Christians need to put aside end time speculations about rapture, the Anti-Christ, and Armageddon and concentrate on taking up their cross daily to follow Jesus. Perhaps a closer look at the Book of Revelation will help them do this. Dare to compare the first twenty-six books of the New Testament to the Book of Revelation.
This analysis is in two parts. First it gives some history of this controversial apocalypse and next it details its heretical doctrinal conflicts with our Gospel.
A careful reading of "Revelation" shows it disputes all twenty-six books preceding it. That being the case, it is heretical because it teaches opinions contrary to those of Jesus and his Apostles.
Heresy is defined as: "An opinion or doctrine that is at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, esp., of a church or religious system;" and, "the maintaining of such an opinion or doctrine."
Heresy is a tough word. It is even tougher for someone to accuse a New Testament book of heretical content.
The doctrines of Christianity are derived from the New Testament record of Jesus and his Apostles. These records are constantly reviewed for assurance they are accurate and no new findings of ancient manuscripts or archeology change Christianity's time tested records and opinions. There are twenty-seven books in the New Testament Record. The twenty-seventh is the Book of Revelation.
Careful reading of "Revelation" shows it disputes all twenty-six books preceding it. That being the case, "Revelation" teaches heresy because it teaches opinions contrary to those of Jesus and his Apostles.
So you immediately ask, prove it! Show anything John of Patmos (John Patmos) has written that is contrary to Jesus' Gospel!
The answer is that almost everything in John Patmos' hallucination opposes the Gospel Jesus' words, ways, and teachings. All one must do is pay attention to what John Patmos wrote. That will be done, with some detail, later in this critique. But first, some general background information is needed.
The Greek literary styles of John Patmos and John Apostle were examined in very early Christianity to prove these are two different writers. Eighteen hundred years ago, Dionysius (Bishop of the Patriarchy of Alexandria) stated that "Revelation" was not written by the same person who wrote John's Gospel and Letters. (Eusebius' History of the Church, 7.25) His opinion came from his comparing their two writing styles and found John Patmos to be entirely different from John Apostle and any other New Testament writer.
We do not need to be Greek scholars to look at the text of the Gospel and letters of Apostle John to notice John Patmos contradicts John Apostle at every turn. Those examples are examined in this report. But now we should remember that "Revelation" was doubted in Eastern Christianity and not generally accepted into the New Testament until AD 508. Some ancient Christian branches still do not include it in their Bibles. Therefore discussion and criticism of "Revelation" is not a new and is not a disrespectful activity.
John Patmos' "Revelation" is a hallucination he received while in a trance. It is a detailed prediction of the future. One can begin by wondering why this book violates Jesus' direct instructions to live a day at a time and not be concerned about the future (Mt. 6:25-34, esp. 34).
Before the actual heretical verses are listed, one can also wonder about John Patmos' extensive memory of things "seen" in his hallucination while he was unconscious - in a trance - " in the Spirit." He has inventoried all the eyes, horns, wings, lampstands, animals, smells and sights in great detail. Further he has given a verbatim report of all conversations. There is no explanation of his unusual photographic recall. But John Patmos tells us we must accept "Revelation" exactly as written or be eternally punished, (22:18,19). He neglects to advise us on which translation is the "basic truth!"
At the beginning, John Patmos tells there are seven spirits before Jesus' throne. Jesus only told us of one - the Holy Spirit. Then Jesus says he is "the Alpha and Omega." This statement is new to the Bible, something Jesus never said before, and is not needed. John Apostle in his Gospel already taught us, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was made man. (John 1:1-14) Certainly John Apostle doesn't need any explanation about Jesus' nature.
One also can wonder why John would faint (1:17) upon seeing Jesus when he had been with him throughout and after the Resurrection. Jesus showed John his wounds and cooked him breakfast after coming back to life. Why fright now? Obviously John Patmos is not John Apostle.
But let us go on. John Patmos says his "Revelation" is addressed to "seven churches in Asia" of things that must "soon take place" . . . "for the time is near." (1:1-4)
[Soon: " Within a short period after this or that time, event, etc.; before long, in the near future, at an early date; promptly or quickly; readily or willingly; in a short period of time; before the time specified is much advanced; immediately, at once, forthwith; sooner instead of later."]
[Near: "Close to a point not far away; close at hand; within a short distance; close in relation; close by; short or direct; almost; nearly; not distant; lesser in distance; close in time; near at hand."]
