Christian Apologist Partnership (CAP): An Invitation to Participate

Second Edition

Blinding light

Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

A Bright and Sudden Cognition:

The Story About How, 14 Years After I Became

a Christian, My Aha! Moment Came

by Mark Mountjoy 

The following account is about how a sudden realization of the identity of Jerusalem in the Gospels and Babylon the Great in the Book of Revelation quickly hurled me into the social world of the first Christians—and Atavist truth.  Below is the story about how I went from an Amillennial Bible prophecy outlook to what, at first glance, might seem like an unthinkable, extreme, and unlikely doctrinal premise.  It was unforeseen (not intentional), it was surprising and life-altering and at no point, for an entire six months, would I know how to historically verify it or have the slightest clue what to do about it.

This account is retold in order to give you a sense of the beginnings of how latent information in the New Testament as well as the Old and in Jewish chronicles combine to betray the notion that the New Testament is anything less than 100% true and reliable—even in its most seemingly fantastic and outrageous claims!

Introduction

It was a Saturday seemingly no different than any other.  Around midday, I had received long-anticipated mail from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Bahrain State. Eagerly I opened the letters. I had hoped the copies of the Arabic New Testament had been received with joy, but they were not. Each of my friends expressed horror and outrage! They were offended that I had sent them such a despicable book with “such heinous claims” about Jesus of Nazareth.

I remember the letter from Saudi Arabia said, “I received the package and opened it. When I saw the book I opened it to Mark the first chapter and saw—

“بداية إنجيل يسوع المسيح ابن الله”

[“The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”]

—and I quickly closed it!”
Sending these people these New Testaments, it seemed clear, was a massive miscalculation on my part!  I had believed five of my 100 pen-pals were at least open to reading the New Testament, but I was very wrong!  And I felt vulnerable. I began to pray to God, asking him to make me strong because I felt as weak as water. They said God could not have a Son.  They said Jesus was only a prophet and the New Testament was corrupted by Christians. I prayed, “O, God, give me strength!  Show me if my faith is really the truth! Refresh me! Help me!”

Disillusioned, discouraged, and wearied, I sat down with my Bible. I resolved that I would read an entire book of the New Testament, with no other purpose in mind but to reflect on the story of our Lord.

My plan was to do this as if I was there present in the theater of antiquity. I chose the Gospel According to Luke (I don’t know why).  I began at chapter one and read all the way to chapter 11. And it was there that I came upon a discussion I had surely read countless times before:

“And the Lord said unto him, ‘Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter, but your inward part is full of robbery and wickedness. Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you. But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: that ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are unaware of them.’”

This got my undivided attention. Previously, I had never read this as Jesus basically upbraiding the Pharisees and the Scribes. I had been trained, from early on, to see these excoriations as aimed directly at generic and nebulous “religious people”—or Roman Catholics (most likely). So I had never seen or understood these passages as examples of Jesus aiming charges at the synagogue of His day. I read on with deep interest:

“Then answered one of the Lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also. And he said, Woe unto you also, ye Lawyers! For ye burden men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe unto you! For ye build the sepulchers of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchers. Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;”

Jesus told the Pharisees, scribes, and lawyers of His time that the crimes of murder from the foundation of the world would be required of His contemporary generation! I was truly amazed at this! Although I knew the Bible very well and considered myself a “Walking Bible,” somehow I had never remembered reading this or ever seeing it. I read on:

“From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zechariah, which ye slew between the altar and the Temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.”

There!  He said it again—

“It shall be required of this generation!”

My thoughts began to percolate. Hadn’t I read of a city in the Book of Revelation that was paying for killing the prophets, apostles, and saints? I wasn’t too sure, but I grabbed my copy of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and looked up the word “blood.” And there it was—Revelation 18:24!  I quickly turned to it and read what it said with awe:

“And in her [Babylon] was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”

Another reference sent me back to Matthew 23:29-39.  In verse 36 there, Jesus stated again,

“Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

By now my head was spinning like a top! By now I could clearly see that Jerusalem was Babylon, and Babylon was Jerusalem!

But how could this be!?

Could it be that Jerusalem committed the crimes that Babylon the Great in Revelation was also paying for?

Could Jerusalem be Babylon?

