Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hippolytus of Rome (170–235), and Jewish sources on Gaps in Daniel

Hippolytus of Rome (170–235), was the only one of the Early Church Fathers to really write in depth on Eschatology.  He was indisputably Futurist and Premillennial .  But his understanding of the Return of Christ was also what we'd call today Post-Trib.  I'm sorry Pre-Tirbbers but your desire to make it sound like the Church Fathers were pre-trib by taking their quotes on "imminence" out of context simply fails when reading everything they wrote.

I'm not bothered by the Church Fathers being wrong on the Rapture.  Daniel 12 foretells that Knowledge of God's word would increase.  And the Post-Trib error is the unavoidable consequence of replacement theology.  Jesus returning more then once simply makes no sense if you don't understand there are two Covenant peoples he's returning for.  This replacement theology was born out of the Church's reactions to the persecutions they faced from Jews during the Bar-Kochba revolt.  These latter Christians weren't able to follow the example of Stephen.  I said this before in my post on Ephream the Syrian.

Hippolytus like most early Christians believed the Witnesses were Enoch and Elijah.  He believed Rome had to fall first and the 10 Horns were Kingdoms that would arise out of Rome's fall. Those are things I feel he was right on.

He also believed The Antichrist would be a Jew of The Tribe of Dan, and would claim to be The Jewish Messiah.  He may be right on that too.

But he was also a date setter.  He had an understanding of Chronology (partly based on the problematic Septuagint) that told him Jesus was crucified in the 5500th from Creation.  And so he believed the Sabbath Millennium would start in 530 AD.  That he didn't date set within his own life time shows a lack of personal bias.  His date was wrong of course, but admittedly during the time period leading up to that date, the Western Empire had just fallen, and there were Messianic Samaritan and Jewish Revolts in the Holy Land.  If there were people at the time familiar with him, it might have seemed like his predictions were coming to pass.

Among the ideas that critics of Dispensationalism like to accuse of being made up by Darby and others in the 1800s, is the idea of gaps in certain Old Testament Prophecies, particularly Daniel 9 and 11.  And I've seen them abuse quotes from Hippolytus to try and back that up.

However reading his commentary on Daniel shows, that he viewed the first 69 Weeks as ending with Jesus, but that the 70th was yet Future.  And likewise in Daniel 11, he viewed the first 35 verses as being The Hellenistic age, but that verses 36-45 were about a yet future Antichrist.
39. Thus, then, does the prophet set forth these things concerning the Antichrist, who shall be shameless, a war-maker, and despot, who, exalting himself above all kings and above every god, shall build the city of Jerusalem, and restore the sanctuary. Him the impious will worship as God, and will bend to him the knee, thinking him to be the Christ. He shall cut off the two witnesses and forerunners of Christ, who proclaim His glorious kingdom from heaven, as it is said: "And I will give (power) unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth." As also it was announced to Daniel: "And one week shall confirm a covenant with many; and in the midst of the week it shall be that the sacrifice and oblation shall be removed"--that the one week might be shown to be divided into two. The two witnesses, then, shall preach three years and a half; and Antichrist shall make war upon the saints during the test of the week, and desolate the world, that what is written may be fulfilled: "And they shall make the abomination of desolation for a thousand two hundred and ninety days."
The source I copied that from has apparent typos I chose not to correct.  I assume "Test of the week" should mean "rest of the week".

What might surprise one even more is to discover some Rabbinic Jewish sources who agree the 70th Week could be yet future, as well as the last part of Daniel 11.

Britam is a Rabbinic Jewish website that supports it's own unique form of British Israelism, but without any of Christian aspects of the idea.  I don't desire to endorse British Israelism, but the site's commentaries on Daniel 9 and 11 are interesting.
[Daniel 9:27] AND HE SHALL CONFIRM THE COVENANT WITH MANY FOR ONE WEEK: AND IN THE MIDST OF THE WEEK HE SHALL CAUSE THE SACRIFICE AND THE OBLATION TO CEASE, AND FOR THE OVERSPREADING OF ABOMINATIONS HE SHALL MAKE IT DESOLATE, EVEN UNTIL THE CONSUMMATION, AND THAT DETERMINED SHALL  BE POURED UPON THE DESOLATE.

These verses are also applicable to future events leading up to the Messianic Age.

And
Until now the account has quite faithfully followed the historical developments that did indeed occur exactly as described. From here on Scripture seems to depart somewhat and enter another future realm.
In effect we may say that this present chapter of Daniel although apparently dedicated to the Maccabee Period and what preceded it in effect is proto-typical. It is referring to the end times and using historical events as a pattern for future end-time prophecy.
They don't see Jesus in the first 69 weeks of course, but that's not the point I'm seeking to prove here.

Update September 2015: I no longer agree with the message of this post.  A I have explained here.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Mahdi, The Islamic Antichrist theory

Is becoming increasingly popular in The Church.  Basically with most Christians, if they don't think he'll be the ultimate Western Liberal, they think he'll be an Islamic radical.  ISIS paranoia in the news lately is only propping that up.

I leaned towards it for awhile, but a different way of looking at.  For one I didn't go along with the usual Shiite Twelfth Imam fixation.  I figured he'd mainly claim to be the Sunni Mahdi, and that his war in Daniel 11:44 would be him waging war against the Shiites in Iran.  I also never agreed with many of the popular augments for the Islamic Antichrist view, including as I already discussed The Desire of Women reference.

The first draft of this older post of mine was made back when I still leaned that way, but it's been updated it since then.

The main reason I've abandoned the theory isn't any insurmountable technical objections to the arguments for it.  But because of the Logic Chris White explains that it'll be conservative Judeo-Christians the Antichrist mainly seeks to seduce.

Some of the arguments against the view I still consider annoying.  Chris White says, referring to the Wars he fights in Daniel 11:40 "Why does he conquer these Muslim nations if he's a Muslim?".   White's normally pretty smart but that really makes him look stupid.  The Muslims are constantly at war with each other.

One Specific Mahdi prophecy says "The vast majority of people who profess to be Muslim will be so only in name despite their practice of Islamic rites and it will be they who make war with the Mahdi."  The specific figure of Sufyani has been suggested as correlating to the King of The North, ruling parts of both Syria and Iraq.

Also some critics of the theory will insist that either the Gog and Magog war and/or the Psalm 83 War will result in the Islamic world being destroyed and rendered politically insignificant.   First of all, as explained in those earlier posts I linked to, the trendy views of those Prophecies are wrong.    But also some views of Islamic eschatology do say a major catastrophe happens to the Muslim World before the Mahdi arises.

As I explained elsewhere, I do think the emphasis on beheading for those Martyred by The beast is the best argument for an Islamic Antichrist.  As well as against White's view of him posing as a Jewish Messiah.

Thing is I do, still think the Mahdi could be relevant to Prophecy, that a Mahdi claimant will be the Boogeyman the Antichrist presents himself as saving the world from.  And/or the person who gives him his mortal wound.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hebrew Daniel and Aramaic Daniel

Chapters 1 and 8-12 of The Book of Daniel are written in Hebrew like the rest of The Hebrew Bible.  But Chapters 2-7 are in Aramaic.  Aramaic is also a Semitic language, it uses many seemingly identical words, but they are still distinct.

A difference in focus and subject matter also exists between these two parts of Daniel.  The popular conjecture which I agree with is that Hebrew Daniel is focused on History and Prophecy from a Jewish perspective.  While Aramaic Daniel still has Jews as it's protagonists and presumes the Monotheistic Jewish religious worldview to be true, but is much more then most parts of The Hebrew Bible focused on the Gentile World and it's history.

Chris White expresses skepticism of this way of looking at Daniel.  He thinks it could be true, but his skepticism of the assumption is mostly just based on observing that Gentile nations are still discussed in Hebrew Daniel.

The point is the more rigidly Jerusalem/Judah POV.  4 or 5 different Kingdoms emerged from the dividing of Alexander's Empire.  Why are only two really discussed in most of Daniel 11 (King of the South=Ptolemaic Egypt and the King of The North=Seleucid Syria).  Because they're the two that had Jerusalem in the disputed territory between them.  So even if Daniel 11's description doesn't always seem to mention Judah's role in those wars in the text, rest assured they always had a direct impact on Judah.

The Hebrew Chapters largely revolve around Jerusalem and The Temple.  The Aramaic chapters barely if at all mention Jerusalem's existence, and never The Temple.  The Prophetic parts of Hebrew Daniel always involve The Abomination of Desolation, or things linked to it like the offerings being stopped.  Aramaic Daniel doesn't bring up that subject at all.

The four world Empires theme comes entirely from Aramaic Daniel.  Hebrew Daniel backs up this way of looking at history, but in a way that requires reading between the lines.  It is also only Aramaic Daniel that records Daniel's personal relationships with world leaders.  In Daniel 1 he only gets to know as high up a the chief Eunuch.

It's interesting to look at the agenda of Bible Skeptics when it comes to Daniel.   Any other book they love pointing out reasons to question if the whole Book really had the same Author, like Isaiah.  Here however it's a Book written in different languages but they don't want to do that, why?

Because it's Aramaic Daniel that has all the historical references, that they claim are errors, and the three random Greek musical instruments they use as scholarly reasons to back up their late dating.

But it's Hebrew Daniel that has the really detailed specific future Prophecies they want to insist must have been written later.  So it does not suit them to break this book up, though they could make a much stronger case for it then Isaiah.

And arguing the Aramaic is the older part would go greatly against other narratives they promote.  About Hebrew dying out and being supplanted b Aramaic.

Only Hebrew Daniel gives names to Angels.  Michael and Gabriel.

Aramaic Daniel used titles for God and The Messiah unique to it in the entire Canonical Hebrew Bible.

Intertestamental Apocrypha like Enoch began merging ideas from the two parts of Daniel.  And The New Testament draws on Aramaic Daniel as much as it does I feel precisely because of the theme of Gentile inclusion.

