The Da Vinci Code Deception Part One

(I wrote this in 2005)
Introduction – The Da Vinci Code Phenomenon

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The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown has been one of the biggest selling novels of 2003-5. At the time I am writing this there are plans to make it into a movie starring Tom Hanks. The book continues the adventures of Robert Langdon, hero of Dan Brown’s previous book, Angels and Demons, and Professor of Religious Symbology at Harvard University. This time Langdon is accused of murdering Jacques Sauniere, curator of the Lourve Museum in Paris, and goes on the run with Sauniere’s granddaughter Sophie Neveu. In the process of being chased around Paris and London, Sophie meets Leigh Teabing, a British Royal Historian, and learns that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had descendants who married into the Merovingian kings of Dark Age France. She also learns that her grandfather was the Grand Master of a secret society the Priory of Sion, whose purpose was to preserve the secret of Jesus’ marriage, the location of Mary Magdalene’s tomb and the identity of their descendants and that the Holy Grail symbolizes Mary Magdalene and her descendants.

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The Da Vinci Code is not the first work of fiction about a sexual relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Earlier examples included Niklos Kazantzali’s novel The Last Temptation of Christ and the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. However, The Da Vinci Code is different in that Dan Brown believes what he has written about Jesus and Mary Magdalene is true. In an interview with the ABC’s Good Morning America program on November 3, 2003, the interviewer asked Brown, “This is a novel. If you were writing it as a non-fiction book… how would it have been different?” Brown replied,

“I don’t think it would have. I began the research for The Da Vinci Code as a sceptic. I entirely expected, as I researched the book, to disprove this theory. And after numerous trips to Europe, about two years of research, I really became a believer. And it’s important to remember that this is a novel about a theory that has been out there for a long time.” (1)

It appears that Brown did not intend to simply write a thriller to entertain his readers, but rather a piece of propaganda for spreading his unusual ideas. Carl Olson and Sandra Miesel write in The Da Vinci Hoax,

“Brown apparently hopes The Da Vinci Code will be more than just a best seller; he wants to radically change perceptions of history, religion and Western civilization. Asked if the novel might be considered controversial, Brown again asserts his desire to promote the “sacred feminine” and to challenge commonly accepted understandings of Western culture and Christianity: “As I mentioned earlier, the secret I reveal is one that has been whispered for centuries. It is not my own. Admittedly, this may be the first time the secret has been unveiled within the format of a popular thriller, but the information is anything but new. The Da Vinci Code, in addition to entertaining people, will serve as an open door to begin their own explorations.” (2)

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Judging by the popularity of The Da Vinci Code, Brown has apparently succeeded in this. Others have even bigger hopes for The Da Vinci Code. In an article “The Da Vinci Code Hype: An Arcadian Zeitgeist”, Tracy Twyman has written,

“Despite whatever shortcomings there may be, The Da Vinci Code and the hype surrounding it have done in months what the “Grail community” has been trying to do for the last twenty years: it has captured the attention of the public at large, and in the process has set in motion what will eventually result in a complete rethinking of the Western world’s predominant religious, philosophical and historical beliefs. The Priory has always said that they would reveal their secrets “when the time is right”. Perhaps, as is indicated in the novel, that time has come. Perhaps the Priory of Sion is partially responsible in some way for the success of this book. ………..

Once the public is satisfactorily “softened up”, it will be time for the unveiling of the treasures – the true Grail…. I have no doubt that whatever it is, it will be of immense importance, and will change the hearts and minds of people the world over. At that time, the institution of a global government and church, shepherded by the descendants of Christ and the Grail blood, will no doubt occur.……..

[T]he amount of rapid change in public consciousness that has occurred since The Da Vinci Code came out has been staggering. For my part, I feel like I am living in a somewhat different world than that which existed prior to the publication of that book. The possibility of a paradigm shift within our own lifetimes seems much more likely now than it did before. And for that, Mr. Brown, I am grateful.” (3)

As we shall see, anyone, who is looking forward to the Priory of Sion and the descendants of Jesus ruling the world, is going to be waiting a long time.

In April 2005 Time magazine named Dan Brown as one of the 100 most influential people of the year (4). Much of the book’s appeal can be attributed to the claim that it is based on fact. Its preface claims, “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and sacred rituals in this novel are accurate.” (5) Many of its readers have got the impression that The  Da Vinci Code is well-researched and full of interesting and little known facts which Brown has built his story around. It appears they are taking the book’s claims about Jesus, Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail seriously. The truth is that, instead of being factual and accurate, The Da Vinci Code is appallingly inaccurate and full of errors, as the following examples show.

Da Vinci’s Real Name

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For a start, even the title of the book is technically a mistake. In The Da Vinci Code, Brown refers to Leonardo da Vinci as “Da Vinci” as though it were his last name;

“Nobody understood better than Da Vinci the divine structure of the human body.” (6)

“Even so, many art historians suspected Da Vinci’s reverence for the Mona Lisa had nothing to do with its artistic mastery.” (7)

Leonardo came from the town of Vinci in northern Italy. “Leonardo da Vinci” means “Leonardo of Vinci” or “from Vinci”. Art historians usually just call him Leonardo. Brown does not seem to know this which makes one wonder how much he really knows about Leonardo and his art.

The Louvre

Brown writes that the glass pyramid at the Louvre Museum “at President Mitterrand’s explicit demand had been constructed of exactly 666 panes of glass – a bizarre request that had been a hot topic among conspiracy buffs who claimed 666 was the number of Satan.” (8)

The Louvre pyramid has 673 panes of glass. (9)

Brown further writes that the security cameras in the Louvre are not real (10). They are (11), so if you are planning on robbing the Louvre, do not rely on The Da Vinci Code.

Jacques Sauniere, curator of the Louvre, is seventy six years old (12), but the compulsory retirement age in France is sixty five (13).

The founding of Paris

Sophie Neveu says, “The Merovingians founded Paris.” (14)

The Merovingians were kings of what is now France from 476 to 750. Paris was originally the village of a Celtic tribe called the Parisii. In 52 BC the Romans established a town there called Lutetia which was renamed Paris around 300.

Tarot cards

Brown writes that there are 22 cards in a tarot card deck (15) and “Originally, Tarot had been devised as a secret means to pass along ideologies banned by the Church. Now, Tarot’s mystical qualities were passed on by modern fortune-tellers.” (16)

There are 78 Tarot cards in a deck, not 22. They were originally used to play a game similar to Bridge. “Tarot” comes from “tarroco”, Italian for “trump”. Tarot cards were not given any mystical or occult meaning until the eighteenth century (17).

The banning of The Last Temptation of Christ

Brown also writes that “the French government, under pressure from priests, had agreed to ban an American film called The Last Temptation of Christ which was about Jesus having sex with a lady called Mary Magdalene.” (18

The Last Temptation of Christ was released in 1988. It was banned in Chile and (for some reason) Israel, but not France (19)

The origin of the word YHWH

One of Brown’s bizarre claims is when he writes,

“The Jewish Tetragrammaton YHWH – the sacred name of God – in fact derived from Jehovah, an androgynous physical union between the masculine Jah and the pre-Hebraic name foe Eve, Havah. “ (20)

YHWH is not derived from Jehovah, rather Jehovah is derived from YHWH. The original Hebrew name for God was represented by YHWH. Around 1500 A.D. Jews inserted the vowels from the Hebrew word adonai (Lord). YaHoWaH was Latinized into Jehovah. It had nothing to do with any union of the masculine Jah and the feminine Havah. Jah is not even Hebrew. Brown presumably meant Yah. (21)

Witch hunting

Brown makes some unhistorical claims about the witch hunting period,

“The Catholic Inquisition published the book that arguably could be called the most blood- soaked publication in human history. Malleus Maleficarum – or The Witches’ Hammer indoctrinated the world to ‘the dangers of freethinking women’ and instructed the clergy how to locate, torture and destroy them. Those deemed ‘witches’ by the Church included all female scholars, priestesses, gypsies, mystics, nature lovers, herb gatherers and any women ‘suspiciously attuned to the natural world’. Midwives were also killed for their heretical practice of using medical knowledge to ease the pain of childbirth – a suffering, the Church claimed, that was God’s rightful punishment for Eve’s partaking of the Apple of Knowledge, thus giving birth to the idea of Original Sin. During three hundred years of witch hunts, the Church burned at the stake an astounding five million women.” (22)

The witch hunting period lasted about 400 years from 1400 to 1800, not 300 years, as Brown says. There is no historical evidence to support Brown’s claim of five million women burned at the stake. Instead of five million, no more than 100,000 people were executed for witchcraft over 400 years. There were most likely between 40 to 50,000 victims. 20-25% of them were men and not all of them were burned (23).

