Once again John Alley brings a message about “end times”, beginning with an examination of the meaning of the “coming” of Christ and then giving an overview of the book of Revelation. Revelation, John explains, is the most Jewish of all the books of the New Testament, drawing greatly on Jewish symbols, history, concepts and nuances of language. The book was written to the seven churches of Asia, at a time when there was a larger percentage of Jewish Christians in the Asian region, and there was a huge emphasis on Emperor worship. John examines events from history which all point to the book of Revelation being written in about 64 or 65 AD. With this understanding, then, it is very easy to see that most of the prophecy of the book of Revelation has been fulfilled in the great tribulation and suffering inflicted on the Church by the Emperor Nero. Therefore, the Beast referred to in the book would seem to most likely have been Nero himself. John explains many fascinating facts including the source of the number 666 and then goes on to say that as for the future, we have hope, a great calling, a great many promises and a Messiah King ruling in Heaven. We should be encouraged, says John, that although difficult times will come for some people, the Gospel triumphs over them all and we need to pour ourselves out in service to God for the furtherance of the Kingdom.
In any modern Bible study on the last days, a common practice for understanding the dark, end-times enemy known as the Antichrist is to mix together Paul’s man of lawlessness, John’s antichrists (plural), and John’s beast of Revelation 13, while sprinkling in a dash of Daniel’s 70th week for flavor. The result? A tyrannical dictator the likes this world has never seen. But is this apocalyptic amalgamation biblical?