Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Lecture Seven: The Revelation of Jesus Christ

The Revelation of Jesus Christ

Outline of Revelation

The Revelation of Jesus Christ (1:1-20)
Messages for seven churches of Asia (2:1-3:22)
Before the Throne of God (4:1-5:14) 
Seven Seals are opened (6:1-8:6)
Seven trumpets are sounded (8:6-11:19)
The Seven Spiritual Figures (12:1-15:8)
Seven bowls are poured onto Earth (16:1-21)
Aftermath: Vision of John given by "an angel who had the seven bowls“ (17:1-18:24)
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb (19:1-10)
The Judgment of the two Beasts, the Dragon, and the Dead (19:11–20:15)
The New Heaven and Earth, and New Jerusalem (21:1-22:5)
Conclusion (22:6–21)

The Puppets Introduce Revelation...

Methods of Interpretation 

(1) The preterist approach believes that “Revelation is simply a sketch of the conditions of the empire in the first century.” Although one cannot divorce the interpretation of this book from its occasion this view cannot adequately handle all the data of Revelation, for the author makes plain that this work is a work describing the future.

(2) The historicist view (or continuous-historicist view) “contends that Revelation is a symbolic presentation of the entire course of the history of the church from the close of the first century to the end of time.”

(3) The futurist approach usually argues that “all of the visions from Revelation 4:1 to the end of the book are yet to be fulfilled in the period immediately preceding and following the second advent of Christ.” “The more literal an interpretation that one adopts, the more strongly will he be construed to be a futurist.”

(4) In the idealist approach, “the Revelation represents the eternal conflict of good and evil which persists in every age, although here it may have particular application to the period of the church.” But like the preterist view, this approach does not do justice to the predictive elements in the book.

Domitian as Nero Revived

“In Revelation, the Nero legend is associated with the beast from the abyss and with the ‘eighth’ king who is at the same time ‘one of the seven’ emperors. The question immediately arises as to why Nero's name is being used if Domitian is the ruling emperor at the time of John's writing.”

“The revived Nero legends all appear after the fall of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 C.E., giving further indication as to the time of Revelation's composition, and again, excluding Nero as the ruling emperor.”

“Just as ‘Babylon’ was used by the early Christians as a pseudonym for Rome, it appears that ‘Nero’ was being used for Domitian.”

“The historical Babylon had destroyed the first temple, just as Nero was the first emperor to brutally persecute the Christians.”

“As the recipients of John's letter began to see themselves as the recipients of imperial persecution, it would have appeared to them that Nero had in fact been revived, if not physically, at least in spirit.”

“This is not just an idea of the Christians, for both Juvenal and Pliny the Younger, both writing just after Domitian's reign, regarded Domitian as the second Nero.”

“This explains how John could refer to the current emperor as the eighth, and yet at the same time as one of the previous seven: Domitian was Nero returned.”

John’s Numerical Symbols

The Mystical Number of the Beast

“Whoever this figure is, the author is certain that the first century recipients of his letter would be able to decipher his meaning.”

“This would seem to go against current trends in popular theology, where it is asserted that the beast is an unknown future figure.”

“The word ‘anti-christ’ nowhere appears in Revelation.”

“In most surviving texts the number given is 666, but in both Greek and Hebrew manuscripts the number 616 appears instead.”

“This variant was known to Irenaeus as early as the late second century.”

“Many theories have been advanced, but it appears most probable that this number symbolizes the name of Nero.”

“Before the use of Arab numerals, the letters of the Hebrew and Greek alphabets were also used as numbers, the value corresponding to the place in the alphabet.”

“An example from English would be the letter A equaling the number 1, and so on.”

“In this practice, by adding up the values of component letters that total the number of a person's name ‘the number of a human being’ is obtained.”

“In Hebrew, the letters of ‘Neron Caesar’ add up to 666.”

“This is not the most common spelling of Caesar Nero's name, however, which can also be spelled without the final ‘n.’ In such a case, where the final ‘n’ is dropped, the name adds up to 616. Hence a possible explanation for the alternative rendering in the manuscript evidence.”

“The evidence of the 616 number in the manuscript record at the very least allows for the possibility that in the understanding of some early Christian scribes, Nero was the implied figure.”

“Two other possibilities exist, for the Greek spelling of ‘Caesar God’ adds up to 616, as does the Latin spelling of ‘Caesar Nero.’ None of these interpretations necessarily exclude the others.”