John Patmos predictions are addressed only to the seven churches in Asia, and not to the whole church, the Church Universal - the whole body of Christ. These predicted events did not happen to those seven churches "soon," in the near time.
At best this is a false prophecy. At worst, it is an out and out lie. Gospel Jesus does not lie because he is the Truth. Neither is he mistaken.
Judgment, good and bad, on seven churches listed (1:11) - is on the whole fellowship. Members are judged collectively, by association, and not as individuals. Here is "guilt by association" and not as individual children of God. (Contrary to Mt.18: 1-14, esp. 10).
Group judgment starts with Ephesus, 2: 1
. Patmos' Jesus says salvation of the whole Ephesus group depends on them loving him more (2:4). "Revelation" contradicts Apostle John's Gospel that teaches salvation depends only on belief in Jesus (John 11: 25,26).
must remain faithful to death to deserve salvation. Thus, salvation of members in this group cannot be assured until its death (of all members or one or two?) according to John Patmos' Jesus. John Apostle's Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, thus he shall die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die." (John 11: 25,26). There is no revocation of salvation from our Jesus in the Gospels.
Pergamum (2: 12)
is in Satan's territory. It held fast and did not deny Jesus during persecutions. But Patmos' Jesus rebukes them for eating food sacrificed to idols (2: 14). Here Patmos' Jesus contrasts with Paul who said this is permitted (1 Cor. 8). Jesus himself in Matthew (Mt. 15: 17,18; Mk. 7: 18,19) said what we eat can neither contaminate nor improve our hearts (souls). The discussion on eating food sacrificed to idols came from the first conference in Jerusalem, not from Jesus (Acts 15: 20, 29; 21: 25). Patmos' Jesus will punish for this "affront." Compare with the Gospel Jesus (Luke 9: 51-55). Jesus came to save lives, not to destroy them.
God's love wills that all people saved. Apostle John knows this and wrote it in his Gospel, (3: 16-20).
Thyatira (2: 18)
has love, patience, faith, service and patient endurance. But Patmos' Jesus says that is not enough. They have a bad woman in their midst who causing immoral acts and the eating of food that has been sacrificed to Idols. Patmos' Jesus will kill any children born from adultery with her (2: 22,23). Which Jesus kills innocent children?
Apostle John's Jesus is a man of love who teaches love, forgiveness, and protection of little children. Patmos Jesus will reward those who avoid this Jezebel and will turn them into hard and mean rulers (2: 24-28).
Sardis (3: 1)
is judged by Patmos' Jesus as being dead for lacking works. If their works do not improve, Patmos' Jesus will come undetected and save only those in Sardis who have good works. Contradicting Gospel Jesus, Patmos' salvation is by works and not by faith. Also, Patmos' Jesus revokes Gospel Jesus' promise to never leave us, and to be with us until the end of time.
Philadelphia (3: 7)
has done everything right according to Patmos' Jesus. They have endured patiently. If they will just keep on enduring, they will receive their reward. Reward here is based on enduring rather than believing. It is these who endure that Patmos' Jesus will save. Those who cannot handle persecutions are outside the blessings. John Apostle's Jesus is entirely different. Our Gospel's Jesus said, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him who he has sent. " (John 6:29)
Laodice (3: 14)
is neither hot nor cold so Patmos Jesus will vomit the lukewarm Christians out of his mouth - expel them from the body of Christ (3: 15,16). Jesus in John's Gospel will "draw all men unto him" even the "lukewarm." (John12: 30-32). Patmos' Jesus qualifies who he will bless by their works,
their endurance being the measure by which they are judged worthy to be saved and remain saved.
Works are the basis salvation for Patmos' Jesus. That doctrine is specifically stated in "Revelation's" twentieth chapter (20: 12,13).
Our Gospel Jesus saves us by his death and resurrection. (Mt. 27: 51-54) Humans cannot save themselves because they are sinners. Through Jesus, we can be saved by God's freely given grace, and do the works of God by the Spirit he puts in us. We are not saved because of our works but only because he draws us to him. (John 6:65)
Christians can know they will never die and will be with Jesus forever in eternity when they are born again. John Patmos' Jesus salvation by works takes away this "blessed assurance." The result of "Revelation's" doctrines is that no one can know their status with God until they are raised from the dead and judged (20: 12,13).
John Patmos' Jesus is that of the Old Testament God, holding grudges, ruling with an "iron rod," judging our works, and viciously punishing. His is not the loving Abba Heavenly Father of Apostle John's Jesus.
