Wk3 Revelation (Content, Style And Authorship)
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Wk3 Revelation (Content, Style And Authorship)

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Week 3 slides for AC Revelation Class S2010.

Week 3 slides for AC Revelation Class S2010.

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Wk3 Revelation (Content, Style And Authorship) Wk3 Revelation (Content, Style And Authorship) Presentation Transcript

  • Revelation Content, Style, Authorship and Date
  • Content
    • God rules history, and he will bring it to its consummation in Christ. “At the center of the book are the visions of Christ (1:12-16) and of God (4:1-5:14)…The central visions foreshadow the consummation of History, when God’s glory will fill all things (21:22-23; 22:5; see the commentary on 4:1-5:14)” (Poythress, The Returning King , 40).
  • Major themes :
  • God:
    • “ Revelation is first of all God-centered. God controls the course of history. He protects his people and punishes rebellion. He will bring his purposes to final, spectacular realization in the new heaven and the new earth” (Poythress, The Returning King , 40).
  • Worship
          • 1:12-20 the vision of the Son of Man cast in the clothes of the ancient of days from Dan 7 and 10. Notice the response: Fear, and falling to the ground as though dead;
          • 4:1-5:14 Read (4:8-11) Notice the threefold reference of Holy which is only used to describe God; furthermore there is a reference as to why God is to be worshiped: He is the Creator
          • 5:9-14 The Lamb is worthy because he was slain, and again we see the response to this vision: falling down and worshiping.
  • Worship
          • 7:9-17 Read (7:10-12) and notice that the response to God is that of falling down and worshiping him.
          • 11:16-19 Read 11:16-18 and notice the fact that again the twenty-four elders fall on their faces as they worship God.
          • 12:10-12
          • 14:1-7 Read verse 7 and note the fact that in the OT God is worthy of worship because of His great acts; and that would especially include creation;
          • 15:2-8 ; 16:5-7 ; 19:1-10 Notice the response from the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures and then finally from the angel who commands that John worship God; 20:4-6 ; 21:1-22:5 .
  • The Lamb :
    • Jesus is presented as the lamb because of his sacrificial death. Jesus shares “God’s name (the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, 1:8, 17; 22:13), his throne (22:1), his attributes (1:13-16 compared to Dan. 7:9-10), and his worship (5:13)” (Poythress, The Returning King , 41).
    • Furthermore it is by the person and work of Jesus that God’s plan and purpose for history is unfolded (5:1-10) and God’s ultimate judgment is arbitrated through Christ (6:1; 19:11-21).
  • Visions :
    • God’s purpose is disclosed in a visionary form which is often accompanied by sound effects and verbal messages.
    • Theophany : Is another way of talking about the appearing of God and his presence. Notice the centrality of God’s throne and its place in relation to the action that takes place in Revelation.
  • Spiritual War :
    • Humanity is caught in the middle of this great battle.
    • “ By adopting this spiritual perspective, Revelation does not eliminate human responsibility and the significance of human action, but rather sets them in their final, cosmic, and theistic context” (Poythress, The Returning King , 43).
  • Bipolar contrasts :
    • Purity and corruption, Beauty and Ugliness, Truth and Deceit.
    • As Revelation contrasts between these polar opposites it has the effect of shocking its readers: to those who are comfortable in their faith Revelation afflicts them, and to those who are afflicted Revelation comforts them.
  • Witness and Martyrdom :
    • The seven churches in Revelation 1:12-14, 20; 2-3 are said to be lampstands, which resurrects an OT theme of Israel’s witness to the nations as the light for the nations (cf. Matt 5:14-16).
    • The warning that Christ gives is that of taking away their lampstand (Rev 2:5) which would in effect make them void in a world of spiritual battle and cosmic struggle.
  • Martyrdom
    • ● John witnesses or “testifies to everything he saw” (1:2).
    • ● Jesus is the “faithful witness” (1:5).
    • ● Christians or saints face persecution and death for their testimony (2:10, 13; 13:15; 6:9). Revelation in and of itself is a call to faithful witness (note the call to overcome in Rev 2-3).
  • Reward and Punishment
    • God is sovereign and just; he punishes rebels and rewards his faithful followers.
    • “ The punishment and rewards include both the preliminary judgments in history, short of the Second coming, and the final judgments at the Second coming itself” (Poythress, The Returning King , 44).
