Revelations: A False Prophecy
The point of this debate is discuss the merit of the book of Revelations as found in the Christian Bible. I hope to demonstrate and show evidence that the book of Revelations is real-world example of the false prophets and teachers Jesus Christ of the Gospels spoke of to his disciples.
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (KJV)
My goal is to identify the "fruit" that Revelations bears as well as use scripture to show proof of the erroneous nature of the book. There will be 3 rounds, this being my first. All rebuttals must use scripture to refute any point unless that scripture has already been used, then the round may be used to speak further of priorly quoted verses.
For the sake of this debate, all statements must be backed up by scripture, excluding the book of Revelations itself, as the point of this debate is the validity of it's contents. You may use any text in Revelations if you are cross-referencing said text with other scripture found in the Christian Bible. I am not familiar with the Apocryphal texts and for the sake of this debate, these should not be included, we are not debating their legitimacy.
My case is clear. I believe that the Christian Bible contains many verses, from both Christ and prophets alike that clearly discredit and cast doubt on the book of Revelations. For the majority of this debate I will be focusing on the words and actions of Christ, as found in the four Gospels and those supposedly found in Revelations.
My first argument is this, John of Patmos, author of Revelations, did not in fact speak to Jesus in Revelations, so we must assume that everything found in Revelations is a lie.
John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (KJV)
Jesus plainly told his disciples that they would receive the Holy Ghost, not that he himself would speak to them once he left this world. John of Patmos however claims differently, in fact, he claims an angel spoke to him, when Christ decreed that only the Holy Ghost would do such things. "He shall teach you all things", not some, but all. Jn 14:26
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw (KJV)
John Patmos clearly states that this is the testimony of Jesus Christ.
But Christ said in the gospels:
21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:
22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. (KJV)
In verse 23 Jesus Christ clearly contradicts the entire premise of the book of Revelations.
As found on www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/revelation, the meaning of the word revelation is clear:
: a usually secret or surprising fact that is made known
: an act of making something known : an act of revealing something in usually a surprising way
: something that surprises you
Christ has "foretold you all things" and yet Revelations discredits His statement, as He clearly stated that he had no more "secret or suprising fact" to be "made known." He had already revealed all that would be revealed. The testimony in Revelations is erroneous.
So either the Jesus of the Gospels was a liar, or John of Patmos authored a false prophecy.
Revelations 22:6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. (KJV)
And so I present the first fruit of the Book of Revelations; confusion.
1 Corinthian 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (KJV)
Thanks and luck to Pro.
Pro is making a claim and challenging the status quo, therefore has the burden of proof, as acknowledged in the comments. In light of this, I need only nullify Pro's arguments and leave the resolution unsupported, without necessarily proving the negative of the resolution. Besides, proving the negative would be nigh impossible considering that Biblical passages are the only source permitted.
Pro's resolution leans on two main assertions:
Assertion 1: Apart from the Book of Revelation, the books of the Bible are in agreement.
This assertion must be true in order for Revelation to be considered incongruous. If the other books of the Bible are not in agreement, Revelation can't be singled out without extra-biblical evidence, which the rules of this debate disallow.
Assertion 2: The Book of Revelation significantly conflicts with the other books of the Bible.
This assertion must be true, or else there is no Biblical basis for singling out Revelation as incongruous.
If Pro fails to uphold either of these assertions, he fails to uphold the resolution. As my purpose here is the negation of Pro's arguments, I will begin with rebuttals.
1. Silent Jesus
Pro claims that Jesus could not have spoken to John, the author of Revelation, because Jesus stated in John 14:26 that the Holy Ghost would "teach you [disciples] all things."
First, this argument is built on a non sequitur. The premise that the Holy Ghost would teach all things does not exclude the possibility that anyone else, including Jesus, would also teach. The Bible itself encourages others to teach. Colossians 3:16 says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another..." What are the letters of instruction Paul writes to the churches if not attempts to teach believers?