"The Ancient of Days" is one such unique title.  I personally feel this title is specific of The First Person of The Trinity, at least somewhat, or used to anyway, I've been rethinking that.  It is also only Daniel 7 that has Son of Man as a Messianic Title.  In other Prophets it's a term for any human being.  In The Gospels this is Jesus favorite title for himself.

Aramaic Daniel does not use the term Messiah, that term was originally specific to the Jewishness of Jesus.

Daniel 7 and 8 are where Hebrew and Aramaic Daniel are most similar to each other.  Both envision Gentile Empires as Beasts, and having a "Little Horn" as the Villain of the End Days.  The two Beasts of Daniel 8 equate to the 2nd and 3rd Beasts of Daniel 7.

But what kinds of Animals are used for the beasts reflects the change from a Gentile to Jewish perspective.  In Daniel 8 they're Levitically clean animals (a "Ram" and a Goat), going over Numbers 28-29 shows that both were regularly offered in The Temple on New Moons and Holy Days.  While the three identified animals of Daniel 7 are all unclean, and also carnivorous.  Outside Daniel they are still animals that can be used symbolically, but when contrasted in how Daniel is divided, they reflect 7 being less Levitical then 8 at the very least.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A theory about the Death of James The Just, The brother of Jesus

According to a passage found in existing manuscripts of Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews, (xx.9) "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" met his death after the death of the procurator Porcius Festus, yet before Lucceius Albinus took office (Antiquities 20,9) — which has been dated to 62 A.D.. The High Priest Hanan ben Hanan (Anani Ananus in Latin) took advantage of this lack of imperial oversight to assemble a Sanhedrin (although the correct translation of the Greek synhedion kriton is "a council of judges"), who condemned James "on the charge of breaking the law," then had him executed by stoning. Josephus reports that Hanan's act was widely viewed as little more than judicial murder and offended a number of "those who were considered the most fair-minded people in the City, and strict in their observance of the Law," who went as far as meeting Albinus as he entered the province to petition him about the matter. In response, King Agrippa II replaced Ananus with Jesus son of Damneus.

But early Christian tradition (recounted in Hegesippus as related by Eusebius) says James was thrown off the Temple in 66-70 AD.  Simeon becoming the second Bishop of Jerusalem is consistently dated to that time. Later post Constantine Christian historians tried awkwardly to reconcile these accounts.

Also, some skeptics of the Historicity of Jesus insist that "who was called Christ" is a latter addition not in Jospehus's original.

However, a poster on IMDB who's user name is austenw (who doesn't view The Bible to be inerrant) has an interesting theory that it's the name of James that was added latter.
 it's a matter of Greek grammar; the sentence reads:

    "Ananus ...brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was named Christ - James his name - and some others;"

In this quotation, blue = nominative (subject); red = accusative (object), green = genitive (possessive), purple = dative (a difficult one to define, but can be a bit like possessive).

Crucially, the words "his name, James" in the nominative, does not fit into the architecture of the sentence; it could be removed without altering the grammar whatsoever, between the two accusatives "the brother" and "some others".

More importantly, however, the "traditional" theory - that the name James is original and the reference to Jesus is the interpolation - simply can't be correct, because were this to be so, then "James" would have had to have originally been in the accusative, or else he wouldn't have been knit into the architecture of the sentence at all, and the "[was] his name" would have been entirely redundant. This means that the supposed interpolator would have had to go to the trouble of changing a perfectly acceptable accusative case for "James" to the nominative case, and adding "his name", and for no reason whatsoever. Why bother to do this, when he could simply have added the clause "the brother (accusative).. etc", after the name?

However, if "James [was] his name" was originally a marginal note - written in the nominative, playing no grammatical part within the sentence - all makes sense. A later scribe included the marginal note, verbatim, in the only place he could - after the words "the brother of Jesus called Christ" - since nowhere else would have done.
 So basically that would mean it was possibly another Brother of Jesus (not named by Josephus) who was stoned in 62 A.D.

Two of Jesus half brothers are known to have served as Bishop of Jerusalem. first James from the beginning of the Church until whenever he died. Then Simon from around 69 (Traditions agree he became Bishop just before the Destruction of the Second Temple) till 107 A.D.

We don't know much about Joses or Jude however.  Jude we know had later descendants, two grandchildren who were alive during the reign of Domitian, and Judah Kyriakos who was the last Bishop of Jerusalem. Though the start of his period as bishop of Jerusalem is not known, Judah is said to have lived beyond the Bar Kokhba revolt (132-136), up to about the eleventh year of Antoninus Pius (148 A.D.) though Marcus was appointed bishop of Aelia Capitolina in 135 by the Metropolitan of Caesarea.

Matthew 27:56 refers to some of the Women at the Cross when Jesus was crucified.  "Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children."  Mark 15:40-161 refers to the same first two women, but the third is simply a woman named Salome, (the only time that name is used in the New Testament).  Luke doesn't name the women at all.  John's Gospel in chapter 19 alone informs us clearly that Mary the Mother of Jesus was there, while also telling us her sister was there.

Joses is a shortened form of Joseph.  The only other Joseph refereed to as Joses in The Gospels is the half-brother of Jesus (and an ancestor of Jesus in Luke's genealogy).  At face value John's Gospel is the only one that obviously tells us the Mother of Jesus was among those women.  John also tells us she had a Sister.  I believe the Sister of Mary mother of Jesus, Salome from Mark's account, and the Mother of Zebedee's children are all the same individual.

I think in Matthew and Mark, the Mary mother of James and Joses is the same as the Mother of Jesus, but why is she not refereed to as such?  Maybe because of the events of Matthew 12-13 and Mark 6 the narrative voice ceases to refer to Jesus biological relatives as such after he effectively temporarily disowns them.

Why name only two of her four other Sons?  Who knows, but in Mark later references to clearly the same Woman refer to only one.  James and Joses are the two oldest in the list of Jesus brothers.

As far as the more popular view of making the mother of James and Joses the same as Mary the Wife of Cleophas/Clopas.  Cleophas/Clopas I feel is likely the disciple (probably one of the 70 but not one of the 12) Cleopas from Luke 14, the Road to Emmaus.  He's probably the same generation as the 12.

That view conflicts with making this person the same as the Alpheaus who is the father of the James and Jude among the 12.  Cleopas being a parent of any among the 12 is unlikely.  The tradition making Clopas the brother of Joseph has it's origin among those early fathers seeking to deny the siblings of Jesus were of Mary.

Certain authors devising alternative history theories have sought to say that Joseph of Arimathea was and uncle of Jesus, and one that he was the same person as James the half-brother of Jesus.  Logically it would make more sense if you want to make him a half-brother of Jesus to go with Joses.

Joseph of Arimathea is introduced in essentially the same narrative that deals with the Women at the Cross.  I think it would make sense to use the full name when referring to him and the shortened form when referring to someone else as a relative of him.  The last verse of Mark 15 refers to Mary only as the mother of Joses while finishing the narrative of Joseph of Airmathea arranging the burial of Jesus.

There is the also fact that this responsibility Joseph of Arimathea takes, burying the body, is one that in Jewish Custom belonged to the nearest living relatives.

The only problem with that theory is that the traditional assumption is none of Jesus brothers became Believers till after the Resurrection.  We know none were when John 7 occurs, half a year before the Crucifixion.  That fact refutes any theory reliant on making any of the 12 Disciples the same as any of the people refereed to as his siblings (a strategy used by some both for and against them being children of Mary).

But a lot can change in 6-7 months.

He could have moved from Nazareth to Arimathea (I agree with the theory that NT Arimathea is one of the OT Ramah or Ramaths), sometime after their father died.

If Joses was Joseph of Airmathea then he was in the Sanhedrin.  Antiquities 20.9 does not explicitly say this half brother of Jesus was a Sanhedrin member, but the over all theme of Josephus in depicting these murders leading up to 70 AD is about people that were prominent but against doing a violent revolution against Rome.

Catholics like to argue the references to these four brothers and unnamed sisters are using the words loosely, referring to cousins or close friends or something.  The Greek words for brother and sister are sometimes used in similar senses, I've seen interesting theories about Lazarus, Martha and Mary of Bethany, but context tells us the difference.

Mark 6 is about contrasting a strict literal definition to one that widens it.  As I said above Jesus effectively disowns His biological family who didn't yet believe in Him, and said His true family are those who believe in Him.

And if the New Testament writers felt this word for brother could apply to a cousin, as is popularly suggested.  Why not use it of John The Baptist, who is more undisputedly then anyone else in The Gospel narrative a cousin of Jesus?  Maybe they'd say he's not a first cousin, he'd be second at the closest.

There is strong evidence in my view, already laid out, that the mother of the Sons of Zebedde was Mary's sister named Salome.  Maybe they'll argue the difference is being Pater-Lineal cousins?  But the argument for making them that is very weak and mostly dependent on making some of them among the 12, which as I showed can't be done.

Another attempt to reconcile this with the perpetual virginity heresy is to say they are sons Joseph had by a different wife.  Because these same people are uncomfortable with acknowledging polygamy still went on in Judaism at this time, they insist a wife who died before he married Mary.  But if Jesus isn't the First-Born Son legally to both parents then He isn't the rightful Heir to David.  Yes a younger son superseding the actual First-Born is a common theme in Scripture, but if Jesus were an example of that the Gospel writers, especially Matthew, wold have stressed it.  Those supercedings happen to help show how God doesn't really care about the formalities of The Law.  But Jesus himself had to be a perfect fulfillment of The Law.

The wording in Mark 6 of "the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him."  Starts with Mary and doesn't even mention Joseph (who is generally theorized to have died by then).  That tells me these siblings are siblings via being also sons and daughters of that same Mary.

Some will use that James the Brother of Jesus is called an Apostle by Paul in Galatians to prove he's one of the 12.  I already showed why these individuals can't be counted among the 12.  Apostle applied to any eye witness of the Resurrection.  Which is why Paul used it of himself calling himself the last Apostle.  And in Roman 16 identifies as among the Apostles a couple not even mentioned anywhere else in Scripture.

