Author Topic: Minor comment...  (Read 17222 times)

Hadriel

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Minor comment...
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2005, 01:38:26 pm »
Meh.  The Name of God, if it has any meaning at all, has all the meaning in the universe.  A few pixels on a computer screen doesn't carry or attempt to carry that.

I'd always thought that Revelation, anyway, was one thing to be taken fairly literally.  Of course, I was raised in the Bible Belt where they take nearly everything in the Bible literally, but I see several prophetic resemblances to technologies that either currently exist or are known to be in development.  The bit about the burning mountain being thrown into the sea sounds like an asteroid strike, which leaves me wondering about the chances of that happening.  Wormwood is much like a biological weapon in its reported functionality, and some of the armies that the author described look almost like armored exoskeletons of a military sort, most likely used by special forces teams.  The author, presumed to be known as John, also quotes a description of heaven that bears certain geometric similarities to both the old Temple and to a Borg cube, though with the cube's relatively midgety length of 3036 meters, compared to the cited length of over one thousand kilometers for what was quoted as being heaven, it's certain that the structural complexity of heaven is quite intricate, provided such a thing exists.  If it were to be engineered by mortals, it would be perhaps the crowning achievement of a civilization possessing a level of technology equal even to the fabled Culture.  It even appears to have a core of sorts -- God's glory is described as the power source for heaven.  Such a construct bears similarities to the Dyson sphere, also of Star Trek and probably one of the most ridiculously advanced feats of engineering ever pulled off by a sci-fi civilization -- comparable to Andromeda's Magog worldship, a Culture vessel, or the Death Star II, which justifies its inclusion here by being able to fire its world-shattering superlaser every ten minutes, as opposed to once a day for the original.  Herein lies the problem with a literal interpretation of Revelation.  Heaven is supposed to be something so incredible we can't even begin to imagine it.  But, quite frankly, gadgets like the DS2 and other planetlike craft that we've thought of diminish the likelihood of creating such an elysian environment.  With the kind of technology necessary to build such a ship, a civilization could gallivant around the universe making changes almost as they see fit, in a rather godlike manner.

Daniel Krispin

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« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2005, 03:46:49 pm »
Quote from: Hadriel
Meh.  The Name of God, if it has any meaning at all, has all the meaning in the universe.  A few pixels on a computer screen doesn't carry or attempt to carry that.

I'd always thought that Revelation, anyway, was one thing to be taken fairly literally.  Of course, I was raised in the Bible Belt where they take nearly everything in the Bible literally, but I see several prophetic resemblances to technologies that either currently exist or are known to be in development.  



Well, many do, I think. Actually, it is of the New Testament the most figurative, and as much so as many of the Old Testament prophetic books. My father has never put all that much worth in it as a Biblical book, and most certainly does not consider it a prophetic book. If one looks hard enough, they can see whatever they wish to in that sort of writing: such is the downfall of that style, and likely the very reason soothsayers spoke in ambiguous terms.

Anyway, just look at the style of the language. It is quite certainly figurative and of imagery, with very little concrete in any of it. This, last of all books, should one take literally.


Quote from: Hadriel

The bit about the burning mountain being thrown into the sea sounds like an asteroid strike, which leaves me wondering about the chances of that happening.  Wormwood is much like a biological weapon in its reported functionality, and some of the armies that the author described look almost like armored exoskeletons of a military sort, most likely used by special forces teams.  



Well, I think that the locusts were merely figurative for the intended meaning. I am not sure if it can ever be conclusively interpreted, but interestingly, there are explantions of many of the things using events of John's time, so I don't see the need to put modern events into them. Like the mark of the beast. Now, this I am sceptical of, but using the numerical values for the names given Domitian (the Emperor at the time) on his coinage, one yields that number. Moreover, the idea that no-one would be able to buy anything without bearing his mark is quite representative of not being able to buy things without money, bearing his mark. This, actually, is far more reasonable an explanation than any modern thing. Domitian was the first Emperor who persecuted Christianity on an empire-wide scale, and he wished to be called 'Dominus et Deus', 'Lord and God', a thing that would certainly be against what Christians believed. Again, this ties into the descriptions of the beast, and his blasphemy.

A lot of things sound like modern events, it is true, but it is likely just our minds trying to find connections. The fact of the matter is that Revelations was written for the people of the time, and the people of the time likely saw it far differently than we do now. This is one of the downfalls of the Bible being read by the masses: everyone has their own interpretation and, if they are not scholars, may have no idea of the original form and style, and that it was figurative. And translations don't help either: the word 'obey', as in Jesus telling people to obey his commands, is apparently a misleading word; 'keep' is quite a bit nearer it in meaning. Now, think about that difference: 'keep my commandments' to 'obey my commandments'; the latter is a command and a law, whereas the first is an admonishion to hold fast to faith.