The Malleus Maleficarum was not originally approved by the Catholic Church. The majority of the sentences for witchcraft were handed down by secular, not Church, courts (24). The quote “the dangers of freethinking women” does not appear in the Malleus Maleficarum as Brown implies. He appears to have made it up (25).

All female scholars, midwives and herb gatherers were not “deemed witches” and were not in danger of being burned. I have no idea what Brown means by “priestesses” during this period.

And the Bible does not say Eve ate an apple.

Chronology mistakes

Brown makes some basic mistakes of chronology and addition. He writes that the Priory of Sion’s “history spanned more than a millennium”, but a few lines later he writes that it “was founded in Jerusalem in 1099”. (26) He also writes that in 325 A.D. “Constantine upgraded Jesus’ status almost four centuries after Jesus’ death” (27). 292 years is hardly “almost four centuries”.

In an article “Dismantling The Da Vinci Code”, Sandra Miessel has commented,


“So error-laden is The Da Vinci Code that the educated reader actually applauds those rare occasions where Brown stumbles (despite himself) into the truth.” (28)

Likewise, Paul Meier has written in The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction?,

“Detailing all of the errors, misrepresentations, deceptions, distortions and outright falsehoods in The Da Vinci Code makes one wonder whether Brown’s manuscript ever underwent editorial scrutiny or fact checking” (29)

It would be an exaggeration to say one would have a better chance of finding the Holy Grail than finding an accurate statement in The Da Vinci Code, but not much of one

Several books have already been written about the errors in The Da Vinci Code. Novel writers often make mistakes or embellish the facts to make a better story. Normally, no one bothers to write books exposing them. However, Dan Brown sets himself up for such thorough critiques by claiming that all the details and controversial ideas in his book are true and accurate.

Brown made a similar claim about the accuracy of his first Robert Langdon novel Angels and Demons (30). It is also full of errors (31).

This article will not focus on every mistake in The Da Vinci Code. Rather, it will address five main issues which the novel raises;

 Were Jesus and Mary Magdalene married?

Mary Magdalene and the Catholic Church;

The origins of the New Testament and the divinity of Jesus;

The Priory of Sion and The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail;

The art of Leonardo da Vinci.

Notes

  1. Hank Hanegraaff and Paul L. Meier, The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction?, Tyndale House, Illinois, 2004, p 71
  2. Carl E. Olson and Sandra Miesel, The Da Vinci Hoax, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2004, p 28-29
  3. Tracy Twyman, “The Da Vinci Code Hype: An Arcadian Zeitgeist”, http://www.dragonkeypress.com/articles/article_2004_10_25_4042.html
  4. Time, 18 April, 2005, p 104
  5. Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code, Corgi Books, London, 2003 p 15
  6. Ibid., p 133
  7. Ibid., p 165
  8. Ibid., p 40
  9. Sharan Newman, The Real History Behind The Da Vinci
    Code, Penguin, Victoria, 2004, p 225

               (10)The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 45-46

(11)Dan Burstein (editor), Secrets of the Code, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 2004, p 259

(12)The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 17

(13) Gordon Rutter, “Da Vinci decoded”, Fortean Times, February 2005, p 34

(14)The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 345

(15) Ibid., p 129

(16) Ibid., p 130

(17) The Real History Behind The Da Vinci Code, op cit., 275-277

(18) The Da Vinci Code, op cit. p 332

(19) Secrets of the Code, op cit., p 277

(20) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 411

(21) Richard Abanes, The Truth Behind The Da Vinci Code, Harvest House, Oregon, 2004, p 19

(22) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 173

(23) Simon Cox, Cracking The Da Vinci Code, Harper Collins, Sydney, 2004, p 66

(24) Ibid., p 65

(25) The Truth Behind The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 35

(26) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 217

(27) Ibid., p 314, 316

(28)Sandra Miesel, “Dismantling The Da Vinci Code”, http://www.crisismagazine.com/september2003/feature1.htm

(29) The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction?, op cit., p 28

(30) Dan Brown, Angels and Demons, Corgi Books, London, 2001, p 11

(31) Dan Burstein and Arne de Keijzer (editors), Secrets of Angels and Demons, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 2005, p 214-274, 336-356

(1) Were Jesus and Mary Magdalene married?

The most controversial part of The Da Vinci Code is its claim that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. The character Leigh Teabing says that “the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene is part of the historical record” (1) and “I shan’t bore you with the countless references to Jesus and Magdalene’s union. That has been explored ad nauseum by modern historians.” (2) and “The royal bloodline of Jesus Christ has been chronicled in exhaustive detail by scores of historians.” (3)

Although there was “a row of several dozen books” in Teabing’s library about their supposed marriage, Brown only mentions four titles – The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, The Templar Revelation by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, and The Woman with the Alabaster Jar and The Goddess in the Gospels by Margaret Starbird. (4)

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These books are real, but Brown misleads his readers by suggesting that these writers, who say Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, are historians. None of them are historians. None of them have postgraduate qualifications in history, nor teach in university history departments. Their books are not published by academic publishers. They could more accurately be described as esoteric writers. Their books can be found in the New Age section of a bookshop, not the history section. Lynn Picknett’s other books include The Mammoth Book of UFOs, The Encyclopaedia of the Paranormal, The Loch Ness Monster, The Secret History of Lucifer and The Stargate Conspiracy, subtitled Revealing the truth behind extraterrestrial contact, military intelligence and the mysteries of ancient Egypt.

In spite of the impression readers of The Da Vinci Code would get, I doubt if there is a historian in a university anywhere in the world who takes The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail seriously or thinks the Priory of Sion exists. The characters of Robert Langdon and Leigh Teabing, who are academics and believe such things, are not credible characters. They are about as realistic as a novel about an astronomer who believes in astrology. Leigh Teabing would be a lot more believable if, instead of being a “British Royal Historian”, he were an aging hippie with a crystal around his neck and books about UFOs on his shelves. Also, there is no such thing as a “British Royal Historian”, nor is there a professor of symbology at Harvard or any other university.

Furthermore, the authors of these books, which Brown cites, have said they either cannot prove or do not actually believe Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. The authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail have written,

“Of course we couldn’t ‘prove’ our conclusions. As we repeatedly stressed in the book itself, we were simply posing a hypothesis. Had we been able to prove it, it wouldn’t have been a hypothesis, but a fact; and there would have been no controversy.” (5)

Likewise, in the 2004 documentary, The Real Da Vinci Code, Tony (Baldric) Robinson asked Michael Baigent, one of the co-authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, if there was any evidence Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a child. Baigent replied, “There’s none whatsoever.” (6)

Margaret Starbird has written,

“Of course, I cannot prove that the tenets of the Grail heresy are true – that Jesus was married or that Mary Magdalene was the mother of his child.” (7)

In the documentary Cracking The Da Vinci Code, Lynn Picknett, co-author of The Templar Revelation, says she does not even believe Jesus and Mary Magdalene were actually married. They only practiced the sacred marriage sex ritual. (8)

In spite of Dan Brown’s claims that “the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene is part of the historical record” (9), the only evidence, which he presents through the character of Teabing, is a passage from the Gnostic Gospel of Philip,

“And the companion of the Saviour is Mary Magdalene. Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on the mouth. The rest of the disciples were deeply offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, ‘Why do you love her more than all of us?’ “ (10)

Teabing describes this passage as “always a good place to start”, implying that there is more evidence. In fact, it is the only piece of historical evidence which even slightly supports the marriage case and it turns out to be unconvincing. Teabing and Sophie are reading this passage from a book called The Gnostic Gospels which contains “photocopies of the Nag Hammadi and Dead Sea Scrolls”. Teabing calls them, “The earliest Christian records. Troublingly, they don’t match up with the gospels in the Bible.” (11) Neither the Dead Sea Scrolls nor the Nag Hammadi writings were the “earliest Christian records.” The Dead Sea Scrolls are believed to have been written by the Essenes, a Jewish sect, and have nothing to do with the early Christians. They also have nothing to do with Gnosticism and would not appear in a book called The Gnostic Gospels. The Nag Hammadi writings are Gnostic writings found in Egypt. They are not scrolls, but codices (books).Gnosticism, a pseudo-Christian heresy, emerged in the Second Century after the New Testament books had already been written, so the Gnostic writings cold not have been the “earliest Christian records”. (12)

This passage in the Gospel of Philip does not say Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. None of the surviving Gnostic writings say Jesus and Mary were married or had sex. However, Teabing says, “As any Aramaic scholar will tell you, the word companion in those days, literally meant spouse.” (13)

Actually, any Aramaic scholar will tell you that the Gospel of Philip was not written in Aramaic, but was a Coptic (Egyptian) translation of an earlier Greek text. The word for “companion” in the original Greek text would have been koinonos. It is used in the New Testament;

“And so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners (koinonoi) with Simon” (Luke 5:10)

“If anyone inquiries about Titus, he is my partner (koinonos) and fellow worker concerning you.” (2 Corinthians 8:23)

“If then you count me as a partner (koinonos), receive him as you would me.” (Philemon 17)

Unless Teabing wants to argue that Paul was married to Titus and Philemon, it is clear from these passages that the word koinonos did not always mean “wife”. The usual Greek word for “wife” was gune. If the author of the Gospel of Philip meant that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, he would have most likely used gune.