This idea seemed crazy and preposterous! It seemed utterly ridiculous to me! And then it hit me! Something happened a long time ago that I do not know about!!! I began to tremble uncontrollably. Cold beads of sweat broke out on my forehead.

My strength seemed to flow out of my heels. I looked to my left and I saw a city down a long tunnel - I saw this city fuming and exploding violently with bright sparks, smoke, and fire!

All of a sudden it was like time stood still as I realized that something had happened, something momentous and dangerous—something serious and singularly unusual had happened a long, long time ago and I had never been told about it!

I said out loud, “What church teaches this!?”

I Had Already Been Warned

But I had already been warned. Not even a good four years before this, I had been warned by friends. They cautioned me, 'If you read the Bible too much, you'll go crazy.' But they did not elaborate on what they meant by that. And what did they know, anyway?

I had to read the Bible.  The end was so close.  I wanted to understand all the details!

And, as I was learning, more and more pieces were coming together. I found the Bible to be entirely intriguing. It seemed fascinating to be living in “such a time as this.” I never knew what they meant about ‘going crazy’ until this astonishing information came together for me.

In the Synoptic Gospels of Luke and Matthew, Jesus was helping the Judæans understand the seriousness, the scope, and their culpability in the deaths of God’s prophets and saints of old.

Strangely, though, I had read these verses and passages countless times before without actually thinking Jesus was talking to his own people during those days (in fact I thought he was upbraiding Roman Catholics!).

I never realized he was telling them about something that was going to happen in their lifetime—which was obviously a very long time before the Catholic church began, my lifetime, or any current events.

This string of information was telling me that this “Babylon” could not possibly be the ‘One World Church,’ let alone the Roman Catholic Church!  This “great city” could only be first-century Jerusalem.  And that fact was immensely troubling to me.  I had to press further to see where such an incredible idea would lead.

Hence, over a period of six months, I spent a lot of time eagerly doing intensive Bible study, highlighting texts, and note-taking. And it was during that time, and as a result of that process, that a coherent and powerful picture began to emerge. I was looking directly at facts long forgotten, facts staring right in the face of anybody reading the New Testament!

These staggering realizations blew my mind by recalibrating the Bible and its prophecies into a whole new, un-Roman historical setting. This, in turn, changed my appraisal of the proximity, scope, function, relevance, and urgency of the Second Coming.

It was like getting a super-sized puzzle for Christmas but not having the box with the picture of the puzzle to go with it.

Let’s also say the puzzle took a number of years to put together. And let's also imagine that all the while someone you trusted to know what they were talking about kept urging and encouraging you to believe the picture that would emerge from this puzzle would be thus and so—and you imagined it to be exactly thus and so. And you kept imagining and working on it.

You thought about it every waking hour and dreamed about it during your sleep.

Your expectation about the puzzle became your most cherished thoughts. They were your happiest thoughts. This is what I am working towards (you say to yourself). This is reality. And then one day—suddenly—enough pieces finally came together and—bam!—it is not what they said it would be!

It looks nothing like they said it would look!

The picture is completely different!

You see constraints that are stumbled over that will not let the puzzle mean what they said it would mean.  You see totally disregarded aspects and distinctions that are completely ignored, all in order to make parts of the picture ‘fit’ for some cherished tradition, fad, or preconceived notion.

You step away confused, disoriented.

You start asking questions.

You ask others to look at the assembled puzzle (which by this time you have finished).

Some refuse to comment, but you can see the answer in their eyes.

They realize too—but may not want to say for fear of recriminations.

I now firmly believe that others, studying the Scriptures intensely, had gotten a glimpse of the same thing—the same realities, but retreated, out of fear, thinking they had made a wrong turn, reached a false conclusion or gone ‘crazy.’

But for me, there was nowhere to turn, no place to go, and no way to go back. I took courage and purchased several notebooks, highlighters, and pens.   At once I began research on the Bible a milieu I later learned was called ‘The Second Jewish Commonwealth.’

Six months later I obtained a copy of Josephus’ Complete Works, containing, LifeThe Antiquities of the Jews, and Wars of the Jews.

And within its pages, as I had already begun to strongly suspect, the historical situation of the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world most likely related to the Jews’ now belated civilization and not what has been long been imagined (in various guises) in ecclesiastical traditions. And—sure enough, among the many astonishing accounts was this one:— 

“Such prodigies had happened, as this nation, which is superstitious enough in its own way, would not agree to expiate by the ceremonies of the Roman religion, nor would they atone the gods by sacrifices and vows, as these used to do on the like occasions.

