Hi Bonnie. Thanks for your reply. I am glad it was an enjoyable read. Thanks.
As for Ironside, yes I know of him. I am quite a bit slower to listen to long audio versions. But may have some time for that later. But for now there are a few things that stand out in our differences that might be worthy to mention and consider.
SEVEN HILLS / MOUNTAINS
Thanks for the articles Bonnie. As someone who has researched prophecy for so many years, I am sure you can appreciate that there are many varying views and each comes with its reasons and arguments. We weigh them out. But good arguments are good arguments. Even if they don’t exactly apply or that we might know or not know just how much they might. Remaining in the mere fray of good or great argument, to me, is good training wheels for critical thinking. But they are not exactly where eventually we want to call “home.” Ultimately, we want to all camp on scripture first…and arguments second.
Even though those articles about Rome and 7 hills have great points, the bottom line is not how convincing the argument is, but how close or far we might be from Teeing off “aim” (to barrow a golfing metaphor). For though we all start with a ball and a club, even a hair fracture movement to a slight degree one way or another may end our ball tens to hundreds or yards off from where we need it to next go.
Please note your statement and the one from the Rapture Ready article. RR is saying that the exegetical drive of Revelation is not allegory. Your statement is “no allegory.” I don’t see these as the same. If “no allegory,” then we will be seeing a seven headed red dragon. And the four horsemen will ride in on those colored horses. I don’t think you mean this.
I agree that the book of Revelation is not allegory. But it does use allegory. Or rather, it uses metaphor. (DISCLAIMER  – PLEASE NOTE I BELIEVE THE BOOK OF REVELATION USES METAPHOR AND SYMBOL…NOT ALLEGORY–DEAR SISTER BONNIE [@MamaB] HAD HELPED ME TO BE CLEARER BY WHAT I WAS MEANING HERE–thank you) Let us look at like terms:
- Dragon with 7 heads
- 7 Mountains
If the dragon is not a real seven headed dragon, then we are not looking for a dragon. Just like we are not looking for 7 mountains that are explained. The mountains exist if the dragon does. The sea is people. Either it is water or it is people. Revelation tells us it is people.
If we go with 7 hills of Rome then the kings are all Roman kings…i think that is a leap too far in our first sitting. And that should not be the view. Nor the jump “hills of Rome and 7 kingdoms.” Because only one would be Romish. The others would be other nations. Those 7 hills are not in Rome and other nations at the same time. We can’t have it both ways, nor can we have it vicariously floating one way and then vicariously floating out there another. Perhaps there are some literary rules we are not aware of that makes this permissible? Maybe they can just do that. Yes, perhaps the word is written to cause imagery and it is that rudimentary dear Watson. Perhaps God does speak that way in His word. But I know of no pastor that has a doctorate from Jewish studies of 1st century and its literary forms. The word of God may work in ways we are not familiar…but are our teachers familiar because it sounds good? No disrespect meant here…but this is not acceptable in my view. The answer may be correct…but how to get there…well that leaves us in a dark alley with bubba our future prison mate. I understand the temptation to move and groove and bob in and out of dancing metaphors. But should we do that with scripture? Maybe we should. But are we aware to ask if that is a correct question? I don’t believe we are asking (self included–well…until today…lol).
Although I understand the notion to say “hills” then “kings” are dual metaphor hints and both apply on a flat surface and at metaphorical face value. What I would ask first though is: “Why would John use metaphor when he just explains it?” I think that is a far better question than that we just look for what those metaphors mean. In other words, John could have just said, “7 kings.” But he chose a dragon and hills to get there. Why? You say to mark Rome. I say, the question of why John blends metaphor with clear explanation included “anyway” is a study of its own before we ever map out what we think the transient metaphors on John’s way to clarity might also mean. Look I believe Rome having seven hills would likely be a notion familiar to the 1st century. But have you ever seen primary sources on that? I know they must exist. But to be honest, I have never seen any. I guess that is true. So, why is scholarship interested in having us dependent or favorish views toward them rather than providing us with fishing wire to catch maybe bigger ones than they did? Why are the scholars or intermediary pastors the firewall between us and the real meat? Is it because we are trending toward an age of “telephone?” By the time it gets to the 100th person it is not exactly the same story. See right off the bat, why is showing primary or even secondary sources of historical evidence not even a respectable habit? It just seems like America got really really lazy…and lean into it as wisdom and biblical upkeep. Maybe that is what happens when all our food is packaged at the market? This is not to take shots. I’ve never killed my own food. This is just meant to be spicy matters to reflect upon. Why we believe as we do…and just how far down the rabbit hole are we…that none of this seems odd? It took me years and years to even know that I could ask a question like this. That would likely mean that we have to fight to even know we can think critically. In that environment…I would say some starting points like we have here are suspect. In a sense, we are somewhat already under water, or behind the 8 ball or not even waiting in the right line