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The Desk and the Study of Revelation

Produced by TheMediaDesk, ©2021 and 2020
Posted on CCPC's website 2022

The study Index page.

“The study of the Bible is a post-graduate course in the richest library of human experience.”
- Hebert Hoover (1874 - 1964)

     As of this writing, the chapter essay/study text documents (the Desk has no idea what to actually call them), are just over halfway through the book. In fact, we are wrapping the discussion of the meaning of 666 at the end of 13. Yes, the Number of the Beast is in the Thirteenth Chapter of The Apocalypse. Chew on that coincidence for a minute, and it is a coincidence because when John wrote the thing, chapters and verses were not part of the picture.
     But when you work on the Apocalypse, you get used to such things. It's how the book was written. Some people claim they don't read it because it scares the hell out of them. Well, it is supposed to, that's how John wrote it. And remember what we've said all through this study: the translators for most English versions turned the 'heat' down a few notches so as NOT to scare the reader. The original audience in the 'seven churches' and others in the second century after Christ had no such buffer, so it probably terrified them right down to their bones. So if it frightens you, don't go through what the Desk is doing. If you do, you may sleep with the lights on from now on.
           And maybe you need to.

     In what passes for its writing career the Desk has covered news and sports, and done features on all sorts of topics for various outlets such as newsletters and even radio stations. It has also written A Lot of Non-Fiction covering everything from technical articles, such as a review of what seemed on the surface to be a great idea, but, instead, turned into an absolute nightmare: Broadband over Power Lines, on to detailed Mystery Series articles on Camelot and the legends around that Round Table. (links to those and more below)
     But one other aspect of what it does that has been more helpful than some religious types would ever believe is the Desk's history of writing fiction along the lines of 'science possible' and straight up science fiction. The difference is that the first is things that are scientifically possible, just 'we' can't do it right now, but maybe some day, as versus fiction that may well never be possible, such as faster than light travel.
     The combination of heavy research into technical issues and historic matters with a tendency to go hiking deep into what some people would consider a fantasy land has been an excellent preparation to work in depth on passages that talk about angels being chained under the Euphrates river and what it might mean to us.

     In this work, besides looking at the nuances and flavors of the original Greek language and how that worked into St. Jerome's Latin edition that was wrong in some interesting ways. We've also delved into the world of the Seven Churches, the history of the area and its people, the religions that filtered in from the east and south as well as the local beliefs, and the Jewish history and Old Testament references that John worked into almost every chapter.
     For instance, we went into some depth in a feature on the various terms translated into English as 'love'. Everything from what would be better rendered as 'friend' to 'brothers' to that final term “Agape”. Another focus was done inline on the difference between an oubliette and the Bottomless Pit and where the idea of the latter came from. Besides that there was that piece on the 'Rapture' and an upcoming focus on Sorcery and Witchcraft, something mentioned in several places in the Apocalypse.

     While that is exactly the type of research the Desk enjoys doing it has taken its toll.
     For this study there's been the Epic of Gilgamesh (to check out a dragon), a look at lightning generated by earthquakes, a couple of Roman historians, several Apocryphal books such as Jubilees and Enoch... and we're only halfway through Revelation.

     One of the most fascinating aspects of the study is the appearance of ancient pagan gods in Revelation. And we go into some of that in the study. We'll pick on one here to look at quickly and then move on. Just for grins, we'll check out the eagle that appears as one of the heads of the four cherubim in Ezekiel one, and then makes a curtain call in Revelation 4. That the eagle was later adopted as the symbol of John the Apostle has nothing to do with the choice as this use is NOT based on scripture but is instead another example of humans trying to interpret these images. Moving on...
     One sees raptor / bird of prey gods in Sumeria in various forms and, of course, Babylon where our old friends the Anunnaki were working. There was also a giant bird of Jewish mythology named Ziz, which was adapted from earlier legends such as those from the previous cultures.
     Moving west we come to Egypt which figures even larger in Jewish history where Horus or Ra were depicted as having the head of a falcon, and sometimes an eagle with spread wings over the throne of pharaoh, or a generic bird of prey that isn't easily identifiable, or the disk of the sun. Another figure, Nekhbet, is sometimes shown with more of a raptor head than the vulture she is usually wearing.
     Closer to the time of Revelation's writing, the eagle was one the primary symbols of Zeus. The bird was used to torture Prometheus for various crimes that benefited, or even created, mankind, (see link below). There was also the homoerotic aspects of Zeus, as an eagle, kidnapping Ganymede, an unusually beautiful young man.
     When the Romans put a veneer taken from Greek myths over their own native beliefs, their god Jupiter took on many of the attributes of his Greek cousin. Also, the Legions of Rome had a dedicated standard bearer who carried the Aquila, the symbol of Roman Power and later, imperial authority. There were several forms of the bird that were used, one of the most famous is the standing eagle with SPQR (abbreviation for Senatus Populusque Romanus') emblazoned below its claws. And it was the near the temple of Zeus in Pergamon that the emperor Augustus first had a temple to himself built. Then later Trajan went one better by having Zeus's temple rededicated to himself.
     So for the embodiment of the imperial symbol, as well as an ancient god, and all of the other baggage that comes with the animal's history in human mythology to be working in service of the Creator GOD is a massive statement about who is in control of things.
     Those in the communities the book was sent to, mostly Jewish Christians, but with a sizable, and growing, number of Gentile believers, would recognize at least the Greek and Roman symbolism. And remember, there were other creatures used, and they all represented either entire or aspects of the 'old gods'.

