some thoughts about Revelation

by emperorslaundrist 14 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • emperorslaundrist

    To finish up my 6th reading of the NWT, I decided to read Revelation without any of my WTS notes. I tried to read it without preconceived ideas about what it could mean and whatnot, here's what my amateur uneducated reading uncovered:

    -Christians thought they were going to heaven
    -Jesus/Jehovah identity is sort of murky

    Some of Revelation may have soothed a damaged ego. The Jews have the temple in Jerusalem, but we have an even bigger temple in heaven. Slaves now, but kings later. Our enemies will die terrifying deaths because Jesus loves us.

    Mostly I was disturbed by the very hardline approach John was taking. Die as a martyr and rule with Jesus for 1000 years. But, Worship the beast and God will torture you while letting you see the throne you missed out on. No middle ground, the cowards and faithless are just like the murderers in the eyes of the lord.

    No wonder all those Christians choose a horrible death rather then worship the emperor. Those were very high psychological reward and punishments.

    After finishing the last chapter of Revelation, I drove by a sign in a window that said "Give your life to Jesus because he loves you" and shuddered, because if Rev is from Jesus, then all those deaths were his will to have happen.

    How could he disdain the pharisees for putting heavy loads on the people, and put an even heavier one on his own flock? Why not just let them be Jews since being Jewish apparently didn't disqualify one from everlasting life.

    I mean no disrespect to the ancient Christians, or to Jesus. It's just that Revelation gave me that same sick feeling in my stomach as I get from reading Watchtowers.

    ...I probably shouldn't have read it all in one sitting >.>

  • tec

    Revelation is very symbolic. I had a hard time with it for quite a while, as well.

    Might I suggest that you try to understand Revelation... by testing it against Christ and His teachings? So instead of looking at Revelation to understand Christ... look at Christ to understand Revelation?

    Like you said... how could he disdain the pharisees for their heavy loads... and put a heavier one on his flock?

    He could not.

    So instead of thinking that he is loading people down (and acting like a completely different person) perhaps consider that it is this understanding of Revelation that is wrong... because it goes against the example/image/truth that Christ gave us.

    Peace to you,


  • smiddy

    Might I suggest that you try to understand Revelation... by testing it against Christ and His teachings? So instead of looking at Revelation to understand Christ... look at Christ to understand Revelation?

    So are you saying , without saying it ,you can cherry pick what to accept, and what not to accept about Christ`s teachings in the New Testament ?

    just curious


  • tec

    I am saying that Revelation contains a lot of symbolism.

    So instead of fitting Christ into an understanding of what is written in that book... that could easily be a misunderstanding based on that symbolism... look at Christ first.

    One can always ask him to help with understanding as well.



  • Kosonen

    Hey, think about the Revelation book in a more openminded way. Revelation is about saving the good people. The situation will be very dangerous for the good people. Instead of bulding a high wall around good people, God has decided to kill the bad people. When the bad people will be against the good in a life threatening way, there should not be any questions why Jesus has to kill the bad.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    i no longer wish to post but I have some information that may be useful here. My college prof, Elaine Pagels, a noted Gnostics Scholar, has a new book on Revelation. It has only been available for a few weeks. My apt is chaotic now. If you google her name and Revelation, you will find the book's title and publisher. She taught as an academic historical matter that John was a member later generation of Christians, perhaps the 3rd, who were deeply troubled. Clearly, the expectation of most Christians immediately after Jesus' death and resurrection was that the Second Coming would happen any minute. Paul himself had to introduce the issue of the first generation of Christians dying. Also, Rome never had widespread persecution of Christians the way most people now believe. It was sporadic and often localized. Rome itself was in chaos. For some reason, Rome persecuted the Christians in John's geographical area even more than in Rome.

    There are many apocalypses from the time. It was a literary genre. If you routinely read a genre, it is not as scary as reading Revelation alone.

    The symbols would have been recognizable to his generation. Nero is mentioned in numerology b/c the Romans would look the other way at code. Express statement would have you tortured and executed. Revelation is about events in generation, not today.

    We studied this decades ago. What is new for me is that John of Patmos was a very Jewish Christian. He would have opposed Paul's ideas. This book was controversial from the start. Many were against its canonization. I believe Luther thought it had no place in the Bible.

    The trouble with turning to Christ to understand is how image of Christ is so subjective. No two people experience Christ in the same manner. Most humans do not even believe in Christ. The history is clear. God can work through humans and social/political/economic circumstances. Before reading academic literature concerning the dreaded book, I wanted to spit on it b/c of the Witnesses. Any mention of it in films or literature could send me fleeing to a brightly lit place with many people.

    Do I believe it holds lessons for Christians? Yes, it is a beautifully written book with a message of hope. To remove it from its time period and apply it piece meal today is absurd. Christians then never expected that Christ's return would take so long. They believed they would not die. Time had a heightened sense. We are so far removed from today.

    The Bible books were not written to be read piece-meal. I always try to read Bible books in one or two sittings with no commentaries. The context is clearer. It is good to focus on the text alone and forget church doctrines. What do you think? I believe this is crucial for former Witnesses. We don't know the Bible. Themes emerge when you read it in context. It is easier to see the contradictions and similarities in books when you read the Bible as you would a normal book.

    Christ is too variable. John of Patmos was not addressing our daily concerns. When read in historical context, the scary imagery which is totally nonsenical can offer hope. I do not view Revelation as central to any Christian faith.

