Deathisdefeated

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The 666-YEAR OLD SEA BEAST of Revelation 13

I am not going to claim originality for this idea, but will mention that I was first introduced to this concept of a 666-year-old Sea Beast by a single comment made online about this view in Jack Lunsford's book titled "An Overview of the Book of Revelation".  For about a year, I filed this idea away in my mental collection of other odd relics and pieces of trivia related to scripture study.  Then recently, I was prompted to pull it out and give it some serious scriptural consideration.  The following comments are a result of those considerations, which have convinced me totally that this interpretation method for the number 666 is the ONLY way that it can interlock perfectly with every other puzzle piece in Revelation.  Please consider the following with an open mind, and I would be most willing to read challenges to this idea, if anyone can spot holes or contradictions in it.

When I was first introduced to Preterism, it was through Dr. Gentry's book "Before Jerusalem Fell".   Though I have had to revise quite a few of my Preterist positions since first reading his book, I remain extremely grateful to his work for launching me on a path that has brought me such peace and confidence in a God who has always fulfilled his promises - and within their prophesied time spans as well.  One of the bedrock positions Dr. Gentry laid out in his book was the classical use of the gematria method to identify the Sea Beast of Revelation 13.  With full acknowledgment of the extensive labor that went into Gentry's dissertation, I am no longer satisfied that this is the intended method God wanted us to use in identifying this entity.

Instead.... 

When we read Revelation, it's a good idea to remember not just the time period in which it was written, but the probable education level of those to whom it was addressed.  These were very simple people, many of them.  For the average Israelite or Gentile in that world, the available education level for the man on the street in John's days was pretty basic, at best.  This is comforting to me, since I personally have nothing more glorious than a high-school diploma to my credit. 

When John said in Rev. 13:18 that "Here is WISDOM. Let him that HATH UNDERSTANDING count (or calculate) the number of the beast", the reference to supposed "wise" ones with "understanding" was not directed only to those doctors of the law who were at the very top of the ladder, religiously speaking.  John was addressing those who had a moderate exposure to the law and history of the Jewish people, with a reasonably-astute mind that could do a little calculation in order to figure this out.  It was not intended to be an esoteric puzzle with a near-impossible solution - just a puzzle that would require a moderate amount of contemplation to solve the question.  John wanted his words understood by the average John Doe reading this.  

That's good, because I certainly am an average Jane Doe.  And I use that name with intent, because Paul said, "...ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Col. 3:3)

This plausible interpretation for the 666 number does not require any convoluted or controversial use of gematria at all to identify the Sea Beast.  It also has the added advantage of pinpointing the date John wrote Revelation to EXACTLY AD 59, using a simple calculation that even the most untutored person reading John's Revelation manuscript in those days had a chance of figuring out and understanding.

Here is the proposal:  What if the 666 number is the AGE of the Sea Beast, as of John's writing Revelation?

To provide the background setting for this idea, I propose that John was writing to those who had been his fellow-sufferers among the Asian churches.  These were immersed in the Asian tribulation period that broke out following the AD 59 Ephesian riot of the silversmiths in Acts 19. Also, I believe John's letter to the Laodicean church of necessity had to pre-date the AD 60 Laodicean earthquake.  These two time constraints limit Revelation to a probable date between late AD 59 to early AD 60 in my estimation.

For the sake of argument, let's presume for the moment that the 666 number actually is the AGE of the Sea Beast of Rev. 13.  This Sea Beast was presented as an amalgamation of Daniel's first three beast kingdoms rising out of the Great Sea having leopard, bear, and lion features - all subsumed into the Roman empire phase of the Sea Beast in John's days, which was a replica of Daniel's "dreadful and terrible" 4th beast.  These first three beasts of Daniel 7 were also a reflection of the first three kingdoms of gold, silver, and bronze in Daniel chapter 2's statue, which would give way to the 4th, iron kingdom representing Rome.

If we "calculate the number of the beast" as John suggested by counting backwards 666 YEARS from AD 59 when I believe John was writing Revelation's letters to the Asian churches, we arrive at the year 607 BC, the very year that Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem and deported Daniel and members of the Jewish nobility to Babylon.  Significantly, it was also the beginning year for the 70-year exile period for the Jews in Daniel's days.  

If 666 is "the number of "A MAN" (as Rev. 13:18 says), it could well be Daniel's image of a man made of those different metals that John was referring to.  After all, when Daniel 7:4 was describing the first of the four beasts (the lion), he said that it was made to stand on "human feet" (Dan. 7:4 LXX), and that "A MAN'S HEART" was given to it.  This lion represented Nebuchadnezzar, the head of gold on that image of A MAN made of different metals.

