point to one single man as THE antichrist. There are many antichrists at work today in our generation, just as there were in John’s generation, and they are causing much trouble, much evil, and are turning many people away from the truth of the scriptures. That is why I am writing this blog.
So is the mark of the beast, the coin with Nero’s image? And “mark on right hand or forehead” is figurative terminology and not a literal mark?
Paul, the old custom of marking slaves was actually branding. It was often a letter or symbol on the forehead, sometimes on the hand or upper arm. The mark of the beast in Rev prophesy was Strong’s Gr. 5480, charagma. It is originally a die stamp or engraving, a sculpture specifically of a coin, or a seal used to validate documents. The symbolism encompassed those who willingly followed after the beast, and were joined to the beast through economic associations, and/ or contract agreements. Those who were literally branded with a slave mark were coerced, and cannot be considered to be followers of the beast.
The twisted use of this prophesy today is being transferred into an unholy permission to mark people as property and cattle of the evil cabal with microchips just as if we were their slaves. But this is not the meaning in Rev. Those having the mark in Rev were willing associates of the beast.