Obviously John Patmos is a saved Christian. That is why he can say some nice things about Jesus. Equally obvious is he is not the Apostle John, but a converted Jew who still thinks in Old Testament images. This brings about the contradictions listed and examined.
Without much study and analysis, we know that the Gospel Jesus does not kill innocent children. We know the true Jesus saved us by his work on Earth because we are all sinners and cannot save ourselves by our own efforts - by works. We know our Heavenly Father is a loving father and not a cruel God planning to punish the World he sent Jesus to save. We know it is his will that everyone in the world will hear the Gospel in an intelligent fashion so they can choose Jesus. (Mt. 28:19)
Christians know full well they are not going to live eternally in Hell if they do not accept every word in Patmos' "Revelation." (22: 18,19).
We also need to ask, which of the hundreds of translations is the authentic one that cannot be disputed?
Believing John Patmos is not a condition of pleasing God.
Both you and I know that! There is absolutely no New Testament precedence for such an extravagant threat. Patmos' threat completely contradicts Gospel Jesus who said he came to save, not destroy, (Luke 9: 51-56) and promised to remain with us always (Mt. 28: 20).
We also wonder why John Patmos calls Jesus, the bright and morning star, (22:16) when that is Lucifer's description in Isaiah (14:11-15).
Considering "Revelation's" contradictions of the other twenty-six New Testament books, it is correct to say it is heretical when measured against traditional Christianity.
Some questions remain. Why would any careful Christian take "Revelation" seriously after reading it? Next, why did God allow it into the New Testament canon? One can only guess those answers.
I suggest that since it is in the New Testament, Christians feel obligated to accept it. Believing the Bible to be the inspired word of God, many dare not examine it as I have done.
But how can anyone take the Book of Revelation seriously? It makes no sense to us and there is no consensus of opinion about its meaning. After almost two thousand years, no two people have ever agreed on what it means.
It can also be a history lesson that shows us the type of person that was contesting with Paul about the nature of the Gospel. John Patmos appears to be like the people of the "Party of James," the "Circumcision Party," who wanted Jewish traditions continued in the Body of Christ.
It seems as if John Patmos was holding tightly to his Jewish traditions in "Revelation. Looking at his beliefs can show us why Paul developed peevishness against such beliefs and finally said of them, "Trouble me no more" (Galatians 6:17).
I understand Paul's frustration and want to say the same about "Revelation." I am tired of the time and energy spent on disputes arising from debates about it. I want to say, "Trouble me no more about it."
John Patmos writes to the Church at Ephesus. So did Paul. Did John Patmos and the Apostle Paul cross trails there, or was Paul earlier than John? It appears that Paul was earlier, but the James Party still worked there through John Patmos.
"Revelation" continues the ancient argument about "works" (James' Letter) versus "faith" alone (Paul) that is explained in Paul's letters, (Romans 10, esp. 10:4).
"Revelation" diverts our time and attention from studying Jesus. Debating it saps the energy we need to spend discipling to Jesus instead of proudly displaying our doubtful opinions. Those debates divide Christians and bring dissention instead of harmony. Satan is well pleased with our disputings about "Revelation's" meaning.
I see another reason for it being in the New Testament canon. It is our "final examination." We have read of Jesus' words, works and ways in twenty-six New Testament books before coming to the Book of Revelation. "Revelation" is our test to see if we can "hear our Master's voice."
We ought to know enough about Jesus and Christianity when we reach "Revelation," to realize it contradicts the rest of the New Testament. If we cannot easily see that, we fail our final exam and need to repeat the Jesus curriculum starting over from Matthew 1:1.
"Revelation" is there as an example of a false prophet and a false Christ for our own protection! Here we actually see and hear one. We have compared John Patmos and his Jesus to the Gospel Jesus. Now we know the difference. Recognition of the false ones will be easier next time we see one. Deception becomes more difficult.
Learning to "hear our Master's voice" and passing this "final exam" enables us to recognize and avoid false teachers, false prophets and false Christs when we next see and hear them - in print and on TV and Radio. False Prophets and false Teachers always add something more (a work) that we must do or believe, to the simple, free, and loving grace given by our Abba Father through the true Gospel Jesus.
If one still wonders about "Revelation," we really need to ask only one question. "Whose Jesus kills innocent little children?"
Not my Jesus! Not Apostle John's friend! Only John Patmos' Jesus does that.