When I hear this phrase "the number of a man", I hear echoes of God dictating the number of years He intended mankind to live - such as in Genesis 6:3, when God limited man's lifespan to 120 years.  Later, that number of years was shortened to "three-score years and ten".  It would be no great exegetical stretch to interpret this "number of a man" to represent the then-current lifespan of that Revelation 13 Sea Beast for John's readers.  Any Jewish citizen reading John's words in that very year, if they were at all familiar with their nation's basic history, would have immediately recognized this 607 BC date as the year their humiliating 70-year exile in Babylon had begun.

If this interpretation of the 666 number truly represents the AGE of the Sea Beast of Rev. 13, it means that the worship given to this Sea Beast would have started as far back as Nebuchadnezzar's image of gold that Daniel's 3 friends refused to bow down to, on pain of death in the fiery furnace.  Each kingdom following that first Chaldean one had various ways of seducing worship or demanding it on pain of death, so the homage paid to this Sea Beast did not have to be limited to only a brief period within the last few years of the Old Covenant Age.

The "little horn" on Daniel 7's 4th beast may have "made war" against the saints for only a "time, times, and the dividing of time" (3 1/2 years of Nero's persecution of Christians, I believe), but the 4th beast (aka the Sea Beast) from which the "little horn" originated had existed long before then.  This means that the souls John saw in Rev. 20:4 who had lived without giving allegiance to the Sea Beast during their lifetime (like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego), and also those who had been martyred for the word of God during the Sea Beast's career (like Antipas) were those who had lived a life of witness for Christ at any time on the calendar during this Sea Beast's 666 YEARS of existence up to that AD 59 year.

This theory impinges on one's understanding of the millennium, of course.  My understanding of the millennium is that it was a literal 1000-year period of a physical temple worship system, spanning the years between Solomon's temple foundation stone being laid in 967 BC until AD 33 when Christ became the true foundation stone of a spiritual temple made of living stones - at the First Resurrection.  This literal 1,000-year millennium period overlapped the period of the Sea Beast's existence, which ran from 607 BC until the resurrection day on Pentecost of AD 70

It was at this time that the evil spiritual powers behind the Sea Beast (the fallen divine council members of all those four beast kingdoms) were destroyed simultaneously by the rock which struck Daniel's statue.  Even the righteous members of the divine council were disbanded at this point, since the whole habitable world after AD 70 would no longer be "in subjection" to the angels, as Hebrews 2:5 predicted.  As for the council's evil members, they,along with the entire demonic realm, were destroyed in Jerusalem's Lake of Fire and reduced to ashes on the earth, as the Ezekiel 28:11-19 prophecy for Satan, the prince of Tyre, had predicted  long ago.

So, here's a rough breakdown of where this 666th-year "birthday" of the Sea Beast fits within all the other "puzzle pieces".  Wish I could do a really fancy graphic demonstration at this point, but oh well...this Jane Doe ain't up to it.  

967 BC until AD 33 -  the duration of the literal 1,000-year millennium of Rev. 20 with Satan's deception of the nations being limited by a "chain".  This ended with the "First Resurrection" and Christ's ascension that day, when Satan was cast out of heaven to be loosed on earth.  The millennium ended when Christ ascended, and the devil descended.  Simple.

467 BC - when God "revived His work in the MIDST OF THE YEARS" (the center of the 967 BC - AD 33 millennium).  Ezra 9:9 is the fulfillment year of this "revival" of the whole house of Israel, prophesied by Habakkuk 3:2, and the Ezekiel 37 prophecy of the "dry bones" brought back to life.

607 BC until AD 59 - the age of the Sea Beast at the time John was writing Revelation (666 YEARS up to that year)

607 BC until AD 70 at the Pentecost-day resurrection at Christ's second coming - the total lifespan of the Rev. 13  Sea Beast, with its leopard, bear, and lion components

AD 33 until AD 66 - the "short time" and the "little season" Satan was loosed to deceive the nations again after he and his angels were cast out of heaven at Christ's resurrection-day ascension

May-Sept. AD 66 - the last 5 months of ferocious, ramped up demonic "locust" oppression mentioned in Rev. 9:5,10

Sept. AD 66 until AD 70 Pentecost day - Satan and the entire demonic realm imprisoned in Jerusalem (Rev. 18:2 and Isaiah 24:21-23) along with the living Scarlet Wilderness Beast and the False Prophet / Land Beast

AD 70 Pentecost day - the 1,335th day of Daniel 12:11-13, when Satan and the demonic realm were destroyed, the divine council disbanded for all time with those kingdoms of the world given to Christ to rule with an unbroken rod of iron, the I Thess. 4 "rapture" of only the bodily-resurrected saints, the establishment of the New Heavens and the New Earth with the New Jerusalem manifested, and the GWT judgment of the dead, with destruction of the wicked dead after judgment.  No eternal torture chamber.

