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Posted on CCPC's website 2022
The study Index page.
Again. This study is verse by verse, IMAGE by Image, IDEA by Idea, and concept by concept. Which means it is a Marathon.
We are using sources that John the Apostle and those mentioned as the recipients of the letter, the Seven Churches and other First Century Christians, the majority of which were Jews, would / should / could have been familiar with. We will also reference newer translations and versions of the book, beginning with the 1560 Geneva Bible (the bulk source for the 1611 KJV, which we also use) all the way up to much more current publications, and examinations of the text from various scholars, as well as beginning the analysis of the text from the Greek.
It should be said here, as we are beginning with the Greek, we are going in remembering that John was writing in an 'apocalyptic' style. It seems many translations have forgotten that and 'moderated' the language.
1 and 2
John's on the beach. And a “therion” (wild dangerous beast) comes out of the ocean. The beast had seven “kephalas” heads...
“Mythical time out”... ten “keraton” (horns), on the horns ten “diademata” (royal crowns)....
There is no lack of multi-headed monsters /dragons in mythology. In chapter 12 we met the seven headed red dragon. But now this thing is not called a 'dragon' but a 'beast'. Looking at other such monsters in history we come first to the Hydra, also called the Lernean Hydra, which usually had five heads, unless a hero cut one off, then two would grow back. Another such monster was Scylla, a sea serpent with six heads. And we mustn't ignore the movie star King Ghidorah who had three heads, and wings, and co-stared with Godzilla in several pictures, who was based on the others. A three headed monster on a somewhat smaller scale was the dog Cerberus, another of Heracles' (the Greek spelling) 'friends'.
Later in Revelation 13 the description brings to mind the Babylonian monster Mushussu with the hind legs of an eagle, the front legs of a lion, a snake's forked tongue and scales, wings, and a bad temper. In some works, it was also described as serpent-like, with the other features. In some works it was called Basmu, which was also their name for the constellation we know as “the Hydra”. These attributes also bring to mind their 'chaos monster', or perhaps Tiamat herself.
None of these things should be confused with the mythological wyvern which was essentially a Pterosaur (flying reptile from the age of dinosaurs) with a slightly modified physique. Of note with them was the lack of front legs, instead they had wings, such as modern birds, Which would make them something of a giant chicken with a REALLY bad attitude. But where they play into Revelation was the poisonous tip to the wyvern's tail which was likened to a scorpion in some legends. This creature has also been likened to Quetzalcoatl / Kukulkan in the new world.
A Beast with a pinch of Blaspheme FocusThe beast was like a “pardalei” (panther or leopard), feet like a “arkou” (bear) with the “stoma” (mouth or speech) of a “leontos”. And the “drakon” (dragon) gave the beast “dynamin, thronon, exousian megalen” (power, a throne, authority great).
First a definition. The usual use of the word 'blaspheme' to accuse somebody is seen either when somebody claims to be God, or in the case of Christ, the Son of God, as in answer to the question in Mark 14 : 61 and at a healing in Luke 5. It is also used, but not translated as such in Jude 9 when Micheal rebukes Satan. It has also been suggested as what Job's wife was telling him to do in Job 2 : 9. While the Hebrew word “barek” has multiple meanings, depending on the context, we can judge from his reaction that her usage was on the negative side of the equation.
Apparently this beast is the beast we first met as the beast from the abyss in chapter 11. And he makes a curtain call in chapter 17.
Is this 'thing' the same beast(s) that Daniel saw in his vision in chapter 7 of his book? In that description there are four separate monsters, but there are many similarities with the various body parts, the horn count, and so on. So it is possible that while Daniel saw four, they've merged and now appear as one and represent the same basic things as they did when Old Dan saw them from his bed: four kingdoms, the ten from the last kingdom and so on. They also have common points such as the first beast being given a human mind and John's beast speaking 'great things' in verse 5.
End focus section
And one of the heads was “esphagmenen eis thanaton” (violently wounded to death). And the “plege tou thanatou” (wound of death) was “etherapeuthe” (was relieved). And all the Earth “ethaumasthe” (admired and marveled) over the beast.