Admittedly, Jesus and Mary Magdalene kissing does sound suspicious, however this passage is damaged and incomplete. What the passage actually says is,

“And the companion of the […] Mary Magdalene. The […] her more than […] the disciples […] kiss her on her […] often than the rest of the […] They said to him, “Why do you love her more than all of us?” (14)

We cannot definitely tell where Jesus is supposed to have kissed Mary. It could have been on the hand or cheek. Brown has apparently misquoted the passage and left out the part where it says Jesus also kissed the other disciples, but not as much as Mary, which suggests it was not sexual.

Furthermore, Brown and the authors, which he cites, do not appear to understand the nature and purpose of the Gnostic writings. They seem to think the Gnostic gospels are describing actual historic events like the New Testament gospels were intended to do. None of the so-called Gnostic gospels are gospels in the same sense as the New Testament ones. They are not historical narratives of the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter Jones writes in The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back,

“In the Gospel of Thomas, as generally in the other Gnostic gospels, there is no interest in history. The so-called “living Jesus” is simply there, an ethereal figure in no place or time in particular, revealing 114 sayings (logia). All this comes down to saying that there is no interest in the specific person of the flesh-and-bones historical man, Jesus Christ. Even the expression of Paul, “that I might know him”, is a sentiment largely unknown in Gnostic literature. Christ is merely a symbol of full consciousness and self-knowledge.” (15)

The Gnostic gospels contain little, if any, narrative and consist largely of Gnostic teachings which are not the sort of thing which people of Jewish background like Jesus would have believed and said. Gnostics believed that the God of the Jews, who they called the Demiurge, was a false god. This material world, which he had created, was an evil mistake which had trapped humanity. They needed to escape from it through achieving gnosis (knowledge), which sounds like what would now be called enlightenment. According to the Gnostics, Jesus Christ was not the incarnation of the Creator God of the Old Testament as the New Testament states (John 1:1-3,14). Rather, he was a spiritual being, whose mission was not to die to save us from our sins (some Gnostics did not Jesus died at all), but to teach people and help them achieve gnosis. Then, they could also become a Christ (16).

It appears that the Gnostic writers were not describing historical events, but the results of their Gnostic experiences. Elaine Pagels has written in The Gnostic Gospels,

“Gnostic authors, in the same way, attributed their secret teachings to various disciples. Like those who wrote the New Testament gospels, they may have received some of their material from early traditions. But in other cases, the accusation that the gnostics invented what they wrote contains some truth: certain gnostics openly acknowledged that they derived their gnosis from their own experience.

How, for example, could a Christian living in the second century write the Secret Book of
John? We could imagine the author in the situation he attributes to John at the opening of the book: troubled by doubts, he begins to ponder the meaning of Jesus’ mission and destiny. In the process of such internal questioning, answers may occur spontaneously to the mind; changing patterns of images may appear. The person who understands this process not in terms of modern psychology, as the activity of the imagination or unconscious, but in religious terms, could experience these as forms of spiritual communication with Christ. Seeing his own communion with Christ as a continuation of what the disciples enjoyed, the author, when he casts the ‘dialogue’ into literary form, could well give to them the role of the questioners. Few among his contemporaries – except the orthodox, whom he considers ‘literal-minded’ – would accuse him of forgery; rather, the titles of these works indicate that they were written ‘in the spirit’ of John, Mary Magdalene, Philip or Peter.”
(17)

I doubt if any academic believes the Gospel of Philip was written by the apostle Philip and that he was describing things he had actually seen. Furthermore, it appears that the Gnostic authors did not intend for their writings to be taken literally. They were meant to convey Gnostic teaching by being interpreted metaphorically. Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy have written,

“After all, no one has read the newly discovered Gnostic gospels and taken their fantastic stories as literally true; they are readily seen as myths.” (18)

Whoever wrote the passage in the Gospel of Philip where Jesus kissed Mary Magdalene did not mean that Jesus really did kiss her. He meant it to be interpreted metaphorically. Esther de Boer has written in Mary Magdalene, Beyond the Myth,

“We must not understand this ‘kissing’ in a sexual sense, but in a spiritual sense. The grace which those who kiss exchange makes them born again. This is already described earlier in the Gospel:

If the children of Adam are numerous, although they die, how much more the children of the perfect man who do not die but are continually born anew … They receive nourishment from the promise, to enter into the place above. The promise comes from the mouth, for the Word has come from there and has been nourished from the mouth and become perfect. The perfect conceive through a kiss and give birth. Because of this we also kiss one another. We receive conception from the grace which we have among us (Gospel of Philip 58.2 – 59.6).

Mary Magdalene is made faithful through the grace which is in Christ. Receiving this grace makes her born again.” (19)

In an article “Mary Magdalen: Myth and Metaphor”, Susan Haskins has written,

“Erotic love has often been the vehicle to express mystical experiences, perhaps most notably in that great spiritual epithalamium, the Canticle of Canticles, or Song of Songs, which describes in the most sensual and voluptuous imagery what the rabbis were to read as an allegory of Yahweh’s love for Israel, and early Christian commentators to interpret as Christ’s love for the Church, for the Christian soul – sometimes in the person of Mary Magdalen – and for the Virgin Mary. In the Gospel of Philip, the spiritual union between Christ and Mary Magdalen is couched in terms of human sexuality; it is also a metaphor for the reunion of Christ and the Church which takes place in the bridal chamber, the place of fullness or pleroma.” (20)

Alternatively, Elaine Pagels has suggested that by exalting Mary Magdalene over the male disciples, this passage in the Gospel of Philip was written to justify the role of women in leadership in the Gnostic movement (21).

Brown’s argument from silence

In The Da Vinci Code, Langdon argues that because the Bible does not say that Jesus was not married, this means that he was married;

” ‘Because Jesus was a Jew,’ Langdon said taking over while Teabing searched for his book, ‘and the social decorum at that time virtually forbade a Jewish man to be unmarried. According to Jewish custom, celibacy was condemned, and the obligation for a Jewish father was to find a suitable wife for his son. If Jesus were not married, at least one of the Bible’s gospels would have mentioned it and offered some explanation for His unnatural state of bachelorhood.’ “ (22)

This is an example of the logical fallacy of the argument from silence. It is the equivalent of saying that because Dan Brown has not said he is not a Martian, then he is a Martian. If the New Testament had said that Jesus was not married, Teabing would no doubt say that this passage was a forgery inserted by Constantine to suppress the truth, as he says about the New Testament passages about Jesus’ divinity.

Furthermore, the claim that celibacy was forbidden in Judaism is not true. In the Old Testament God told the prophet Jeremiah not to marry (Jeremiah 16: 1-2). During Jesus’ time Jewish sects like the Essenes and the Egyptian Therapeutae practiced celibacy. Some Gnostic groups were also celibate since they believed procreation would result in more souls being trapped in this evil material world. It may have been unusual for Jesus to be celibate, like it is for someone today, but it was not unheard of or forbidden.

When Jesus said, “And there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake” (Matthew 19:12), he is presumably justifying his decision to remain celibate because he did not want to be distracted from his mission on earth. From the beginning of his ministry Jesus was aware that he was going to die (John 2:19-21, 3:15-17). The New Testament condemns any man who will not provide for his family (1 Timothy 5:8). It would have been irresponsible and negligent of Jesus to marry and have children, knowing that he was going to die and would not be around to support them.

Since Mary Magdalene is identified by where she came from, Magdala in Galilee, this suggests that she was not married to Jesus or anyone else. Ben Witherington writes,

“In a culture where there were no last names, a geographical designation was one of the ways to distinguish people with the same first name, and it appears the geographical designation was regularly used of those who never married, especially women who could not use the patronymic (“son of…”;as in Simon bar-Jonah, which means “Simon, the son of John”). In the Greek New Testament, for example, in Luke 8: 1-3 Joanna is identified by the phrase “of Chuza”, which surely means “wife of Chuza”, but in the same list Mary is said to be “of Magdala” Had Mary of Magdala been married to Jesus, she would have been identified in the same way as Joanna, not with the geographical designation.” (23)

A child of Jesus and his divinity

Teabing claims that if Jesus did have children, this meant he could not be divine;

“A child of Jesus would undermine the crucial notion of Christ’s divinity and therefore the Christian Church,” (24)

“The early Church feared that if the lineage were permitted to grow, the secret of Jesus and Magdalene would eventually surface and challenge the fundamental Catholic doctrine – that of a divine Messiah who did not consort with women or engage in sexual union.” (25)

All sex is not sin. In theory, Jesus could have married and had children and still be the divine and sinless Son of God. He had other priorities. The Christian objection to Jesus being married is not that it would somehow mean he could not still be the Son of God, but rather that there is simply no evidence to suggest that he was.

