In the post-diluvian world, history has seen the rise and fall of a number of great empires, beginning with the Assyrian, the Babylonian, the Egyptian, the Persian, the empires of Alexander the Great and his successors within the Diadochi; and lastly, the Roman Empire, in all its forms. Regardless of the military’s size or skill, or the capabilities of their leaders, all of these empires encountered the chosen people of God through persecution, who, because they were the children of Abraham, inevitably fell into ruin according to the Bible. But it also underscores a codependent variable accompanying the fate of these empires just as with the Tower of Babel: that history has demonstrated that one of the many reasons for this ultimate decline was the empire’s vast size ― they simply grew too large to manage, falling susceptible to external, as well as internal, forces.
Perhaps the greatest of these empires was the Roman Empire, which grew from a small Italian city to control land throughout Europe, across the Balkans to the Middle East, on into North Africa. It lived well past the traditional 476 AD date that Odoacer strolled into Ravenna: the eastern portion of the empire set at Constantinople ― which had become the new Christian capital of the whole empire under Constantine the Great in 330 AD ― did not fall until being sacked by the Ottoman Empire in 1453 AD, an epoch that effectively ended the Middle Ages. Yet emerging from the Roman Empire are the following nations, which too grew into powerful Christian kingdoms and empires: France, Italy, Austria, Spain, Portugal, and the Slavic states. Not to be forgotten is the distant island outpost that is home to the British Empire, the empire on which the sun never set and the largest in human history, the empire which fought and brought peace to Europe in 1715, 1815, and twice during the 20th century (1918, 1945); and in the third generation of the Roman Empire’s family tree, the United States ― the richest, most powerful nation in human history ― which won her independence from its British imperial overlords in 1783. As British conservative commentator Nile Gardiner put it, the ‘special relationship’ between the United States and the United Kingdom for the past century has proven to be the greatest force for good and freedom history has ever recorded.
From my Christian understanding of Revelation Chapter 10 in the New Testament, the Apostle John of Patmos writes of a mighty angel robed in a cloud descending from Heaven, with a little scroll and a rainbow above his head. Yet this was no ordinary angel; and the details of his appearance grow increasingly apocalyptic: possessing “a face like the sun,” he also placed his “right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land,” and “gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion.” What we are told here is that as he yelled, ‘the seven thunders spoke’. Beyond this point, a voice from Heaven instructed John to “Seal up what the thunders have said and do not write it down” (Rev. 10:1-4) prior to that angel cursing the Lord, that “There will be no more delay!,” that “in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” The significance of the number ‘7’ in Jewish lore represents the general symbol of all things associated with God ― for example, the seventh day, the Sabbath day, is the day on which God rests. By contrast, the number ‘6’ is tied to ‘man’, or the day on which Adam and Eve were created, or the Jewish holiday of Passover. Mosad Hayesod cites the Vilna Gaon’s commentary on the Zohar that “the number 666 contains hidden within it exalted and lofty messianic potential,” and therefore the Jews falsely believe it could represent the strength and perfection of the physical world.
Rabbinic Judaism teaches the number of the Beast (‘666’) will be revealed in the messianic era when the physical world will reach its ultimate purpose as a vehicle through which the created experience the Creator. Thus, in expressing his every intention to rid the world of the disciples of Christ who would populate “the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it,” this angel, Satan himself, had announced it would be he, and not the Son of Man, to fulfill the prophecy of the Messiah as the true ‘iron scepter’ of the Most High, as he would anoint ‘the prince of this world’.
That man, the Beast identified by the number of ‘666’, has almost certainly come and gone.
The reference to Satan placing his ‘right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land’ should be interpreted as an expansion of the themes to Daniel’s dream. When answering King Nebuchadnezzer’s question with respect to his dreams, Daniel explained that while “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about,… there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries” (Daniel 2:27). But furthermore, he informed Nebuchadnezzar that there before him “stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance,” whose “head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.” These empires chronologically describe Nebuchadnezzar’s empire of Babylon (the head of gold), the Achaemenid Empire in Persia (the chest of arms of silver), the empire of Alexander the Great and the successors of the Diadochi (its belly and thighs of bronze). But the pertinent topic for this article are its ‘legs of iron’ which describe the Roman Empire, and ‘its feet partly of iron and partly of clay’, which describe the following dialectic process of its fate ― a conflict which, to this day, has never been reconciled and has found, for the third time in the past century, the prospect of a European superstate that could expand across the globe.