Armies were seen to fight in the sky, and their armor looked of a bright light color, and the Temple shone with sudden flashes of fire out of the clouds.

The doors of the Temple were opened on a sudden, and a voice greater than human was heard, that the gods were retiring, and at the same time there was a great motion perceived as if they were going out of it, which some esteemed to be causes of terror.

The greater part had a firm belief that it was contained in the old sacerdotal books, that at this very time the East would prevail, and that some that came out of Judea should obtain the empire of the world. . .”

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(Josephus Complete Works, Appendix Dissertation 3, Book 5, Chapter 13 ( See also Josephus’ The Wars of the Jews 6.5.3:296-300).  Note: With only this much information, the Bible student is taken as far into the Book of Revelation as Revelation 12:7-13!

_________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Jesus’ indictment against Jerusalem, the New Testament’s uniform expectation of the Second Coming in the lifetime of the first Christians, and this account of an angelic aerial war over Herod’s Temple, including the astonishing testimony of a superhuman voice and great movements of the “gods” (spirits) out of the Temple have staggering implications for us!

I Started and Completed a Thirty-Year-Long

Massive Review of Bible Eschatology

Realizing the connection between Jesus’ indictment against Jerusalem and understanding Babylon the Greats connection to those incidents seemed serious enough to warrant a full review of what Bible prophecy was intended to mean in the first place.

As a Bible teacher, I considered it my full responsibility to know what I was talking about and to teach only those things that have a sound Biblical, contextual, and historical basis. So by 1983, I had completely abandoned the Bible as a patchwork of anti-Catholic and current event proof-texts.

As a result of these new insights, I come away with a revised picture of the continuity of the aims and goals of Jewish salvation history and Bible prophecy. I learned anew of its genuine relevance for the exigency of the Christian Church as well as the heavenly hope of all people of God (who believe Jesus, God’s Son is the Creator and the Lord of glory).

And that knowledge and understanding were crowned by an astonishing fact: the re-establishment of the State of Israel in the summer of 1948 was not even the first time Israel was able to regain her statehood since A.D. 70: it was the second time!

The first time was in the spring of A.D. 132 and then it was Bar Kokhba’s truly heroic and desperate attempt to turn the hands of time back to the belated Temple, and sacrificial practices which were extinguished in A.D. 70.

But this time, with an army of 585,000 soldiers and help from Gentile nations, including Persia, the Jews came dangerously close to beating the Roman Empire and realizing their Messianic aspirations.

But it was not to be.

After an effort that lasted three and a half years, the gargantuan push came to a disastrous conclusion in the fall of AD 135 through the spring of A.D.136. I then learned, with some rapidity, that these two significant and gigantic wars, and the so-called 'Kitos Wars' that were fought in the interval, shaped, in no small way, the tragic, sad, and winding direction of Jewish history thereafter.

These efforts and events coincide with many concerns expressed by Christ and the Apostles. For example, to my utter astonishment, I found that the earliest Christians had originally believed the Old Testament had prophesied of both destructions of Jerusalem (AD 66-70 and AD 132-136).1

And I learned the latter war, because of its aims, default, and loss, was considered “the Triumph of Christianity” in antiquity.

In it, the message sent by the Deity, in the framework of the vindication of Christian claims for Jesus of Nazareth, was crystal clear and is, incidentally, a very far cry from what the ‘current events’ approach so many now trust and boast in has to say.

Therefore, the present ‘current events craze’ would lead one to believe the subject, purpose, and timing of the apocalypse was prematurely announced and then quietly postponed. It leads millions to mistakingly think they know right now Jesus is getting ready to do what he said he would do a very long time ago!

As for me, I am forever changed by what I came to realize about Jesus of Nazareth, the Apostles, and the first Christians, and (I believe)you will be too when you see and understand and contemplate what will be explained in the following account.

The Apocalyptic Claims of Christ and

the Apostles Are Extraordinary

Jesus and his Apostles made extraordinary claims about the Second Coming, the end of the world, and judgment day.  They believed these events would happen soon enough to be before all the first Christians experienced death. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. Where’s the proof and basis of what they expected were true and came to pass?