Arguments from the sacred feminine

However, the belief that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a sexual relationship is based not only on supposed historical evidence. They apparently want to believe it because it can be used to support their feminist beliefs about the sacred feminine and sacred marriage. History and theology are rewritten so that they fit these beliefs.

Two of Dan Brown’s main sources, Margaret Starbird and Lynn Picknett, both make the mistake of equating Mary Magdalene with Mary of Bethany, Lazarus’ sister, and think they were the same person (26). They clearly were not. Mary Magdalene came from Magdala in Galilee, while the other Mary lived at Bethany near Jerusalem. Building on this misidentification, they claim that when Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus before his arrest and crucifixion, this was part of the hieros gamos or sacred marriage ritual in which the priestess and the king had ritual sex.

James George Frazer’s book The Golden Bough says that some ancient cultures did have sacred marriage ceremonies which celebrated the marriage of the local god and goddess, but the humans representing the gods in the ceremony did not usually have sex. Sometimes, the god was represented by an idol, not a person. Frazer does not say that anointing was part of these rituals (27). The sacred marriage could not have been practiced in the monotheistic Jewish culture of the First Century where there was no goddess and there is nothing in the New Testament to suggest this is what the anointing meant here.

The original sacred marriage was a fertility rite to ensure the crops would grow, and was not the same as the sacred marriage described in The Da Vinci Code,

“Historically, intercourse was the act through which male and female experienced God. The ancients believed the male was spiritually incomplete until he had carnal knowledge of the sacred feminine. Physical union with the female remained the sole means through which man could become spiritually complete and ultimately achieve gnosis – knowledge of the divine. Since the days of Isis, sex rites had been considered man’s only bridge from earth to heaven.” (28)

“Intercourse was the revered union of the two halves of the human spirit – male and female – through which the male could find spiritual wholeness and communion with God.” (29)

In The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown is putting a new form of religious exclusivism as he describes this sex rite as the only way a man can experience God. All other religious practices apparently do not count. I assume this means impotent people miss out on experiencing God. In spite of The Da Vinci Code‘s feminist themes, Brown also says here that the sacred marriage is the way the man, not the man and the woman, can experience God. Rather than experience God herself, it sounds like the woman is only there to help the man experience God, something like the way the music or stained glass windows in a church are intended to encourage the spiritual experience. Maybe I’m just cynical, but the whole thing sounds like a ploy for men to get more sex.

Margaret Starbird goes further and seems to want to reinvent God and Christianity so that they fit her feminist beliefs. She writes that “the sacred union of Jesus and his Bride one formed the cornerstone of Christianity. It was this cornerstone – the blueprint of the Sacred Marriage – that the later builders rejected, causing a disastrous flaw in Christian doctrine that has warped Christian civilization for nearly two millennia. In reclaiming the lost Bride – the Goddess in the Gospels – we will restore a precious piece of our own psyches – the sacred feminine too long denied.” (30) Starbird also writes about the lost wife of God, that God is wounded because His wife is lost (31), as though the omnipotent creator of the universe could lose His wife because the Church does not want to believe in her.

Starbird’s book The Goddess in the Gospels contains some bizarre cases of her looking for signs to confirm her beliefs. She interprets the eruption of Mount Saint Helens in 1980 and the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle as symbols of what is going to happen to the Catholic Church because of its neglect of the sacred feminine (32). While in hospital after having a nervous breakdown brought on by her research, she saw a crutch resting against a potted palm plant and a lambskin jacket on a hook in the psychiatrist’s office. The crutch is interpreted as the wounded bridegroom Jesus without his bride, the palm symbolizes Israel and Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the lambskin coat symbolizes the lamb of sacrifice (33). This looking for signs and symbolism to confirm her beliefs in everyday items does not strike me as particularly logical or rational. I wonder what Starbird would think if she realized that Monica Bellucci, who played Mary Magdalene in The Passion of the Christ, also played the wife of the Merovingian in The Matrix Reloaded.

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(Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene in The Passion of the Christ, 2004)

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(Lambert Wilson as The Merovingian and Monica Bellucci as his wife in The Matrix Revolutions 2003)

Dan Brown expresses similar sentiments in The Da Vinci Code,

“The days of the goddess were over. The pendulum had swung. Mother Earth had become a man’s world, and the gods of destruction of war were taking their toll. The male ego had spent two millennium running unchecked by its female counterpoint. The Priory of Sion believed that it was the obliteration of the sacred feminine in modern life that has caused what the Hopi Native American Indians called koyanisquatsi – ‘life out of balance’ – an unstable situation marked by testosterone-fuelled wars, a plethora of misogynistic societies and a growing disrespect for Mother Earth.” (34)

One would think that Brown believes the ancient world was living in harmony and there were no wars or sexism until the patriarchal Christians came along.

It is true that the Church’s attitude to women over the last 2000 years has not been perfect, however Terrence Sweeney, who wrote the foreword to Starbird’s The Woman with the Alabaster Jar says that the Catholic Church’s warped attitude to sex comes from copying Gnosticism and Manichaeanism (35). Brown is sympathetic to Gnosticism and cites (incorrectly) Gnostic writings to support his claims that Jesus was only mortal and married to Mary Magdalene, yet Gnosticism’s beliefs about sex and women appear to be partly responsible for the Catholic Church’s abuses which Brown and Starbird condemn.

Brown and Starbird apparently believe that the solution, resulting in wholeness, balance and equality, is to believe that Jesus was married and there is a God and Goddess, who are married, which sounds like Mormonism. (Lynn Picknett, co-author of The Templar Revelation used to be a Mormon (36). I wonder if that had any influence on her beliefs about Jesus and Mary Magdalene.) This assumption is flawed because the ancient Greeks and Romans believed in gods and goddesses, who had sex, but this did not result in equal rights for women and a balanced, benevolent society. The Greek and Roman myths about their gods were full of lust, rape, murder and revenge. They were more like characters in a television soap opera than holy beings who were worthy to be worshipped. Simply believing in gods, who have sex, does not produce a healthy society with equal rights for women, unless this belief is accompanied by moral beliefs which teach or imply such values as peace, love and human rights. Christianity did not believe that Jesus or God the Father had sex, but its values did result in greater rights for women, something which Brown and Starbird ignore. D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe write in What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? ,

“Prior to Christian influence, a woman’s life was also very cheap. In ancient cultures, the wife was the property of her husband. In India, China, Rome and Greece, people felt and declared that women were not able or competent to be independent (although in Rome, particularly in the third century, some women of the upper class were asserting their independence). Aristotle said that a woman was somewhere between a free man and a slave. When we understand how valueless a slave was in ancient times, we get a glimpse of how bad a woman’s fate was back then. Plato taught that if a man led a cowardly life, he would be reincarnated as a woman. If she lived a cowardly life, she would be reincarnated as a bird.

In ancient Rome we find that a woman’s lot was not much better – for those who survived infancy. Little girls were abandoned in far greater numbers than boys. In Pagans and Christians, Robin Lane Fox points out that the killing of infant girls was so widespread it affected marriage customs.” (37)

Likewise, Vincent Carroll and David Shiflett wrote in Christianity on Trial,

“How much more inspiringly, in particular, the early Christian message must have been to women. To put it plainly, women enjoyed higher status and more autonomy among Christians than among pagans, and could expect better treatment from their husbands. Pagan Roman women were “three times as likely as Christians to have married before age 13” according to the sociologist Rodney Stark. Christian women also exercised far more choice in whom they wed, and were less likely to be forced into an abortion (a frequent cause of death for women at the time). The church expected men to remain faithful to their wives, a principle that cut sharply against the Roman norm. If widowed, Christian women enjoyed more freedom to choose for themselves whether to remarry, secure in the knowledge that the congregation would look after them if they elected to remain alone. “It is … an established fact, taken from simple evidence, that everywhere progress in free choice of a spouse accompanied progress in the spread of Christianity,” declares Regine Pernoud.