It’s abundantly clear that ‘the left foot on the earth’ represents the ‘foot of clay’, given the earth implies ‘land’, and the land is comprised of ‘clay’. This describes the portion of the Roman Empire following the division between East and West after the reign of Theodosius near the conclusion of the 4th century, and whose capital of Constantinople was the principal capital for the whole of the Roman Empire, given that Constantine the Great constructed the new city with his namesake in 330 AD to reflect the new religious pivot towards Christianity within the empire away from the pagan hellscape he saw to be Rome.
After the Ostrogoth ruler Odoacer conquered the West in 476 AD upon marching on its last capital of Ravenna, only the Eastern leg remained. The iron leg of the statue of Nebuchadnezzar, who Daniel informed that God had proclaimed to be ‘the king of kings’ in his dream, was replaced by a bevy of new empires and kingdoms ― ones which, over time, adopted the Catholic faith as defined within the Nicene Creed centered in Rome, and which for 1,600 years have remained in a constant state of war, be it from territorial or colonial ambitions to wars of religion. The whole Catholic church, as based in Rome, remained true to the Latin traditions of the former Western Roman Empire. Yet for nearly 1,100 years following the Edict of Thessalonica which united the whole Roman Empire, both East and West ― under the authority of the whole ‘Catholic orthodox church’ through the revised Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed regulated under a Pentarchy (Rome, the Latin center of the church which was named ‘first among equals’; and its Greek counterparts with equal authority in Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria) ― the Greeks politically held primacy over the token Latin holdout. The Roman Empire therefore, from Constantinople, survived nearly 1,000 years after the fall of the West as ‘the right foot on the sea’, with its Caesar as the ‘caesarpapist’ ruling over the whole empire, presiding over the selection of new bishops in each Pentarch.
From the time Nero Caesar was crowned Emperor of Rome in 54 AD to the Schism between the Latin and Greek churches in 1054 AD is 1,000 years — and given Satan and his angels were cast out of Heaven by Michael and the angels of the Lord according to Revelation 12:9, and that John of Patmos wrote, “But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” (Revelation 12:12) — we can imply the 1,000 year reign where the saints “came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years,” because “They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands,” occurred during that period (Revelation 20:4).
The Lord, through Jesus Christ, shall reign forever.
(1 Chronicles 17:11-14) 11 When your days are over and you go to be with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. 14 I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.’”
In 1453 following the sack of Constantinople, the last leg of the Roman Empire empire fell before the might of the rising Ottoman Empire ― the last Islamic caliphate on record, which itself was dissolved following its crushing defeat at the hands of the British at the Battle of Armageddon (Hebrew: Megiddo) near the conclusion of World War I on October 31, 1918. The breakup of the Ottoman Empire four years later resulted in the birth of the modern Middle East, including the Zionist state of Israel, initially a protectorate of the British Empire under the Mandate of Palestine.
NERO CAESAR AND THE ZEALOT REVOLT (54 AD-73 AD)
From the days that Nero launched the first major persecution of the early church around 62 AD, the number of the Beast, ‘666’, has commonly been attributed to him. The ‘legs of fiery pillars’ no doubt refer to the fire which broke out in Rome at the instruction of Nero himself for the purpose of arresting and the mass slaughter of early Christians, with the roaring lion being one of the most popular forms of execution by way of feeding Christian slaves to lions (and other beasts of the earth) inside the imperial arenas (The Coliseum in Rome was actually constructed off the gold confiscated from the ruins of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD). Others of course followed suit, in particular Emperor Diocletian during the first decade of the fourth century, whose cruelty led to the deaths of more Christians than at any other time in Roman history. Christ’s own prophecy against the Jews that the time of his arrest and crucifixion at the behest of the Sanhedrin would mark the last (biblical) generation (40 years) of Second Temple Jerusalem from 30 AD until 70 AD, when the Romans laid siege, was fulfilled, with the Romans killing as many as a million civilians barricaded inside the Old City at the peak of the Zealot Revolt, while some witnesses, such as Josephus, claimed that the Jews inside the city’s walls killed as many, or more, of their own people than did the Romans. The accounts provided by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus were not only remarkably consistent with Scripture, but also suggest that Jesus’ own half-brother James the Just’s execution by Ananias ben Ananias in 62 AD precipitated the decline of ancient Judea and presence of Judaism throughout the ancient world, as most of the survivors inside the walls of Jerusalem were either exiled or sold into slavery.