  • Final note on Style
    • “ Some people today come to Revelation with the recipe, ‘Interpret everything literally, if possible.’ That recipe misunderstands what kind of book Revelation is. Of course, John literally saw what he says he saw. But what he saw was a vision. It was filled with symbols, like the Beast of 13:1-8 and the seven blazing lamps in 4:5. It never intended to be a direct, nonsymbolical description of the future” (Poythress, The Returning King , 47).
  • Authorship and Date:
    • Human Author = John (Rev 1:1, 4, 9; 22:8):
    • Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Clement of Alexandria identified the author as the apostle John.
    • Justin Martyr lived in Ephesus (only 30 miles from Patmos) in the early second century.
    • Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of John
  • Questions of Authorship:
    • Dionysius (bishop of Alexandria) compared Revelation to the Gospel and said that it must be a different author rather than John.
    • How would Genre answer this question?
      • Other options for authorship
        • John the Elder
        • Someone writing under the Pseudonym “John”
  • Questions of Authorship:
    • Common themes shared between revelation and the gospel: “Among the foremost of which are the Exodus-Moses motif, Christology (Jesus as Word, Lamb, and Son of Man and as glorified even through death), eschatological ideas, and the manner in which both use early exegetical traditions” (Beale, Revelation, 35).
  • God is the ultimate author of Revelation:
    • The message of Revelation comes straight from Jesus himself (1:1, 11; 2:1; 22:16, 20).
    • It is divine authority (22:18-19).
  • Date of the Apocalypse
    • What are the characteristics of the time when Revelation was written? Persecution was a real and impending threat (2:10, 13). Emperor worship was rampant. The church seems to be entrenched in major cities throughout Asia Minor.
    • Question: “What time period of the first century is characteristic of these events?”
  • Late Date:
    • Irenaeus says that it was written near the end of the reign of Domitian (81-96).
    • Domitian (81-96) was thought to be one of the worst emperors in terms of persecuting Christians. He claimed divinity for himself and made the people address him as “god and lord.”
    • Emperor Worship and the imperial cult (e.g., 13:4-8, 15-16; 14:9-11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4).
    • Letter to Pliny (113 A.D.) would illustrate the Roman sentiment toward the Christians. During the reign of Trajan, Pliny wrote to ask Trajan what he should do about the Christian sect.
  • Late Date:
    • The Roman historian Suetonius writes: “Besides other taxes [under Domitian], that on the Jews was levied with the utmost rigour, and those were prosecuted who without publicly acknowledging that faith yet lived as Jews, as well as those who concealed their origin and did not pay the tribute levied upon their people” (Seutonius, Domitian 12.2). Before the fall of the Temple in Jerusalem Jews paid a two drachmas tax that went to the temple, yet after 70 A.D. the money went to the temple of Jupiter in Rome. This tax could be paid as an alternative to emperor worship (Poythress, The Returning King , 52).
  • Late Date:
    • Under the Roman system the Jews were protected in their monotheism; however, the Christians were free game. Judaism was known as a ( religio licita) “Permitted Religion.”
    • Ancient Roman writers said that toward the end of Domitian’s reign there was more chaos in the cultural and social spheres of the empire than at any prior time.
    • The use of the title “Babylon” in Revelation points to the probability of a late date. “’Babylon’ refers to Rome in Jewish literature after 70 A.D. and roughly contemporary with the Apocalypse” Beale, Revelation , 18-19).
  • Early Date:
    • Nero: It could also be dated to the end of the reign of the emperor Nero (54-68).
    • He blamed Christians for the fire in Rome in AD 64, and used this excuse as a reason to persecute the Christians.
    • The Nero Myth: Many believed that Nero would return from the dead and lead a Parthian army against the Roman Empire. Rev 17:10 is often cited in favor of the Nero date.
    • There is no evidence that Nero persecuted Christians living in Asia Minor; his main persecution centered on Rome because of the great fire.
  • What about the context of the Seven Churches
    • It points to a later date.
    • It is plausible that the spiritual lethargy of Ephesus, Sardis and Laodicea took a considerable time to develop.
    • Laodicea is called wealthy (3:17) but the city experienced an earthquake in 60-61 A.D. so it is natural to assume that it took some time for the city to bounce back economically.