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Posted By: Tom Nero - Tue Nov 30, 2021 3:54 AM
I was watching Jeopardy and the question was:
Nero persecuted the followers of Jesus so much; he became known by them as what?

Posted By: Robin Re: Nero - Tue Nov 30, 2021 7:12 AM
As he was called behind his back by his own lieutenants:

The Beast.
Posted By: Tom Re: Nero - Thu Dec 02, 2021 2:59 AM

According to Jeopardy the answer is, "The Anti-Christ". I have no idea if that is correct.
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: Nero - Thu Dec 02, 2021 3:14 AM
I'm wondering what source was consulted to arrive at that answer? scratchchin
Posted By: Tom Re: Nero - Thu Dec 02, 2021 5:49 AM

I have no idea; yet I imagine Jeopardy has their sources. One of the reasons I watch that show, is because of how intelligent many of the contestants are.
The reason why I put this here, is not only did I think it was a change of pace for the board; I thought if anyone knew the answer, I would find it here.

I did find a few links concerning Nero and the "AntiChrist.
Here is a section from one link.

Nero also possesses the attributes of the Antichrist in the Sibylline Oracles, a collection of Jewish and Christian apocalyptic verses attributed to the prophecies of the ancient Sibyl, who identifies herself as a native of Babylon (III.786; also Lactatius, Divine Institutes, I.6) and a daughter (or daughter-in-law) of Noah (III.808ff). In Oracle V, which dates to the late first or early second century AD, Nero has become a resurrected and demonic power symbolic of Rome, itself. "One who has fifty as an initial [the Hebrew letter "N"] will be commander, a terrible snake [the serpent or dragon], breathing out grievous war....But even when he disappears he will be destructive. Then he will return declaring himself equal to God" (V.28ff). Here, Nero is manifested as the Antichrist, "that man of sin [lawlessness]...who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God...shewing himself that he is God" (II Thessalonians II.3-4).

The Sibyl presents Nero both as king of Rome (Oracle V, 138ff) and the means of God's retribution in destroying it (365). A matricide and megalomaniac, who presumed to cut through the isthmus of Corinth and was perceived as responsible for the destruction of the Jewish Temple in AD 70, Nero "will come from the ends of the earth" (363) as a champion of the East and an instrument of God's punishment. He will overthrow tyrants and "raise up those who were crouched in fear" (370) before falling in a final battle against the West. Then there will be peace and "no longer will anyone fight with swords or iron or with weapons at all" (382ff). In this expectation, as in Oracle IV (119ff, 1137ff) and Oracle VIII (70ff, 153ff), one perceives the hope raised by the False Neros among the oppressed provinces of the East.

The Christian poet Commodian (fl. AD 260) also writes of the Antichrist, when Nero will return from hell.


From what I am gathering, Nero has been considered to be the "AntiChrist by many throughout history; but there have been many candidates for that title throughout history. Perhaps, because of the persecution many Christians went through from the hands of Nero, it would be understandable for many of the early Christians to believe that.

Posted By: Meta4 Re: Nero - Thu Dec 02, 2021 5:18 PM
There are several candidates for titles which may have been applied to Nero by the early church, among them of course, "the antichrist" (1 John), "the beast" (Rev. 13), and "the man of sin" (2 Thes. 2). The relationship between those titles is a fascinating study.

Given the context of the times, with all the persecution, I would tend to concur with Jeopardy that "the antichrist" would be the most likely title that may have been applied to Nero by the early church. That is not to say that I think Nero was, in fact, the antichrist, or indeed that that title necessarily refers to a specific individual.

While Nero may have been referred to as "the beast" by his lieutenants, and while that may be a suitable appellation, given the late date of the writing of the book of Revelation, I doubt that it would have been in sufficiently wide circulation at the time, in order for that title to be commonly used by the early church.

Just my two cents.
Posted By: Robin Re: Nero - Fri Dec 03, 2021 11:00 AM
Late date of Revelation? I wonder why everyone assumes that Revelation was written about 90 AD rather than earlier. It seems to me that the book dates itself in a few passages.