Women’s status in the church itself was unusually favourable for the times. Wayne Meeks notes that “Both in terms of their position in the larger society and in terms of their participation in the Christian communities … a number of women broke through the expectations of female roles.” Paul is often rebuked these days for his offhand acceptance of the fact of slavery and for his allegedly repressive views on the status of women. But in fact what distinguished Paul from his non-Christian contemporaries was not the patriarchal views he sometimes expressed, especially in the admonition “Wives, be subject to your husbands as to the Lord,” but rather his repeated emphasis on the obligations of husbands to wives. Thomas Cahill writes that in Paul we find “the only clarion affirmation of sexual equality in the whole of the Bible – and the first one to be made in any of the literatures of our planet.”” (38)

There is a bride of Christ in the Bible. It is not Mary Magdalene, but a metaphor for the Church (Ephesians 5:22-25, Revelation 19:7-8, 21:2, 9). True spiritual and emotional wholeness and harmony between the sexes comes through the real “sacred marriage”, that is, the union of the believer with God through faith in Christ in the present, rather than through believing that 2000 years ago Jesus and Mary Magdalene had sex and believing the ultimately futile Ally McBeal romantic notion that two incomplete people can become two whole people through a relationship with each other.

Notes

(1) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 329

(2) Ibid., p 333

(3) Ibid., p 339

(4) Ibid., p 339-340

(5) Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, Arrow Books, 1996, p 8

(6) The Real Da Vinci Code, ABC DVD, 2004

(7) Margaret Starbird, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, Bear and Co., Vermont, 1993, p xxi

(8) Cracking the Da Vinci Code, Ardustry Home Entertainment, 2004

(9)The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 330

(10) Ibid., p 331

(11) Ibid, p 331

(12) Philip Jenkins, Hidden Gospels, Oxford University Press, 2001, p 12

(13) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 33

(14) Bentley Layton (translator), The Gnostic Scriptures, Doubleday, New York, 1995, p 339

(15) Peter Jones, The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, New Jersey, 1992, p 26-27

(16) Darrell L. Bock, Breaking The Da Vinci Code, Thomas Nelson, Tennessee, 2004, p 76-80, Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels, Penguin, London, 1990, p 105, 108, The Da Vinci Hoax, op cit., p 50

(17) The Gnostic Gospels, op cit., p 47

(18) Secrets of the Code, op cit., p 134

(19) Ibid., p 43

(20) Ibid., p 31

(21) The Gnostics Gospels, op cit., p 84

(22) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 330

(23) Ben Witherington III, The Gospel Code, IVP, Illinois, 2004, p 17

(24) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 340

(25) Ibid., p 344-345

(26) Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, The Templar Revelation, Corgi Books London, 1998, p 307, 342, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, op cit., p 27, 49

(27) James George Frazer, The Golden Bough, Oxford University Press, 1998, p 108-110

(28) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 410

(29) Ibid., p 411

(30) Margaret Starbird, The Goddess in the Gospels, Bear and Co., Vermont, 1998, p xv-xvi

(31) Ibid., p 91, 144, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, op cit., p 86, 89, 165

(32) The Goddess in the Gospels, op cit, p 61-62, 68-72

(33) Ibid., p 95

(34) The Da Vinci Code, op cit., p 174

(35) The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, op cit., p xiv

(36) Lynn Picknett, Mary Magdalene, Robinson, London, 2003, p ix

(37) D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 1994, p 14-15

(38) Vincent Carroll and David Shiflett, Christianity on Trial, Encounter Books, San Francisco, 2002, p 4-5

Continued in Part Two

 

 

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The Revival in the Confederate Army in the Civil War

I have read a lot of books about the history of revivals and not many of them mention the revivals in the Confederate armies, particularly Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War. This silence is not confined to Christian writers. Secular historians also tend to overlook their Christian beliefs and motives. In an article “Robert E. Lee and the Hand of God” (North and South, Vol. 6, No. 2, February 2003) Richard Rollins wrote,

“For most Civil War historians, religion seems to have played almost no part on the war. Some have studied the divisions in Protestant denominations in the 1850s, when schisms occurred over slavery. The lives and work of the clergy before and during the war have been chronicled. Military historians have portrayed faith as a curious aspect of quirky individuals like Stonewall Jackson and Oliver Otis Howard. The evangelical revival that occurred in the armies has attracted little attention, and has only recently has a historian usually associated with the military side of the war tried to understand what role religion played in the lives of the common soldiers. It is as if we assume that religion has no role in campaigns and battles.

Lee has typically been portrayed as the great general with little or no reference to his faith. The army commander on his horse, or the military strategist making plans for his invasion of Maryland or Pennsylvania, seem unrelated to the devout Christian. Douglas Southwall Freeman, in his four volume study R.E. Lee, as well as his three volume Lee’s Lieutenants, treated religion as an aspect of the private lives of Lee and his subordinates, with little significance in terms of their military actions. The most recent biography, by Emory Thomas, leaves the impression that religion played virtually no role in Lee’s life. It is mentioned a scant half-dozen times, and never in a discussion of his military career. A recent survey of two hundred books and articles on Lee’s military career included only one that dealt with his religion, and that was published in 1897.” (p 13)

Two early books about the Confederate revivals are Christ in the Camp by J. William Jones, first published in 1887, and The Great Revival in the Southern Armiesby William Bennett, first published in 1876. They paint a very different picture about the influence of Christianity on Lee and his army. Both have been republished by Sprinkle Publications, Virginia.

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Bennett’s book is more partisan and apologetic for the South,

“The cause is lost, but its principles still live, and must continue to live so long as there remains in human nature any perception and appreciation of justice, truth and virtue.” (p 9)

Bennett argue that slavery was not that bad, quoting a letter signed by 100 Southern ministers around 1861,

“Most of us have grown up from childhood among the slaves; all of us have preached to and taught them the word of life; have administered to them the ordinances of the Christian Church: sincerely love them as souls for whom Christ died; we go among them freely and know them n health and sickness, in labor and rest, from infancy to old age. We are familiar with their physical and moral condition, and alive to all their interests, and we testify in the sight of God, that the relation of master and slave among us, however we may deplore abuses in this, as in other relations of mankind is not incompatible with our holy Christianity, and that the presence of the African in our land is an occasion of gratitude on their behalf, before God; seeing that thereby Divine providence has brought them where missionaries of the Cross may freely proclaim to them the word of salvation, and the work is not interrupted by agitating fanaticism. The South has dome more than any people on earth for the Christianization of the African race. The condition of slaves here is not wretched, as Northern fictions would have men believe, but prosperous and happy, and would have been yet more so but for the mistaken zeal of abolitionists.” (p 89)

Frederick Douglass, ca. 1879. George K. Warren. (National Archives Gift Collection) Exact Date Shot Unknown NARA FILE #: 200-FL-22 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 113

In contrast, Fredrick Douglas wrote in his autobiography,

“For of all slaveholders with whom I have ever met, religious slaveholders are the worst. I have ever found them the meanest and basest, the most cruel and cowardly, of all others. It was my unhappy lost … to belong to a religious slaveholder … He always managed to have one or more of his slaves to whip every Monday morning.” (quoted in John Patrick Daly, Southern Religion and the Road to War and Defeat, 1831-1865″, North and South,Vol. 6, No. 6, September, 2003, p 25)

J. William Jones’ Christ in the Camp is less partisan. J.C. Granberry wrote in the Introduction,

“It is independent of all political and social questions involved in the civil strife. These pages do not discuss slavery, State-rights, secession, nor compare the skill of generals and prowess of troops on the opposing sides. “Christ in the Camp, or, Religion in the Army”, never mind what camp or army, is a theme of deep, thrilling world-wide significance. The only triumph the author records are the triumphs of the cross. That so many soldiers were saved by the Gospel to the praise of the riches of God’s grace is the fact in which he desires all Christians to rejoice.” (p 14)

J. William Jones was a chaplain in Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia (ANV). Christ in the Camp focuses on revivals on that army and consists largely of his recollections and accounts of other chaplains and eyewitnesses.

(“J. William Jones, when chaplain of 13th Virginia Regiment, C.S.A.”, facing page 60 in Christ in the Camp)

Jones believed the ANV was the most Christian army ever,

“Jesus was in our camps with wonderful power, and that no army in all history – not even Cromwell’s “Roundheads” – had in it as much of real, evangelical religion and devout piety as the Army of Northern Virginia.” (p 20)

Jones is a bit hagiographical about Lee,

“If I have ever come in contact with a sincere, devout Christian – one who seeing himself to be a sinner, trusted alone in the merits of Christ – who humbly tried to walk the path of duty, “looking unto Jesus” as the author and finisher of his faith – and whose piety constantly exhibited itself in his daily life – that man was GENERAL R.E. LEE.” (p 81)

(“General Robert E. Lee”, facing page 30 in Christ in the Camp)

Jones’ opinion of Lee was based on his personal experience with him and is in contrast with the modern historians, which Richard Rollins mentioned, who downplay or ignore Lee’s spiritual side.