Similarities Between Revelation and Ezekiel

A Prophet in Exile:
Ezekiel 1:1: At the Kebar River
Revelation 1:9: On the isle of Patmos

The Voice of the Almighty: Like a tumult of many waters…
Ezekiel 1:24-28
Revelation 1:13-17

The Vision of the Throne:
Ezekiel 1:27-28
Revelation 4:1-11

A Prophet in the Spirit:
Ezekiel 2:2
Revelation 4:2

Eating the Scroll:
Ezekiel 2:8-3:3
Revelation 10:8-11

Marking the Elect on their Foreheads:
Ezekiel 9:4-7: Anyone bearing the mark is preserved from the slaughter
Revelation 7:3-8

The Four Judgments: Sword, Famine, Wild Beasts, and Plague
Ezekiel 14:21: on Jerusalem
Revelation 6:8: on the Land

Coals from the Altar:
Ezekiel 10:1-5: cast upon Jerusalem
Revelation 8:5: cast upon the Land

No More Delay!
Ezekiel 12:25-28
Revelation 10:6

The Vine Judged:
Ezekiel 15:1-8: Jerusalem is a vine that is burned
Revelation 14:13-20: The vine of the Land is crushed

The Great Harlot:
Ezekiel 16 and 23 
Revelation 17-18

Jerusalem likened to Sodom:
Ezekiel 16:44-59
Revelation 11:8

The Cup of God’s Wrath:
Ezekiel 23:31-35: Jerusalem (“Oholibah” v. 4) drinks the cup of her sister
Revelation 14:9-11: The wicked drink the cup of the harlot Babylon

Lament Over the Fallen Great City:
Ezekiel 27: Lament over Tyre
Revelation 18:9-24: Lament over Babylon

They Will Come to Life
Ezekiel 37:11-14
Revelation 20:4: “…and they came to life”

Gog of Magog
Ezekiel: 38:1-39:24
Revelation: 20:8-9

Birds and Beasts Assembled for a Great Feast:
Ezekiel 39:17-20
Revelation 19:17-21

Measuring the Temple with a Measuring Rod:
Ezekiel 40:3; 40-42
Revelation 11:1-2

The Gates of the Temple City:
Ezekiel 44:1-3 and 46:12: The Gate is shut
Revelation 21:25: The Gates are open during the “daytime”

The River of Life: Lined with all kinds of trees bearing fruit for food and leaves for healing
Ezekiel 47:1-12
Revelation 22:1-2

The Four-Sided Temple City: With three gates per side, each named for the twelve tribes
Ezekiel 48:30-35 
Revelation 21:10-13

Similarities Between Revelation and Daniel

Son of Man coming on the clouds: the people mourn
Daniel 7:13
Revelation 1:7; 14:14

Vision of the “Son of Man,” prophet faints and is revived
Daniel 10:4-11; 8:17-18
Revelation 1:13-17

Vision of the One seated on the throne
Daniel 7:9
Revelation 4:2

Thousands and thousands stand before the throne
Daniel 7:10
Revelation 5:11

The four winds
Daniel 7:2: churning the sea, appearance of beasts
Revelation 7:1: angels hold winds back

Sealing up secret vision
Daniel 8:26; 12:4-9
Revelation 10:4

Man above waters swearing an oath
Daniel 12:7
Revelation 10:5

Ten-horned creature
Daniel 12:3: Beast
Revelation 7:7, 20, 24: Red dragon

Evil entity causing stars to fall to the earth
Revelation 12:4
Daniel 8:10

Michael; war in heaven
Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1
Revelation 12:7

Time, times, and half a time
Daniel 7:25; 12:7
Revelation 12:14

Beasts out of the sea, ten horns
Daniel 7:3-9: separate beasts - Lion, bear, leopard, etc.
Revelation 13:1-13: One beast – resembles lion, bear, leopard, etc.

Names written in the book of life
Daniel 12:1
Revelation 17:8

Ten kings
Daniel 7:24-25
Revelation 17:12

Beast thrown into the fire
Daniel 7:11
Revelation 19:20

Resurrection and judgment of the dead
Daniel 12:2
Revelation 20:4; 12-15

God’s people take possession of eternal kingdom
Daniel 7:18, 27
Revelation 22:5

Sealing up prophecy
Daniel 12:9: Seal it, for it’s about the distant future
Revelation 22:10: Don’t seal it, for the time is near

The wicked will continue to be wicked
Daniel 12:10
Revelation 22:11

Similarities Between Revelation and The Non-Canonical Book of Enoch

"Then I saw a great white throne and the One who was sitting on it. . . . I saw the dead, great and small alike, standing in front of his throne while the books lay open. And another book was opened, which was the book of life, and the dead were judged from what was written in the books, as their deeds deserved." (Rv 20:11-12)
". . . he set upon the throne of glory, while the book of the living was opened in his presence, and while all the powers which were above the heavens stood around before him." (Enoch 47:3)

"The sea gave up all the dead who were in it; Death and Hades were emptied of the dead that were in them; and every one was judged as his deeds deserved." (Rv 20:13-14)
"In those days shall the earth deliver up from her womb, and hell deliver up from hers, that which it has received, and destruction shall restore that which it owes. He shall select the righteous and holy from among them." (Enoch 50:1)

". . . and anybody whose name could not be found written in the book of life was hurled into the burning lake." (Rv 20:15)
"In those days shall the mouth of hell be opened into which they shall be immersed; hell shall destroy and swallow up sinners from the face of the elect." (Enoch 54:12)

Before the Throne of God (4:1-5:14)

The Throne of God appears, surrounded by twenty four thrones with Twenty-four elders seated in them.