for info…yet thinking we might be working with the best of the best. I came to this notion when I started to see PhD’s disclose the nature of historical practices in the first century. Things the pulpit never touched (and I was going to the filet mignon school of oratory biblical teaching podium–we had world class cutting edge deep theologian types…and where was the PhD like views upon the 1st century though–I mean there were some…but many important ones seemed to at times fall by the wayside)? I believe we need to have an idea first of why John does what he does before assigning it to history we have not tasted of our own…at least I believe it might, in part, work this way. And most of us have no taste. I did not, and to a large degree sadly still do not. But my point is that before we follow John around with a broom and sweep up the metaphors he drops along the way into our dust pan, perhaps there are other reasons John uses metaphors–and that we consider those? Yet, there is not one room like that in the house where that sort of thinking might matter. Its a 4th restroom in a 3 laboratory house. Unfortunately this level of insight (such as literary forms of ancient Palestine) would normally just be grad masters debating amongst each other leaving us to make sense of any terminology they might be using. Yies
Otherwise what we have is this: The woman sits on Rome and those hills are also seven historic kingdoms of which only one is Rome. So she sits over Rome and all those historic nations too. I don’t mean to sound crude…because actually it could be this simple…and i be an exegetical snobbish heel for even its thought…much less its mention. If I were alive today, and I am. And if i knew about social media. And i do. And if i had a label for that kind of poetry based on my social moment…i’d say that what was just described to me is a way to do poetic exegesis had twitter and Facebook been the way God was referencing things out to John. On the real though, there actually in all seriousness is of course a potential that metaphor could permissibly work that way in scripture–that way I find too simple or straightforward. Not that simple is wrong (for it is almost always right). I’d still have to ask…but does it like that–that two metaphors describing the same thing can mean two completely different things too? Yes it can. But how do we know it can and when it cannot?
We need to ask at that point if it context, form, and layout affords us such poetic license liberty, perhaps. The best thing i believe to ask is…“where in the text can you get a signature proof that it means two things simultaneously?” We would need to find this signature to justify, as they say down south, “I reckon.” . Otherwise, we have just taken two ideas we “think” go there together like we think they do in order to make best sense of it. This is backward engineering the passage though I’m afraid (and not necessarily a frayed knot), or at least this is how I would feel about that approach likely. This is otherwise known as “eisegesis.” Which is not the same as historically understanding in order to do exegesis. The difference? Eisegesis is understanding history and forcing it into a text. Exegesis is understanding history because the text metaphor insists you insert it so. So, where is that signature proof to that in the text? There should be something about the text that allows us to use both Roman hills and 6 other historic nations in addition to Rome. We could then ask, why have we not cared to look for the exegetical permission? Is THE question–as far as I might be so inclined to be concerned. We are talking about the word of God. It’s not that the 7 hills can’t be Rome because of exegetical history mapping into the context. The problem is doing both simultaneously and believing we have the exegetical grip to do so because many scholars already have. Yet, without a smoking gun to do so.
Bonnie, these days I deal with what I have termed irregular hermeneutics. I term them this because they don’t belong to all the regular laws of hermeneutics. But when I do this I know the risk I incur. I know my renderings will be wild. I know they will seem mostly from my own machinations. The difference is, I know this and take it into account. I do this because I see trends in how things are shaping up. Irregular hermeneutics in my world are very disprovable by what happens historically next. If they are wrong, I will have egg on my face because history does something different before our eyes in current events. My safeguard in using irregular hermeneutics is the accountability of living artifacts of how things play out in front of us. But with the 7 hills / 7 nations groupings, where is their safeguard from misinterpretation? They don’t have one. If we go to a party and drink, we’d best have appointed a designated driver beforehand so we don’t drive home like that. Where is the exegetical designated driver for 7 hills = Rome which also = 7 historic nations?
Now I believe that the harlot may indeed be Popish. It fits in many ways. But we should get there without potentially hijacking the text to fit a narrative. We need to be ok with the discomfort. Or at least realize there is some. Pain tells us to not leave our hand on a hot stove. If we say, “what pain?” How will we know to remove our hand? The idea of exegesis is not to solve the tower of babel curiosity in our heads. I belonged to a church for decades that admitted their danger is putting the word of God into a test tube. They do that. They know its wrong. They try to not live there because they know God’s word is not to be put into a test tube. But they are aware they do that. I don’t see the same sense of self awareness when looking at Rev 17 for so many scholarly endeavors. You may not agree with this…but does where I am coming from not make some measure of sense?