Do current events lend justification to tardy prophecies or is something else going on?

If it is something else—if some unknown factor is the real proof and basis of the ancient Christian’s hopes, and if those hopes can best be seen through the lens of the late Second Jewish Commonwealth, then the truth of the Lord’s return is quite different than what many sincerely believe.

And this means that this actual validity is a truth about Christianity’s grandest hope that we all need to know about. This and other Bible issues are what Atavist Bible concepts are all about. It is the Truth about the earliest Christians. It is the truth about the Second Coming they believed in. And it is the truth about an event they expected to start unfolding within their lifetime.

These are matters guaranteed by nothing less than the Word of the Lord. These are things assured by his repeated oaths. And is the true answer to the question: Did the things they so earnestly hope for transpire or not? And if they did, how are these issues to be acknowledged and integrated as approved and acceptable Christian beliefs in our day and time?

How can these things have their rightful impact on our understanding of what the Church is NOW and how can these truths inform us about our hoped-for destination?

Questionable Teachings Stand in

Direct Opposition to the Real Truth

I was raised in a small Christian sect, headquartered in Waycross, Georgia, called 'the First Born Church of the Living God.' Begun in 1913, it was initiated by a covenant and charter by five Pentecostal bishops.  Unsurprisingly, our religious beliefs included:

“. . .the Second Coming of Christ, His thousand-year reign on the earth with the saints, both eternal and everlasting life and the resurrection of the righteous dead.”

To be sure, when I became a Christian I did not then know a fraction of the complexities of what believing and being a Christian entailed. I did not know how old or young Christianity was. I knew nothing of its enigmatic, dangerous, and mysterious past.

I knew nothing of its Semitic, Hebrew, and Judæan roots.  Nor did I know of past sorrows, pains, and controversies experienced in an ideologically hazardous and vanished world. But I did know then, the logic behind what we believed was roughly along the lines of God’s switching from ‘Plan A’ (Israel) to ‘Plan B’ (the Church).

According to this line of reasoning, in the first century, Israel allegedly refused Christ’s “kingdom offer,” and, objecting to other aspects of his person and message, by Roman hands had him crucified.

According to this narrative, the cross of Christ was not exactly what God had in mind: the kingdom being set up at Christ’s first coming was.

The kingdom was then postponed and from that interruption, the prospect of the Second Coming (out of sheer necessity) came into being.

And so, at a future time (and one soon to us), events would turn about that would finally convince Israel that Jesus was Christ, and then, basically, God was going back to ‘Plan A’ again with the kingdom, a Jerusalem-centered kingship of Jesus, a Temple cult—one lasting exactly one thousand years.

At the end of this period, Satan is to be released from the bottomless pit and allowed to instigate a final rebellion that would garner a staggering following.

This final sedition would be divinely put down, a final resurrection and judgment would take place, the earth would be utterly and entirely destroyed, a new one would be created and eternity would ensue after that.

This was the basic First Born Church storyline I vaguely remember being told.

And so as far back as 1969 (a year after my baptism), it was clear to me that we believed Jesus was now, after all this time, coming back on the clouds for us very, very soon.

This idea was preached vehemently and with great conviction. Then, at that very time, the debut of the interracial singing group Andraé Crouch & the Disciples helped cement, in lyrics and in melodies, a powerful sense of devotion, expectation, and motivation that lent a feeling of “rightness” that all Christians, in unison, black or white and of all denominational persuasions, were expecting Jesus to come back “any day now.” Songs like It Won't Be Long, told us—

“It won't be long,
Till we'll be leaving here
It won't be long,
We'll be going home.
Count the years as months,
Count the months as weeks,
Count the weeks as days—
Any day now,
(We'll be going)
We'll be going Home.
It won't be long. It won't be long.”2

This song and other songs like it kept reinforcing the expectation we were groomed to look for.  And we were continually reminded that everyone who was living a life pleasing to God was going to disappear into thin air and re-appear in the clouds with Jesus and all the saints who had ever lived. We obtained this promise from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

We were told this was the long belated Marriage of Christ to his Bride, the Church described in Matthew 25:1-13; 2 Corinthians 11:1-2; Ephesians 5:25-27; 2 Thessalonians 2:1 and Revelation 19:7-9).

