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Expert Answer Forum

by Catherine Frakas 05 Mar 2002

Revelations, Nephilim, and the Euro-Dollar QUESTION from Ikari December 29, 1999
JP: I am not aware of the 200 watchers being in the Bible. If I missed that, you will have to give me chapter and verse. At the moment, I don?t recall the Bible ever mentioning such a thing.
I have done extensive cross-referencing, and I believe you to be completely correct. There is no specific information in the NIV talking about the descent of these 'Watchers'. I beleive that was extrapalated from DSS research. Have you heard of this, even outside of doctrine? (Of course, I don't expect you to endorse it, but I'm wondering if it's a widespread idea).
JP: As for Genesis 6:4 and the Nephilim, there is no definitive conclusion to what all that means.
Does the Catholic church participate in any form of research or study on these more esoteric portions of the bible? If so, are these studies publically accessible?
Also, reguarding the statement Jesus made I do not come to bring you peace, but rather division.. ; That verse goes on to make commentary about some sort of numerical division of family. This is quite frank, but, do you have any idea whatsoever what Jesus is alluding to with the 5 unto 4, and 4 unto 3 statement? (I know that's not entirely correct, but it's near that).
Final question for this go ; Does the Catholic church have an indoctrinated interpretations of the Book of Revelations?
(Ok, one more)
Have you heard anything about the Eurodollar having a depiction of a dragon with seven heads and ten horns being ridden by a woman as one of it's emblems? I heard this through the grapevine, and find it mildly disturbing.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius on December 29, 1999 Dear Mr. Ikari:
Okay, taking each question, in order....
No, I have not heard of that Watchers’ Theory, but I can say the my sense of it, knowing what I know about Christian doctrine and theology and Biblical Studies, that such a theory appears nonsense on its face. There is generally a certain consistency and fluid connectiveness to religious myths that are genuine to the Judeo/Christian Scriptures and belief. This watchers theory does not fit that flavor of what I know to be Judeo/Christian thought. Throughout both Jewish and Christian history there have always been, well, wacko groups who come up with the wildest theories and speculations. I presume this watcher theory comes from one of those off-the-edge groups. It is in no way a wide-spread idea.
As to the Catholic Church doing research in Biblical Studies, yes, extensively. Theologians and Biblical scholars in universities around the world are doing constant research. This research includes textual analysis, examination of extant manuscripts, historical analysis, archeological studies, linguistic studies, etc. etc.
It is CRITICALLY important, however, before reading the conclusions or opinions of a theologian or Biblical scholar to be sure that he is a loyal and obedient Catholic. There are some scholars who stray into disobedience and assert theories that are nonsense. In fact, the Pope just recently issued a formal reprimand to these wayward theologians and gave guidelines on what their role in the Church it – with a reminder that the CHURCH, not the theologians are the guardian of Scriptures and religious Truth and the official interpreter of those Scriptures and religious Truth.
The Vatican itself has an official department dedicated to biblical studies. It is called the Pontifical Biblical Commission. It is attached to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (in the old days called the Office of the Inquisition). The job of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to protect the integrity of the Faith. Part of that is to protect the integrity of the Scriptures and their interpretation. The Congregation does not make determinations on its own, however. It is more like a police agency administering and enforcing the law. The Pope is the authority, and secondarily, the Congress of Bishops in union with the Pope.
One of the important things to realize about Biblical interpretation is that it is not particular important to know definitively the answer to specific mysteries such who the Nephilim really were, whether there really was a Noah’s Flood, or whether Jonah really existed and spent three days in the belly of a great fish. Those sorts of specifics are irrelevant.
What is relevant, and the only thing that is important, is the religious truth being communicated by these stories. Although the Bible has history in it, although it has science in it, although it has politics in it, although it has sociology in it, etc. it is NOT a textbook of history, science, politics, sociology, or whatever. It is a religious book that communicate religious truth.
In Biblical scholarship we can investigate whether some event actually took place, or whether some person actually lived. It is fun to investigate that and oftentimes when we discover through archeology or other science that a particular story is indeed true, we can marvel at it. But whether a particular story is historically and literally true or not is not the point. The religious truth is the point, and really the only point.
3)---------------- As to the scripture giving numerical notations about division, you are referring to Luke 12. The passage in Luke and the passage in Matthew both refer to the reason for Jesus coming was not to bring peace, but division:
Matthew 10:34-36: Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man 'against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's enemies will be those of his household.'
Luke 12:51-53
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
The three against two, and two against three is merely language that the family may be divided over this in different ways. Three family members may accept Christ, two reject Him. Or two member accept Christ, and three reject Him.
What these passage are saying is that Truth will bring division because not everyone will accept the truth. These passages also affirm that Plausibility, that is political correctness, is wrong. Truth is paramount and must be asserted even when the truth causes division in a family. That is how important truth is.
As to a source to see how the Catholic Church’s interprets of the Book of Revelations, I would advise two very good sources.
One is the Navarre Bible. You can buy just the one volume dealing with Revelation (for around $15)m you don’t have to buy the whole Commentary.
The second really good source and one that I think you would really enjoy is the Tape series on Revelation by Dr. Scott Hahn. I recommend all of his tapes.
The book should be available through any Catholic bookstore. The tapes series I think is available through St. Joseph Communications, P.O. Box 720, W/ Covina, CA 91793, 1-818-331-3549 (this is from an old tape. I presume the address and telephone are still valid)
As to the Eurodollar thing, I have no idea. I do not keep up with that sort of stuff, but your question does remind me to mention something more about Revelations.
The concept of the end days that you are alluding to is a concept that has been in existence for only around 180 years or less. The interpretation of Revelations that nearly everyone thinks about is an interpretation of the dispensational fundamentalist of the 19th and 20th centuries. It did not exist in this particular form before that. There were sky-is-falling, the world-coming-to-an-end fanatics before that, but this particular interpretation that we all seem to know belong squarely on the dispensationalists. They have simple done such a great marketing of their view that nearly every Christian and even non-Christian thinks of their interpretation, or bits and pieces of it, whenever wondering about the end days theories.
Dispensationalism is wrong in their interpretations and conclusions, and even in their underlying presumptions.
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