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Project Megiddo
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This report was prepared by the FBI. The .pdf versionoffsite is available at the FBI web site. This is the full text of the public version of the FBI report. Opinions expressed are those of the FBI. Links to relevant information have been added by Apologetics Index to facilitate research.

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II - Introduction - Continued (a)

Interpretations of the Bible

Religiously based domestic terrorists use the New Testament's Book of Revelation -- the prophecy of the endtime -- for the foundation of their belief in the Apocalypse. Religious extremists interpret the symbolism portrayed in the Book of Revelation and mold it to predict that the endtime is now and that the Apocalypse is near. To understand many religious extremists, it is crucial to know the origin of the Book of Revelation and the meanings of its words, numbers and characters.

The Book of Revelationoffsite was written by a man named "John" who was exiled by the Roman government to a penal colony - the island of Patmos - because of his beliefs in Christ.  (7)  While on the island, he experienced a series of visions, described in the Book of Revelation. The writing in the Book of Revelation is addressed to churches who were at the time experiencing or were threatened by persecution from Rome because they were not following the government. For this reason, some believe the Book of Revelation was written in code language, much of which was taken from other parts of the Bible.

One interpretation describing the essence of the message contained in Revelation is that God will overcome Christianity's enemies (Roman Government/Satan) and that the persecuted communities should persevere.  (8)  For right-wing groups who believe they are being persecuted by the satanic government of the United States, the Book of Revelation's message fits perfectly into their world view. This world view, in combination with a literal interpretation of the Book of Revelation, is reflected in extremist ideology, violent acts, and literature. For this reason, it is imperative to know the meaning of some of the "code words" frequently used:

  • Four (4) signifies the world.
  • Six (6) signifies imperfection.
  • Seven (7) is the totality of perfection or fullness and completeness.
  • Twelve (12) represents the twelve tribes of Israel or the 12 apostles.
  • One-thousand (1000) signifies immensity.
  • The color white symbolizes power and can also represent victory, joy and resurrection.
  • The color red symbolizes a bloody war.
  • The color black symbolizes famine.
  • A rider on a pale green horse is a symbol of Death itself.
  • "Babylon" is the satanic Roman Government, now used to describe the U.S. government.  (9) 

Black Hebrew Israelites, a black supremacist group, typify the use of numerology from the Book of Revelation. They believe group members will comprise the 144,000 people who are saved by God in the second coming that is outlined in Revelation (7:1-17). In the Book of Revelation, John is shown a vision of 144,000 martyrs who have survived and did not submit to Satan. This number is derived from the assertion that the twelve tribes of Israel consisted of 12,000 people each.

Groups not only use the Bible to interpret the endtimes, but use it to justify their ideology. Phineas Priests, an amorphous group of Christian Identity adherents, base their entire ideology on Chapter 25 of the Book of Numbers. The passage depicts a scene where Phineas kills an Israelite who was having relations with a Midianite woman and God then granted Phineas and all of his descendants a pledge of everlasting priesthood. Modern day followers of the Phineas Priest ideology believe themselves to be the linear descendants of Phineas and this passage gives them biblical justification to punish those who transgress God's laws. Therefore, the group is ardently opposed to race mixing and strongly believes in racial separation. The number 25 is often used as a symbol of the group.

- Footnotes -
  1. While he never claimed to be the book's author, the Apostle John was identified as such by several of the early church Fathers. Authorship is generally ascribed to him today. (back)
  2. This interpretation of the Book of Revelation is according to the Catholic Bible and a Catholic scholar that was consulted on the matter. However, there are other varying interpretations of the Book of Revelation within Christianity. (back)
  3. All symbolism was taken from The Catholic Bible; New American Bible. (back)


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