The author of the Book of Revelation did not approve of St. Paul

The New Testament is composed of 27 books, 13 of which are Paul's letters

Source: CNN

The author of Revelation hated Rome, but he also scorned another group – a group of people we would call Christians today, Pagels says.

There’s a common perception that there was a golden age of Christianity, when most Christians agreed on an uncontaminated version of the faith.  Yet there was never one agreed-upon Christianity. There were always clashing visions.

Revelation reflects some of those early clashes in the church, Pagels says.

That idea isn’t new territory for Pagels. She won the  National Book Award for “The Gnostic Gospels,” a 1979 book that examined a cache of newly discovered “secret” gospels of Jesus. The book, along with other work from Pagels, argues that there were other accounts of Jesus’ life that were suppressed by early church leaders because it didn’t fit with their agenda.

The author of Revelation was like an activist crusading for traditional values. In his case, he was a devout Jew who saw Jesus as the messiah. But he didn’t like the message that the apostle Paul and other followers of Jesus were preaching.

This new message insisted that gentiles could become followers of Jesus without adopting the requirements of the Torah. It accepted women leaders, and intermarriage with gentiles, Pagels says.

The new message was a lot like what we call Christianity today.

That was too much for the author of Revelation. At one point, he calls a woman leader in an early church community a “Jezebel.” He calls one of those gentile-accepting churches a “synagogue of Satan.”

John was defending a form of Christianity that would be eclipsed by the Christians he attacked, Pagels says.

“What John of Patmos preached would have looked old-fashioned – and simply wrong to Paul’s converts…,” she writes.

The author of Revelation was a follower of Jesus, but he wasn’t what some people would call a Christian today, Pagels says.

“There’s no indication that he read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount or that he read the gospels or Paul’s letters,” she says. “….He doesn’t even say Jesus died for your sins.”

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2 replies

  1. If the book of Revelation is truly inspired word of God, then the letters of Paul should not have been in the New Testament canon. This is yet another among hundreds of contradictions in the Bible and every time I come across one, I am reminded of a verse of the Holy Quran:

    Will they not, then, meditate upon the Qur’an? Had it been from anyone other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much disagreement. (Al Quran 4:83)

  2. Canonical History of the Book of Revelation
    Canonical history of the book of Revelation opens another can of worms! The following information is borrowed from Wikipedia:

    According to Denzinger, Revelation was accepted into the canon at the Council of Carthage of 397 AD,[26] according to McDonald & Sanders it was added at the later 419 council.[27] Revelation’s place in the canon was not guaranteed, however, with doubts raised as far back as the 2nd century about its character, symbolism, and apostolic authorship.[28]

    2nd century Christians in Syria rejected it because Montanism, a sect which was deemed to be heretical by the mainstream church, relied heavily on it.[29] In the 4th century, Gregory of Nazianzus and other bishops argued against including Revelation because of the difficulties of interpreting it and the risk of abuse. In the 16th century, Martin Luther initially considered it to be “neither apostolic nor prophetic” and stated that “Christ is neither taught nor known in it,”[30] and placed it in his Antilegomena, i.e. his list of questionable documents, though he did retract this view in later life. In the same century, John Calvin believed the book to be canonical, yet it was the only New Testament book on which he did not write a commentary.[31] It remains the only book of the New Testament that is not read within the Divine Liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church, though it is included in Catholic and Protestant liturgies.

    According to Merrill Unger and Gary N. Larson, in spite of the objections that have been raised over the years, Revelation provides a logical conclusion, not just to the New Testament, but to the Christian Bible as a whole, and there is a continuous tradition dating back to the 2nd century which supports the authenticity of the document, and which indicates that it was generally included within the, as yet unformalized, canon of the early church.[32]

    28. ^ Stephen Pattemore, “The People of God in the Apocalypse,” (Cambridge University Press, 2004), p.1
    29. ^ see N. B. Stonehouse, Apocalypse in the Ancient Church, (c. 1929), pp. 139–142, esp. p. 138
    30. ^ Luther’s Treatment of the ‘Disputed Books’ of the New Testament
    31. ^ Anthony A. Hoekema, The Bible and the future, P.297. ISBN 0-8028-3516-3 ISBN 978-0-8028-3516-1, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1979.
    32. ^ Merrill Unger and Gary Larson. “Revelation.” The New Unger’s Bible Handbook. Chicago: Moody, 2005.

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