But back to Revelations, it lies at the end of the Bible, making it shaky at best (along with books like James, which is rife with theological problems. 'Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness. So you see that it is through works that we are saved...', or something near that. It contradicts itself, see?) Those are questionable books, actually, for which Luther put them at the end - with the intent of removing them, as was done with the Apocrypha, for they either repeated what had been said, or were simply contrary to the main theme of the gospel. Yet they remained, and have caused no end of confusion.

About Revelations, though, I would have to ask my father about what is the likely interpretation and meaning in the old styles of Wormwood and such things.

Quote from: Hadriel

The author, presumed to be known as John, also quotes a description of heaven that bears certain geometric similarities to both the old Temple and to a Borg cube, though with the cube's relatively midgety length of 3036 meters, compared to the cited length of over one thousand kilometers for what was quoted as being heaven, it's certain that the structural complexity of heaven is quite intricate, provided such a thing exists.  


Well, I think all those dimensions are purely figurative of grandeur and splendour. There are a myriad of connections to the 12 tribes, and so on and so forth. I'll have to look at it, just a second....
Alrighty, here, for example. The 144,000 with God. Well..., what's 144,000? It is one thousand time twelve times twelve. Twice the tribes of Israel, coupled with a great multitude. That is the style of that writing.
And the city... 12 foundations, length of 12 thousand furlongs, a wall of 144 cubits... see a pattern? These aren't concrete numbers. This is imagry and example, where the meaning and purpose behind, and not in, is important. And this is just a guess, but I think it might be that the jems of the twelve foundations are the same as the 12 gems on the ephod of the priests, one gem for each tribe. And my favourite example: Armageddon. I wonder how many people know that this is not a day, nor a battle, but rather a place, and a real place at that? The plains of Megiddo, in the north of Israel. Armageddon, or Har Megiddo, means 'mount Megiddo'. Well, Megiddo is a place where many battles have been fought throughout world history - even in recently in WWI, when the British under Allenby attacked the Central powers in that area, in the valley of Jezreel, I think. It means no great monumental thing, it is no Ragnarok. It merely ties in a commonly known battlefield as a place where the armies of the world collide.

Anyway, end thing: it is tempting, but likely misguided, to see modern events in Revelations.

Zatopek

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Minor comment...
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2005, 10:52:09 pm »
Good commentary on Revelation and Emperor Domitian.  I'm not a big fan of the "Left Behind" style literal interpretations of Revelation.  It's clearly figurative language.

Quote from: Daniel Krispin

(along with books like James, which is rife with theological problems. 'Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness. So you see that it is through works that we are saved...', or something near that. It contradicts itself, see?)


This is often considered a theolgical problem, but I disagree.  People say that Paul was teaching salvation by faith and James was teaching salvation by works.  It was really different emphasis based on their audiences.  Paul was writing to churches carried away with legalism, and James was writing to people doing just the opposite.  Both this passage (James 2:15-26) and Paul's writings (in Romans 4:3-5, 22-25, and 5:1) reference the same passage: Genesis 15:6, where it is written that Abraham believed the Lord and it was credited to him as righteousness.  Paul emphasizes Abraham's faith, and James emphasizes Abraham's good works as an outworking/result of his faith (especially in his willingness to sacrifice Isaac - the ultimate test of faith).  They're teaching the same thing, only with different emphasis.
As John Calvin said: "It is therefore faith alone which justifies and yet the faith which justifies is not alone."

Sorry about hijacking the thread temporarily.

Daniel Krispin

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« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2005, 12:04:44 am »
Well, far be it from me to be a Calvinist (I'm Lutheran, and Luther wasn't too fond of them), but that IS a good quote.

Oh, and likewise to your commentary.

I should really ask my father what he thinks of all of this. He's a ThD, Doctor of Theology, and a full-time professor of Religious Studies, and also a pastor at times, which is why I am often so keen to discuss these matters (and whence the knowledge and view of many of these things come to me.)

Radical_Dreamer

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« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2005, 02:03:29 am »
Isn't Hell also a real place? Hebron Valley, if I recall correctly, where the followers of the god Moloch would burn infants alive in sacrifice. It'd be easy to dub such a place a lake of fire, not to mention a place worth avoiding if at all possible.

Daniel Krispin

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« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2005, 02:11:43 am »
Quote from: Radical_Dreamer
Isn't Hell also a real place? Hebron Valley, if I recall correctly, where the followers of the god Moloch would burn infants alive in sacrifice. It'd be easy to dub such a place a lake of fire, not to mention a place worth avoiding if at all possible.


Gehenna is another place often connected to that sort of thing - I think the word Gehenna is synonymous with hell, I think, just like sheol is the grave. But yes, you are correct, it is likely from things such as that that the ideas come. Personally, though, I think the ideas of fire in connection with hell come partially from the Greek ideas of Tartaros, a place of fire below Hades were evildoers are eternally tormented (ie. Sysiphos, Tantalos.) The New Testament was written in Greek, so it is likely that those writing had knowledge of the Greek myths and, writing partially to a Greek audience, borrowed such ideas as were well known, mingling them with their own Hebrew background and history.