Matthew 1:25 says of Joseph.  "And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son." This verse isn't just saying he didn't know her before, it also clearly tells us he did know her after.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sundown tonight is the Feast of Trumpets

We're not in the 70th Week yet since The Temple isn't rebuilt.  So I'm not predicting anything will happen.

But it's an interesting time to pay attention to.

When is the Seventh Trumpet?

I've talked extensively about why I hold a Seventh Trumpet view of the Rapture.  But now I want to address those who see the Rapture and the Parusia in the same parts of Revelation I do, but because they're Post-Trib insist that happens at the end, after numerous things Revelation doesn't describe till latter.

I actually don't want to retread the general arguments about the way Post-Tribbers garble the chronology of Revelation.  I've spoken on them some already.  And others supporting different rapture views do it a lot.

I want to address simply one detail in the Seventh Trumpet account itself they see as insisting it can only be placed at the very end of everything that happens.
"The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever."
In Revelation 11:15.  They insist this must mean it's sounded right when The Millennium begins.

What's amusing is these are Premillennial  Futurists making the same basic error Preterists and Amillennials make about various things Jesus said in The Gospels, or the End of Revelation when he says he's coming quickly.

John 12:13 "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out."

No Futurist thinks that actually happened at that time in it's apparent face value assumption.  Satan remains the Prince of This World right now.

While I disagree with a lot of things taught at Nomadic Ministry (like his form of Dual Covenant theology, which influences how he sees certain things in this same chapter).  I will quote what he has to say on this detail.
We start out after the trumpet it sounded and a loud voice proclaims that the world has become the kingdom of our Messiah. It is at this point that God takes over the scene and really starts hammering down the judgment that those who are truly left behind deserve. Before this, I believe, the devil was still being given his dominion to work chaos and discord throughout the world. After this trumpet is sounded God takes the forefront and controls the story from here on out.
 So this one statement certainly does not prove the Post-Trib view.

Post-Tribbers have many points they view as a start over point.  There are no Chapter or Verse divisions in the original text, as I've pointed out elsewhere, the Greek word rendered "and" at the beginning of Revelation 12 demands that that vision is still part of the 7th Trumpet event.  And reading on in Chapter 12 it's clear then that 1260 days at least are still left when the 7th Trumpet is sounded.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Almah means Virgin

Almah is the word translated Virgin in the KJV of Isaiah 7:14.  Bible Skeptics like to assert this is a mis-translation (that had it's origin in the Septuagint).  That it really means "young woman", and that if Isaiah meant Virgin he'd have used Bethulah.

If Isaiah meant only a "young woman" and nothing more, he could have just used the word Na'arah.  At any-rate the typical non Christian view of this prophecy is it's referring to Isaiah or The King's Wife, in which case it should have used a word for Wife.

Almah is the more rarely used word.  That itself suggests it has the more specific meaning.

There is no place where Almah is used that you can prove the woman refereed to is not a Virgin.  With Bethulah it's questionable a couple times it's used.  Like Isaiah 47 using it of symbolic Babylon, in Chapter 23 of Isaiah as well where Tyre is the Bethulah daughter of Zidon.  But those are poetic rather then literal contexts (they refer to cities and/or their populations, not individuals), so more or less irrelevant to how to generally define the word.

Some will use certain outside The Bible uses of words similar to Bethulah in other Semitic languages like Akkadian or Aramaic to prove it's lack of virginity.  Words in similar languages are similar but still different, and besides those examples they use come from bizarre Pagan myths where words are often used in ways that contradict their proper meaning, or at least bend it.  Regardless there is in fact no proof that Anath was ever viewed as Baal's wife, that's just something people like to infer. 

Both are used of Rebekkah in Genesis 24, seemingly as synonyms.  Na'arah is also used of her.

Those who take the apologetic approach of saying it's Bethluah that doesn't always mean virgin (or skeptics trying to argue neither means it, and virginity can only be clearly expressed in the negative), will say that immediately after Rebecca is called a Bethulah it then says she "has not known a man" as proof that Bethulah alone doesn't communicate virginity.  When she's later called an Almah no such explanation is needed.

There are actually many reasons why I feel Genesis 24 is a perfect examples of how The Holy Spirit is often redundant for the sake of emphasis (go over it and be amazed at how much exposition and dialogue is repeated).  Plus, I know many times in English people have said something like "A virgin who has never known a man".

Given the theory I shall develop by the end of this study.  I do think it's possible that many not yet married young women still living in their father's house were assumed to be a Bethulah whether they were one or not, or even sometimes called that out of respect even if they really weren't.  But Almah means something much more specific, and no woman who has had intercourse would ever be mistakenly called an Almah.

I feel like it's logical to conclude that if there is a difference between the two words, that all Almahs are Bethulahs but not necessarily all Bethulah's are Almahs.  But even if the opposite were the case it would still mean most likely that neither have had sex with any man.  They are most certainly not mutually exclusive words.

It is true that neither word has strictly the modern notion of virginity in mind.  But also both definitely mean a lack of sexual experience with men.

It could be used against it meaning Virgin that Almah is not used in Deuteronomy 22, which is perceived as one of the definitive Bible passage on the subject of Virginity.  I will be doing a study on that on my other blog in the future, where I argue it's not a good idea to define virginity off that chapter.

The fact that the word for virginity comes from Bethulah does suggest that it's the word you use of a virgin if that's the only characteristic you want to communicate.  Being an Almah I think is about more then that but also definitely includes that.

I don't want to retread too much of what other apologetic material on this subject has gone over.  Like "how could just any young woman conceiving be a sign?"

But I will again recommend against using the Septuagint.  There is evidence it was changed by Christians, and at any rate the skeptical argument is frequently that the Septuagint is the origin of the error.  I for one don't believe Matthew was using the Septuagint, he originally wrote in Hebrew.

If you continue to insist the word Almah has no implied lack of sex with men, read Proverbs 30:18-19.
"There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid."
In all of these poetic idioms the latter is something the former cannot penetrate.  In fact I've seen people use this passage to build an argument that the word implies as lack of sexual desire for men (A full six on the Kinsey scale Lesbian, a virgin in the sense of virgin as code for Lesbian, or maybe an asexual woman).  My one problem with that is it could lend itself to support the Catholic perpetual virginity argument.  Point is, this verse strongly supports that the word implies lack of sexual intimacy with men.

There is also Elem, a word that is the grammatically masculine form of Almah.  It is used even more rarely, only twice ("young man" in 1 Samuel 20:22 and "stripling" in 1 Samuel 17 56, KJV renderings).  In one it's describing David just after he killed Goliath.  No way to know if these men were truly male virgins, but they do seem to have both been unmarried at the time in question.

People have tried to use Almah's connection to this word to say it means a masculine or androgynous woman in some way.  But this word is rarely used and not even similar to the standard Hebrew words for masculinity.  A Feminine form of Zakar would be the better method to communicate that.  Elem is grammatically masculine and used to describes male individuals, but masculine is not what it means.

The verb root from which both words are derived in Alam, Strongs number 5956.  It means to veil from sight or to hide or conceal.  Symbolically a woman wearing a veil often represents her virginity.  The word is often translated by the KJV as words like secret, hide, hidden, hidest, hideth.  All could speak to the notion that a woman's virginity is something to be kept.  That a virgin has not "known a man".

Maybe the sense of being hidden also fits connecting it to a non hetero-normative sexual orientation?  Maybe Elems and Almahs were both "in the closet" so to speak?

I want to point out a detail I feel is frequently overlooked but very interesting.  Exodus 2 is the Nativity of Moses, a story many Christians see as foreshadowing the Nativity narrative of Matthew.  Or to the skeptics point of view, that Matthew drew inspiration from.

Exodus 2:7-8
Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?"  And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go". And the maid went and called the child's mother.
The word translated "maid" here is Almah in the Hebrew.  And to help you avoid confusion, this is the only time Exodus 2 uses Almah, the words earlier translated maidens and maid are Na'arah and Amah a word for a maidservant/handmaiden.

We know elsewhere in scripture that the name of the sister of Moses and Aaron was Miriam.  So we have here the same controversial word used in Isaiah 7:14 applied to a young girl who's certainly a virgin that shares the same name as the mother of Jesus.

The three out of seven uses of the word that remain, are the only three times it's plural.

Song of Solomon 6:8 is the one verse people might try to use against it meaning virgin, since Almahs are depicted among Solomon's harem.  They are distinct from the queens (malkah) and concubines, while in Kings and Chronicles all 1000 women of Solomon's harem were either princesses (sarah) or concubines.

It's likely that these are either women he's betrothed to but hasn't married yet, as Mary was when she conceived.  And/Or since his Harem was so large, women he's legally married but hasn't gotten around to consummating yet.  Clearly many of Solomon's marriages were purely political in nature and perhaps never meant to be truly consummated at all.  And since he is only known to have had three children (Rehoboam and two daughters) as opposed to both David before and Rehoboam after who we are told fathered a lot.  It could make sense that the majority of his "wives" were actually virgins.

Again, that option could be used by Catholics to support a perpetual virginity argument, but I can refute that on the end of Matthew 1 and the references to Jesus half-siblings alone.  And it does look like Mary and Joseph were formally married before she gave birth showing that Almah could still apply to a married woman for whom the consummation is for some reason being delayed.

Song of Solomon 1:3 seems to demonstrate how uniquely attractive The Beloved is by saying that even the Almahs liked him.  This could be a hyperbolic compliment from the Bride that may not even be literally true.  We are dealing with a poetic book here.

This could fit what I said before about how some have speculated the word could be affiliated with Lesbianism.   There is only one disclaimer I'd give to considering that possibility.

Even if some or many or most Almahs were homosexual, bisexual, polysexual, pansexual, or asexual women, the usage of Almah in key places like Proverbs still tells me that a woman ceases to be an Almah once she's had penetrative potentially reproductive intercourse.  A Woman's sexual orientation however would not change simply because of that.

One more usage of the word remains.  Psalm 68:25.  "The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels."