But the Roman wars with the Jews were far from over; over the next 60 years, in fact, there would be two more to follow after Hadrian Caesar permitted the Jews to return. Indeed, the burning of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 AD created a profound dilemma for faithful Jews of the time. Perhaps the first question was rhetorically asked, “Hadn’t religious observance throughout the land reached new heights in the years preceding the war”? After all, the Zealots which had taken power over ancient Judea were more extreme in their commitment to rabbinic Judaism. In a sense, the Zealots were the far more ecclesiastically devoted predecessor to the Zionist movement which led to the establishment of modern Israel. Secondly, “Wasn’t the revolt against Rome directly the result of zealous people vowing to have ‘no master except the Lord’?” (Antiquities of the Jews, 18.1.6 23). Yet lost in all this is not only the conflict in Judea between the rabbinic Jewish nationalists and their Roman masters, but the continued persecution of the early Church in both Rome and by the Sanhedrin set in Jerusalem. Furthermore, accounts of Jewish persecution of the early Church are corroborated by Josephus, who wrote that James the Just ― “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James” ― was martyred by Ananus ben Ananus by way of stoning. Hegesippus cited that, upon James’ refusal to aid in putting down the new Christians’ beliefs, “the Scribes and Pharisees placed James upon the pinnacle of the temple, and threw down the just man, and they began to stone him, for he was not killed by the fall. And one of them, who was a fuller, took the club with which he beat out clothes and struck the just man on the head”. The Church Father Origen ― who consulted the works of Josephus, Hegesippus, and Clement of Alexandria ― during the 3rd century around 248, related an account of the death of James, an account which gave it as a cause of the Roman siege of Jerusalem, suggesting that “the more sensible even of the Jews were of the opinion that this (James’ death) was the cause of the siege of Jerusalem, which happened to them immediately after his martyrdom for no other reason than their daring act against him.” For Josephus’ part, he did not hesitate to testify in his writings, “These things happened to the Jews to avenge James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus, that is called the Christ. For the Jews slew him, although he was a most just man.” The ruling by Ananus (Latin: Hanan ben Hanan), explains Josephus, was widely viewed as little more than judicial murder, offending a number of “those who were considered the most fair-minded people in the City, and strict in their observance of the Law,” and who, in response, went so far as to arrange a meeting with Albinus as he entered the province in order to petition him successfully about the matter. In response, King Herod Agrippa II replaced Ananus with Jesus son of Damneus.
Still, one final question remained: if the Jews were as devout in their faith as they professed through basic rituals, why did the Lord allow the Romans to crush the revolt and destroy his Temple? Consider that, according to The Jewish Encyclopedia, Nero Caesar, who after his accession displayed many favors to the ruling Herodian family of Judea: he bestowed the kingdom of Lesser Armenia upon Aristobulus, son of Herod of Chalcis, and added four important cities (among which were Tiberias and Tarichea in Galilee) with their surrounding districts to the dominions of Agrippa II. The Jews of Rome were well treated under his government, though not those comprised of the early Church. When in the year 60 AD fierce rioting broke out between the Jews and the Greeks in Caesarea (the seat of the Roman procurators), both parties sent representatives to Rome. Nero, influenced by his secretary Burrus, who had been bribed by the Greeks, delivered a verdict against the Jews and revoked them of their civil rights as Roman citizens. During the procuratorship of Festus, a dispute arose between the population of Jerusalem and Agrippa II, who in his Hasmonean palace built a dining-hall which overlooked the courts of the Temple. In order to hide the Temple from this profaning view, the Jews erected a high wall on its western side. When they refused the order of Procurator Festus to tear down this wall, the case was brought before Nero, who, influenced by his second wife, Poppea, decided in favor of the Jewish people of Judea. Poppea, like many members of prominent Roman families, was sympathetic to the Jewish faith. Her last wish, that she might be buried according to Jewish customs, was granted by Nero.