Pro states, "Christ decreed that only the Holy Ghost would do such things", but that is not the case in the quoted passage. Jesus decreed that the Holy Ghost would teach, not that only the Holy Ghost would teach.
Second, another issue with this argument is the possible vagueness of "all things". Unless the Holy Ghost would teach the disciples how to pilot a helicopter, how to play Mario Kart, and how to build a time machine, "all things" was actually referring to specific things. Those specific things are not identified in the quoted passage, and may not have included the contents of Revelation.
Third, another Biblical event, the conversion of Saul, refutes Pro's claim that Jesus would not speak outside of the Holy Ghost after his ascension. Acts 9:3-5 says, "And as he (Saul) journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest..." If Jesus would speak directly to Saul and give him instruction, why wouldn’t he speak directly to John and give him Revelation?
2. Jesus, the Last Prophet
Pro's second argument claims that the Book of Revelation is invalidated by Jesus' words in Mark, "I have foretold you all things."
First, we again face the possibility that "all things" is a vague generalization, unless Jesus foretold to the disciples every detail of every second from that moment until the end of time. A more specific definition for "all things" is not provided in the quoted passages.
Second, Jesus himself contradicts Pro's assessment. In John 16:13, Jesus states, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth (Holy Ghost), is come... he will show you things to come." According to Pro, since Jesus has already "foretold you all things," he is being redundant by sending the Holy Ghost to "show you things to come". If Jesus can be redundant once, why can't he be redundant a second time when he gives John of Patmos the Book of Revelation?
Third, the Bible records at least one other instance after Jesus’ ascension of someone who was not Jesus prophesying the future. Acts 11:28 recounts that a prophet named Agabus foretold a time of "great dearth throughout all the world." In verse 29, the disciples took his words to heart and sent aid to other believers. Verse 28 also notes that the prophecy came true. If Jesus' statement in Mark 13:23 "contradicts the entire premise of the book of Revelations", as Pro claims, how does Pro explain why the disciples did not already know about the "great dearth" before Agabus prophesied it? Why did Agabus need to prophesy, instead of just remembering what Jesus had already said?
So far, Pro has not upheld Assertion 1. The Bible is not in agreement with Pro's assessment of the quoted verses, therefore those verses cannot be used to invalidate Revelation.
Before I address last round, I must address what Pro calls Assertion 1. Revelation can and will be singled out without extra-biblical evidence, regardless of the continuity of other books, minus the 4 published Gospels. As THE core resource to the Christian faith, the Gospels are considered irrefutable on questions of faith or doctrine. Your assertion that that the other books of the Bible must in full agreement with each other in order to single out Revelation has no founding, Revelation is the "final" testament, and supposedly contains the last words of Christ. As Christianity puts Christ's words above all others, so then must we put all books containing his words above all others as well. It is one thing to have a book of false prophecy, it is another thing entirely to have a book containing false words of a Deity. As long as the Gospels stand with each other in agreement, showing no discrepancy between each other as to Christ's words and actions, Revelation may be singled out and cross-referenced with the Gospels. Assertion 1 as it stands, is too broad, and does not take into account discrepancies that exist as a result of two separate faiths, Judaism and Christianity. In essence, Jesus Christ is my witness, His words and actions will be compared, from Gospel to Revelation.
I will take this round to respond to my opponents rebuttals and to present my new arguments.
1. Silent Jesus
Without calling into question other books of the Bible, I cannot dispute Con on this point.
While I do not agree with Cons conclusion, my point is invalidated, failing to prove Assertion 2.
2. Jesus the Last Prophet
Con correctly states that there is not a specific definition for "all things" found in the Bible, as debate rules disallow, we cannot go into the meaning of the word "all things". This is my failing.
As to Con's introduction of Agabus, this man foretold a famine, a great dearth. I can also foretell a time of great dearth, it will happen in the next 100 years. Agabus foretold a common-place event, he exposed no great mystery. He is nothing more than a weather forecaster, at the time, such profession did not exist. What one man calls a prophet others may apply many different labels.