The four living creatures are introduced.

A scroll, with seven seals, is presented and it is declared that the Lion of the tribe of Judah, from the "Root of David", is the only one worthy to open this scroll.

When the "Lamb having seven horns and seven eyes" took the scroll, the creatures of heaven fell down before the Lamb to give him praise, joined by myriads of angels and the creatures of the earth.

Seven Seals are opened (6:1-8:6)

First Seal:

A white horse appears, whose crowned rider has a bow with which to conquer.

Second Seal:

A red horse appears, whose rider is granted a "great sword" to take peace from the earth.

Third Seal:

A black horse appears, whose rider has "a pair of balances in his hand", where a voice then says, "A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and [see] thou hurt not the oil and the wine."

Fourth Seal:

A pale horse appears, whose rider is Death, and Hades follows him. Death is granted a fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Fifth Seal:

"Under the altar", appeared the souls of martyrs for the "word of God", who cry out for vengeance. They are given white robes and told to rest until the martyrdom of their brothers is completed.

Sixth Seal:

There occurs a great earthquake where "the sun becomes black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon like blood".

The stars of heaven fall to the earth and the sky recedes like a scroll being rolled up.

Every mountain and island is moved out of place.

The people of earth retreat to caves in the mountains.

The survivors call upon the mountains and the rocks to fall on them, so as to hide them from the "wrath of the Lamb".

Interlude: The 144,000 Hebrews are sealed.

144,000 from the Twelve Tribes of Israel are sealed as servants of God on their foreheads (note that Dan is missing)

A great multitude stand before the Throne of God, who come out of the Great Tribulation, clothed with robes made "white in the blood of the Lamb" and having palm branches in their hands.

Seventh Seal: Introduces the seven trumpets

"Silence in heaven for about half an hour"

Seven angels are each given trumpets

An eighth angel takes a "golden censer", filled with fire from the heavenly altar, and throws it to the earth. What follows are "peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake"

After the eighth angel has devastated the earth, the seven angels prepare to sound their trumpets

Seven trumpets are sounded (8:6-11:19)

First Trumpet:

Hail and fire, mingled with blood, are thrown to the earth burning up a third of the trees and green grass.

Second Trumpet:

Something that resembles a great mountain, burning with fire, falls from the sky and lands in the ocean. It kills a third of the sea creatures and destroys a third of the ships at sea.

Third Trumpet:

A great star, named Wormwood, falls from heaven and poisons a third of the rivers and springs of water.

Fourth Trumpet:

A third of the sun, the moon, and the stars are darkened creating complete darkness for a third of the day and the night.

Fifth Trumpet: The First Woe

A "star" falls from the sky.

This "star" is given "the key to the bottomless pit"

The "star" then opens the bottomless pit. When this happens, "smoke [rises] from [the Abyss] like smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky [are] darkened by the smoke from the Abyss"

From out of the smoke, locusts who are "given power like that of scorpions of the earth" (9:3), who are commanded not to harm anyone or anything except for people who were not given the "seal of God" on their foreheads (from chapter 7)

The "locusts" are described as having a human appearance (faces and hair) but with lion's teeth, and wearing "breastplates of iron"; the sound of their wings resembles "the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle"

Sixth Trumpet: The Second Woe

The four angels bound to the great river Euphrates are released to prepare two hundred million horsemen.

These armies kill a third of mankind by plagues of fire, smoke, and brimstone.

Interlude: The little scroll

An angel appears, with one foot on the sea and one foot on the land, having an opened little scroll in his hand.

Upon the cry of the angel, seven thunders utter mysteries and secrets that are not to be written down by John.

John is instructed to eat the little scroll that happens to be sweet in his mouth, but bitter in his stomach, and to prophesy.

John is given a measuring rod to measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.

Outside the temple, at the court of the holy city, it is trod by the nations for forty-two months (3 1/2 years).

Two witnesses prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.

Seventh Trumpet: The Third Woe that leads into the seven bowls

The temple of God opens in heaven, where the ark of His covenant can be seen. There are lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.

The Seven Spiritual Figures (12:1-15:8)

A Woman

"clothed with a white robe, with the sun at her back, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars" is in pregnancy with a male child.