Yes as I noted we could say because of Haman, Persia could be considered a nation threat to Israel. I agree. But it has its limitations. And that should be considered when we decide to insert a swath of meaning into the book of Revelation. Persia is far more known for its help to Israel. Cyrus for one. And that it was used to punish Babylon. Not Israel. Haman was an Agagite (like king Agag from that tribe). When we look at historical biblical themes…that one is super charged for notice. So the underpinning struggle is not between Persia and Israel, but Haman (Agagite race) and the Jews. Haman stands for the Agagites not Persia in that view. I understand we could blend him easily into Persia. But then I find we have another problem there. Babylon was used to punish Israel by God. Would God use Babylon then to depict a nation head of the dragon? Like, God used Babylon to punish Israel and it is one head of the dragon also? Well, yes I believe we could do that. But is that the automatic takeaway? Is Persia then the nicer evil head? We are told those heads are kings. Haman was not a king. The king sponsored Haman. But that king “knowing later that Esther was Jewish” gave the Jews their biggest (after Passover) and last canonized holiday of victory. Does Purim represent an evil head? No. It represents what God did for the Jews. When the Jews think of Passover, it is a celebration of God protecting Israel from losing their first born while not protecting Egypt. And Passover points to
Christ…not the evil head of the dragon. What does God want Israel to remember holidays for? Him. Not the dragon. Out of Persia God also wanted Israel to know the time of Messiah on the 69th week. And that a 70th week would be there’s too. So yes, God would want them to know the importance of the coming 70th week. But that is a whole heck of a lot louder than them remembering Persia to fit on the head of a dragon. Just something to think about. These are just important factors concerning prophecy that should have a voice at the table as apposed to potentially using a shoehorn and not consider any of this. Even if the shoehorn works, should it work without considering at all these other things?
DANIEL’S FOUR ANIMALS
One of the symptoms of a red flag is the lack of self awareness present in any interpretation of scripture dealing with prophecy. It is fine if we see those 4 animals equaling the same as Nebu’s statue dream. I don’t have a problem with doing that. We can look back upon history and see some similarities to do so. But that is different than realizing there is lacking self awareness in doing so. And to just report it like fact…we’ll we see what that looks like in the news today. The media today is addicted to fake news. But that is no way to interpret prophecy. Knowing we lack self awareness in biblical interpretation is healthy. It approaches the text with full measured honesty. Yet the scholars don’t even tend to seem to go there. Why? Even though Daniel NEVER told us what the animals were.
We know the statue nations. And we see them in history fulfilled. In matching the four animals, that has come with a lot of controversy. Some things don’t “exactly” fit. One is Medo-Persia. As the articles you provided attest to the weakness thereof, they don’t know what the three ribs in the mouth are. But, “nothing to see here folks?” Well, that should not be the answer…at least…the final answer. Biblical prophecy deserves more than that is all i am really saying. If wrestling ONLY to a level of our comfort sensing we can go no further = well done…well, again not to sound trite or disrespectful…but to drive home a point worthy of consideration perhaps…well done would, could, or perhaps should look more like a shoulder shrug asking God to help us see more. Even though we did not look up much to say that, by “going there” we can tend to offset our other ways of researching that can potential carry with it also a conformity bias. Posturing that there may be more to the story rather than a leaving it is scholarly confirmation of bible prophecy might be a good biblical research practice too. Just saying.
I believe those animals are future to the first century. America fits perfectly for the lion (dreamt & or envisioned long after Nebu died…having nothing to do with him). And the bear looks matching Russia (3 ribs: Iran, Turkey, Syria…“kill and eat”). I am not here to argue the validity. Just that these animals are mentioned in Rev 13:2 signifying a time these nations exist when AC arrives (at least a consideration potentially…no?). But we tend to backward engineering that too unfortunately. By we, I mean of course just the way we have all kind of been taught to process. Like thinking those kingdoms must be Nebu’s dream statue. Therefor Rev 13:2 is some residue sense of attribution to historic nations without the slightest thought that perhaps those are end time nations swept up under the wings of the dragon…maybe? And again…seemingly to be without a measure of reasonable self awareness toward that consideration at all–sometimes…well, it gets to me a little. Like, “Maybe scholars, and/or pastors, could rethink the whole 4 animals matching Nebu’s statue dream thing.” In my book, that would be scholarly acceptable and all nice like a puppy dog from them…at least from time to time. I mean this toward the scholarshipness of the thing…not of any layperson study after them. There are so many…and like Ecc. says…the writing and reading of books can be endless (although I love books) :). But yeah just saying this in the concerned overall sense of what academia in our faith has come to. I am grateful certainly for what we do have. I am just surprised to a degree is all.
