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Title: THE%20REVELATION%20TO%20JOHN


1
THE REVELATION TO JOHN
  • A Vision of End Time

2
Textbook Reading Chapter 15 - A Vision of End
Time, pp. 516-524.
3
Introduction - Revelation is an apokalypsis or
unveiling of unseen realities disclosure/unvei
ling/revelation - These unseen realities are
both in heaven, as it is now, and on earth, as it
will be in the future - Revelation places
government oppression and Christian suffering in
a cosmic perspective - It conveys a message of
hope for believers - It does this in the
language of metaphor and symbol (Rev 21.1-3).
4
Introduction (contd.) - The First Christians
believed that their generation would witness the
end of the present wicked age and the beginning
of Gods direct rule over the earth - It
anticipates a new heaven and a new earth
(21.1) - It envisions the completion of Gods
creative work begun in Genesis 1-2 - Thus, it
provides the Omega, the last letter in the Greek
alphabet, to the Alpha, the first letter (1.8).
5
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6
Introduction (contd.) - The work portrays Jesus
as a major figure - He is the all-powerful
heavenly Jesus - He is the Messiah of popular
expectation, that is - He is a conquering,
warrior-king (military messiah) - He slays his
enemies - He proves, beyond all doubt, his
right to universal rule
7
Introduction (contd.) - The author of the work
sees a sharp contrast between the present world,
which is hopelessly corrupt, and Gods planned
future world, a realm of ideal purity - The
future world can be brought about only by Gods
direct intervention in human affairs - This
requires Jesus to act as Gods judge and
destroyer of the world as we know it.
8
Introduction (contd.) - Revelation is the only
NT book composed entirely in the form of a
literary Apocalypse (see Apocalyptic Literature
and the Book of Daniel, pp. 271-274 and G 3-4 in
the Textbook) - It combines visions of the
unseen world with previews of future history -
All this is rendered in highly symbolic
language - The book belongs to the tradition
that began with Daniel in the Second Century BCE
(see Textbook, pp. 271-274)
9
Introduction (contd.) - The Book of Revelation
is unique in the NT - It is best studied in the
context of the literary tradition to which it
belongs - The symbols it employs - the dragon,
serpent, beast, and celestial woman - represent
the conventional vocabulary of apocalyptic
discourse (see Daniel 7, pp. 271-274 in Textbook
where empires are disguised as beasts).
10
  • Authorship and Date
  • - Probably not the work of the Apostle John
  • Probably not the work of the person who wrote
    The Gospel According to John
  • Probably not the work of the person (Elder)
    who wrote 1, 2, and 3 John)
  • - The author identifies himself as John, Gods
    Servant (1.1, 4, 9 22.8)
  • - He does not claim apostolic authority
  • - for the author, the apostles belong to an
    earlier generation (21.14)

11
Authorship and Date (contd.) - Was the author,
as Eusebius suggests, another John, known as the
elder, who lived at Ephesus around 100 CE? -
However, most commentators think that we can know
not much more about the author other than that
his name was John and that he was exiled to
Patmos (1.9) (present-day Patino), an Aegean
Island, 90 km SW of Ephesus. - Whoever he was, he
was familiar with the internal conditions in the
seven Churches addressed (Chs. 2-3)
12
Prefecture of Dodecanese 12 in the Aegean.
13
Prefecture of Dodecanese (Patmos/Patino is one of
the islands in this Aegean group).
14
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15
The Monastery of St. John on the Island of Patmos.
16
Patmos from Monastery.
17
Patmos Village and Harbour
18
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19
Authorship and Date (contd.) - Was the author an
itinerant Christian Prophet? - He appears to be
familiar with the area - The author writes Greek
as if it were a second language - Thus, was he a
Palestinian? - Did he have some connection with
the Johannine Community, that is, the Community
of the Beloved Disciple? - There are
similarities between The Gospel According to John
and Revelation
20
Authorship and Date (contd.) - Most scholars
date the work to the reign of Domitian (81-96 CE)
and to late in his reign, about 95 or 96 (Fig.
15.6, p. 519 in Textbook) - The author of
Revelation feels a growing tension between Church
and State - A sense of impending conflict that
makes him regard Rome as a New Babylon, destroyer
of Gods people.
21
Purpose and Organization - The author views the
outside world as a constant threat to his
community - He writes to encourage believers to
maintain a strict separation between themselves
and Greco-Roman society - He depicts his
community in a sectarian way, that is, as a point
of light in a dark world dominated by idolatry,
oppression, and the pursuit of wealth - When
faced with persecution, the faithful must resist
all comprises
22
Purpose and Organization (contd.) - The author
describes the situation from a cosmic
perspective - A conflict between the invisible
forces of good and evil that contend for human
allegiance.