If you look at the verse, there is no indication of how the beast's head was wounded. He does not make war against the saints until verse 7. He just arrived on the scene and had just been given power and authority, so how was he injured? It would seem to be that something got him before he comes out of the water. Stay tuned, we find out later.
And “prosekynesan” (they prostrate themselves in worship of) the dragon who had given the beast its power, and they also worship the beast saying “who is like the beast and who can fight against him?”
The verse does not specify who “they” are. However, it clearly refers back to 'all the Earth' from verse 3. The 'song to the beast' is a paraphrase of several Psalms, including 89 and 113, and Exodus 15: 11.
5 and 6
The verse does not specify who gives the beast the “stoma” (mouth) it uses to speak. It could be from God, it could be from the devil, it could come from... just about anywhere at this point. In any case, it starts talking, and never stops. No, really....
It “laloun” (in context the word implies 'talks without stopping') “megala” (greatness) and “blasphemias”, and it was given authority to act for 42 months, about 1277 days. As opposed to the earlier 1260 days. Still three and a half years.
The beast uses its mouth and its time to blaspheme GOD, and His Name, and His “skenen” (home), and all “skenountas” (dwelling) in heaven. (an "equal opprotunity blasphemer")
7 and 8
And “edothe auto” (given to it) to “poiesai polemon” (manufacture strife / battle) with those “hagion” (set apart by/for GOD) and to “nikesai” (conquer and subdue) them. And it was given authority over 'everybody'.
The flavor of the expression in the Greek is that the beast creates something of a 'false flag operation' to begin persecution of Christians with the endorsement of the various governments of the world.
And all on earth who weren't Christians worshiped him, and we have another doxology for the Lamb.
“He that hath an ear....” We've seen this phrase before, but it's been a while.
The first two thirds of this verse is a paraphrase of Jeremiah 15: 2.
The 1611 and a few others get the next bit wrong: This is the “hypomone” (endurance / steadfastness (implies a test)) of the “pistis” (faithfulness) of the “hagion”.
11 and 12
Then John sees another beast, this one rises from the “ges” (land) and it had two horns like a lamb, but was speaking like a dragon.
And the “exousian” (authority) of the first beast was given to it to “poiei” (make / force) the “gen” (world) and those “katoikountas” (inhabiting) it to “proskynesousin” (fall down in worship) of the first beast.
Think back to exactly what dragon was speaking before. So it is talking Like the 'bad guy' but isn't. So this one is the spokes-beast for the real dragon. As if one wasn't bad enough.
The second beast is given power to do works great “semeia” (signs), including making “pyr” (fire) from “ouranou katabainein” (heaven come down) in the “enopion ton anthropon” (to the face of men).
So. Now besides talking like the dragon, it does magic tricks too. (maybe it works weekends in Las Vegas.)
And it “plana” (leads astray / deceives) those dwelling on Earth through those signs given to it to perform before the first beast, the second beast “legon” (tells / commands) those on Earth to “poiesai eikona to therio” (construct a statue of the beast) that had “plegen tes machaires” (wound from a sword) and “ezesen” (lived).
“And it was given to it...”
small gift focusThe second beast is given the ability to give “pneuma” (spirit / breath) to the statue so it can speak and cause those that will not worship it to be “apoktanthosin” (killed outright).
This phrase is used several times in 13 and elsewhere in Revelation. These creatures who work for Satan ("that old dragon" from ch 12) are given power to do various things. However, Satan himself has no power or authority except that which GOD allows him to have. Remember the limits put on his power over Job?
Evidently part of the deception by the beast is in convincing the people of Earth, who are universally famous for being gullible, that the beasts, as well as the dragon itself, have the powers they are using of their own accord.
16 and 17
The “it” that is referred to here is apparently the image of the first beast.
And “poiei” (makes / obliges) “pantas” (every kind (of person))... that it “dosin” (should give) them a “charagma” (stamp / sign (implies permanence, such as a tattoo or brand)) on the right hand or “charagma” (forehead).
