The Book of Revelation is Full of Ancient Curses
The book of Revelation is an apocalyptic book of the Bible, as it contains several future predictions. For one, it names notable world powers and preempts global crises.
Also, the book is acclaimed by many theological scholars as a worthy prediction of how the world will end. However, they seem to have found another feature of this portion of the Bible. Let’s see if it’s possible to place ancient curses on your enemies with content from the book of Revelation.
Who Wrote the Revelation?
While some portions of the Bible have credits given to the person who authored them, some were written by multiple individuals. But there is still uncertainty over who wrote some books of the Bible, such as the Letter to the Hebrews and the Book of Revelation.
Many scholars have attributed the authorship to a certain John, often called John of Patmos. This Patmos in the name refers to the location of the writing.
Fragmentation of the Apocalyptic Text
The content of Revelation is divided into two major portions. The first consists of seven letters addressed to the churches of Asia Minor. In the latter portion, the apocalyptic message is shrouded in strings of somewhat cryptic texts.
Some scholars think the latter portion of Revelations was a play-it-safe knock on the Roman empire that ruled the known world at the time.
If you disagree with the policies of Mussolini or Stalin, you don’t publish a personally signed pamphlet and distribute it publicly. In that situation, the writing would likely have subtle content with double-entendres. Also, the author is unlikely to sign their real name.
So, scholars believe John of Patmos was subtly calling out the Roman government for its heavy persecution of Christians.
Curses in the Bible?
A team of historical researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) Mainz is researching portions of the Bible with curses. The team’s project focused their searchlight on the apocalyptic book and compared phrases to curses found on historical curse tablets.
Curse tablets are historic artifacts excavated from sites of ancient ruins. They are usually tablets or scrolls that have curses against an entity inscribed on them.
The Making of Curse Tablets
Making curse plates and tablets seemed to have been a notable aspect of Roman culture. Since the Roman empire once spanned across the world, some of these plates and tablets have been found at archaeological sites of Roman ruins.
To make one, a metallic sheet, usually cheap lead, was inscribed with the curse in question and buried under the ground. However, in some cases, the curse was rolled up and thrown into a river or nailed to a wall.
The Object and Its Curse
The lead researcher on the JGU project on ancient curses is Michael Hölscher (PhD). He and his team noticed that a number of rituals accompany the making of a curse tablet.
Sometimes the ritual involves the writing of the inscription, piercing the plate, and folding and binding it up before hiding it away in a designated location. There are similar rituals in the old testament, where an oath of chastity is written for a married woman accused of adultery. The writing is washed off with water, and the women are made to drink the water.
Christianity and Magic
You may wonder what connection exists between Christianity and ancient curses since they were related to black magic and witchcraft.
With about 1,700 plates having been discovered at various Roman ruins worldwide, it is safe to deduce that the practice naturally found its way into the life of Christians with Roman affiliations.
Some More Context
Oaths have become legal tenders and parts of our everyday lives. However, there was a time when it was only seen as part of Masonic or occultic rituals. Ritual plates played a similar role in ancient Rome.
In fact, it cut across the status, age, and religious divides of the average ancient Roman community.
A Practical Example of a Roman-Style Curse in Revelation
In the book of Revelation, an angel cast a stone into the sea and declared: “Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.”
The Roman Empire is often addressed as Babylon. Also, a person is expected to scribe a curse against their contenders. So, that gives a logical explanation for that apocalyptical curse.