Psalm 68 is a psalm that is often viewed as looking back on the time just after the Exodus and the beginning of the 40 years in the wilderness.  Exodus 15:20-21 also refers to Timbrels.
And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.  And Miriam answered them, "Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea."
So, we have come back to Miriam, the Sister of Moses.

Josephus says Miriam married Hur, but a Targum says she was the mother of Hur, trying to make her the same person as Ephrath.  Those are later traditions that are rather contrived, going off Scripture alone, Miriam seems to have never married.

Exodus says "all the women" joined in the dancing and the timbrel playing.  Certainly not all the women were Virgins.  But Psalm 68 is being poetic not strictly literal, Miriam is leading this, so it's describing them all in terms that apply to Miriam.

There is also a Hebrew name derived from Almah.  Alamoth, used in 1 Chronicles 15:20 and Psalm 46:1.  Putting a Teth at the end of a word makes it a feminine plural.

In both those verses the KJV translates it as a name, but it seems like maybe that's not how it's actually being used, both are in contexts talking about musicians.  There is certainly nothing to contradict it being affiliated with virginity.

Jeremiah 31:4 refers to a Bethulah dancing with Tabrets (same word translated Timbrels), perhaps showing the two can be synonyms sometimes.  Nahum 2:7 refers to Amahs (Maid servants) using them.

Judges 11:34 also affiliated Timbrel playing with the daughter of Jephthah, who we know was a virgin even though a word for virgin was never applied to her.  Just the word for virginity.

A note about the daughter of Jephthah, Judges 11:37-28 uses Strong number 7464, Reah, the KJV translates it companions and fellows.  The word in Hebrew is specifically feminine, it refers to female friends or companions.

Ancient Israel certainly did not have a status of ceremonial virgins comparable to the Roman Vestal Virgins or Catholic Nuns.  Nor to the Greek ceremonial virgins affiliated with Artemis or Athena.  But I am getting the impression, from the places where it's used in plural and affiliated with musicians.  That maybe there was a special Virgin status or community in ancient Israel.

A Bethulah is any woman who is a virgin because she hasn't yet married or known a man.  An Almah was someone who's virginity was more apart of her identity.  All Almahs were Bethulahs, but not all Bethulahs were Almahs.  And sometimes the text may not even use Almah if it's referring to an Almah, like possibly with the daughter of Jephthah.

But I don't think an Almah vow was required to be, or even usually expected to be for life.  (Just as the Nazarite vow could be for life but didn't need to be).  Jephthah's daughter however likely became an exception to that because of his rash vow.  I agree with the apologists who argue that she was not sacrificed but merely forfeited her potential to produce an heir for Jephthah.  When someone has no sons only daughters his inheritance could pass through a daughter thanks the law created for The Daughters of Zelophehad, discussed in Numbers 26:33, 27, 36, Joshua 17 and 1 Chronicles 7.

Some apocryphal legends like the Protoevangelion of James do allude to Mary holding something like a Temple Virgin status.That particular work however supports the heretical Perpetual Virginity view.

The only way an Almah could be maybe sometimes not a Bethulah is if in addition to a presumption of virginity Bethulah inferred a young woman still living in her father's house, which seems plausible. While an Almah isn't necessarily but still could be.

The assumption that the meaning of Almah implies youth I find not workable from the break down I already did of it's etymology.  Plus that it is effectively still used of Miriam the sister of Moses when she was over 80.

Many other Christians defending that it means Virgin have argued Almah implies still living in her father's house.  However in addition to being connected to Miriam at a time when her father was certainly long dead.  Song of Solomon applies it to women that are to some extent already in Solomon's Harem.

We feel the need to do this because we keep assuming Mary was still under her father's roof at the Annunciation.  But nothing in Matthew or Luke mentioned her father in the narrative (I do firmly believe however that he is the Heli of Luke 3's genealogy).  While such a thing happening at all was rare, she could have been living on her own.  Maybe her father and mother died already, maybe she was older then we usually assume.  Maybe Almah in part refers to women who even if they eventually did marry wanted to be independent of that obligation.

You may ask "If Almah refers to a special vow or calling, wasn't Miriam awfully young in Exodus 2 to already have such a status?"  Once again, we need to stop always picturing The Ten Commandments when we read Exodus.  We have no idea how old Miriam was.  Moses was newly born and Aaron was 3 years older then Moses.  Miriam seems to be the oldest, and plenty of times a family may wind up having a decade or more between children.  I think it's plausible she could have chosen to become or identify as an Almah at as young as 12.  She died 11 months before Moses did at 120, so if she were 12 years older then him, she lived to 131, impressive, but only a year older then Jehoiada.

But also it's the narrative voice calling her an Almah in Exodus 2, so it could have been doing so retroactively.

Is it possible the Almah status appealed to many women who sexually and/or romantically preferred the company of other women to men?  As well as asexual women?  I think that's highly probable, the ancient world didn't define sexual orientation how we do today.  And contrary to popular opinion, The Bible does not condemn homosexuality.

If this theory about what an Almah refers to is true.  It's perhaps notable that there is no proof the word is ever used of any gentile.  The closest we get to a possible example of that is Song of Solomon inferring Almahs were in Solomon's Harem. And that is only because 1 Kings 11 makes it seem like he only married foreign wives.  But 1 Kings 11 is focusing on what it needs to to make it's point.

Perhaps all of the events linked to The Rapture happen over a Period of Days

I've discussed elsewhere how only The Trumpet and the Resurrection happens In the Twinkling of an eye.

I notice that the first part of Revelation 14 sees the 144,000 in their Resurrected states but still standing on The Earth on Mt.Zion. (correction, I now view this as being the Heavenly Zion, the Rapture was in Chapter 12).

I see many reasons to place the Seventh Trumpet sounding on the First of Tishri.  Among the things that happens after the 7th Trumpet is sounded is The Temple being opened in heaven and the Ark being seen.  Yom Kippur on the 10th of Tishri was the only day the High Priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies and see the Ark.

The concept of Yom Kuppor is first introduced in Leviticus 16.

In Verse 2.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.
Cloud imagery, interesting in light of Revelation 14, and other Parusia passages.

I also think about how Pre-Tribbers and Pre-Wrathers think wearing White Robes in Revelation 7 means the Multitude is already Resurrected.  But I think Revelation 14 has more indisputable Resurrection terminology.

Leviticus 16 also tells us how Aaron had to put on a special purified Linen Robe before entering The Holy Place on Yom Kippur in verse 4.  But down in verse 23 "And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there:"

I think the White Robe represent temporary garments worn only while unresurrected.  But they'll be left behind before the High Priest leaves The Temple.  Like the cloth Jesus was buried in.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Desire of Women

Daniel 11:37, is nearly universally agreed by Pre-Millennial Futurists to be about The Antichrist.
"Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all."
What is meant by "the desire of women" here is perhaps the most cryptic mystery of this verse.  No identical phrase seems to appear anywhere else in Scripture.

There are two very popular wrong views about this phrase, which derive from a similar bad reading.  That it means he's a Homosexual, or that it means he's a Misogynist.

The latter is usually only argued for by those focused on a Mahdi theory, but even back when I was leaning towards the Madhi view I never considered that argument plausible.  The former happens to fit in with the other great Boogeyman modern Evangelical Christians are afraid of, western liberals.  There are of course LGBT individuals and supporters who are politically "Conservative" in other areas, like Log Cabin Republicans, and Libertarians.

Even if the phrase implied a lack of sexual desire for Women, that doesn't leave Homosexuality as the only option, it could also mean Asexual.  But that's not what the phrase means.  If it was meant to say that it would have said he doesn't desire women.

The grammar is about something women desire, which equally invalidates both those false conclusions.

I agree with both Chuck Missler and Chris White that "The Desire of Women" is a Messianic Title.  And with White that "the God of His Fathers" is The God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.  I agree with White's Antichrist Theory in terms of the first half of the 70th Week, but not the second half and his related Pre-Wrath suppositions.  The Willful King will disregard the True Messiah by claiming the title for himself.

The word "Desire" being used in a title for The Messiah has a precedent in Haggai 2:7 "And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts."

The beginning of Messianic Prophecy, in fact all Prophecy, is Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
The promise of The Seed of The Woman. 

Later we have Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Luke 1:41-45
 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.  And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.  And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord."
And at the center of this theme is Revelation 12, where The Woman gives birth to The Man Child.
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.  And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.  And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 
So "The Desire of Women" is clearly Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The True Identity of The False Prophet

I've discussed The False Prophet's possible ties to other Bible Prophecy, and the nature of his Signs and Wonders, as well as who he might claim to be.  Now I shall speculate on who he really is.

The term "Son of Perdition" is used only twice, the 2 Thessalonians 2 passage that's been important to this study is the second.  You'll recall I argued that the "Son of Perdition" could be the second Beast rather then the first.

The first was John 17:12 where it refers to Judas Iscariot. Because of that many have taught that Judas is the Antichrist. This ties in with the statement about Judas being sent to "his own place" after he died, possibly meaning the Abyss.

But to me Judas being The First Beast isn't possible because Judas was not a King in a succession of Seven Kings.  (I also partly feel it's important that both the death and resurrection of The Beast is witnessed by the 70th week World.)  But since I've already argued Paul's "Son of Perdition" might actually be the Second Beast rather then The First.  I notice that those issues are not a problem with Judas being The False Prophet.

There are two Old Testament prophecies cited in the New Testament as referring to Judas, yet when read in their entire context seem much grander then just Judas as we normally think of him, (and have been interpreted as referring to The Antichrist independently of noting their Judas connection). Psalm 109 (in Acts 1:20), and Zechariah 11 (in Matthew 27:9).  The latter has also already been relevant to this study.

Zechariah 11:17 calls him "the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock", sounds like it could connect to the same terminology as the verse where Jesus calls Judas the Son of Perdition. "I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.". This is a strong verse on Eternal Security, but Judas is sort of the exception that proves the rule, and his being lost is a fulfillment of prophecy.