23
Purpose and organization (contd.) - For the
Outline of Revelation see p. 519 in Textbook 1.
Prologue (1.1-20) 2. Jesus letters to the seven
Churches (2.1-3.22) 3. Visions from heaven
(4.1-11.19) 4. Signs in heaven (12.1-16.21) 5.
Visions of the great whore and the fall of
Babylon (Rome) (17.1-18.24)
24
Outline of Revelation (contd.) 6. Visions of
the eschaton (19.1-20.15) 7. Visions of the
new heaven and a new earth (21.1-22.5) 8.
Epilogue (22.6-21).
25
Purpose and Organization (contd.) - From the
above, it is clear that John begins his work in
the real world of exile and suffering (1.1-10) -
He then takes his readers on a tour of the spirit
world - He includes a picture of the imminent
fall of Satanic governments and the triumph of
Christ
26
Purpose and Organization (contd.) - At the end
of the work, he returns to the physical world and
gives instructions to his contemporaries
(22.6-21) - Thus, a circle, beginning and ending
in the physical world but containing a panorama
of the unseen regions of heaven and the future.
27
Use of images from the Hebrew Bible - Symbols
and themes particularly from the apocalyptic
sections in Daniel, Ezekiel, Joel, and
Zechariah - John paraphrases the Hebrew Bible
(see, for example, how the Jerusalem Bible uses
italics for these sections) - He employs
striking images to convey his vision of the
unseen forces affecting his Churches (1.11)
experience in the world
28
Use of images from the Hebrew Bible (contd.) -
The author combines biblical with non-biblical
imagery - He does this to show that the
glorified Christ surpasses rival Graeco-Roman
gods like Mithras, Apollo, Helios, etc. in
strength and splendour (See, for example,
Textbook, The Mystery Religions, pp. 322-325,
and Glossary on Mithras, G-30) - See 1.20
where John explains his symbols
29
Mithras sacrificing the mythical great bull
(Vatican Museums, Vatican City).
30
Use of images from the Hebrew Bible (contd.) -
This is done to assure the earthly congregations
that they do not exist solely on a material
plane - These Churches are part of a larger,
visible-invisible duality in which angelic
spirits protect Christian gatherings - The seven
Churches are as precious as the golden
candelabrum of the Jerusalem temple - Like the
stars, they shed Christs light on the world.
31
Golden Candelabrum Replica.
32
Menorah.
33
Temple - Model as of the time of Herod.
34
Jesus Letters to the Seven Churches
(2.1-3.22) - John surveys conditions in the
seven, light-bearing Churches of Asia Minor (see,
Fig. 13.7, p. 520 - map) - The author presents
himself as a secretary recording the dictation of
the divine voice - Jesus message to Ephesus
(2.1-7), Smyrna (2.8-11), Pergamum (2.12-17),
Thyatira (2.18-29), Sardis (3.1-6), Philadelphia
(3.7-13), and Laodicea (3.14-22). (These letters
to the Seven Churches (Revelation 2-3) probably
originally existed as a separate text.)
35
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36
Jesus Letters to the Seven Churches (2.1-3.22)
(contd.) - The situation in each Church is
rendered in images that suggest the religious
issues prevailing there. (See The Jerusalem
Bible, p. 428, on two different apocalypses (chs.
4-22) written at different times by one author
and then fused into one by another author.)
37
Visions from heaven (4.1-11.19) - John is caught
up to Gods throne where he views pictures of
events about to occur (4.1-2) - The author is
not interested in merely predicting the future -
But, by removing the veil that shrouds heavenly
truths, he allows his readers to see that God
retains full control of the universe
38
Visions from Heaven (contd.) - The two series of
visions that involve seven seals (5.1) and seven
trumpets (8.2) serve to assure Christians that
their deliverance is near and that their enemies
are destined to suffer Gods wrath - The Lamb,
that is, Christ, opens the seven seals in
sequence (5.5-9 6.1-12 8.1) - In each case,
either a predetermined future event or a further
revelation of Gods will is disclosed
39
Stamp-seal Early Dilmun, c. 2000-1800 BC
(chlorite or steatite, height 1.32 cm diameter
2.6 cm Manama, Bahrain National Museum)
40
Torah Scroll.
41
Visions from Heaven (contd.) - Opening the first
four seals unleashes four horses and riders - the
famous four horsemen of the apocalypse (6.2, 4,
5, 8) - These represent earthly disasters
military conquest war famine and death
(6.1-8) - Breaking the fifth seal discloses
Christian martyrs who cry for vengeance
(6.9-11) - Opening the sixth brings seismic and
astronomical phenomena (6.12-17)
42
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.(Rev 6.1-8).