The Great Persecution of the early Church, which Nero Caesar ‘framed’ as responsible for the fire in Rome around 64-65 AD, is well chronicled. What is not well understood is the significance behind the boiling discontent among the Jews of Judea who, in response to the arbitrary action of the procurators Felix, Festus, Albinus, and Gessius Florus, launched the Zealot revolt in 66 AD. In vain, Cestius Gallus, the governor of Syria, informed Nero of the dangerous escalation of events between the Zealots and Roman authorities. The emperor, an amateur musician, continued his tour through Greece, where he courted public applause by appearing in the arena as singer, player, and charioteer ― all of which are characteristics attributed to the Greco-Roman god Apollo, referred to in the Book of Revelation as ‘Apollyon’ and ‘Abaddon’. He took immediate steps to crush the rebellion, beginning with the appointment of Flavius Vespasian (the future emperor of Rome) as commander-in-chief.
The following account demonstrating the cause of the destruction of Jerusalem is provided in the Babylonian Talmud: An inhabitant of Jerusalem sent a messenger to invite Nero’s friend Ḳamẓa to dinner. By mistake, the messenger invited his enemy Bar Ḳamẓa, who took his place among the guests. When the master of the house noticed him he angrily ordered him to leave. In vain, Bar Ḳamẓa requested the host not to put him to shame before so many people, offered to pay for his meal, and finally, all of the expenses of the banquet. The host ejected him, and the other guests did not interfere on his behalf.
Incensed at this insult, Bar Ḳamẓa told Nero Caesar the Jews were planning a rebellion, and advised him to test their loyalty by sending a sacrifice which should be offered in the Temple on his behalf. The emperor did so, sending a heifer in whose lips (or, according to other reports, eyelids) Bar Ḳamẓa made an incision in order to render the animal unfit for sacrifice. After a long discussion as to whether this constituted a bodily defect, the Jews rejected the sacrifice. The emperor, insulted by this refusal and taking it as a sign of rebellion, deployed Vespasian (the future emperor of the Roman Empire) to wreak vengeance on the Jews.
Legend has it that after Nero arrived in Judea, he shot arrows in the direction of the four principal points of the compass; but all of them flew toward Jerusalem. A boy he asked to recite his biblical lesson (a usual form of oracle) quoted from the Book of Ezekiel 25:14: “And I shall take my revenge on Edom through My people Israel; and they shall do unto Edom according to My anger and My wrath.” Upon learning this, Nero Caesar allegedly said, “God wishes to wipe His hands [lay the blame] on me” (i.e., “wishes to make me His tool and then to punish me”).
Nero Caesar fled, allegedly converted to Judaism, and according to Jewish lore within the Talmud it was from Nero Caesar that Rabbi Meïr was descended (Gittin 56a) ― and from this Talmudical story emerged an echo of the legend that Nero Caesar was still alive and would return to reign. Thus if Nero viewed the Edomites as a threat to destroy the Second Temple, it is likely that he viewed the early Church as responsible for not just the fire in Rome (which he himself allegedly caused), but as a grave threat to the survival of the holiest site of the Jewish faith. Around 65 AD, perhaps after his visit to Jerusalem’s Second Temple in Judea, Sulpitus Severus reveals that Christianity “was prohibited by laws which were enacted; and by edicts openly set forth it was proclaimed unlawful to be a Christian.” Furthermore, “Paul and Peter were condemned to death, the former being beheaded with a sword, while Peter suffered crucifixion.” And as these things were happening in Rome, “the Jews,” according to Severus, “not able to endure the injuries they suffered under the rule of Festus Florus, began to rebel.” As a result, Nero deployed Vespasian, “with proconsular power,” to Judea, where he “defeated them in numerous important battles, and compelled them to flee within the walls of Jerusalem.”
In 68 AD, after being declared a ‘public enemy’ by the Roman Senate, Nero Caesar died by way of assisted suicide in Rome, although according to Severus, Nero, “now hateful even to himself from a consciousness of his crimes,” disappeared ‘from among 355 men’, his fate, according to Severus, uncertain, given ‘his body was never found’ ― perhaps a reference to what Revelation 13:3 reveals that “One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed.” Given Nero Caesar may not have died at all, and given the Babylonian Talmud suggests that Nero, who as Roman emperor held the title of ‘Pontifex Maximus’ and thus a ‘living god’, lived out his days as a Jewish convert in search of redemption, there appears to be a parallel to the last portion of the verse, “The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast.”