Psalm 109 actually has three evil personages in mind, the subject of the Psalm (Who we are told is Judas) and verse 6 says "Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand." Could it be another picture of the counterfeit Trinity?

In John 6:70 Jesus refers to Judas as "a Devil" (after saying He Chose him). In the Greek this is Diabolos, any time you see references to people being possessed by "a devil" "devils", or any references to plural "devils" the Greek is Daimon or Daimonian. This is the only time Diabolos refers to anyone other then Satan himself, but in reference to Satan it's always "the Devil" not "a Devil" so this is very unique.

Revelation 13 says of the Beast out of The Earth "he spake as a dragon", the dragon in mind here is almost certainly The Dragon. Judas is the only person who is known to have been indwelt by Satan himself, (Luke 22:3 and John 13:27). So he could easily speak with his voice.

Judas had the ability to perform miracles, just like the False Prophet will do. In Matthew 10:1-8 the Disciples (all of the Twelve are listed, including Judas) are given the power to perform miracles. Even tough Judas wasn't really saved he could perform divine miracles, including healing and raising the dead.   In this period they'll be Satanic miracles rather then divine as in Matthew 10, but the point is Judas has experience in doing this.

In Revelation 13:13 he can make "fire come down from heaven on the earth". Satan had this ability in Job:12. But Luke 9:51-56 implies this was also in the arsenal of the Twelve, though Jesus rebuked John and James then for desiring to use it in that way.  Chris White considers that miracle the key clue to who the False Prophet claims to be, why not consider it also a clue to who he really is?  Judas as one of the 12 is the only unsaved Human outside Revelation ever even remotely attributed this power.

The Second Beast isn't just the religious leader, he's also in charge of the new economy. In Revelation 13:16-17 we're told he makes everyone get The Mark and requires them to need it to buy or sell. John 12:6 tells us Judas was in charge of the moneybag during Jesus' ministry, he was their treasurer.

Judas "hanged himself" the same day Jesus was crucified. Different means of execution (the Greek term here is precise, it refers to hanging with a rope to cause strangulation), that can both fit the description of "hanged on a tree" (Deuteronomy 21:23). The First Resurrection began with Jesus, so perhaps likewise the Second Resurrection will begin with Judas.

 It's popular today to view Judas sympathetically, as someone doomed by fate, and as someone probably forgiven for what he did. The Bible definitely paints him as a Villain however.

I'm not saying it's evil to sympathize with him at all, he was human and I wouldn't want movies to make him a 1 dimensional mustache twirling villain.  But remember that he was motivated by Greed.  He was not a disillusioned revolutionary like many movies have chosen to paint him.

Jesus Christ Superstar was a popular Musical, the writer of which said once his agenda was to show Jesus as "just a a messed up dude like Judas", meaning to show Jesus as human but not divine. That is the Antichrist Hersey on it's own, but on an esoteric level I noticed something.  It does not carry the story to Jesus Resurrection, but it does have Judas sing a song after he hung himself (the title track).  In the first movie version of it, this sequence began with Judas clothed in white descending from heaven hanging onto a star.

The only Biblical basis to try and claim Judas was redeemed is Matthew 27:3 "Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself". First Repentance is not synonymous with Salvation, even those who erroneously think it's required for Salvation view it as only a first step. But also this word in the Greek is similar to but different from the usual word(s) for repentance which mean a change of mind. Metamellomai (met-am-el'-lom-ahee), simply means he was regretful.

Why he regretted it is not necessarily because he felt guilty. All the immediate text tells us is that "he saw that he was condemned", which could mean a number things, not liking how others view him, or it could simply refer to the outcome of what he did not being what he expected. But even so, feeling guilty isn't enough, what saves you is placing your Faith in Jesus.

Some of the Judas is the Antichrist theorists have suggested that what happened at Gethsemane was not what he planned, that he did not expect Jesus to simply willingly hand himself over. After all Satan's previous attempts to kill Him Jesus had averted somehow. It's been suggested that Satan didn't know yet there would be two Advents.

Now, "that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet" is not a contradiction, first off there is a connection to Jeremiah 32:6-9.  Second, chapters 9-14 of Zachariah unlike the earlier chapters do not begin with Zachariah identifying himself, it's possible he was recording additional prophecies of Jeremiah that he gave after his own Book was finished, and that weren't scribed by Baruch accounting for a different literary style.

Now as for the supposed contradiction in how Judas died. I'm not entirely sure what I do think, but viewing them as somehow irreconcilable is absurd given the lack of detail both verses have.

Matthew 27:5 simply says "And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself." It actually does not say he died here at all, lots of attempted self hangings fail, it's kind of the easiest form of suicide to botch.

But all Luke says in Acts 1:18 is "this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out." This could mean the rope broke and he fell. It's possible Luke intended here a Poetic connection to a parable he recorded Jesus saying in Luke 5:36-39.
 And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.  And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.  But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.  No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.
What's Interesting is that Acts 1:18 implies Judas himself bought the field, while Matthew 27 says the Priests did. But that's not a big deal, the money was still legally Judas's, that's the point of what the Priests did with it.

Zachariah 11 is a very cryptic Prophecy. And without the help of the New Testament it's not necessarily clear who will throw the money, and it's possible many Rabbis did indeed assume it was the Good Shepard. So the theory of some is that when Judas threw the money he expected the Priests to interpret it as fulfilling that prophecy. And that now Satan had figured out that the Messiah had to be "hung on a tree" and that Judas was intentionally making a last minute ploy to set himself up as a False Messiah.

If as I suggested in part 3 of this study, The False Prophet claims to be Jesus.  Judas would have an advantage in pulling that illusion off, he too was a first century AD Judean male of probably about the same age.  He also interacted with the man he'd be seeking to imitate.  But it wouldn't be impossible for such an individual to pass as Elijah either, fitting Chris White's theory.

Another purely conjectural note.  What if the False Prophet as a fake Jesus chooses to incorporate a claim that certain heresies have made about Jesus having children who became ancestral to various Royal Houses is true?  Easy enough claim to make, but what if he offers to prove it via a DNA test?  Remembering that Psalm 109 is about Judas, it also tells us he had a wife and children.  Maybe he helped sire the bloodline(s) claimed to be from Jesus?

I no longer view the Islamic Antichrist theory as being likely to be how things play out.  But I do still hold that the Mahdi is among many false Prophecies Satan inspired for the purpose of being possible avenues for The Antichrist.

Part of that theory is seeing Isa as the False Prophet.  It is also well known how the Koran is interpreted at one point as claiming Jesus wasn't on the Cross but was switched with someone.  Well the apocryphal Gospel of Barnabas (not to be confused with his also falsely attributed Epistle) seems to, in the form of it we have, be a pseudo Proto-Islamic text, claiming to foretell Mohamed by name, and agreeing with many Islamic ideas like Ishmael over Issac.  In this Gospel of Barnabas the person who was on the cross instead of Jesus was Judas, which is potentially interesting.

Who will The False Prophet claim to be?

This is a continuation of my False Prophet Study.

I believe during the first  half of and/or before The 70th Week that the Antichrist will be claiming to be, or be claimed to be, Messiah Ben-Joseph.  This agrees in part with Chris White's view.  But I also have a lot of problems with White's view.

Part of that theory as White presents it has The False Prophet be a counterfeit Elijah.  The main clue pointing to that being the one miracle directly linked to him being also linked to Elijah, calling fire down form Heaven.  Which is also usually cited as one of the reasons we know one of the Two Witnesses in chapter 11 is Elijah, because they do something similar.

That could be correct, but I have another theory I think it more likely.  I'm not dogmatic about it however.

First off I talk about what goes on with the Signs and Wonders of Revelation 13 here.  Also fire from heaven isn't unique to Elijah, we know it's one of the abilities Jesus gave the 12 the Authority to perform from Luke 9:54.

White also makes it sound like Rabbinic Jews expect Elijah to resurrect Messiah Ben-Joseph.   There is only one very obscure Rabbinic reference giving credence to that, and it's based on identifying Messiah Ben Joseph with the individual Elijah already resurrected during his first ministry.  That's not compatible with how The Antichrist deception will play out in my or White's understanding of the Mid-70th Week drama.  The far vaster and more universal expectation is that Messiah Ben-David resurrects Ben-Joseph.

If you're convinced by all the other arguments for him trying to convince Jews he's the Jewish Messiah, then of course an Elijah claimant must play some role.  But there are three other ways that could fit in.

1. The horns affiliated with the first beast we know represent 10 other distinct individuals linked to The Beast.  But generally no one considers that the two "lamb like horns" of the second beast could be the same.  I think it's possible they could be two proto-False Prophets counterfeiting the Two Witness.  Maybe these are among the False Prophets of Matthew 24:11, and it's not till verses 23 and 24 that the Two Beasts show up and are added to the list.

2. Yair Davidy of Britam is among those Rabbinic Jews who actually believe ideas similar to British Israelism.  And he ties Messiah Ben-Joseph into that.  I've actually had a few brief email exchanges with him, I asked if anyone has considered that Elijah and Messiah Ben-Jospeh could be the same, since Elijah probably was tribally of either Manasseh or Ephraim.  And he said yes, that is a possibility some Rabbis have considered.

And among those Christians who have accepted the Messiah Ben-Joseph concept, they usually read him into Revelation as one of The Witnesses.  Because of the parallel of Ben-Joseph laying dead in the streets of Jerusalem for a period of time before being resurrected.

Meanwhile some commentators on Revelation have suggested both Beasts are the Evil Counterparts of the Two Witnesses.

So, especially looking at my thoughts on how the miracles might play out, maybe before he outright deifies himself The Antichrist claims to be Elijah?  Most likely in the same sense John The Baptist is viewed as Elijah?

3.  In my Four Horsemen study, I suggest that the person who becomes The Beast might not even be evil at first.  Some Old Testament figures who become types of The Antichrist were indeed anointed by true Prophets of God, one specific example, Jehu, has an indirect connection to Elijah in his anointing.  So maybe we shouldn't rule out that The White Horseman will be supported by The Two Witnesses at first?

