The very first lesson that attracted me to listen to the doctrines of the Iglesia Ni Cristo was the teaching that the Pope is the fulfillment of the beast 666 in the Book of Revelation. while it was hard to believe, I absorbed it. I believed it. I lived with it while being a member of the Church for many many years.
Now I would like to apologize to the Catholics, especially to the POPE. I no longer believe in the doctrine that the POPE, having been given a LATIN name of VICARIUS FILII DEI, is the fulfillment of the beast 666 in Revelation 13:16-18.
I am no longer afraid nor I a-shame to talk about the book of Revelation. The word “revelation” is to reveal, not to conceal. Revelation means to made known what was unknown before. I think it is not meant to confuse people, it was written to make known what is about to happen to the first century Christians, especially the seven churches of Asia.
People in our time interpret Revelation to satisfy their doctrines of eschatology – the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind.
Revelation 13:16-18 (NKJV)- 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.
Regardless of many proof on the calculations of the name of the beast by many anti-Catholic religions, all of them primarily focused only in calculating the number 666.
First let us review from the introduction of the Revelation to understand its message.
Revelation 1:1-3 (NKJV) – 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
Question: Who is the author of Revelation?
Answer: John. It is not clearly identified if this is John the Apostle, John Eleazar but some call this John of Patmos.
Question: What was the purpose of the book?
Answer: God gave vision to John to show His servants things (events) that will take place shortly. Shortly means soon or near.
Question: Who will benefit from the book and when?
Answer: Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of his prophesy….for the time is near.
The intended audience of the Revelation.
Who was the Revelation written to?
Revelation 13:4 (NKJV) – 4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
So who are the seven churches in Asia?
Revelation 1:11 (NKJV) – 11 saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
The churches are: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. These are real places, real people, real church (believers of Christ) in the time of the author (John).
John was a companion of the tribulation by the seven churches
Revelation 1:9 (NKJV)- 9 I, John, both[e] your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
If John was a companion of tribulation then he must be experiencing it with the people of the seven churches in Asia in their time. If the tribulation is future to us, why would John say he is companion of tribulation? The word “tribulation” here is very familiar if you followed my articles about the end of the age.
Matthew 24:21 (NKJV) – For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Matthew 24:29 (NKJV) – “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Mark 13:19 (NKJV) – For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.
Mark 13:24 (NKJV) – “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light;
Apostle Paul gave a hint who will suffer tribulations.
2 Thessalonians 1:5-7(NKJV) – 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,
Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians Jewish and Gentile Christians because the Jewish who are still loyal to the priesthood leaders of Jerusalem are persecuting them – we have to read the entire Thessalonians to understand this topic but keep it short for now.
The Time is (was) Near
I think most Christians missed the message of the Revelation. The message is very clear, it is an event which is about to come in the life of the original audience.
Read the last chapter of the Revelation Chapter 22. It is all about stressing that the time is near, it is soon. Soon to the original audience not necessarily soon to us.
Revelation 22:6 (NKJV) – 6 Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.
Revelation 22:7 (NKJV) – 7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
Revelation 22:10 (N.KJV) – 10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.
The bible says “do not seal the words” but INC actually have “sealers“. Do you know who they are? I will leave that to you to research.
How else Christ describe His coming?
Revelation 22:12 (NKJV) – 12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
The book of Revelation was finished with the following words:
Revelation 22:20-21 (NKJV) – 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
How else can Christ say He was coming quickly? He was coming quick, soon, it is near. It was the emphasis of the Revelation from the beginning to the end of the book.
You are probably asking now am I trying to say Christ has returned? We will reserve this in future topic.
I had these as a theory that the message in Revelation is in our past but now I believe it. The Revelation is not future to us, it is already part of our history. Think about this, if the Revelation is an event future to us, the author lied to all Christians from the time of the seven churches audience in the first century to our time living in 2017. If John says the things about to come is near, if Christ said it is soon and it did not happen, then is John real? Is Christ real? Either they both lied to us or they mean what they say. I am more comfortable believing they mean what they say. I believe the bible is inspired book by God, what is written is true. When the book says soon, it meant soon.
People try to interpret the bible in order to fit their belief and doctrines. I find it easier now to fit my belief to what the bible says.
In the next article I will go back to the topic who I think the beast 666 is.