A great Dragon

(with seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads) drags a third of the stars of Heaven with his tail, and throws them to the Earth. The Dragon waits for the birth of the child so he can devour it. However, sometime after the child is born, he is caught up to God's throne while the Woman flees into the wilderness into her place prepared of God that they should feed her there for 1,260 days (3½ years). War breaks out in heaven between Michael and the Dragon, identified as that old Serpent, the Devil, or Satan. After a great fight, the Dragon and his angels are cast out of Heaven for good, followed by praises of victory for God's kingdom. The Dragon engages to persecute the Woman, but she is given aid to evade him. Her evasiveness enrages the Dragon, prompting him to wage war against the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

A Beast

(with seven heads, ten horns, and ten crowns on his horns and on his heads names of blasphemy) emerges from the Sea, having one mortally wounded head that is then healed. The people of the world wonder and follow the Beast. The Dragon grants him power and authority for forty-two months.

The Beast of the Sea blasphemes God's name (along with God's tabernacle and His kingdom and all who dwell in Heaven), wages war against the Saints, and overcomes them.

Then, a Beast emerges from the Earth

having two horns, head like a lamb, body as a sheep, tail like a wolf, feet like a goat, and speaking voice like a dragon. He directs people to make an image of the Beast of the Sea who was wounded yet lives, breathing life into it, and forcing all people to bear "the mark of the Beast", "666".

The Lamb and the Son of Man: Events leading into the Third Woe

The Lamb stands on Mount Zion with the 144,000 "first fruits" who are redeemed from Earth and victorious over the Beast and his mark and image.

The proclamations of three angels.

One like the Son of Man reaps the earth.

A second angel reaps "the vine of the Earth" and throws it into "the great winepress of the wrath of God... and blood came out of the winepress... up to one thousand six hundred stadia."

The temple of the tabernacle, in Heaven, is opened, beginning the "Seven Bowls" revelation.

Seven angels are given a golden bowl, from the Four Living Creatures, that contains the seven last plagues bearing the wrath of God.

Seven bowls are poured onto Earth (16:1-21)

First Bowl:

A "foul and malignant sore" afflicts the followers of the Beast.

Second Bowl:

The Sea turns to blood and everything within it dies.

Third Bowl:

All fresh water turns to blood.

Fourth Bowl:

The Sun scorches the Earth with intense heat and even burns some people with fire.

Fifth Bowl:

There is total darkness and great pain in the Beast's kingdom.

Sixth Bowl:

The Great River Euphrates is dried up and preparations are made for the kings of the East and the final battle at Armageddon between the forces of good and evil.

Seventh Bowl:

A great earthquake and heavy hailstorm: "every island fled away and the mountains were not found."

Aftermath: Vision of John given by "an angel who had the seven bowls" (17:1-18:24)

The great Harlot who sits on a scarlet Beast (with seven heads and ten horns and names of blasphemy all over its body) and by many waters: Babylon the Great. The angel showing John the vision of the Harlot and the scarlet Beast reveals their identities and fates

Babylon is destroyed. A poem of lament has been inserted here which closely resembles eye-witness accounts of the destruction of Pompeii.

The people of the Earth (the kings, merchants, sailors, etc.) mourn Babylon's destruction. The permanence of Babylon's destruction.

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb (19:1-10)

A great multitude praises God.

The marriage Supper of the Lamb occurs.

The Judgment of the two Beasts, the Dragon, and the Dead (19:11–20:15)

The Beast and the False Prophet are cast into the Lake of Fire.

The Dragon is imprisoned in the Bottomless Pit for a thousand years.

The resurrected martyrs live and reign with Christ for a thousand years.

After the Thousand Years

The Dragon is released and goes out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the Earth—Gog and Magog—and gathers them for battle at the holy city. The Dragon makes war against the people of God, but is defeated.

The Dragon is cast into the Lake of Fire with the Beast and the False Prophet.

The Last Judgment: the wicked, along with Death and Hades, are cast into the Lake of Fire, which is described as the second death.

The New Heaven and Earth, and New Jerusalem (21:1-22:5)

A new Heaven and a new Earth are established. There is no more suffering or death.

God comes to dwell with humanity in the New Jerusalem.

Description of the New Jerusalem (sounds a lot like Ezekiel's vision).

The River of Life and the Tree of Life appear for the healing of the nations and peoples. The curse of sin is ended.

Conclusion (22:6–21)

Christ's reassurance that his coming is imminent. Final admonitions.

1 comment:

  1. Matthew 17
    [4] Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
    [5] While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
    [6] And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
    [7] And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.
    [8] And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.
    [9] And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

    Revelation 16
    [19] And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
    [20] And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.



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