So those are the alternative ways Elijah could be accounted for in the coming deception.  Now as for my personal view on who The False Prophet claims to be.

Having "two horns like a lamb" is thought to support the idea of him claiming to be Jesus.

The word translated "lamb" here is used over 25 times in Revelation, this is the only time it's not in direct reference to Jesus. But it's not actually a lamb, it's "like a lamb". similar or resembling is what the Greek word here means. So some scholars (even without the intent of connection to any extra Biblical ideas I'll mention latter) have theorized that it's the second beast not the first who claims to be Jesus himself. This word occurs outside Revelation only once in John 21:15, and there it's in a different form, being the only time it's plural. It is not provable to be a perfect synonym of any other term Biblically.

Chris White feels two of the key miracles linked to Elijah being calling down fire and raising the dead is significant.  But both of those are linked to Jesus as well.

It's interesting that the only other place in The New Testament a specific individual is described with the term False Prophet, is Acts 13. And the name of this person is Bar-Jesus. Yeshua (transliterated Iesous into Greek and then Jesus in English via Latin) was a very common name in First century Judea. But the New Testament generally avoids referring to any other individuals with the same name as it's central character. This isn't the only exception (translations sometimes obscure that Barabas was forenamed Jesus), but it's an interesting thematic coincidence.

Some have cited Matthew 24:24 "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." As proving the False Prophets and false Messiahs are distinct.

First of all claiming to be Jesus doesn't necessarily mean claiming to be Messiah, it could be the point is claiming the Antichrist and not Jesus is The Messiah.

 But also Hebrew expression often lists synonyms next to each other like that. All True Prophets are Anointed of God and thus Messiahs. And Jesus is the "Prophet like unto Moses" which even some modern Rabbinic Jews claim to be Messianic.

 When False Prophets are paired with False Teachers in 2 Peter 2:1 there is more blatant justification for viewing them as different groups grammatically. Yet they're clearly not meant to be viewed as mutually exclusive. If you want to argue that they are, I'd just remind you of the Isaiah verse I quoted early on "prophet that teacheth lies".

 Why Two Horns? Lambs have horns, but they're very small and barely noticeable. No where outside Revelation does The Bible emphasize horns in a symbolic or literal description of lambs or sheep, or even acknowledge the possibly of them having horns. So when you see commentators say "two horns because that's the number a Lamb normally has".  That's true biologically, but doesn't have much Biblical precedent.

The only other Biblical reference to Lamb horns is in Revelation 5:6 "stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." So these false Lamb horns could equate to demonic spirits (and could connect to my theory elsewhere about them being proto false prophets, speaking by the power of those spirits). John as I'll mention later equates the "Spirit of Antichrist" with two linked yet technically different key heresies.

Some see a connection to Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."  Firstly the word for Sheep is not the same word as Lamb, in the Greek or in English.  Some use this against The False Prophet claiming to be Jesus, because here it means sheep as in how Christians are sheep, not Jesus himself. But he said wearing Sheep's clothing, that imagery is meant to make us think of a Shepherd.  Zachariah 11 and Ezekiel 34 speak of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Ezekiel speaks of multiple bad Shepherds, but Zachariah 11:16-17, says
"For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces.
Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened."
The key to me however is that IF one of the two beasts claims to be Jesus, it can only be the second. It is debatable on if Jesus saying "shall come in my name" means The Antichrist will claim he's Jesus, that could be a different study.  But why you ask do I think only the second beast can be claiming to be Jesus?

John's epistles define Antichrists and the Spirit of Antichrist as denying Jesus is God made Flesh, and denying the relationship of The Father and The Son.  NOT as denying Jesus existed, or denying he was good, or denying he was a wise teacher, or denying he was a Prophet, or The Messiah, or denying he performed miracles, or was born of a Virgin, or that he died and rose again, or denying he was without sin. It's defined as denying Jesus was the Son of God, or was God made Flesh.

We know from Revelation 13 the first beast is the one deified, the second is promoting him. So it can't fit the definition of Antichrist if the First is claiming also to be Jesus.  It'd still be heresy, but not the Antichrist heresy.

However it would in fact be the perfect manifestation of The Antichrist heresy, if THE Antichrist is actually Two Individuals.  One claiming to be Jesus and not God, and the other to be God and not Jesus.

Chris White's objection to The False Prophet claiming to be Jesus begins with the strawman that ONLY people focused on an Islamic Antichrist (Mahdi and Isa) theory make that argument.  I used to flirt with the Islamic theory, but I've since abandoned it.  But I like to remain open to all possibilities, since we will NOT know for certain who he is until The Abomination happens.

Just doing some casual searching on the subject, I know I found one site making this argument for a Vatican centered theory.  Another who said of the second beast description "this sounds like the gentle Jesus of liberal denominations", clearly he wasn't thinking of the Islamic Isa.

And one that didn't allude to what they felt the nature of the first beast was, or what false religion he'd be, but just arguing for The False Prophet as claiming to be Jesus to help arguing that The False Prophet really is who I will argue he is in the 4th part of this study.  But certain aspects of his argument differed from mine.

The Islamic theory isn't the only theory it works with.  It could lend itself well to a variation of White's own theory, because as I said Messiah Ben-David is who Rabbinic Jews expect to resurrect Messiah Ben-Joseph.  And a fake Jesus can very easily be claimed to be Messiah Ben-David, since that's one of the many things the Real Jesus is.

In fact I think the Islamic eschatological tradition was mostly plagiarizing the Mahdi from Ben-Joseph, simply changing which disinherited branch of the family of Abraham to prop up.  And gave the Ben-David role to Isa.  The extra-Biblical Christian concept of the Last Roman Emperor I feel also has that origin.

Mormonism btw is also guilty of The Antichrist heresy.  They can say they consider Jesus God, but they don't believe in the true Trinity, and their God the Father isn't even a truly monotheistic God, or the ultimate highest god of their cosmology.  None the less they do believe Jesus will return, and will Resurrect The Dead when he does.  And then they have their own Rider on a White Horse prophecy.  They've also hijacked the Rabbinic Messiah Ben-Joseph concept in their own weird way.

Another heresy being promoted today by Stephen Huller (a Frankist Jew) is laid out in his book The Real Messiah, and it's promotional blog.  In it he argues Jesus wasn't The Messiah (at least not of Daniel 9) but the forerunner.  And the real Messiah of Daniel 9 (he believes the details of Daniel 9 commonly linked to The Antichrist are in fact The Messiah also, and that there is no Antichrist) was King Herod Agrippa (he believes there was only one Agrippa and Josephus artificially divided them).  His timing of the 70 weeks agrees with Chris White's wrong view, that they point to 70 AD rather then 30.

His theory is very convoluted, and much of it easily debunk-able.  The most credible part of his argument is that there does seem to be over looked references to a Herod Agrippa being viewed as The Messiah.  Which is interesting in light of my view that the first Agrippa is a type of The Antichrist in Acts 12.

So the False Elijah theory could be true, but I think the False Jesus theory is more likely.  It's also not impossible he'd claim to be both in some fashion, a number of ways could be thought of to make that work.

The False Prophet outside Revelation

This shall be the first part of an ongoing study I shall do on the subject of The False Prophet.  The post I intend to be part 2 I actually posted a while go, with no long term plans for this subject in mind then.  I'll link to it at the end of this post.

The False Prophet is a key figure in The Book of Revelation, it's number three villain. "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet." Forming a sort of counterfeit Trinity. He's first clearly introduced as the "beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon." After Chapter 13 this figure is called The False Prophet.

The only reference to either of the Beasts prior to chapter 13 is chapter 11:7 "the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. " Chapter 17:8 makes the beast who " shall ascend out of the bottomless pit" synonymous with the Beast who has 7 heads and 10 horns, and thus the first Beast of chapter 13. But the symbolism of the Beast is complicated, the 7 headed 10 horned Beast represents the individual of the Antichrist but also his Empire, his political system. Which is the Roman Empire, the Fourth Beast of Daniel 7, which is now being rebuilt via the European Union but also via Western policy in the Middle East. The False Prophet as his both religious and economic overseer is part of that system, so you could argue during any section that seems to only have one of them The Beast could be seen as both together.

I also believe the "ascendeth out of the bottomless pit", to be a characteristic of his resurrection.  And based on both The beast and the False Prophet being cast into the Lake of Fire without dying first, I think it's possible that both individuals are early partakers of the Second Resurrection.

We commonly discuss a lot of verses outside Revelation that are presumed to be about The Antichrist. But I don't see any other verses commonly taken to refer to The False Prophet. False Prophets, plural, appear often as do False Christs. "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."-Matthew 24:24.

Many characters who serve as foreshadowings or prototypes of The Antichrist do have a False Prophet figure with them. Adonijah had Abiathar the Priest, Ahab had the unnamed False Prophet who had that dramatic scene with Micaiah. Also if you study the history of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabees, there is Menelaus, the Benjamite Apostate High Priest who presided over the worship of the Abomination of Desolation.  As Lionel Luthor said in season 2 episode 22 of Smallville "Every Author has his Merlin".

However, actual specific Prophecies of this figure outside Revelation are not well known. I have seen it suggested that maybe many Prophecies assumed to be about The Antichrist really refer to the False Prophet, or even that some refer to both together in some way. But those suggesting this usually don't  elaborate on it.

This apparent lack of reference outside Revelation was a problem for me.  I firmly believe Revelation does not really introduce anything entirely new, it unlocks the mysteries of what came before.

Then I noticed this little detail of Isaiah 9, in verses 14&15. "Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day. The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail." The word translated "ancient" really means "elder". So we have a political leader being paired with a lying prophet.

Small little reference, but once I had noticed this I started getting all kinds of ideas.

 Some interpret "out of the Earth" as meaning Jewish, while "out of the sea" for the first Beast means Gentile, based on Daniel 7:3. And bring that into how they interpret passages outside Revelation. Passages that seem to make him Jewish (chiefly John 5:43, to me this is hypothetical in context and thud not good to build doctrine on,) they assume to be the second beast.  And those that seem to make him gentile they assume the first.  I think that doctrinal assumption is hard to prove however.

