PMW 2018-042 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
As John writes the Book of Revelation, Israel has been a part of the Roman regime for almost a century. As such she enjoyed special leagues of “friendship and mutual alliance” which began with Julius Caesar (Jos. Ant. 14:10:1 §185). Her love for Caesar was so great that after he was murdered, Jews wept for many nights at the site of his cremation (Suetonius, Jul. 84:5). Josephus, a priestly member of the Jewish aristocracy, praises Julius and records many of the treaties with the Jews which were established by Caesar and later Roman authorities (Ant. 14:10:2-25 §190-267). He then declares: “there are many such decrees of the senate and imperators of the Romans and those different from these before us” (Ant. 14:10:26).
Israel engages these alignments despite her OT prophets condemning unholy alliances as harlotry (e.g., Hos 7:11). As we read in Rev 13, the exercise of the Land beast’s authority is “in his [the Roman emperor’s] presence” (13:1a). Later in Rev 17 we see Israel’s alliance symbolized by a harlot engaged in a drunken sexual orgy with the sea beast. Continue reading