Rev. 11:1-2 suggest that the temple was still standing at the time of writing, and the time from Rome's declaration of war on Jerusalem to Jerusalem fell was exactly 42 months.

Chapter 17:10-13 suggest the time of writing during the reign of the "sixth king:"

five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come ... The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and one of the seven ... ten horns

This may date the book of Revelation within 14 years, whether or not to include the pretended Nero who had supposedly survived an assassination attempt.

Julius (49-44 BC)

Augustus (27 BC - 14 AD)

Tiberius (14 -37 AD)

Gaius (37-41)

Claudius (41-54)

Nero (54-68)

Galba (68-69)

Otho (69)

Vetellius (69)

Vespasian (69-79)

I'm not convinced of a late date of writing of Revelation, but taking clues from the book itself, it's easy to come to a much earlier date, during the reign of Nero, before 70 A.D.
Posted By: Meta4 Re: Nero - Fri Dec 03, 2021 10:56 PM
A pre-AD 70 date for the writing of the book of Revelation is most often (and necessarily) used by preterists. Simply do a search to see that the majority of (non-preterist) scholars and theologians today date the book in the mid-90's AD.

Even were it possible to date the book earlier, I stand by my opinion that "the antichrist" is probably the most likely answer to the question asked. However, I have no problem with "the beast" as an alternative answer.
Posted By: DiscipleEddie Re: Nero - Tue Dec 14, 2021 4:52 PM
Originally Posted by Pilgrim
I'm wondering what source was consulted to arrive at that answer? scratchchin

Main articles: Antichrist, The Beast (Revelation), and Number of the beast
The Sibylline Oracles, Book 5 and 8, written in the 2nd century, speak of Nero returning and bringing destruction.[141][142] Within Christian communities, these writings, along with others,[143] fueled the belief that Nero would return as the Antichrist. In 310, Lactantius wrote that Nero "suddenly disappeared, and even the burial place of that noxious wild beast was nowhere to be seen. This has led some persons of extravagant imagination to suppose that, having been conveyed to a distant region, he is still reserved alive; and to him they apply the Sibylline verses." Lactantius maintains that it is not right to believe this.[131][144]

In 422, Augustine of Hippo wrote about 2 Thessalonians 2:1–11, where he believed that Paul mentioned the coming of the Antichrist. Although he rejects the theory, Augustine mentions that many Christians believed Nero was the Antichrist or would return as the Antichrist. He wrote that, "in saying, 'For the mystery of iniquity doth already work,'[145] he alluded to Nero, whose deeds already seemed to be as the deeds of Antichrist."[99]

Some modern biblical scholars[146][147] such as Delbert Hillers (Johns Hopkins University) of the American Schools of Oriental Research and the editors of the Oxford Study Bible and Harper Collins Study Bible, contend that the number 666 in the Book of Revelation is a code for Nero,[148] a view that is also supported in Roman Catholic Biblical commentaries.[149][150] The statement concerns Revelation 17:1-18, "the longest explanatory passage in Revelation",[151] which predicts the destruction of Rome by work of an eight emperor who was also one of the seven kings of the most extended and powerful empire ever known in the human history: according to this lecture, Babylon the Great is identified with Rome[152] which has poured the blood of saints and martyrs (verse 6) and subsequently become the seat of the Vatican State, reigning over all the kings existing on Earth."

The NEB & REB, RSV & NRSV Oxford Study Bibles give Nero as the most likely person referred to as 666, as does the Harper Collins Study Bible mentioned in the Wikipedia article. In addition, The New Interpreters' Study Bible, NRSV (2003) gives Nero as the probable identity. I've checked these personally and the Wikipedia is correct in making those claims. The Roman Catholic Study Bible, NAB Second Edition also gives Nero as the likely person meant.

BUT, at least one other commentator who is NOT a liberal understands 666 to be Nero and I refer to David S. Clark in his postmillennial, Preterist commentary on Revelation, "The Message from Patmos" and this commentary is available online. Rev. 13:18 is discussed on page 91:

For myself, this commentary by David Clark gives the most natural, clear reading of that difficult book.
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