It was explained that God loved the Church (as a collective, a bride) and that what he had intended to do at the time of Christ, he postponed and was only now, because of the advent of the statehood of Israel in 1947, about to carry out. All these concepts were new and fascinating to me. Curious about all these things, I remember picking up the Bible and reading it. At one point, I recall coming across Philippians 4:4-5, where the Apostle Paul wrote these words:

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
Let your moderation be known unto all men.
The Lord is at hand.”

I took note of it: “The Lord is at hand.” It did not make sense to me that Paul could say that way before our times.

You see, a large part of our belief in God and the Bible was that we maintained that the troubles of our times were the main proof that the Bible was absolutely right. We did not attend to archeology and Greek and context and exegesis and hermeneutics and history.

Those considerations were as far away and foreign to us as imagining life on a distant planet in a remote galaxy. But we did not need to doubt or question fantastic accounts in the Bible. Why doubt past events when events predicted by the Bible were happening before our very eyes? There was obviously no need for anything more than noting the inexorable direction and content of contemporary news! So by 1970 a new literary sensation, advocating just such an approach, was making the rounds: Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth.3

Before this, I had never thought about or even heard of a Bible prophecy book. In Lindsey’s small and easy-to-read bestseller, he again held up the birth of the nation of Israel in 1948 as the pivotal sign that guaranteed for us that the New Testament’s promises of a “Rapture.”

According to his assertions, this was absolutely and certainly going to happen any day, without warning. It would be followed by an unimaginable seven-year tribulation and then the Second Coming. Nobody wanted to be left behind (of course), so everyone was encouraged to “Be ready.”

The book was electrifying—as evidenced by the fact that it has now sold more than 30 million copies.

However, Lindsey was not the only author who shaped my early ideas. Other books, namely Alexander Hislop’s The Two Babylons4 and Fox’s Book of Christian Martyrs5 helped shore up the idea of Roman Empire-Catholic-centric “Babylon the Great” and interpretive scheme of the Book of Revelation.

They did so by demonstrating the many ways in which pagan influences, early on, had gained an entry into Christian beliefs, practices, traditions, and customs. Additionally, my Jehovah’s Witness acquaintances firmly believed and warned that the end of the world was set to happen sometime in the autumn of 1975.6

Being ignorant of the reasons why Witnesses were so head-strong and blindly adamant, I went down to a local Christian bookstore and found a book titled, Thirty Years a Watchtower Slave.7  And at the city library, I checked out a book called Armageddon Around the Corner.8  

By this means, I began a process of self-education in order to understand the claims people stood for as well as to question and scrutinize my own personal convictions.

And yet, what I did not realize then (but do now) is that Watchtower, Pentecostal, and Evangelical premises about Bible prophecy, the Second Coming, and the end of the world are based on remarkably similar premises (if different dates).

How so?

They all encourage everyone to continue to look at current events as proof that everything the Bible said would happen is indeed happening—now. This easy. However, it is also inevitable to began to realize that wars and rumors of wars, and famines, earthquakes and pestilences, and general mayhem are actually nothing new in human history. And, as if to drive this point home, 1975 came and went and what Jehovah’s Witnesses had been bragging about for nine years came to absolutely nothing but embarrassment.9

And then it was our turn: Ditto for Evangelicals in the years 1981,101988,11 and 2000.12

For other Christians, their understanding of eschatology is so ambiguous and ill-conceived and so far into the future as to seem irrelevant and superfluous to even discuss, let alone expect.13

However, none of these ideological sectors of the Church pays any attention or takes any comfort in what the New Testament seems to say about the Second Coming at face value because they all disagree that a “thief in the night return of the Lord” could have actually occurred in the days of the first Christians.

However, if the New Testament really means what it already says, regardless of which group it is, disappointments and disillusionments that have happened will continue to happen across denominational and sectarian lines—no matter what.

And it is for basically the same reasons: the premises are deeply flawed.

Too much vital information is being ignored, disregarded, or twisted into a different conclusion, all foreign to the New Testament’s native milieu. Too many clues about the crucial context are being continually suppressed.

And too much confidence is being placed in the hands of early Church Fathers and Ecclesiastical councils and authorities whose credence is irrelevant and often (but not always) subversive to the veracity of Christ and the Apostles.