And that no one “dynetai agorasai e polesai” (was able to (go to market) to purchase or sell (barter)) if they didn't have the mark, the name of the beast, or the number of its name.
“Hode he sophia estin” (Here the insight / wisdom is).
The one that has “noun” (intellect) let him “psephisato” (calculate / compute / reckon) the “arithmon” (number / total) of the “theriou” (beast); the “arithmos” (number / total) for a “anthropou estin” (human it is (I am)), and the “arithmos” is “hexakosioi hexekonta hex”...
Another Inline Extended Special Focus Tangent on the sixes (six descriptive words in a row, get it?):
This is the most debated and written about number in the Bible.
In fact, there are at least one fifth century copy of the book in the Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus where the number is 616 in the text. However, there are questions about the reliability of the copy. Especially since Irenaeus (130 - 202) remarked that the text he was familiar with was the three sixes, and said exactly that in his “Against Heresies” book 5, chapter 30.1, see link below.
If you go down the rabbit hole of mystically significant numbers, you can find those that maintain that 666 is a good omen, or an “Angel Number” (see below) and there is nothing wrong with anything where that number occurs, such as on a cash register receipt or even vehicle registration, which is contrary to some people who essentially panic when the number shows up in their daily life. If carried to the extreme it can be called “Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia”. We're not going down that hole, we're just going to peak in from the surface with a flashlight.
In reality, 666 is a counting number, divisible by two and three, and, oddly, is the sum of the first thirty six 'natural numbers', making it what mathematicians call a Triangular Number. If you are playing a dice game and roll three sixes, triple boxcars, it may well give you a good score, or even another turn.
Numerology assigns numerical values to letters and then add up the values from a name, see link below for a good general page on the subject. There is no end to those that have found significance to the names, and nicknames, and so on of various political leaders. And for some reason, there are Christians that believe that if the Numerologists can devise a way to come up with 666, no matter what sort of mathematical contortions they have to go through to do it, or to use a form of the individual's name that they do not use, then that proves that they are the Antichrist. Never mind that the number is not associated with that individual in Revelation. We can even go back to Irenaeus on that one who believed that since John, who had mentored his friend Polycarp, wrote the book in Greek, the number was probably based on Greek calculations.
It is also Irenaeus in that same section that cites the number as 666, thus totally dismissing the claim by some, based on a single manuscript with a 'typo' in it, which was written over a hundred years after John's original, that the number should be 616. Well, in the real world, 616 is the telephone area code for Grand Rapids, Michigan. The area code with three sixes has NEVER been assigned, although in a few instances the exchange 666 has been issued, and then withdrawn. We'll leave it at that. See link below to more about that.
There is a working theory that the number should be written as a double exponent, that is six, to the sixth power, to the sixth power.
OK, we can do that.
Six, times six, times six, times six... etc, is 46656.
Which is then raised to the sixth power, multiplied six more times, for:
End 'sixfold' tangent
The Hydra https://www.britannica.com/topic/Hydra-Greek-mythology
This monster link address is about another monster: http://everything.explained.today/Mu%C5%A1%E1%B8%ABu%C5%A1%C5%A1u/
616 vs 666 as per Irenaeus, the guy knew the guy that knew the guy that wrote the book: https://ccel.org/ccel/irenaeus/against_heresies_v/anf01.ix.vii.xxxi.html
666 as an “angel number” https://www.psychnewsdaily.com/666-angel-number-more-good-than-bad/
A warning about calls from area code 666 https://www.areacodehelp.com/where/area_code_666.shtml
A basic numerology page. https://askastrology.com/numerology/
An exponent calculator https://www.omnicalculator.com/math/exponent
Sources used throughout entire study:
Bible Hub Interlinear pages: https://biblehub.com/interlinear/revelation/1.htm
the Geneva Bible downloadable https://archive.org/details/TheGenevaBible1560
the 1611 KJV https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1611-Bible/
The study Index page.
NOTE: The Bible Study Lesson presented above is posted as a reference document to begin a conversation of the topic. And that's it. Please accept it at such.
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