43
Visions from Heaven (contd.) - Opening the
seventh seal introduces the vision of seven
trumpets, in which additional plagues afflict the
earth (8.7-11.19)
44
Seven trumpets.
45
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46
Shofars Samples of those used in Judaism
47
Signs in Heaven (12.1-16.21) - Beginning with
Ch. 12, there are a series of visions that
dramatize the cosmic battle between the Lamb and
the dragon - The spiritual conflict finds its
earthly counterpart in the climactic Battle of
Armageddon (16.12-16) (in Hebrew, har Megiddo
means the mountain of Megiddo) - Armageddon
the symbolic assembly point of the forces hostile
to God as they prepare for the eschatological
battle.
48
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49
Megiddo Located in northern Israel
50
Megiddo Aerial View
51
Megiddo Ground View.
52
Excavation through the tell of Megiddo
53
Megiddo Reconstruction of Gateway and
Fortifications.
54
Signs in Heaven (contd.) - The woman (12.1-2)
she is dressed in the sun, moon, and stars -
Such a figure resembles the Hellenistic portraits
of the Egyptian goddess Isis (see Textbook,
Figs.10.14-15, p. 324) - Is the figure meant to
symbolize Israel, the parent of Christ? - Arrayed
in 12 stars, the 12 tribes? - The woman gives
birth to the Messiah - The Roman Catholic Church
sees the woman as representing the Virgin Mary.
55
The Woman Clothed with the Sun and the Red Dragon
(William Blake 1757-1827).
56
Isis Egyptian Goddess, partner of Osiris.
57
Temple of Isis at Aswan - Island of Philae- Egypt
58
Temple of Isis.
59
Signs in Heaven (contd.) - The Dragon - The
seven-headed dragon is identified as Satan (12.9
Gen 3.1, 14-15) - The Archangel Michael defeats
him - This permits the birth of a new cosmic
order - The dragon is expelled from heaven and
wars against Gods earthly kingdom, namely, the
Church (12.5-9) - The Church will be rescued.
60
Signs in Heaven (contd.) The Beast - Most
scholars believe that the beast with ten horns
and seven heads symbolizes Rome (12.3 13.1) -
The two-horned beast may represent the Roman
priesthood that helps promote Emperor worship
(13.11) - The occult number of the beast (666)
- signifying a mans name - is a mystery
13.18) - A prominent leader, who is feared, of
the time? For example, Nero (see Fig. 15.8, p.
522 in Textbook)?
61
Nero on a Coin (64-67 CE).
62
Visions of the Great Whore (17.1-18.24) - John
depicts Rome, not as a mighty Empire, but as a
corrupt whore bedecked with jewels and gold
(17.1-18.24) (see fig. 15.9, p. 522 in
Textbook) - The whore is the dragons city, that
is, Rome, a new Babylon, doomed to fall before
Gods sovereignty (18.1-24).
63
Visions of the Eschaton (19.11-21.8) - These
visions feature the Lambs triumph over the
dragon - An angel hurls the dragon into the
abyss (20.1-3) - The dragon is imprisoned and
Christs reign begins - This is known as the
millennium since it lasts 1,000 years - It ends
with the dragons release to wage war yet again
on the faithful (20.7).
64
Visions of the Eschaton (19.11-21.8) (contd.) -
During the millennium, the martyrs who resisted
the beasts influence are resurrected to rule
with Christ (20.4-6) - After the dragons attack
on Gods people, a resurrection of the dead
ensues (20.5-6) - the dead are released from
the underworld/hades, and are judged according to
their deeds (20.7-13) - In Johns eschatology,
there is a place of punishment - For the author,
evil is not transformed but annihilated
65
Visions of the New Heaven and the New Earth
(21.1-22.5) - John pictures a sacred marriage of
the Lamb with the Holy City that descends from
heaven to earth - The new heaven and the new
earth - All pain and sorrow are excluded
(21.1) - A glorified capital - The new Eden
provides trees of life that restore humanity to
full health (see Gen 2.15-17)
66
Visions of the New Heaven and the New Earth
(contd.) - The hour of fulfillment is near
(22.10) - The writer apparently expected an
immediate vindication of his eschatological
hopes - The author curses anyone who tampers
with his manuscript - He ends his cosmic vision
by invoking Jesus speedy return (22.20).
67
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! Maranatha (Rev 22.20
and 1 Cor 16.22) The grace of the Lord Jesus be
with all the Saints. Amen. (A fitting end to
Revelation and to the New Testament!)
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