Many students of revival believe there is a cycle where God’s people become proud and complacent, think they can ignore God, and slip into sin. They are disciplined and oppressed. They repent and turn back to God and are restored and experience revival. After a while they became complacent again and the cycle repeats itself (Henry and Richard Blackaby, Claude King, Fresh Encounter, God’s Pattern for Spiritual Awakening, B and H Publishing, Tennessee, 2009). This pattern can be seen in the ANV. Jones records that after the Confederates’ initial victories, morale and piety in the army declined,

“But there came, soon after the first battle of Manassas, and during the long inactivity which followed it, a period of demoralization which was unequalled by any witnesses during the war. Our people generally though that this great victory had virtually ended the war – that before the spring England and France would recognize the Confederacy, and the North be forced to acknowledge our independence. Many people at home quit praying and went to speculating in the necessaries of life, coining money out of the sufferings of soldiers and people, and the demoralization soon extended to the army. The vices common to most armies ran riot through our camps. Drunkenness became so common as to scarcely excite remark, and many who were temperate and some who were even total abstinence leaders at home, fell into the delusion that drinking was excusable, if not necessary, in the army.

The drunken brawls of even high officers were the common talk around the camp-fires, and the men of the rank and file claimed the privilege of imitating the leaders.”(p 267-268)

After the Battle of Antietam/Sharpsburg in September 1862 the ANV retreated to the Rappahannock River in northern Virginia where they experienced a period of revival. Jones wrote,

“The Confederate disasters of the early part of 1862 brought our people once more to their knees, and the active campaign which followed very decidedly improved the religious tone of the army.” (p 272)

“But when we came back from Sharpsburg to rest from a season amid the green fields and beautiful groves, and beside the streams of the lower Valley of Virginia, there began that series of revivals which went graciously and gloriously on until there had been fifteen thousand professions of conversion in Lee’s Army, and there had been wrought a moral and religious revolution which those who did not witness it can scarcely appreciate.” (p 273)

(“General Lee at the Soldiers’ Prayer Meeting”, facing page 51 in Christ in the Camp)

This revival continued during the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862. It appears to have come to an end by the time of Lee’s invasion of Pennsylvania in June 1863. Jones does not say much about the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg.

high water mark kunstler

(High Water Mark, Gettysburg, by Mort Kunstler)

However, he does record Lee’s General Order No. 83, dated August 13, 1863,

” …Soldiers! We have sinned against Almighty God. We have forgotten His signal mercies, and have cultivated a vengeful, haughty, and boastful spirit. We have not remembered that the defenders of a just cause should be pure in His eyes, just as our ‘times are in his hands’; and we have relied too much on our own arms for the achievement of our independence. God is our only refuge and our strength. Let us humble ourselves before Him. Let us confess our many sins, and beseech Him to give us a higher courage, a purer patriotism and more determined will; that He will convert the hearts of our enemies; that He will hasten the time when war, with its sorrows and sufferings, shall cease, and He will give us a name and place among the nations of the earth.” (p 56)

SundayService, 10/25/06, 11:45 AM, 8C, 7050x10263 (880+495), 138%, Custom, 1/25 s, R103.1, G51.0, B68.4

(Sunrise Service by Mort Kunstler)

Clearly, Lee was a lot more Christian in his motivation and thinking than many modern Civil War historians acknowledge. It looks like their victories at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville again led to the ANV becoming complacent and proud. After the defeat at Gettysburg, the ANV retreated to the Rapidan River area in Virginia where, humbled again, they experienced a greater period of revival. From an eternal perspective, Lee’s “Gettysburg Address” may turn out to have had a greater impact than Lincoln’s.

Jones records numerous eyewitness accounts of the revival around the Rapidan River area.

“The whole army is a vast field, ready and ripe to the harvest, and all the reapers have to do is go in and reap from end to end. The susceptibility of the soldiery to the Gospel is wonderful, and, doubtful as the remark may appear, the military camp is most favorable to the work of revival. The soldiers, with the simplicity of little children, listen to and embrace the truth. Already over two thousand have professed conversion, and over two thousand more are penitent.” (Rev. Dr. Rosser in Christ in the Camp, p 339)

“There has been for several weeks past a most glorious revival going on in our regiment, conducted by our respected and highly esteemed chaplain, Rev. C. H. Boggs. By the blessing of God his efforts have been crowned with great success, and many souls have been brought to realize the inestimable value of a Saviour’s love. We wish this good work to continue. It is still going on, but we wish to increase it – to extend its influence, if possible, until every man in the regiment is convinced of his lost and ruined condition, is brought to see his danger, and persuaded to fly for safety to Him who alone can save. (H.B. Richards in Christ in the Camp, p 341)

“Not for years has such a revival prevailed in the Confederate States. its records gladden the columns of every religious journal. its progress in the army is a spectacle of moral sublimity over which men and angels can rejoice. Such camp-meetings were never seen before in America. The bivouac of the soldier never witnessed such nights of glory and days of splendour. The Pentecostal fire lights the camp, and the hosts of armed men sleep beneath the wings of angels rejoicing over many sinners that have repented.” (Richmond Christian Advocate in Christ in the Camp, p 337)

“God is wonderfully reviving his work here, and throughout the army. Congregations large – interest almost universal. In our chaplains’ meeting it was thought, with imperfect statistics, that about five hundred were converted every week.” (Rev. G. R. Talley in Christ in the Camp, p 338)

Jones records instances where Confederate soldiers were baptized in the Rapidan River while Union soldiers on the other side watched (p 342,368,376).

He believes there were at least 50,000 coverts in the ANV (p 391).

After the war Jones writes,

“In 1867 I addressed letters to all of the college presidents, and many of the leading pastors in the South, in order to ascertain how far our returned soldiers were maintaining their Christian profession, and what proportion of them were preparing for the Gospel ministry.

Their replies were in the highest degree satisfying and gratifying, showing that about four-fifths of the Christian students of our colleges had been in the army, and that a large proportion of them had determined to preach while in the army – and nearly all of the army converts were maintaining their profession, many of them pillars in the church.” (p 463)

(William Jones around 1867, facing the title page of Christ in the Camp)

Jones also reproduces some calls to prayer, fasting and repentance from the Confederate President Jefferson Davis, such as this one on the aftermath of Gettysburg,

“Again do I call the people of the Confederacy – a people who believe that the Lord reigneth, and that His overrruling Providence ordereth all things – to unite in prayer and humble submission under His chastening Hand, and to beseech His favor on our suffering country. It is meet that when trials and reverse befall us, we should seek to take Him to our hearts and consciences the lessons which they teach, and profit by the self-examination for which they prepare us. Had not our successes on land and sea made us self-confident and forgetful of our reliance on Him? Had not the love of lucre eaten like a gangrene into the very heart of the land, converting too many among us into worshippers of gain and rendering them unmindful of their duty to their country, to their fellow-men, and to their God? Who, then, will presume to complain that we have been chastened or to the despair of our just cause and the protection of our Heavenly Father? Let us rather receive in humble thankfulness the lesson which He has taught in our recent reverses, devoutly acknowledging that to Him, and not to our feeble arms, are due the honor and the glory of victory, that from Him, in HIs paternal providence, comes the anguish of defeat, and that, whether in victory or defeat, our humble supplications are due at His footstool. Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of these Confederate states, do issue this, my proclamation, setting apart Friday, the 21st day of August ensuing, as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, and I do hereby invite the people of the Confederate States to repair on that day to their respective places of public worship, and to unite in supplication for their favor and protection of that God who has hitherto conducted us safely through all the dangers that environed us.” (p 46-47)

(Jefferson Davis, facing page 44 of Christ in the Camp)

I find it troubling when the President of the Confederate States of America, which most people now associate with slavery and racism, sounds more Christian than many Christian politicians today. After all, in spite of all their emphasis on repentance, it does not appear to have occurred to them to repent of their support for slavery. Robert E. Lee was personally opposed to slavery, but by fighting for the South, it could be argued that he was still supporting it. William Bennett could write about the revivals, yet he still condoned slavery and insisted on the righteousness of the South’s cause.

Instead, their attitude seems to have been, “If we repent, God will do what we want and we will win the war.” The Confederates were not the only Christians who think they can bend God to their agenda. God is concerned with His agenda, our repentance and returning to Him, rather than blessing our agenda. While God did answer their prayers for revival, He did not grant their prayers for military victory.

What would have happened if God had answered their prayers and the Confederacy won? The science fiction writer Harry Turtledove has written an eleven book alternative history series unofficially called “Southern Victory” in which the CSA wins the Civil War when Lee’s orders did not end up in Union hands before the Battle of Antietam in 1862 and the CSA is recognized by Britain and France.

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opposition

The United States allies itself with Germany. When the Great War begins in 1914, the CSA is on the side of Britain and France while the USA with its industrial might is on the side of Germany. The Great War is also fought in North America. Germany and the USA win. Canada is occupied. The CSA has to pay reparations, resulting in hyper-inflation and the rise of the equivalent of the Nazis in the form of the Freedom Party in the CSA. Kaiser Wilhelm still rules Germany.