Oracles prophesying Nero’s return from beyond the Euphrates were current among the Jews. In both chapters 9 and 12 of the Book of Revelations, John of Patmos reveals that “It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates’” (Revelation 9:12), while “The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East” (Revelation 16:12). In Christian teachings, Nero has been personified as the Antichrist, with John of Patmos describing this beastly man in Revelation 13:11-17 thusly:
11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. (Revelation 13:11-17)
As the patron deity of Delphi (Pythian Apollo), Apollo is an oracular god—the prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Compare this to Revelation 12:9, where we are told that during the war in Heaven, the angels of the Lord led by Michael cast out “that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world,” before ‘the inhabitants of the earth and the sea’ are warned “the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” (Revelation 12:12) Since Satan is a spiritual being, he must take on a human as his host: and after the fifth trumpet sounded, John of Patmos reports that he “saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace,” causing both ‘the sun and the air’ to be “darkened because of the smoke of the pit. 3 Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth.”
Henceforth, we draw the conclusion that Nero Caesar is the Beast of the Earth, the god emperor of the Roman Empire (Beast of the Sea during the forthcoming Flavian Dynasty post-Year of the Four Emperors) who Judea acknowledged “as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.” It is noteworthy too that Nero Caesar perceived himself as the personification of the Greco-Roman god Apollo: the national divinity of the Greeks, recognized as a god of archery, music and dance, truth and prophecy, healing and diseases, the Sun and light, poetry, and more. Seen as the most beautiful god and the ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo is considered to be the most Greek of all the gods and, unlike his fellow contemporaries within the Greco-Roman pantheon, his name never changed, despite the obvious language difference. Furthermore, as Apollo is often referred to as the ‘averter of evil’, he was also viewed as the god who affords help and wards off evil, the provider of medicine and healing, the deliverer of men from epidemics, and yet was characterized as a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague with his arrows as the penalty of his wrath in cases of infidelity from his cult.
The connection of Apollyon/Apollo/Abaddon to Nero Caesar and the Beast of the Earth (representing the Roman Empire post-Year of the Four Emperors through the short-lived Flavian Dynasty, 69-96 AD with the death of Domition) to ‘the star’ which fell to the earth with the key to ‘the Abyss’ is understood to be the direct reference to Isaiah 14:12-15’s description of the apparent fall of Lucifer:
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O morning star (Vulganate: Lucifer), son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit.”
Furthermore, Revelation 13 describes this man as the Beast of the Earth (Nero Caesar), with his will enforced by the Beast of the Sea, beginning with the civil war post-Nero and ending with the assassination of ‘god emperor’ Domition in 96 AD: the youngest son of Vespasian who also persecuted the early church, and arguably the identity of the Whore of Babylon, given his patron ‘god’ was Minerva.
(Revelation 13:16-17) 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Given Nero Caesar, a self-proclaimed ‘god emperor’, believed himself to be ‘the messiah’ of the Jewish people, he no doubt demanded fealty to Jewish laws which worshiped him as the Jewish ‘messiah’. Like with the pope of the Catholic Church since 380 AD, Nero held another title, ‘Pontifex Maximus’, that effectively identified him as a ‘god emperor’. Thus if ‘the mark of the beast’ was to be tied to a mark tied to the Jewish faith, it stands to reason that the teffilin, using the Hebrew letter ‘sin’, was required to remain applied to their heads, its other garb wrapped around the right arm of the Jewish faithful, representing the three general dimensions of a human being:
- ‘Kesser‘ (will and pleasure), the intellect, and the emotions, and in its entirety, can represent just one of these dimensions: Kesser is that which exists beyond the intellect—the dimension of the suprarational; the will and pleasure of the King, who in this case would be Nero Caesar, the self-proclaimed ‘messiah’ of the Jews more than 30 years after the life of Jesus. The gematria of Kesser is 620, meaning that when the shin is represented as Kesser, 620 rays of light are imparted to the world through the three literal lines—or channels—of the shin. These rays are bestowed on the world through the right line, which is kindness; the left line, which is justice; and the centerline, mercy.