I saw one study recently suggest the "He" of Daniel 9:27 is The False Prophet, not the first beast.  "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate".  They argued that Revelation 13 makes clear it's the second beast who actually sets up the Image and enforces it's worship.  My view on this verse has changed lately.

Key I think is II Thessalonians 2:3. No words are mistranslated here, but it's one of those occasions where the translators felt the need to change the order of the words for the sake of English grammar. Which is often needed, but here I would render it this way.
 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and the unveiling of the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition.
 It appears we have two titles of the Antichrist listed side by side. He had many titles, often more then one used in the same chapter or even same verse, but simply listed in succession is unusual.

What if it's really referring to the unveiling of two people? The following verses are clearly talking about a single individual man deifying himself in the Temple. But maybe that person is the first mentioned, and the second is his supporter facilitating him in this act? If the Son of Perdition is the False Prophet rather then The Antichrist as assumed, that could be interesting.

The term can also be argued to apply to both Beasts equally, along with the phrase "goeth into Perdition" in Revelation 17. They're the two individuals who are sent into "The Lake of Fire" first in Revelation 19, before the Millennium rather then after it like everyone else destined to go there.

In verse 9 of II Thessalonians 2, it talks about his coming being "after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,". We know from Revelation 13 that the miracles are performed by the False Prophet. One could argue this reference to miracles is tied to how the Man of Sin is unveiled. I argue in the first post of this blog that the restrainer being removed refers to the unlocking of the Abyss is in Revelation 9, where Apollyon and many other entities are being restrained by chains.

That belief does not require identifying either beast with any personage in Revelation 9.  The point is nothing (save Jesus himself when he went there) can ascend out of the abyss before then. Which is a problem for Pre-Wrath.

Chris White objects to viewing Apollyon as a villain, or among those restrained in the Abyss.  He sees him as a good angel that God simply put in charge of overseeing this.  He compares him to the Angel that carried out the killing of the first born on Passover, or the plague that occurred after David's census.  He misses that for the first of those examples the LORD himself did it, Exodus 12:29.  And I would point out the Angel of Death himself inevitably goes into the Lake of Fire.

The word translated Perdition is Apoleia. Apollyon from Revelation 9:11 is a related word, derived from the same roots. Apoleia means destruction (perdition is a King James English synonym for Destruction) and Apollyon means Destroyer. It would be accurate poetically to call Apollyon the Son of Apoleia.

 The other name for Apollyon is Abaddon, his Hebrew name. Most people don't know that this name does appear in the Hebrew Scriptures, it's Strongs number is 11. The KJV always translates it "destruction" but it's not the only word for destruction, so it's important to differentiate. The verses it appears in are Job 26:6, Job 28:22, Job 31:12, Psalm 88:11, Proverbs 15:11, and Proverbs 27:20.

It's used as the name of a place, not a individual. Being frequently linked with Sheol (Hell/Hades) I take it to be an Old Testament name of the place the New Testament calls the Abyss/Bottomless Pit and Tartaros (Translated Hell in 2 Peter 4). So the ruler of the place could've become named after it, or visa-verse.

That Apollyon/Abaddon is called "the angel of the bottomless pit" causes a lot of confusion. We're used to using "Angel" as a technical  term for immortal created beings who are certainly not Human.  But it's really just a noun that means messenger, as is the Hebrew equivalent Malak. The KJV translators were rarely willing to translate it rather then transliterate it in the New Testament. But three passages where there was no denying that it refers to a human being rather then an Angel are Matthew 11:10, Mark 1:2 and Luke 7:27 which all quote Malachi 3:1 in reference to John the Baptist. The word is indeed also affiliated with Prophets who are also messengers of God, and False Prophets who are messengers of false gods. Revelation 9:11 uses it in the same form (there are many different forms of Angelos used in the NT texts) as those passages.  I also believe the Angels of the Seven Church were humans in those congregations that had the gift of Prophecy (not monarchical "Pastors" as some have argued).

Outside The Bible Apollyon was a Homeric name for Apollo, which many have read significance into.  Like in Aeschylus's play Agamemnon, where Cassandra says repeatedly.
"Apollo, thou destroyer, O Apollo, Lord of fair streets, Apollyon to me."
To me that identification fits Apollyon being the False Prophet rather then Antichrist.  Because Apollo in Greek mythology was never affiliated with Kingship but he was very much the god of Prophecy.

I think the difference between the resurrection of the false prophet and the resurrection of The First Beast is The World won't witness the latter.  I think The False Prophet died in the distant past and will after the opening of the Abyss be allowed to resurrect.  Perhaps one layer of meaning to the second Beast rising "out of the Earth" refers to the Earth his body decomposed into.

But both lives of The Antichrist are end times, one ends in the 70th week, the second plays out entirely within it.

Part 2 of the Study.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

In The Twinkling of An Eye

The Secret Rapture is a key concept related to the Pre-Trib view.  Not necessarily required I guess but every Pre-Tirbber I know believes it.

The concept is that when The Rapture happens, all the World will see (if they notice anything at all) is a bunch of people disappearing.  The Pre-Tirb Rapture based fiction usually never has them even being able to put the pieces together that they all followed the same Faith.

The basis comes from only one of the classic Rapture passages. 1 Corinthians 15:52.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
The idiom is of speed not visibility.   But the point is that the phrase essentially means "blink and you'll miss it".

This passage lacks most aspects of what happens at The Rapture.  Including what the word "Rapture" itself refers to, us being Caught Up/Gathered.  Nor does it have the Parusia, Jesus coming on The Clouds.

It's only about three things.  1. The Last Trump, 2. The Resurrection of believers, 3, The still living Saved being change/perfected into our Resurrected states without dieing first.

That is all that is happening at that speed.  Once that happens, then Jesus comes to Gather us, and elsewhere The Bible is always clear The World sees that.  In Matthew 24, I Thessalonians 4, and Revelation 14.

Chuck Missler and Mark Easton have done a lot of material about Dimensions and the Science of The Resurrection.  About how Jesus in the Resurrection was in more then just our four dimensions. And I recommenced their work on that even though I'm more strictly Young Earth Creationist then they are.

But Missler makes a statement that I'm sure he has this Secret Rapture idea in mind with.  Where he says Jesus was only "Seen by loving eyes and touched by loving hands".  By which I'm sure he means only Saved individuals.

My problem with that is this flies in the face of the efforts of all these other Christians seeking to show how Historically proven the Resurrection is.  If 100% of the eye witnesses were people who already supported Jesus.  Paul spoke in his Epistles of there being many, many witnesses to the Resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:3-8
 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
Besides simply the large number, I notice the inclusion of The Lord's half-brother James.   His siblings were not believers yet at any time they appear during his ministry.  The typical conclusion from this verse is that James became a believer after seeing the Risen Jesus.  And we certainly know Paul wasn't saved yet when he saw him.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Playing Devil's Advocate on the Seventieth Week

This is a follow up to my earlier post proving 7 years from Revelation.

In terms of those Futurists who view the 70th Week as past, I decided I want to give a fair open minded look at their view.  Problem is, they don't even view the first 69 Weeks the same as I do (from the ones I've encountered).  Now I am open minded to being proven wrong on that too, if you feel you have a sufficient fatal flaw to my argument feel free to leave one as a comment.

But for now, if you want to convince me of a Preterist view of the 70th Week, it's gonna need to be a view that has the 70th Week being from Nisan of 30 AD to Nisan of 37 AD.  And the Crucifixion in that Nisan of 30 AD.  Moving The Cross to the middle of The Week simply doesn't work.

I decided to look for myself at this Seven year period, to see if playing Devil's Advocate I could make that argument myself.  But also with the thought as someone who believers in types and near fulfillments, that the 7 years following the end of the 69th Week could be a minor prefiguring of the true final 70th Week.

My view on The Sixth Seal actually lends itself to that.  Based on the Sixth Seal parallels to Joel 2:28-32 and how Peter uses that same Joel passage in Acts 2.  I argue that the Earthquake and Darkening of The Sun that happened as Jesus was on The Cross was a prefiguring of the Terrestrial and Cosmic Signs of the Sixth Seal.  And with that I think the Sixth Seal will be opened on the 14th day of the Nisan that starts the 70th Week.  And that the Sealing of the 144,000 will be on the following Pentecost, it'll be another great outpouring of The Holy Spirit.

So in a sense it may be as if the initiation of the 70th Week is also God sort of resetting his Clock back to 30 AD.  But I would not build doctrine or date setting on anything I'm gonna suggest below.  This is just fun conjecture.

With a connection made to the beginning, I decided to look at the end.  It's not agreed universally which spring full moon correlated to Passover in 37 AD, it could've been March or April.  But the one in March was around the 21st-23rd and First Fruits fell on a Sunday again like it did in 30, this time it was March 25th.

The 16th of March that year was the day Tiberius died, awfully close.  And that Passover season close to Tiberius's death plays a key role in Josephus's account (Book 18 Chapter 4) of when Pilate was removed from his governorship.

Pilate is usually assumed to have been removed way back in the late summer or fall of 36.  But I can't help but feel reading Josephus like it was closer to when Tiberius actually died.  And others have as well, but the main such source I read does so arguing for a 37 AD Crucifixion, and then tying that into all kinds of other heresies.

It's not just Pilate and Tiberius.  It seems 36 and 37 AD saw the either deaths or removal from power of all the figures Luke 3:1-2 states were in power at that time.  Perhaps it prefigures how when the 70th Week begins, only one week is left for the current World Order.

But on the subject of Pilate's Removal.  The Josephus account includes a sort of False Messiah or False Prophet figure of the Samaritans who helped get them riled up, and who remains unnamed. 
"The man who excited them to it was one who thought lying a thing of little consequence, and who contrived every thing so that the multitude might be pleased; so he bid them to get together upon Mount Gerizzim, which is by them looked upon as the most holy of all mountains, and assured them, that when they were come thither, he would show them those sacred vessels which were laid under that place, because Moses put them there"
Acts 8:9-11 says of Simon Magus.  " But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.  And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries."

