PMT 2015-117 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Once again I am offering some succinct answers to a reader’s question. Sometimes brevity can more quickly assist our understanding. (But please do not tell the publisher of my upcoming 1700 page commentary on Revelation.) Here is today’s question and brief answer.
What is the “Mark of the Beast”? And since your answer will obviously have to have some first century application, isn’t it at all curious to you that for the first time in human history — with microchips, retinal scanners, a growing one-world economy, etc.—that the technology exists to make the “Mark of the Beast” a reality?
Thanks for your question. This type of thinking is fairly common in our American dispensationalist-dominated religious environment. Continue reading
PMT 2014-122 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
My readers’ questions keep turning to Revelation. I hope I don’t answer them all before my commentary comes out! But here is another one.
As I study your argument for 666 as a reference to Nero Caesar, these two questions arise. Could you please explain your understanding of these objections?
If Irenaeus’s statement refers to John rather than the apocalypse, the statement seems to suggest that John wasn’t telling people who the beast was during his lifetime. That seems odd if those things had already occurred.
If John did reveal to his contemporaries the identity of the beast why wouldn’t it have been common knowledge amongst the Christians and therefore Irenaeus? Continue reading
PMT 2014-046 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Revelation is a book as fascinating as it is difficult. Unfortunately, it is made more difficult by approaching it in the wrong way and viewing it through out-of-focus lenses. In our day the naive dispensational view is the dominant evangelical approach to eschatology — despite its many and continuing failed predictions of the date of the rapture and its erroneous identitifying of the Antichrist.
So many Christians have been raised in this system that they cannot even understand any other approach. This makes reasoning with them extremely difficult. In fact, reasoning with a populist dispensationalist is a lot like saddling a cow: It is a whole lot of work and there is not much point in it. Continue reading
PMT 2014-035 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
I am concluding a four part series on the leading objections to understanding 666 as referring to Nero Caesar. In this final reply to the preterist opponents, I will answer the question:
What about the defective spelling? To get the proper value of 666 out of the name Nero Caesar requires an unusual spelling of his name.
This problem is not insuperable, for we do find this spelling in Aramaic documents from Nero’s reign. Who is to say John could not use a defective spelling, especially one which we actually find from that time period? Continue reading
PMT 2014-034 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In my last two blogs I have been considering an objection to the postmillennial, preterist’s understanding of 666. We believe it has John using a Hebrew spelling of “Nero Caesar” for understanding his meaning. Some reject this analysis because Revelation was written to Asia Minor and not to Israel.
Below I will continue responding to it, using the enumeration began previously.
Sixth, similar Hebraicism’s elsewhere
The use of Hebrew names is not unique to identifying the beast. In other places John will use Hebrew names. For instance, in Rev 16:16 we read: “And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called HarMagedon.” Elsewhere we read: “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” (Rev. 9:11). Continue reading
PMT 2014-033 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In my previous blog (PMT 2014-032) I began considering an objection to the postmillennial, preterist’s understanding of 666. We believe it has John using a Hebrew spelling of “Nero Caesar” for understanding his meaning. Some reject this analysis because Revelation was written to Asia Minor and not to Israel.
I offered two replies to this objection in my last blog. Below I will continue responding to it, continuing the enumeration began previously.
Third, the local population
This objection against our analysis of 666 overlooks the social context of the Asian churches. Asia Minor was heavily populated by diaspora Jews. The Jewish population in the empire was between six and seven million, with the “largest concentrations of Jewish settlements” in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and Asia Minor (John’s direct audience) (Mayo, Those Who Call Themselves Jews [2006: 30, 62]).  Continue reading
PMT 2014-032 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
The preterist perspective on Revelation generally interprets the 666 of Rev 13:18 as presenting the name of Nero Caesar as a cryptogram. The usefulness of this number for John’s readers derives from the fact that in antiquity alphabets serve dual purposes. Letters function, of course, as phonetic symbols for building words in written communication. As such, they serve just as our modern alphabet does. But in ancient times letters also function as numerals, in that the Arabic numbering system is a later development of history. Continue reading