When it comes to the exegitcal loop of our gifts of God given theologians and scholars and how they are meant to compliment and in part complete us…well…we are not spirits looking to inhabit bodies in waterless places. The water of insightful ingenuity might fertilize some otherwise parched soil of ours and a root of freshness spring up fruitfully to touch upon the souls of others. In America, this is no longer illegal. It could be just allusion to former attributes of historic nations that Rev 13 is doing. Sure. But to consider no realization of total absence of end time nations perhaps being remotely relevant is not even “a thing.” Yet, maybe that is part of the reason why it does not come to modern day notice? Or that prophecy smoothly unfolds without challenge or bucking along that way of it actually unfolding because we are magnetized maybe in notions to and of yesterday? Would not scholarship at least take this not into account? Is that too many “nots?” Particularly–when we know there is such a thing as “dual prophecy” that God can tend to do from time to time and even did with prophesy concerning His own Son (a hundred fold).
WHAT EXEGETICAL PERMISSION LOOKS LIKE
Now previously I mentioned that we could consider that 7 hills can equal Rome as well as also represent other historic nations too if there were a signature of exegetical reason to do so. Remember?I do not see one in Rev 17. But I am open if you find one. But I do think I can provide for you 1 concerning Daniel’s 4 animals. There is actually more than 1 we can notice. The first is that the book of Daniel is not written in sequential order. The second is that it actually attests to Nebuchadnezzar’s recovery affirming God–and in “his own words.” Amazing signatures. But the biggest that makes the other two rather powerful signatures found within the text is this: When Daniel dreamt of the 4 animals, Nebu was already dead. For the lion to represent Babylon is to barrow strictly upon a past event. In Nebu’s statue, Babylon represented the “present” not the past. This would be the only occasion that Daniel’s gifts of insight would be referring to the past…correct? That does not fit everything else about the book. And “in that,” is our signature and allowance for it to mean 2 different things. Or at least more than Babylon.
It may not mean America and the rise of modernity and democracy approaching the end time sphere of culture…but to rule it out completely? When we have an exegetical signature permissant we don’t use it. When we don’t have it or have one, we interpret as though there was one available to us. Is it something in the water? To me, this is not a consistent hermeneutic and is far more irregular than even my own irregular hermeneutics in places and at times. And not just that…but that we live in a world where we accepted things of this nature in like fashion to purchasing an as is home. Thinking the $65k price we pay needs no extra to fix up…sorta like…as the way it is sometimes like, I’m guessing.
BABYON THE GREAT
I would concede that this could be Popish. Much evidence indicates this. The influence of the Vatican certainly does. Many matches. So I don’t rule this out. However, all the industrial notions go to the USA. So I am divided. Is Nineveh a city or a country? Is Tyre a city or a country? Is Egypt a city or a country? The Country of Jericho, and the Situation of the City.
What we notice is that cities like Jericho and Babylon were also countries. All the names we know of the ancient world seem to come from the posturing of cities. For networks of large regions would be empires. Country’s as far as I know did not seem to be the thing. It was cities with kings. Or, kingdoms rather than countries. So in that sense “city” and “country” are rather relative in relation to the import a nation known by its capital in those days would also win reference favor when thinking upon a land of their day.
Also, in the book of Revelation we have chapter 11 (the same book where Great City is an issue) which mentions the “cities” of Sodom and Egypt. Which were actually both countries…please see link 2 paragraphs above. So the paper you reference stating that city and country can’t be the same (without sources or research telling us that) is at least under the lamp of suspicion as having eisegetical candidacy. It’s not you Bonnie at all. This is how I believe we have been taught to a degree to perceive. I just am trying to point out the hermeneutical problems. Would you not see here what I am getting at? Or at least minimally…non-conclusive…sporting itself as a thorough and grounded, thought? Welcome to the 21st century Just saying…these are the things to be under discussion and notice. For these questions bring to the surface what is consideration worthy. Not conclusive but we should never go out on a date (and believe me, I’ve been on soooo many of these dates…I so wanted to fall in love i tell ya) with an argument as if that person were also our spouse just because we went to the movies together and enjoyed each others company. Holding a position is not the goal of course. It is said that the best company to keep is not with those who agree with our own dogmas, but those who may disagree while agreeing upon or striving with us upon better processes of getting there together. A truest enriching non metaphor likely describing a key gem in the treasure chest of fellowship. I am hoping it be received in gesture equally as much. Mega blessings Bonnie. You make me work for it. I like that. And you AND it AND He…is (R) worth it.