 The Samaritan chronicler Abul Fath mentions a sect headed by a R. Zadok which was tied to the heretic who claimed to be the “booth” or “booths” of the new Tabernacle. He speaks of “five brothers who from [the Samaritan holy mountain Gerizim] who were called [the Sons of Zadoq] and also another man called Zadoq the Elder from Bayt Far who deviated from “booths” and his companions, saying that Mount Gerizim is as holy as if the Samaritan temple were [still] standing upon it and that while one was obligated to do what was written [in the Law of Moses] he need not do what was not possible for him.” His community apparently “invoked him by the name mentioned [in the report of Booths] above, i.e. the Mediator, and agreed with [Booths] about abolishing … the rule of “Moses commanded for us a Law” [Deut 33:4]

I think, maybe these were the same individuals.  There are other reasons to view Acts 6-11 as being about 37 AD.  Wikipedia speculates that the martyrdom of Stephen must've been during the brief administration of Marcellus.  And Paul synchronizes the time of his Conversion to when Aretas controlled Damascus (2 Corinthians 11:32).  Which he didn't before Caligula became Emperor.

So that's the end of The Week, what about it's middle?  Tishri of 33 AD?

33 AD is a complicated year to study, web searches for it will have to shift through those referencing it thinking the Crucifixion was that year.  Nothing is known to be exactly dated to that year that resembles The Abomination of Desolation.  But the main thing that causes people to argue for the Crucifixion being that year, is itself interesting to look at.

That being a desire starting from some Early Church Fathers to identify an Eclipse and Earthquake mentioned by Thallus placed as occurring in Bythia and Asia Minor in 33 AD as the one that happen when Jesus was on the Cross.  He's quoted by Julius Africanus without much context.  Apologetic circles want to think Thallus himself was connecting this to Jesus, and Africanus accusing him of trying to naturalize the darkness as an eclipse.  But it seems more likely to me that Africanus simply assumed based on this being during the reign of Tiberius it was the same Darkness and Earthquake.  Problem is, it occurred in parts of Asia Minor, effecting some of the same cities that had the Churches of Revelation 2-3, not in Judea.

Revelation does also link Earthquakes to the Middle of the Seventieth Week, both the Rapture of The Witnesses and the Seventh Trumpet.

The Annals of Tacitus was year by year, so it's interesting to look at, but he was recording Roman History not Jewish.  Sadly nothing in Josephus seems to be linked to this year.  The events our copies of Jospehus place between the Testemonim Flavinium and the drama that removed Pilate, are events Tacitus places before Pilate became Prefect of Judea.

33 AD is the year of the consulship of Servius Galba and Lucius Sulla (the whole year is named for them even though they didn't serve the entire year.  Their consulship began at it's start).  This Galba it may interest you to know is the same one who latter overthrew Nero and began the year of the Four Caesar.  Tacitus recounts a probably urban legend that Tiberius said something which foretold him being Emperor some day during this Consulship.  Which Tiberius supposedly knew because of Thrasyllus.

I find it interesting that the first thing we're told of this year by Tacitus is that the same two men who were the Consuls for 30 AD, Tiberius decided that year to Marry to the two still unmarried daughters of Germanicus, Julia Livilla and Drusilla.  Later these same two men are who Tiberius sent to help Asia Minor after the Earthquake mentioned above.  Vinicius married Livilla and Longinus married Drusilla.  A cousin of Longinus who was Consul later in 30 AD also married a descendant of Julia the Younger about this time.

A Financial Crisis happened in Rome this year, perhaps not unlike the one that will ravage the world when the Black Horseman rides.  Agrippina the Elder and her son Drusus died this year as well.  Also Nerva, a close friend of Tiberius.

I'm afraid Tacitus doesn't say much helping determine when in the year each event happened.

Another thing that makes people support a 32 or 33 AD Passover for the Death of Jesus is the Blood Moon Theory.  A Tetrad of Lunar Eclipses happened on the 15ths of Nisan and Tishri of both 32 and 33 A.D.

Problems with this are many.  The Blood Moon theory is bunk, I recommend Chris White's debunking of it.  And the one on Passover of 33 AD wasn't total or very visible in Jerusalem.  And at any-rate most of the events Blitz links to his Blood Moons happened a year or two before each Tetrad started, so even then they fit a 30 AD Crucifixion better.  Joel and Revelation's Blood Moons are simultaneous with Darkened Suns, they're not Eclipses.  They're either totally supernatural, or caused by volcanic eruptions.

What I will note just for the sake of reference is, this Tetrad ended with one on Tabernacles of 33 AD, which is estimated to have fallen on September 27th.  In light of my feeling that Revelation 12 could be describing when the Moon is under Virgo's feet on or soon after Rosh Hoshanah as the middle of The 70th Week roughly.  I decided to look at when this occurred about half a month before that Lunar Eclipse.  And Saturn was very close to Regulus in Leo, not quite a full conjunction, but very close.  I think that is interesting.

Now if I'm going to be serious about this, let's break down the last two verses of Daniel 9.

Daniel 9:26-27.  From the KJV

"And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:"
This is where we all agree, Jesus died in Nisan 30 AD.

"And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary".
This is why we tend to see 70 AD as during the Gap, or many Preterist models as when the 70 Weeks ends.  But the Hebrew word translated "destroy" here also means corrupt, ruin or decay.  It is used and translated corrupt in Daniel 11:17 "and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him."  It's Aramaic form is in Daniel 2:9 "ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me".  If the "Prince that shall Come" is in fact the same Prince from earlier in Daniel 9, then the People of the Prince refers to the Jewish people.

So Maybe the reason for the Cleansing of The Temple is what's in mind here.

"And the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined."
There were Wars going on at this time.  Directly relevant to Israel were a few revolts Pilate had to deal with.  And Herod Antipas had war with Aretas of Petra.

It could also be consistent with seeing the 70th week as 30-37 AD to also see here a somewhat preemptive statement about the wars that went on past then to 70 AD.

"And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease".
The common Preterist view is this refers not to the literal taking away of Sacrifice, but them being rendered null and void after The Crucifixion.  And the Covenant here the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah 31.

This Preterist view is why people often want to make the Crucifixion the middle of The Week, not it's end.  But the word translated "Midst" is also translated "Half" sometimes.  Maybe it could be meant to read "for half of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease".

What remains is simply what's taken as an allusion to The Abomination of Desolation, but it's not the exact phrase.

"and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
Note, the occurrence of "he" after Abomination isn't in the Hebrew text, so there is no guarantee the same person is behind it..

The Preterist view of 70 AD can't work with what Jesus specifically said (probably in reference to the Daniel 12 use of the term) of it being In The Holy Place.

But the Terminology in Daniel 9:27 is much less specific about where, and it does seem to imply more then one Idol being set up.  And the word that is in some translations rendered "wing" can mean Wing, Corner, edge extremity, ect.  So Preterists make a strong argument that this can refer to Titus setting the "Imago" of his Father and other Roman Idols like the standards with the Imperial Eagle on them, or the Fasces, by the Gate of The Temple in 70 AD.

Same with the Last verse of Daniel 11, the word for "tabernacles" simply means tent, and so they argue it refers to the Tents the Roman legions Camped in.  Also as a supporter of the Southern Conjecture, I think the "Appeden" (Translated Palace) could be the Antonia Fortress which was where the Dome of The Rock currently is.

However, what most people haven't noticed is all those factors that could make those two things apply to Titus, can also apply to Pontius Pilate.  Go back and read when Josephus first introduces his readers to Pilate in Antiquities of The Jews Book 18 Chapter 3.
"BUT now Pilate, the procurator of Judea, removed the army from Cesarea to Jerusalem, to take their winter quarters there, in order to abolish the Jewish laws. So he introduced Caesar's effigies, which were upon the ensigns, and brought them into the city; whereas our law forbids us the very making of images; on which account the former procurators were wont to make their entry into the city with such ensigns as had not those ornaments. Pilate was the first who brought those images to Jerusalem, and set them up there; which was done without the knowledge of the people, because it was done in the night time; but as soon as they knew it, they came in multitudes to Cesarea, and interceded with Pilate many days that he would remove the images; and when he would not grant their requests, because it would tend to the injury of Caesar, while yet they persevered in their request, on the sixth day he ordered his soldiers to have their weapons privately, while he came and sat upon his judgment-seat, which seat was so prepared in the open place of the city, that it concealed the army that lay ready to oppress them; and when the Jews petitioned him again, he gave a signal to the soldiers to encompass them routed, and threatened that their punishment should be no less than immediate death, unless they would leave off disturbing him, and go their ways home. But they threw themselves upon the ground, and laid their necks bare, and said they would take their death very willingly, rather than the wisdom of their laws should be transgressed; upon which Pilate was deeply affected with their firm resolution to keep their laws inviolable, and presently commanded the images to be carried back from Jerusalem to Cesarea."
All the same factors are there.  The Roman garrisons, the plural Idols to Caesar.  And Josephus specifies Pilate was the First Roman to do this.   And his "Judgment Seat" probably the same seat he Tried Jesus from, was part of the Antonia Fortress.

So, a good argument can be made for a Preterist view of the 70 Weeks.  The problem is, if the Covenant is the real New Covenant, how is it confirmed for only one week and not forever?  Maybe the entire Church Age should be viewed as the 70th Week repeatably playing out in cycles until the true final fulfillment comes and we're Raptured in the Middle?

Or it could be notable that the parts of Acts I estimate to be seven years after The Cross corresponds to when The Gospel began to spread beyond just Jews and Judea.  So likewise with my view on the 144,000 and the Sixth Seal when the true 70th Week begins The Gospel is again focused on Israel and Israelites.

Also, it could be interesting to read Acts 3 and 4 under a premise that Peter and John there are serving as types of The Two Witnesses.