AD 70 Pentecost day until the close of the AD 70 siege - lots of "weeping and wailing" in Jerusalem's "Lake of Fire" as the city died for the second time since the Sea Beast under Nebuchadnezzar's leadership had first killed it in 586 BC.  This period was the judgment of the "quick" (living) who had been giving homage to the Sea Beast and had its mark.  

Okay, there you have my best guess for the order of events that surround the period of the Sea Beast's existence.  It really does fit seamlessly within the progression of events through the centuries, and coincides perfectly with the tricky Rev. 20 chapter that is so hotly debated.  It removes the gematria debate over how to inject an individual human man's name into the 666 number (since it is Daniel's statue of a man that it represents), and above all, it is a perfectly simple solution for the dating of Revelation, once and for all. 

What say you, denizens of deathisdefeated?  Does this theory have any merit to it?

 

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Comment by Eohn Rhodes on May 24, 2018 at 8:08am

Patricia,

I think there may be something to 666 being the final age of the un-consummate corporate beast's rule over humanity. I never thought about it till now. But I believe Pentecost was the betrothal in the spring 50 days after First Fruits resurrection and Tabernacles is the wedding in the fall. Also God used Satan put Jesus on the cross, which put Him under the new head of humanity's foot. He was later imprisoned and then released only to destroy old humanity who had made a covenant with the 4th beast. You have Satan released at his defeat. Seven is covenanted and thousand is permanence. Even using a seven digit number system, 666 is one number prior to 1000. That may be as long as the beast could live. The human soul was made permanent instead. I also like the second death of the city idea. They had missed 20 jubilees when Rev. 20 was written which amounts to 1000 cursed years. That made their curse permanent which amounted to second death for those who rejected the final Jubilee. Jesus over-ruled the 1000 cursed years for the Jews who entered His renewed covenant creation. That's my imperfect take for the time I have. Thanks for the exercise. 

Eohn

Comment by Patricia Watkins on May 26, 2018 at 12:02am

Hi Eohn,

Appreciate you reviewing this...Just to clarify a bit, I am NOT saying that this 666 number is the "final" age of the Sea Beast.  It's only the age of the Sea Beast as of the time John was writing Revelation in AD 59.  The Sea Beast continued to exist until that 1,335th day of the resurrection in AD 70.  It was at that point that the rock struck Daniel's image of a man and crushed the entire statue to dust at one time.

There is only one way there could be a SIMULTANEOUS destruction in AD 70 of the 4 kingdoms that made up this Sea Beast, and that is to have it represent the divine council of fallen angels that had operated within those 4 kingdoms all along.  (This is why Rev. 13:4 has those on the earth giving homage, not just to the Sea Beast, but also to the Dragon which gave power to the Sea Beast.) The evil members of this divine council (which included Satan and his angels) were destroyed on that 1,335th day of resurrection in AD 70, but in addition, disbanding the divine council also relieved the righteous angels (the "Watchers" of Daniel 4:13,17) of fulfilling this role in the kingdoms of the world as well after that point.  It's all part of the conditions of the New Heavens and the New Earth being set up then.

On that 1,335th day, the powers that those divine council members had once held over the kingdoms of the world were taken from them and turned over to Christ's rule, which is why we have Christ described in Revelation 19:12 as having MANY CROWNS on His head at that point in time.  This is because the "kingdoms" (plural) of this world" had become "the kingdoms (plural) of our Lord and of His Christ" at that time of the judgment of the dead when the 7th angel had sounded his trumpet (Rev. 11:15). 

Satan had once boasted to Christ during the 40-day wilderness temptation that these "kingdoms of the world" and their power and glory had been delivered unto him (Luke 4:5-7).  These were the same "kingdoms" that were taken from a destroyed Satan and given to Christ on the occasion of the 7th trumpet being sounded for the judgment of the dead.  Prior to that point, Christ had "A (single) kingdom" and "A (single) crown"given to Him at His ascension (Dan. 7:13-14 cp. Rev. 14:14) - a kingdom never to be destroyed, with Him established on the throne of the mercy-seat in heaven as our deathless high priest.

Eohn, it seems you have an objection to positioning Satan's release at this time of the crucifixion and ascension.  I base this on Christ's own testimony 5 days before Passover in John 12:31.  "NOW is the judgment of this world" (because Satan was about to be cast out of heaven down unto the earth with his angels).  "NOW shall the prince of this world be cast out" (cast out of heaven unto the earth, as in Rev. 12:7-13). 

Likewise, we have Christ's testimony on the night of the Last Supper in John 14:30, "...the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me."  (Satan, the prince of this world was about to be loosed on earth for his "short time" and his "little season" following the millennium.)

Again, we have Christ's testimony in Luke 22:53 when speaking in the Garden of Gethsemane to those who came to arrest Him, "...This is your hour, and the power of darkness."  (Satan's 3-day / 3-night war in heaven with Michael was about to commence.)