This treatise, therefore, is my small contribution; and along with living for Jesus, this is what God has called me to do.

Double-check and verify for yourself the far-reaching claims I make and if you can accept these as “truths we hold to be self-evident” prayerfully consider it as an invitation to collaborate and a Call to Action.

As such it is my hope it will edify, not puff up, enrich and not weaken. I believe what you are about to encounter will give you an understanding of the Second Coming and the end of the world that more closely resembles the logic of ancient Christian thinking as those ideas can be seen across the New Testament.

If you are not a Christian, this message is for you too, in the hopes that you will be able to more accurately appraise who Jesus really is and you may put your trust in him and become a Christian based on the witness of this original paradigm and premises.

Join me on a very exciting exploration where a familiar subject yields stunning realizations when rescued from the ‘current events’ cycle of endless revisionism and when framed in its nascent period: the Second Jewish Commonwealth (the world), a most auspicious and haunting, and anomalous time in Jewish salvation history.

Here is the beginning of a journey to a unique and tragic civilization: a vanished world; it was the setting of the rise of Christianity, which is still, after all this time, the greatest revolution in the history of the human race.

Atavist Bible concepts are all about how various and seemingly dissonant texts, prophetic promises, and cryptic expressions make sense. And is also about non-cyclic long-term events which led, by the time of the arrival of the First Advent of our Lord, to short-term orchestration of events that brought speedy fruition of the apocalyptic promises of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the crucified and buried, but risen, exalted and triumphant Son of God.

Babylon the Great City

 

Endnotes

1 Yigael Yadin, Bar Kokhba,  p. 23.

2 It Won’t Be Long, Andraé Crouch & the Disciples, Soulfully. Stereo LS 5581-LP, 1972, Lexicon Music, Inc.

3 Lindsey, Hal, The Late Great Planet Earth. 1970. Lindsey’s arguments surrounding the establishment of the Israeli State have been proven by the process of time to be utterly false. Yet his work has had such a widespread impact that even Eastern Orthodox Christians became deeply concerned and began to scrutinize the issue in terms of both the Scriptures and the traditions of the Church Fathers they hold in high esteem. As a result of one such study, T.L.Frazier wrote, A Second Look at the Second Coming—Sorting Through the Speculations. (Conciliar Press, 1999).

This and Reformed Theologian, Cornelis Van der Waal’s Hal Lindsey and Biblical Prophecy, (Inheritance Publications, 1991) attempt and succeeds (to a large degree) in piercing through the presumptions, deceptions, and obfuscations presented by Lindsey. It must not be forgotten that Lindsey’s questionable claims and misapplied prophecies, which were eaten like a delicacy by more than 17 million people, also alerted and reaffirmed to atheists, agnostics, and skeptics that Christianity’s prophecies are unscrupulous and used to deceive people into both fearing and serving God.

But both Frazier and Van der Waal are Amillennialist, and in that there are a number of core issues—about Babylon the Great, about time statements and imminence, about the Abomination of Desolation, about the Seals, Trumpets, Vials, and Thunders, about Satan and salvation history, the nature of the Jewish revolt, its ensuing civil war, the Mark of the Beast, about the Marriage of the Lamb, the binding of Satan, about the interregnum between the end of the First Revolt and the commencement of the Second, that need attention and understanding—these Bible themes (in conventional Christian eschatology) remain inconclusive, vague and elusive until such time the identity of Babylon the Great City and the absolute course of Jewish history are seen and acknowledged.

In other words, something as parochial as examining and defining who the Great City was and who the Fourth Kingdom of Bible prophecy really was, will have major and definitive consequences for all who have a genuine concern for the truth.

4 Hislop, Alexander. The Two Babylons. (1916).  In his treatise, Hislop builds a purely circumstantial case for the correlation between the actual geographic Babylon of the ancient Chaldeans and that supposed connection to Papal Rome. But my sudden cognition completely erased this supposition in a flash. In the following chapter, we will examine the identity of Babylon the Great from Jesus, the Apostles, and the early Christian’s point of view.

Such an approach yields different results, different impressions, and different perceptions of what we are actually dealing with in this present discussion.

5 Foxes’ Book of Christian Martyrs. What Fox does not realize is how the leaders of Judæa used a ‘legal strategy’ to get Roman jurisprudence to censor and punish Christians—often with death. So Roman sentences do not in and of themselves prove that Rome was actually the Great City.