The Second Great War begins in 1941 when Britain, France, Russia and the CSA declare war on Germany and the USA. The Holocaust is carried out against the Blacks in the CSA. The USA, CSA, Britain and Germany develop atomic bombs and use them. The Allies surrender. Both Canada and the CSA are occupied by the USA which introduces Nuremberg-style war crimes trials against the CSA for their crimes against humanity.

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If Germany and the Ottoman Empire had not been defeated in World War I, there would have been no British mandate in Palestine, no Hitler, no Holocaust, no modern nation of Israel. I am not suggesting things would have turned out exactly as Turtledove envisaged after a Confederate victory, but I believe their defeat was for the best.

A Confederate victory and a lasting revival in the South appear to have been incompatible. During the Civil War Confederate victories resulted in pride and backsliding. Their defeats resulted in revivals in the army. When we consider all the things which went wrong for the ANV at Gettysburg, it looks like God did not want them to win.

If the Confederates had won at Gettysburg and forced the Union to recognize the South, there would have been no call for repentance by President Davis and General Lee and no revival in the Rapidan River area in 1863. They would have most likely become proud and complacent in victory again, and there probably would not be a “Bible Belt” in the South today.

I suppose the Christians in the Confederacy were not much different from many evangelical Christians today. We only turn to God when things go wrong. We expect Him to bless and prosper our plans and agendas even when we have not fully repented. Nevertheless, God still shows His grace and mercy to us.

Rightly Dividing the Book of Revelation

Introduction

This is a follow-up to my 2004 article, “We All Get Left Behind”, which examined the arguments of Tim LaHaye and others regarding the pre-Tribulation Rapture. As I said then, I agree with LaHaye that the Book of Revelation refers largely to future events and that the Antichrist will rule the world before the Second Coming of Jesus, but I disagree over the timing of the Rapture, Jesus’ coming for His church. LaHaye believes it will occur before the Tribulation. I argued that it will take place at the end, simultaneously with the Second Coming.

I also argued that some of the scenes, which LaHaye and others take literally, are meant to be interpreted symbolically. For example, LaHaye believes the two witnesses in Revelation 11 are two literal people. However, Revelation 11:4 explains that the two witnesses are lampstands (luchniai) and back in Revelation 1:20, it says that lampstands (luchniai) are churches. So, instead of being two literal people, the two witnesses more likely symbolize the ministry of the Church during the Tribulation and its persecution by the Antichrist.

This time, I am going to address the question of the chronology of the Book of Revelation.

Is the Book of Revelation linear?

I once assumed Revelation was a straight-forward linear portrayal of the Great Tribulation in chronological order – 7 seals (Rev. 5-8), followed by 7 trumpets (Rev. 8-11), followed by 7 bowls (Rev. 15-16), then the Second Coming (Rev. 19), the 1000 year reign (Rev. 20) and the new heaven and earth (Rev. 21-22). However, one passage, which did not feel right with this interpretation, was the opening of the sixth seal in Revelation 6:12-17;

I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its pace. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and free men, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?

This sounds like a description of the Second Coming. Jesus said the sun would darken, the moon would not give its light and the stars would fall from heaven immediately before His return (Matthew 24:29). It is also reminiscent of descriptions of the “Day of the Lord” in Isaiah 2 and 13 and Joel 2. I have shown this passage to Christians out of context, and they have assumed it refers to the Second Coming.

Furthermore, in the next chapter it describes “a great multitude” before God’s throne (Rev. 7:9) and it says, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation.” (Rev. 7:14)

It looks like the end of the Tribulation, the Second Coming, is described, followed by the scene in Heaven after the Tribulation. However, according to a linear interpretation of Revelation, the sixth seal occurs in the early stages of the Tribulation.

more than conquerors

Then I came across books like More than Conquerors by William Hendriksen and The Rapture Book by James McKeever which argued that Revelation is not linear, but it repeats itself and the visions overlap.

rapture book mckeever

McKeever gave the example of the fall of Babylon which is mentioned three times (Rev. 14:8, 16:19, 18:2). Obviously, Babylon does not fall three times. The same event is described three times in three separate visions or sequences. (1)

The visions in Daniel, the other main apocalyptic book in the Bible, are not linear, but cover the same ground. No one would suggest the vision of the four kingdoms in Daniel 2, followed by another vision of four kingdoms in Daniel 7, means there were going to be eight kingdoms. They are the same four kingdoms in two visions.

The divisions of Revelation

According to William Hendriksen in More than Conquerors, Revelation can be divided into seven parts or sequences which could be described as;

The seven churches (Rev. 2-3)

The seven seals (Rev. 4-7)

The seven trumpets (Rev. 8-11)

The woman and the beast (Rev. 12-14)

The seven bowls (Rev. 15-16)

The fall of Babylon and Armageddon (Rev. 17-19)

The final victory of Christ (Rev. 20-22). (2)

Apart from the first sequence of the seven churches, the Second Coming of Christ can be seen in each of these sequences.

We have already seen how the Second Coming is described when the sixth seal is opened (Rev. 6:12-17).

The Second Coming is also described when the seventh trumpet sounds;

Then the seventh angel sounded; And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever! (Rev. 11:15)

And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake and great hail. (Rev. 11:19)

According to “linearists”, like Tim LaHaye, the seventh trumpet sounds at the middle of the Great Tribulation, when the Antichrist achieves world domination (3), that is, when the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of the Antichrist – the opposite of what the Bible says. The linear interpretation does not make sense. If the seventh trumpet takes place at the time of the Second Coming, then it makes sense.

The Rapture (the harvest) and the Second Coming are described again at the end of the next sequence in Revelation 14;

Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat one like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth and the earth was reaped.

Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Thrust in your sharp sickle an d gather the cluster of the vine of the earth, for the grapes are fully ripe.” So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horse’s bridles, for one thousand furlongs. (Rev 14:14-20)

The Second Coming at the Battle of Armageddon can be seen in the sixth and seventh bowls;

Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

“Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”

And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.

Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great. (Rev. 16:12-21)

After a detailed description of mystery Babylon and its destruction, the Second Coming at the Battle of Armageddon is described;

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dripped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS

AND LORD OF LORDS.

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the super of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people free and slave, both small and great.”

And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him, the false prophet who worked signs in his presence by which he deceived those who worshipped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were file with their flesh. (Revelation 19:11-21)

While pre-millennialists believe the imprisonment of Satan in the abyss and the 1000 year reign refers to the reign of Christ on earth, a-millennialists, like myself, believe it symbolizes the Church Age which begins when Satan is defeated and bound by the death of Christ.

The release of Satan from the abyss (Rev. 20:7) is the same as when the Beast comes out of the abyss at the fifth trumpet (Rev. 9:1-12). It signifies a resurgence in Satanic power which had previously been bound. Paul presumably means he same thing when he says the restrainer will have to be removed before the Antichrist is revealed (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8).

The gathering of armies by Satan is the same as the gathering of armies for Armageddon in Revelation 16:13-14. Their destruction is at the Battle of Armageddon at the Second Coming;

And [Satan] will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. (Rev. 20:8-9)

Five of these seven sequences clearly end with the Second Coming of Jesus. However, there is still the question of the order of the other events in these sequences. The seventh trumpet and the seventh bowl are simultaneous, but do the first trumpet and the first bowl also occur at the same time? Some have suggested they are meant to overlap completely;

Seals                    1   2   3   4   5   6   7

Trumpets               1   2   3   4   5   6   7

Bowls                     1    2   3   4   5   6  7

Alternatively, they may partially overlap;

Seals                      1   2   3   4   5   6   7

Trumpets                                              1   2   3   4   5   6   7

Bowls                                                               1  2   3   4   5   6   7      (4)

gundry church tribulation

In The Church and the Tribulation, Robert Gundry writes that the “universally acknowledged Semitic style” of understanding Revelation’s chronology would be;

Seals                 1          2          3          4         5         6        7

Trumpets                                                1   2   3   4   5   6   7

Bowls                                                                     1 2 3 4 5 6 7                               (5)

This section will attempt to arrange events in Revelation in chronological order leading up to the Second Coming, comparing them with other Bible prophecies.

Death of Christ 

The death of Christ is symbolized by the Lamb being slain before the seven seals were opened (Rev. 5:6).

Through Jesus’ death, Satan is defeated (John 12:31-33, Colossians 2:15, Hebrews 2:14). Satan’s defeat is symbolized by his being cast out of heaven (Rev. 11:7-12) and also his being bound in the abyss (Rev. 20:1-3). Satan is bound in the sense that he cannot the spread of the Gospel and he cannot gather the enemies of Christ together to destroy the Church (6).