There is ample evidence of Satan's deception cranked into high gear for that "short time" after Christ's resurrection day.  Some examples are the "walking about as a roaring lion" bit - the necessity for the saints to put on the whole armor of God to mount a defense against Satan's wiles in Ephesians 6:12 - the references to "this present EVIL AGE" of Galatians 1:4 - the multiplied 7 times worse oppression by unclean spirits for that wicked generation in Matthew 12:45 - the "snare of the devil" that was used against those being taken captive by Satan "at his will", which implied that he had no constraints put on him at that time in II Timothy 2:26, etc., etc. 

All of these references paint a picture of Satan and the demonic forces who were operating without a chain upon their activities in those days following Christ's ascension.  Fortunately, there was also the presence of the Comforter which had been poured out in extra measure also in those days, in order to combat him.   The saints were given the assurance that "greater is He that is in you" (the Comforter) "than he that is in the world" (Satan and his forces).

Christ's death did not provide immediate defeat for Satan at that very moment of the crucifixion.   Instead, it provided the MEANS for Satan's eventual death and destruction.  That time for his destruction would arrive in AD 70, preceded by his "short time" of being loosed (AFTER the millennium's end in AD 33 with the "First Resurrection" of Christ), as well as his period of imprisonment within Jerusalem's walls from AD 66-70.

One question Eohn...why would you say the 1,000 years were CURSED years?  How is that possible if the limiting of Satan's deception of the nations for 1,000 years provided a boost for the spread of God's message?  I believe that the foundation stone of Solomon's temple being laid down in 967 BC was a golden age of peace launched at that time by God who selected Solomon even before his birth for this purpose, and gave him a name which itself meant "peace".  This beginning of the millennium at Solomon's temple foundation was merely an antitype of the peace Christ would provide later between God and man - a peace that was only made possible by having Christ laid down as the true foundation stone of the true temple beginning in AD 33, once the literal, 1,000-year millennium antitype had ended.  

Comment by Eohn Rhodes on May 26, 2018 at 9:13am

Hi Patricia,

I will comment on your last paragraph and come back to the rest. We know the goal for the Hebrews was to count to the only day with a name, which is Sabbath rest. Their blessings were contingent on keeping that target of peace of mind. First Adam lived 70 years short of 1000 cursed years, excluding any time He was unconscious in Eden. The symbols at times seem to be more round and artistic. Like the 144,000 Hebrews that got saved from the 12 tribes scattered. It may not have been exactly 12000 from each tribe.

The final Sabbath rest, and the spiritual foundation Stone, was Eschaton Adam. He was born around 2 or 3 B.C. and the final destruction of the old city started around 67 A.D. He put old cursed Adam to death singularly by hanging him on the tree of awareness. He then singularly revived His covenant in on the 3rd day. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to more fully wake up his people, but he could not do it under law. They could not bear it.  On Yeshua's 70th birthday, the old covenant redeemed humans were allowed to enter the new and final promised land of Sabbath rest with the good conscience of the new head. Then and only then was old Adam put to death corporately. People were saved and entered the new covenant individually and many were coming out the old. So in reversing the curse of consciousness, the new is completed before the old is annihilated. Consciousness is now a blessing.

 

Just like there is no going back to unconsciousness for a teenager who becomes self aware, the only hope is to grow them up to find peace in understanding the spiritual reality. Interestingly, in psychological studies, around age 30 people often make the  choice to move on in maturity or remain forever immature. Immaturity often includes addictions to numb the pain of consciousness.

The goal was to find peace in Sabbath rest and Yahweh promised to curse them for not keeping on target and bless them for keeping the target. They were kicked out of the land for missing 490 years of Sabbaths. Then after 70 years they re-entered and began counting down 490 years to the ultimate Sabbath rest. There is no record that they actually kept the Sabbath years, so that is a total of 1000 cursed years of missing the typical target. It is hard to do nothing for a day let alone a year. Conscientious people are especially aware of everything that needs to be done to ensure our survival.

 

The diaspora curse was used to bring this same consciousness to all the nations. It was the beastly pre-evangelism. Anyone who sees Jesus as the Sabbath rest can find ultimate peace of mind in the new covenant.

Comment by Eohn Rhodes on May 29, 2018 at 6:16am

Hi again Patricia,

 As you stated, the fourth kingdom on earth was ruled by Satan. Luke 4:5-7. On the cross he was judged and then cast out of heaven. His official rule as given by God was taken away, however He was still a powerful being with followers. He was just made desperate and began to rule as a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour; with the help of the tribe of Judah. He began persecuting the believing Jews by way of the unbelieving Jews. Later, after he is captured and then released from his chains in hades, he uses Rome and the Gentiles to go destroy the Jews still in the land. They had not only failed his endeavor to stop the church but had produced the one who judged and imprisoned him. 

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