6 Why Are You Waiting for 1975?

7 Thirty Years a Watchtower Slave.

8 Whalen, William J., Armageddon Around the Corner. A Report on Jehovah's Witnesses. The dynamic of expectation and faith and justification and authority for waiting was fascinating to my young mind—more so (probably) because the Jehovah's Witnesses, (to us), represented religious rivals. One could not help but wonder whose set (or implicit) dates were right or if we were both wrong. Only time would tell. But Whalen’s book gives a fascinating look into the perpetuity of expectation that is systemically bred into the Watchtower devotee’s psyche.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement contains more recent research into the sect and its problems and, along with Crisis of Conscience and Apocalypse Delayed, paints the picture of a group seriously un-anchored in the knowledge of the historic prism and backdrop of the New Testament, as well as the fundamental assumptions entertained and held by both Christ and the Apostles. And this flaw is evident in almost all present-day Christian thinking when it comes to eschatology, Bible prophecy, and the specific interpretation of what the Apocalypse was originally intended to mean.

9 But, as usual, 1975 came and went without event.

10 Again, as was the case for Watchtower Bible and Tract Society prophecies, 1981 came and went. Larkin, Clarence, The Greatest Book on Dispensational Truth in the World, 1918. Larkin (a major contributor to early Dispensational theology), like Charles Taze Russell (founder of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society), shared a deep fascination with pyramidology and its so-called “Pyramid Prophecies.” Nelson Barbour, George Storrs, Piazzi Smith were Pyramidologists.

Although Russell openly displayed the connection between his 1914 pyramid equation Larkin concealed these views while all the time relying on the equations.

Thus the ‘Rapture’ doctrine in Fundamentalist dispensationalism and the imminence emphasis of the Watchtower owed itself, not to a strict interpretation of the four kingdoms of Daniel chapters 2 and 7, but to a synthetic blend of part Bible and part Pyramidial numeric measurements and calculus. Anyone wishing to pursue these issues will be amazed, astonished, and dismayed.

White, Ellen G., America in Prophecy, (1888), Walvoord, John F. Major Bible Prophecies. (1991), Lindsey, Hal, The Road to Holocaust. (1989), The 1980’s: Countdown to Armageddon. (1981). In 1980 my spiritual quest for truth finally brought me into the general realm of the ancientest ecclesiastical prophecies that specifically foretold the sacrificial death of Jesus (Isaiah 53 cf. Daniel 9:26) and the rise of Christianity (Isaiah 2:1-3; Jeremiah 31:31-32 cf. Hebrews 8:8-13; Luke 1:32-33 cf. Hebrews 12:25-28). This, of course, shed a different light on the discussion, but it also raised new questions—questions that are studiously and strenuously avoided in conventional circles.

Like, if “at hand” meant the kingdom of God had to come in the first century, then why does “at hand” in reference to the Second Coming not to contain the same imperative? Such queries were frowned on and any discussion seen going in that direction was strictly forbidden. Surprisingly, though, by applying the rules of Amillennialism (unclear passages and verses are interpreted by clear ones) Atavist Biblicism is the direct result!

Ice, Thomas, Price, Randall, in Ready to Rebuild. (1992) and LaHaye, Tim, Jenkins, Jerry B., Left Behind, (1995) engage in fallacious reasoning.  In the first case, just because some Jewish people want to rebuild the Temple does not mean they will be able to do so. Moreover, their aspirations for the future are quite apart from the stupendous history of the universal judgment of the Second Jewish Commonwealth, and is, consequently, irrelevant. Concerning the message of LaHaye and Jenkins, it must be asked on what grounds can a mass disappearance of Christians be established when such an anomaly was a normative expectation in the context of the civil war, the Destruction of Jerusalem, and the collapse of the Second Jewish Commonwealth? They are way out on a limb, and their evidence is slender and unsustainable, as we will demonstrate shortly. In Things That Differ author, Cornelius Stam wrote,

“When Peter stood up nineteen centuries ago and declared that the last days had come (Acts 2:16, 17) he showed that he was totally ignorant of God’s plan to usher in a dispensation of grace before Christ’s return.”  The Fundamentals of Dispensationalism, C. Stam, p. 99, 1951.