     Why go through all that?
     Because the Book tells us to.
     Remember in Acts 8 when the Eunuch was reading one of the prophets and Philip asked him if he understood. And the passage in Second Timothy two that mentions studying.
     And then there is the verse in Revelation that promises a blessing to those that read aloud and “akouontes” listen with comprehension. Then in 13, in that set of verses we mentioned about the Number of the Beast it speaks to those that have “noun” (intellect, implies understanding).
     While it may not be necessary to understand the reference to the abyss under the Euphrates river and the angels imprisoned there that is mentioned in the book of Enoch, as well as Revelation 9 to understand the larger points of John's Apocalypse. But, on the other hand, how much understanding is enough?
     Our best course of action is to do the best we can do to understand what we can understand the best that we can understand it. And one of the things we need to understand is that while being alive during the events of Revelation will be unpleasant for everybody there, it will be worse, in the end, for those who have made the choice to reject The One True GOD and His Christ.

     OK. Gear change.

“I am different. Let this not upset you.”
- Paracelsus (1493 - 1541)

     The Desk drove an elderly Ford E-150 six cylinder van with a four speed manual transmission for several years.
     The transmission in the thing could easily have been something John was talking about in Revelation.
     You had to plan ahead and brace yourself to shift from second gear to third. The clutch had to go ALL THE WAY to the firewall. You had to firmly grab the gear shift with your right hand, and hang on, then you had to let off the gas just a touch, and push on the gear shift forward out of Second. THEN, you had to SLAM it forward and to the right as hard as you could, and HOLD IT in place while you let off the clutch as quickly as your left leg could move.
     If successful, you were in third and you may continue driving.
     If not, the engine would kick the shifter back out, possibly dislocating your elbow or spraining your wrist in the process.
     First to second, no problem. Third to fourth, piece of cake. Second to third, nightmare.

     Yeah, Revelation is like that.

     There are places that are fun, pleasant, somewhat entertaining. The research illuminates a passage that is otherwise somewhat obscure or confusing, such as the list of the Twelve Tribes in Revelation, it doesn't match the land division from when they moved into the Promised Land, so you do more research. Or you find an obscure reference to a Greek wind, or catch a reference Mark Anthony made that reflects on one of the Seven Churches. Then it makes sense, and you smile.
     And then, you change gears, and things get ... unpleasant.
     The souls under the altar are shrieking in agony because they are awaiting vindication. The monsters with the unpleasant tails don't instantly kill, but torment their victims for awhile first. That one of the beasts is welcomed as a liberator, for a while.
     Which is why the list of reference material and supplies needed for this research include a concordance of the Apocrypha, a couple of encyclopedia of the occult and mythology, a catholic Catechism, a copy of the works of Josephus, and a bottle of bourbon, or two.

     Do you Really Need an Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology to read Revelation? No, You Don't. The Desk Does. As, this time, it is trying to READ the book and understand it. Which includes both what is meant when the book says that 'souls' are given white robes which are evidently supplied by Heaven's Wardrobe Department, which is right next to the storeroom where they keep some spare trumpets and other hardware. There is a load of symbolism contained within the general appearance of the Dragon, and it is important, to a point. No, John had never heard of Quetzalcoatl, but the imagery is there, and you cannot deny it. It is part of the human condition, “race memory” if you will.

“Homo sum; humani nil a me alienum puto”
- Terence (195 - 159 BC)

     In case your Latin is as bad as the Desk's:
           “I am a human being; I consider nothing human alien to me.”
     Just as a bit of trivia, the gentleman who said that, and wrote several plays, was a slave from north Africa who was employed, as it were, in the house of a Roman politician. He earned his freedom, and he legacy, through his intellect. And over two millennia later, well, pre-covid, a high school was performing his play “the Brothers”.
     Well, the Desk can dream that somebody will be reading something it wrote in two thousand years. Well, it'll be happy if somebody remembers some of its stuff in twenty years. Back to the point.

     Given EVERYTHING this writer had done, places gone, things seen, and written. All of the research, alchemical reading and experiments, religious discussions, even the Wiccan ceremony and the other ritual witnessed. All of it. Even the junk Ford van that would catch fire while being driven....This Study.....
     Going IN DEPTH, based on the Original Greek, with historic and mythological and religious and cultural and geographical and whatever else references, and then the putting of that into some sort of comprehensible and, hopefully, Meaningful, format. Has Been. The. Most. Personally Difficult Writing the Desk has EVER undertaken. Period.
     And we're only halfway through.

     Has it been worth it? Yes. Without a doubt.

     Stand by, the last half is liable to be a bit intense.
     Perhaps another bottle of “double rectified bust head” will be required.
     You can look that obscure reference up on your own.

- Psalms and HST

Selected Resources for this essay:

Bible Hub Interlinear pages:

The Canadian Museum of History looks at Horus:

The Caucasian Eagle and Zeus

A page about the Roman Aquila Eagle

The temple in Pergamon

Publius Terentius Afer, AKA Terence:


Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim: “Paracelsus”

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.

With the assistance and cooperation of The Media Desk.