Humans predict things all the time. When one of us happens to be correct, we often express this, tell others. Agabus has nothing to show, no sign of Divine inspiration. We must remember that the Bible is also a history book, any author would describe Agabus' actions based solely on their personal experiences in life.
Nothing in the Bible shows that Agabus is anything more than just a good gambler.
3. The Future
Mt 6:33-34 (GNV)
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be ministered unto you.
34 Care not then for the morrow, for the morrow shall care for itself: the day hath enough with his own grief.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Verse 33 tells us what are goal is and what happens when we reach it. Verse 34 admonishes us to live a day at a time. Revelation immerses us in fear and the "thought for morrow" like no other possible future event in history could ever do. We spend so much time, money and energy contemplating Revelation and the Apocalypse that we forget verse 34. We have been told by Christ to cease and desist, and yet we disobey. Scholars and aspiring book authors have jumped happily between the pages of Revelation for years, most obvious in this, Peter S Ruckman (end days theologian) and Tim Lahaye (author of Left Behind). The book of Revelation is a cash cow, monopolized for years by movie studios and previously the subject of an enormous novel series, one aimed at adults and the other aimed at children, Left Behind: The Kids.
I present bad fruit number two; greed.
4. Bad Doctrine
I will now focus on the 7 churches described to us in Revelation. I must point out that in each of the 7 churches, John pronounces judgement on each member collectively, guilt by association. Revelation speaks of no respect for the individuals of each of these churches. This is contrary to Mt 18:1-14.
Mt 18:1-14 (KJV) (emphasis on verse 10)
1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
The Church of Symrna:
Must be faithful until death:
Rev 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
But Jn 11:25-26 (KJV) says differently:
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Christ of the Gospels offers no revocation of salvation. You either have it or you do not.
The Church of Pergamos:
Accused of being Satan's seat, rebuked for eating food offered to false idols.
13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is...
14 ...to eat things sacrificed unto idols...
However, Mat 15:17-18(KJV) says in the words of Christ:
17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
It is worth noting that the book of Acts does speak out about food given to idols, the discussion in Acts came from the first conference in Jerusalem, not from Jesus and Paul later says this is permitted in 1 Cor 8.
I present the third fruit, variance (Gal 5:20 "Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,")
I am running out of room, so I must end
First, I will address Pro's words about Assertion 1. This debate is about whether the Book of Revelation is in accord with the rest of "scripture", and therefore Biblically valid. In Pro's setup, he states that "all statements must be backed up by scripture".
Of course, we could ask why any scripture should be considered authoritative over any other, but that's a matter for another debate, as it confronts the premises of the resolution rather than the resolution itself. This debate is built on the premise that other scripture is indeed more authoritative than Revelation itself, and can be used to prove that Revelation is "false". Thus, Assertion 1 exists hand-in-hand with Assertion 2, because if each book of the Bible were to disagree with the others, it stands to reason that any one of them could be "false", negating their authority to falsify Revelation. Revelation may conflict with one book, but what if it agrees with another? The unity of the other scripture is the only way that they can jointly have the authority to cast doubt on the Biblical validity of Revelation.
However, Pro has now tried to "narrow the playing field" by claiming that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John have more authority than other scripture. Unfortunately, as Pro did not limit our sources to those four books in his setup, I cannot be bound by this modification. It will be at my discretion whether to stay within the Gospels.
I also feel it necessary to question Pro's claim. He states that "Christianity puts Christ's words above all others," but if we don't know that the other books are accurate and authoritative, how do we know any better of the Gospels? The men who canonized the books of the modern Christian Bible seemed to think that each was valid. If they were mistaken in regards to non-Gospel books, why should their opinion of the Gospels be trusted? Again, if we are to accept details such as these as "given" in the debate, they should be specified as such at the beginning. Otherwise, they must be argued and proven along with everything else.
1. Silent Jesus
Pro concedes this point.
2. Jesus the Last Prophet
Pro agrees that it can't be shown Biblically what "all things" referred to.