The Church Age (Rev. 2-3, 20:4-6)

Many commentators believe the seven churches in Asia Minor represent different periods in church history. This is probably true. However, not every church during the “Philadelphian period” would have been like the Philadelphian church. There would have also been churches which would have been like the churches of Thyatira and Sardis. The seven churches could also represent seven types of churches which exist at any time.

While evangelicals today like to think the Philadelphian church represents them, they are more likely closer to the Laodecian church (Rev. 3:17).

The Gospel is preached to all nations

Christians do not agree on the identity of the first horsemen when the first seal is opened (Rev. 6:1-2). Some say it is the coming of the Antichrist, others that it represents Jesus or the proclamation of the Gospel. Jesus said the Gospel must be preached to all nations before the end comes (Matthew 24:14). The first horsemen could mean the Gospel has been finally preached to all nations, so the Great Tribulation can begin (7).

The beginning of sorrows

The second, third and fourth seals and their horsemen, war, scarcity and death, seem to parallel what Jesus called the beginning of sorrows;

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there shall be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:7-8)

The first four trumpets

The trumpet judgements appear to be a result of the prayers of the martyred saints from the fifth seal so they must come after it (Rev. 6:10-11, 8:3-4).

Since there is no explanation, like elsewhere in Revelation, for any symbolic meaning of these trumpet judgements, they are presumably meant to be taken literally.

The revealing of the Antichrist

Satan is released from the abyss (Rev. 9:1-12, 20:7, 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). As I suggested earlier, the power of Satan to deceive and destroy the Church was bound and restrained as a result of the death of Christ. At the fifth trumpet, this restraint is removed resulting in a resurgence of Satanic power and deception and the revealing of the Antichrist.

The Beast or Antichrist will be a political figure before Satan is released. He will make a treaty with Israel but break it after 3½ years (Daniel 9:27). This will apparently happen at the same time Satan is released. It looks like the Antichrist will be assassinated (or will appear to be), then he will be resurrected, possessed by Satan (Rev. 13:2).

The Antichrist will desecrate the new temple in Jerusalem. This is described as the “abomination of desolation” which sounds like an idol of the Antichrist. He will claim to be God and demand to be worshipped (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, 2 Thess. 2:3-4, Rev. 13:15). People must take the mark of the Beast in order to be able to buy or sell anything (Rev. 13:16-18).

After the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1290 days (Daniel 12:11), which seems to mean the time til the Second Coming. However, Jesus said, “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” (Matt. 24:22) This suggests the time will be less than 1290 days.

The Antichrist persecutes the Church

The two witnesses represent churches during the Tribulation (Rev. 1:20, 11:4). They have authority to still proclaim the Gospel for 1260 days, the first half of the Tribulation (Rev. 11:3). After Satan has been released and the abomination of desolation is set up, there is a resurgence of demonic power. Authority is, in effect, transferred from the Church to the Antichrist who has authority to persecute the Church and overcome them for 42 months, the second half of the Tribulation (Matthew 24:15-22, Rev. 11:7, 13:5-7).

The first four bowl judgments (Rev. 16:1-9)

Since the first bowl judgement affects those who have taken the mark of the beast (Rev. 16:2), it must take place during the second half of the Tribulation, after the mark has been instituted.

Like the first four trumpets, because there is no explanation of the symbolic meaning of the bowls, they are presumably meant to be interpreted literally.

Sun goes dark

I assume the darkness from the fifth bowl (Rev. 16:10) is the same as the sun going dark described in Isaiah 13:10, Joel 2:10, Matthew 24:29.

Preparation for Armageddon

Satan gathers the world’s armies for the Battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16:13-6, 20:8-9).

Both the sixth trumpet and the sixth bowl involve the Euphrates River (Rev. 9:13-15, 16:12). The drying of the Euphrates is preceded by the darkness of the fifth bowl. Although Hal Lindsey subscribes to a linear interpretation of Revelation, he appears to regard the sixth trumpet and the sixth bowl as simultaneous. He interprets the kings of the East of the sixth bowl and the 200 million man army of the sixth trumpet as referring to a Chinese-led army invading the Middle East leading to the Battle of Armageddon (8).

If the drying up of the Euphrates is not meant to be taken literally, it may refer to the removal of political power in the region, enabling the invasion.

Fall of Babylon

Mystery Babylon is a city with seven hills, so it sounds like Rome (Rev. 17:9, 18). Because Babylon is riding the beast (Rev. 17:3), this suggests the Antichrist is somehow dependent on Babylon for his power. The Antichrist and his ten kings resent this and destroy Babylon (Rev. 17:16-17).

The fall of Babylon takes place at the time of the seventh trumpet, immediately preceding the Second Coming (Rev. 16:19).

The Second Coming and the Battle of Armageddon

As we have seen, the Second Coming is described several times in Revelation. The Antichrist is captured and his armies are destroyed (Rev. 19:20-21).

The earth is “burned up” (2 Peter 3:10) and there is a new heaven and earth (Rev. 21:1).

Conclusion 

As readers can see, this interpretation is still partially linear. Most of the seals still precede the trumpets and most of the trumpets still precede the bowls. Nevertheless, judging by the repeated references to the Second Coming in Revelation’s different sequences, a strictly linear interpretation of Revelation is clearly wrong. What I have proposed is closer to what Robert Gundry called the Semitic interpretation.

While I think I am right, or at least closer to the truth than many other prophecy writers, I believe we should not be dogmatic when it comes to interpreting Bible prophecy and be open to the possibility we could be wrong. Over the years I have seen several Bible prophecy authors proved wrong. For example, in The Late Great Planet Earth, Hal Lindsey said that the Second Coming would probably occur by 1988 (9), and implied that the rapture, at the beginning of the Tribulation, would have to be by 1981. In a 1980 book The 1980’s: Countdown to Armageddon, Lindsey wrote, “The decade of the 1980’s could very well be the last decade of history as we know it.” (10)

1980s countdown

Likewise, in 88 Reasons why the Rapture will be in 1988, which sold over 4 million copies, Edgar Wisenant wrote that the Rapture would occur between September 11 to 13, 1988, and the Battle of Armageddon would take place on October 4, 1995 (11). After the supposed date of the Rapture came and went, Wisenant published another book claiming the Rapture would be in 1989, then 1990 and so on.

88-reasons

This happens a lot in evangelical circles, but usually not as blatant as Wisenant. Authors publish books on Bible prophecy and current events. They make a lot of money. Their interpretations and predictions are proved wrong, but they do not repent and acknowledge their mistakes and misleading their readers. They publish another book with new predictions.

I do not know how many, if any, Christians have had their faith shipwrecked when these writers and their predictions were proved wrong. I hope they understood to distinguish between putting their faith in God and the Bible and putting their faith in the fallible interpretations of human writers. The Bible does tell us everything which is going to happen in the future and Christians do not need to have the future all laid out for them. We need to trust God whatever may happen (Romans 8:31-39), which is more important than anything written about interpreting Bible prophecy.

Notes

(1) James McKeever, The Rapture Book, Omega Publications, 1987, p 73-74

(2) William Hendriksen, More than Conquerors, Baker, Michigan, 1982, p 21

(3) Tim LaHaye, Revelation Illustrated and Made Plain, Zondervan, Michigan, 1975, p 156-159

(4) James McKeever, Revelation for Laymen, Omega Publications, Oregon, 1980, p 214

(5) Robert Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, Zondervan, Michigan, 1973, p 75

(6) Robert Clouse (editor), The Meaning of the Millennium; Four Views, InterVarsity Press, Illinois, 1977, p 162

(7) Revelation for Laymen, op cit., p 103-105

(8) Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth, Bantam, New York, 1980, p 151-152

(9) Ibid., p 43

(10) Hal Lindsey, The 1980’s: Countdown to Armageddon, Bantam, New York, 1981, p 8

(11) Edgar Wisenant, 88 Reasons why the Rapture will be in 1988, Arizona, 1988, p 43

Bibliography

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Robert Clouse (editor), The Meaning of the Millennium; Four Views, InterVarsity Press, Illinois, 1977

Robert Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, Zondervan, Michigan, 1973

William Hendriksen, More than Conquerors, Baker, Michigan, 1982

Tim LaHaye, Revelation Illustrated and Made Plain, Zondervan, Michigan, 1975

Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth, Bantam, New York, 1980

Hal Lindsey, There’s a New World Coming, Vision House, California, 1973

Hal Lindsey, The 1980’s: Countdown to Armageddon, Bantam, New York, 1981

Jim McKeever, Revelation for Laymen, Omega Publications, Oregon, 1980

Jim McKeever, The Rapture Book, Omega Publications, Oregon, 1987

Edgar Wisenant, 88 Reasons why the Rapture will be in 1988, Arizona, 1988