- Yet another dimension of the shin’s columns is reflected by the three Patriarchs: Abraham by the right line, ‘Chessed’ (loving-kindness), as he personified absolute kindness, an outward focus through connection to others, and the performance of good deeds; Isaac is represented by the left line, Gevurah (discipline and severity), indicative of his being introspective and demanding of himself, concentrating on self-refinement and intense prayer; and Jacob, the centerline, referred to as Tiferes, or harmony, because he took the qualities of Abraham and Isaac (kindness and severity), and synthesized them into mercy.
- Finally, the ‘shin’ also represents the concept of ‘shinoy’: to change for the good. When a person realizes that he has faults, that he is not perfect in his intellect, understanding and knowledge, or in his thought, speech and action, he makes an attempt to improve these qualities: in other words, every Jew can always return to God —to the path of the three Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Yet the Jews had already rejected Christ at the moment he, as ‘the lamb of God’, was to be ‘sacrificed’ as the Passover lamb on the cross in favor of Barabbas, ‘the scapegoat’ known as Azazel (‘son of God’, as referenced in Genesis 6 and again in Matthew 4:6, where Satan tempts Jesus to throw himself off the highest point of the temple, in citing Psalm 91:11-12 that God “will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”). In John 1:9-11, we learn that “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” Yet for those who did recognize Christ, John also points out that Jesus “gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:11-13) Most importantly, we know that “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us… the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Finally, we are informed that according to Jewish gematria,
Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. (Revelation 13:18)
That man indeed appears to have been Nero Caesar. Foreshadowing the point behind ‘the number of the beast’ tied to the tefillin was again, Jesus Christ, who stated his healings made people completely whole (John 7:22-23). When Greek paganism threatened to swamp Judaism some two centuries before Christ, circumcision became a distinctive indication of Jewish fidelity to the covenant, and it was important to note that John the Baptist was circumcised (Luke 1:59), as were both Jesus (Luke 2:21) and Paul (Phillipians 3:5), on the eighth day of life, making them accredited members of the covenant people. Stephen reinforced Christ’s points by accusing contemporary Judaism of the very tendencies that Jeremiah had condemned (Acts 7:51). Although in the period of the primitive church the believers maintained Jewish religious traditions, problems began to arise when the gospel was preached among Gentiles. Christians who had come from a Jewish background felt that Gentiles should become Jews through circumcision before being able to experience Christ’s saving work. Thus it makes sense that Nero, as the self-proclaimed ‘messiah of the Jews’, would compound his own persecution of the early Church as scapegoats in the wake of the great fire of Rome by attacking Christians in Judea who refused to conform to his imperial rule as guilty of apostasy, in defying his claim as ‘the messiah’. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 3:24, “So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith,” a quick reinforcement of Christ’s explanation that he had not come ‘to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them’ (Matthew 5:17). Therefore, if the accounts of Nero Caesar in the Babylonian Talmud are true to form, then the Jews prostrated before the feet of the Roman Emperor, the Beast of the Earth ― the Antichrist foretold.
The New Testament provides a direct answer from Jesus Christ himself as to why the Second Temple was destroyed, with the first point being the prophesy by Christ “‘Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.’” (Matthew 24:1-2) After all, Christ had previously replied to the Pharisees’ demand for ‘a sign’, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:39-40).
Therefore the crime of the Jews, according to Christ, was the lone unforgivable offense, and the third point I will mention: “And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven” (Luke 12:10). The Jews had blasphemed against the Holy Spirit which had breathed life into the body of Jesus inside the womb of Mary ― for within her was ‘the child (Jesus Christ) of the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 1:18) who, from “the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God,” through whom “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4).
As a result of worshiping the old Jewish faith according to the tefillin, the three-pronged Hebrew letter ‘sin’, having ceased to hold relevance — for the number in gematria for ‘man’ is ‘6’, and the Jews, since the 1st century, have been worshiping three men (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) as opposed to the Lord Jesus according to the decree of the self-proclaimed ‘messiah’ Nero Caesar (‘666’) — resulted in the ‘abomination that causes desolation’ described in the Book of Daniel, Matthew 24:15, and Mark 13:14. And because Jesus is God (John 17:3), is represented by the number ‘7’ and ‘777’, we, as disciples of Christ, are “to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).