    I read a 1,000 page academic book on Revelation when I was twenty. Every footnote was read. Former Witnesses don't read Revelation on a blank slate. Some people mock academia or historical studies. This is ignorant to me. I can understand it if you are illiterate or before the Internet. A historical study and faith are perfectly consistent. As a Christian, I like the idea of a church grappling with the same issues through generations. Our shared humanity and beliefs do not make us so different from the early Christians. Knowledge does not negate faith. To deny hard evidence is ignorance.

    Without such insight, Revelation is gibberish. Fools in every generation believe the events apply to them. John could not foresee future events. k

    I have very strong feelings about the misuse in Revelation in my life. Jesus did not scare people out of their wits, generally. If I were present when Lazarus was resurrected, I would need to go to an er. I now see beauty in the book.

  • wtfever

    Im sorry but if you read that book and think that it is anything short of madness you are really trying hard to keep a belief system in tact. Its mad...its writer was mad....and it has in turn spawned many mad cults that act and behave exactly like any believer in this book would!

  • AGuest

    The trouble with turning to Christ to understand is how image of Christ is so subjective

    It doesn't have to be, though, really ( really ):

    "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life." John 5:39, 40

    " Come to Me , all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me , for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

    “To you, O men, I call , And my voice is to the sons of men. O you simple ones, understand prudence, And you fools, be of an understanding heart.
    Listen, for I will speak of excellent things, And from the opening of my lips will come right things; For my mouth will speak truth ; Wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them. They are all plain to him who understands , And right to those who find knowledge. Receive my instruction , and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold..." Proverbs 8:4-10

    “JaHVeH possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. I have been established from everlasting, From the beginning , before there was ever an earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, When there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills, I was brought forth ; While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, Or the primal dust of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was there , When He drew a circle on the face of the deep, When He established the clouds above, When He strengthened the fountains of the deep, When He assigned to the sea its limit, So that the waters would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth, I was beside Him as a master fosterling And I was daily His delight , Rejoicing always before Him, Rejoicing in His inhabited world, And my delight was with the sons of men .

    “Now therefore, listen to me , my children , For blessed are those who keep my ways . Hear instruction and be wise, And do not disdain it . Blessed is the man who listens to me , Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life , And obtains favor from JaHVeH..." Proverbs 8:22-35

    "This is my Son , the Beloved. Listen to HIM ." Matthew 17:5

    “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice ; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out . And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them ; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” John 10:1-5

    I am the door . If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and My sheep know Me. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. ... you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:9-16, 26, 27

    "For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire , and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words , so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem , to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to [Jesus] the Mediator of the new covenant , and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Abel . See that you do not refuse Him who speaks . For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven , whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Hebrews 12:18-26

    "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

    "[Jesus] said to her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.' The woman said to Him, 'Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?' [ Jesus] answered and said to her, ' Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst . But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life .” John 4:10-13

    "'If anyone thirsts , let him come to Me and drink . He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said , out of his innermost parts flowrivers of livingwater .' This He spoke concerning the spirit, whom those believing in him would receive because for holy spirit had not yet been poured out, because [Jesus] had not yet been glorified." John 7:37-39

    "These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you ; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie , and just as it has taught you , you will abide in Him." 1 John 2:26, 27

    "He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb ." Revelation 22:1

    "And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come !” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life free!" Revelation 22:17

    “... the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

    “Since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech - unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unliftedin the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” 2 Corinthians 3:12-16

    There is only one "me", “he”, “him,” and “I”, here: the Holy One of Israel and Holy Spirit, JAHESHUA, the Son and Chosen One of JAH (MischaJah). Some will get this truth, some won't:

    “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

    “You did not choose me; I chose you.”

    Everyone can , though. Indeed, as the Spirit that is Christ... and His Bride, the NEW Jerusalem KEEP inviting:

    “Come! ... Whoever desires, let him take the water of life free!"


    Servant to the Household of God, Israel, and all those who go with... and a slave of the Holy One of Israel and Holy Spirit, JAHESHUA, the Chosen One of JAH (MischaJah), His Christ,


  • AGuest


  • emperorslaundrist

    Thank you very much for taking the time to respond. I've been given a lot to think about. It was just two months ago that my faith died inside of me, and I've been feeling a little like I've lost my mind. With my new freedom of thought, I've been questioning everything- nothing has been safe or sacred in my examination bwahahahahaha. So, I'm sorry for taking such heavy subjects so lightly.

    I still like Jesus very much, I think what he said and did speak for themselves. I even like Revelation with it's "get out of her my people" and larger then earth's atmosphere temple. It's just when I tried to read it from the perspective of an ordinary 1st century christian, I realized that this book must have put intense pressure on a christian to die for the faith. I'm not arrogant enough to think my amateur reading gives me any authority to speak on this subject. I just... love you guys. I love that I can speak my mind here. And sure there may be trolls of various kinds, but you guys aren't going to take away my family just for speaking my mind. The worst that can happen is I'll get insulted and shown to be the idiot I am. I love you!! :D

    When I was 'in' instead of looking to the wts to form my concept of God, I used my concept of God from reading the bible to understand and interpret the actions of the wts. I came up with many profound nonsensical connections between the two. I'm trying to be logically consistent if I can be by applying my new thinking skills to the apostle John. Maybe If I just turn to Jesus as some of you have, all will become clear. I don't know If I'm ready to have another mystical experience just yet, I don't know if I want to give up possession of my mind again so soon.

    I also don't want to accidentally shut out truth just because I can't understand something, so I'll keep reading and looking. Maybe it will lead me to being born again, maybe to gnosticism, maybe I'll never have 'the answer' again. I've asked Jesus about it, maybe he'll help me decide.

    If you don't mind me asking,
    What would you suggest for my first Non-NWT bible reading?

    p.s thank you Band on the Run your prof's book looks fascinating.

    Have a nice weekend :)

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