11 As could be expected, 1988 came and went without incident.

12 Against all expectations, the year 2000 also came and went without incident.

13 Both Amillennialism and Postmillennialism assiduously avoid the ‘imminence’ factor in the New Testament.

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Handshake

Collaboration

would like to cordially extend a warm invitation to organizations, groups, and applicants to participate in this work by investigating, discussing, and disseminating Atavist Bible concepts.  We are looking for interested Christian leaders and hope to reach across to the entire spectrum of Christianity: Messianic, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and non-denominational churches and congregations. 

In order to broaden our outreach and to create public awareness of these important issues, we urge all who are convinced of the integrity of our approach to share specific essays with a least 12 other individuals whom you think might also find these doctrinal and theoretical possibilities intriguing.

What this effort involves: 

1. Studying, critiquing, and sharing key essays with people you think might be interested in considering this research.  Having more eyes on these matters will help generate discussions about the implications of early Christian beliefs and how they might modify how we understand the New Testament, how we look at the world today, and better predict what we might realistically expect about the future and eternity.

Below are twenty-four highly recommended studies. 

Share: Babylon the Great in the New Testament

Share: Babylon the Great City—According to the Bible

Share: Comments on Matthew 10:23

Share: Comments on Matthew 16:27-28

Share: New Testament Eschatology in Matthew

Share: Prerequisites of the Second Coming of Christ

Share: This Generation in the New Testament

Share: Comments on Acts 1:11

Share: Comments on 2 Timothy 2:17

Share: Christians Talking Past Each Other: An Eisegesis Versus Exegesis of 2 Timothy 2:17

Share: Redating the Book of Revelation

Share: The Semitic Background of the Book of Revelation

Share: Second Century Israel: Should Christians Agree on Prophetic History

Share: The Scriptural Limits of Bible Prophecy: A Discussion

Share: Confronting the Myths and Misconceptions of Partial Preterism Head On

Share: New Testament Apologetics and the Phenomenon of Partial Preterism

Share: Error of Notion: The First Century Sounding of Seven Thunders

Share: The Early Second Coming in the New Testament Leader’s Guide

Share: Hos Ephanerothe—An Early Christian Hymn

Share: What the Bible Really Teaches About the Invisible Material Soul

Share: The New Testament and the Denials of Oneness Pentecostalism

Share: The Jewish Mikvah and Baptism into Christ

Share: The New Testament in Hebrews for the Atavist 40th Anniversary Celebration

Share: The Danger of Unwritten Creeds

2. Where to share?  You can share Atavist essays on your own social media pages on FaceBook, or you can embed articles and link into your own personal website.  You can freely use them for YouTube presentations or print copies to share with your colleagues, friends, and loved ones.  You may also distribute printed copies to Jehovah's Witness, World Mission Society Church of God, or Mormon missionaries who may pay you a visit.  Help us reach the widest possible audience and be sure to convey any feedback, criticisms, or suggestions on how we can serve you better in this ministry.

3. You can also contribute by writing and submitting your own essays on said topics to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

4. We are also looking at the bigger (macro) picture of what this ideology means for our associations and accountability structures.  Because of this, we believe it is a practical idea to aim to form local church support alliances that accept Trinitarian theology, a high Christology and Atavist realized eschatology on the Biblical principle that Daniel 2:33-45 and 7:7-27 was entirely fulfilled by the end of the Jewish State in A.D.136.

5. CAP participation can be either public or utilized as an anonymous incognito platform for leaders to participate, without creating the danger of fellowship, career, or economic hardship.  You can study with us while determining the validity and feasibility of this ideology, worldview, and viewpoint and how it might impact and redefine your own outlook and ministry.

6.  Not only am I sharing my own observations about the circumstances of early Christianity, but I also welcome essays that offer feedback (either pro or con) to the positions stated here.

7.  We encourage anyone with multilingual skills to feel free to translate this work into any other language they are proficient in, including (but not limited to) Arabic, Hindi, French, Spanish, German, Greek, Russian, or Portuguese.

Finally, I ask everyone who believes in what we are trying to achieve to pray for us that our commitment to Christ as Savior and Lord will remain central to all we do.  I believe everything, at the end of the day, is directly or indirectly about Jesus Christ and is rightfully intended to magnify and exalt him above all.