Pro does not attempt to rebut my contention that Jesus stated that the Holy Ghost would "show you things to come."
Both of the above are enough to negate Pro's corresponding argument, without the help of Agabus. However, Pro's rebuttal of my Agabus point does not deny that the disciples responded to Agabus' prediction, implying that they did not already know of the coming dearth, and implying that the "all things" Jesus foretold did not include the dearth. This reinforces my point that we do not know what "all things" actually were, therefore we do not know that they included the prophecies of Revelation.
3. The Future
Pro argues that, in keeping with the words of Matthew 6:33-34, we should not concern ourselves with tomorrow. If this is true, I'm curious why Jesus "foretold you all things" in Mark 13:23, and why the Holy Ghost "will show you things to come" in John 16:13. If the Holy Ghost and Jesus himself were in the business of thinking about tomorrow and telling others about it, the idea that Revelation, its author, or its readers are somehow wrong to do the same holds little weight. This argument fails both Assertion 1 and Assertion 2, all without leaving the Gospels.
Pro goes on to point out that Revelation has been exploited for money. While this is true, is there any part of the Bible that hasn't? Christian book stores are packed wall-to-wall with author's attempts to make money from rehashing the Bible and its contents. Major movies like Noah, Exodus: Gods and Kings, and The Passion of the Christ rake in millions of dollars. Every Sunday, pastors across America collect thousands of tax-free dollars so they can continue to air condition their massive, expensive sanctuaries. Christianity is replete with greed. This is hardly an excuse to single out the Book of Revelation.
4. Bad Doctrine
4a. Pronouncing Judgment on Collectives
Pro states that Revelation is in conflict with Matthew 18 because it pronounces judgment on collectives. While I don't understand how Pro's verses denounce such pronouncement, I don't really need to. Just a few chapters later, in Matthew 23:13-15, Jesus passes judgment on a collective with three separate pronouncements of "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" He does not bother to point out individuals, instead condemning two entire professions to "the greater damnation." If Jesus could criticize and judge a collective, why is it wrong for Revelation to do the same?
Pro argues that being "faithful unto death" is contradicted by Jesus in John 11:25-26. However, Jesus' words seem to be very similar to those of Revelation. He states, "...he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." Is believing in Jesus not the same as being faithful? It is implied that, in order to attain life, one must continue to believe in Jesus, and that a cessation of belief would also mean the cessation of life. Thus, one would need to be faithful in believing until death in order to attain life.
Jesus goes on to say, "..and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." It seems clear he's not referring to physical death here, as he stated in the previous verse, "though he were dead, yet shall he live." How is living in Jesus and believing in Jesus not the same as being faithful? It follows Jesus' logic to assume that if one can attain the reward of life by living and believing in him, cessation of living and believing in him would revoke the right to the reward. Thus, being "faithful until death" is implicit in the words of Jesus.
Pro's criticisms of Revelation 2:13-14 are challenged when the full text is examined:
13. "I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth."
14. "But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication."
Verse 13 is not a condemnation of the church at Pergamos. It is a compliment. John states that they have held fast and not denied the faith, even though they live in a place so awful that it could be called Satan's seat.
As for verse 14, John states that some of the people in the church hold the doctrine of Balaam, and then lists some of the things that Balaam taught Balac. This list of offenses may be more an indictment of Balaam and his attitudes toward God than a description of practices followed by the Pergamos church. In the time of Balaam, recorded in the Old Testament book of Numbers, eating certain foods, such as pork, was considered unclean and unholy. This same mindset was observed by some people when it came to food offered to idols, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8:7, "...for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled." He goes on to advise care in exercising liberty when it could mean hurting those whose faith is weaker than yours.
With this in mind, it's possible that John was not condemning eating food offered to idols, but was condemning the careless attitude with which Balaam practiced an act that had the potential to hurt others. John's statement in verse 14 that Balaam taught Balac "to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel" seems to confirm this line of reasoning.
silverneccho forfeited this round.
Thank you Pro for an interesting debate, and thank you, voters, for your time and consideration.
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