Fiorenza began by explaining the bowl punishments inflicted on the pagan communities of the beast worshipers. Each of the seven angels pour a plague reminiscent of a plague from Exodus onto portions of the world where it can inflict damage on those not following the one true God. However, the last three bowls are used against the demonic trinity of the dragon, beast, and pseudoprophet specifically. She argued that “The judgment rhetoric of Revelation’s symbolization aims at engendering an ethic of consistent resistance.” In other words, she believed the author saw Rome and its other citizens as providers of constant strife for Christians and therefore worthy of God’s full wrath.
Her argument on the author’s rhetorical lens continued with the female imagery. The ancient world used female imagery to represent cities, nations, and religious cults. Understanding this concept should be effortless since people today often use female pronouns when discussing everything from cities to cars and universities to firearms. It is a necessary component when discerning John’s true intent as he cast the whore of Babylon for the trial of murder. The “great harlot”, borrowed from Isaiah, is a symbol of Rome and no...
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..., some ancient interpreters saw the woman as the Holy Spirit, Israel, or the Church. These alternate views were continued as O’Hear changed direction toward the artistic interpretation of the Beasts. As mentioned earlier, the “new prophets” understood the Beasts to be Roman in concept. O’Hear adds persons such as the Catholic Papacy and US President to the list of the Beasts’ possible identities throughout history. Whether a person is associated with one of the Beasts in Revelation or the Antichrist figure falsely associated to John’s writing, I cannot personally condone the use of John’s imagery against another person given the social connotation of his misunderstood images.
Similar to previous weeks, these arguments and insights forged from the authors’ studies of Revelation add more layers of cautions as to how to discuss John of Patmos’ writing in an ethical way.
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