Wk5 Revelation Commentary 1


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Jon Kohler's Amarillo College Revelation class, week 5 slides.

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Wk5 Revelation Commentary 1

  1. 1. Revelation Commentary 1:1-20
  2. 2. Prologue 1:1-3 <ul><li>The overriding genre of the book is a letter, and 1:1-3 acts as its introduction. </li></ul><ul><li>The communication process originates with God to Jesus and then it is mediated by an angel, and finally John must testify to what he has seen. </li></ul><ul><li>Audience is “his servants.” </li></ul>
  3. 3. Prologue 1:1-3 <ul><li>Revelation of Jesus Christ </li></ul><ul><li>The influence of Daniel 2:28-30 and 45-47 on Rev 1:1 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>John is interpreting the phrase “in the latter days” (Dan 2:28-29, 45) with the phrase “to show what must come to pass…quickly” (Rev 1:1). This fact indicates that the prophecies of Daniel about the end of time has begun to be fulfilled (inaugurated eschatology) in the present time. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>“ Quickness” probably refers to the inauguration of prophetic fulfillment and its ongoing aspect. The beginning of fulfillment and not final fulfillment is in focus to John. </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion to Verse 1 : “John’s book is a prophetic work which concerns the imminent and inaugurated fulfillment of OT prophecies about the kingdom in Jesus Christ” (Beale, Revelation , 183). </li></ul>
  5. 5. Rev 1:2 <ul><li>Illustrates the theme of witness which is intensified throughout the book. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Rev 1:3 <ul><li>Illustrates the fact that this book has an overriding ethical emphasis, one can see this as well in Rev 22:6-21 which is an intentional expansion of the prologue. </li></ul><ul><li>Revelation begins with a “Blessing” for those who read and hear this book; conversely, it closes with a curse to those who add or take away from the revelation. It is a curse to those who do not read it and take it to heart. </li></ul>
  7. 7. 1:3 <ul><li>The word “prophecy” in the New Testament carries the meaning of speaking and preaching or expounding on the scriptures. In classical Greek literature it represented the activity of explaining the will of the gods. Thus, “prophecy” could denote a future aspect of telling what is to come, and it could also represent the forth telling of preaching. </li></ul>
  8. 8. 1:3 <ul><li>“ Hearing” present, active, participle: denotes not only using the auditory faculties to perceive sound, but it should be understand in light of the imperative (commands) in chapters 2-3 to hear the message; furthermore, note the use of “keeping” in this verse. Both of these words together function in a manner to highlight obedience to the preached or prophetic message. </li></ul><ul><li>“ The time is near” serves as the reason why John’s readers are blessed for reading this book; however, what does this phrase mean? </li></ul><ul><li>Note the element of “Already and Not-yet” in the first three verses. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Salutation 1:4-8 <ul><li>This prophecy opens like a typical Greek letter. </li></ul><ul><li>John the apostle is the author and his audience is to seven churches in Asia Minor. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Seven” is a highly symbolic number in Revelation. It represents completeness from the OT imagery of creation being finished in “seven days (Gen 1; 2:2-3).” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Asia Minor” is located in what we would today call Western Turkey. </li></ul><ul><li>John as a representative of Christ </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>“ Grace and Peace” grace is typically an unmerited gift, and peace means more than just an absence of strife in life or the freedom from anxiety; this was often used to express the good favor of God upon the individual </li></ul><ul><li>“ the one who is and who was and who is to come” this is a designation for God, and it comes from Ex 3:14 and the divine name. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Seven Spirits” or Sevenfold Spirit is probably a designation for the Holy Spirit (cf. 4:5). This phrase has its background in Zech 4:2-7 which identify the seven lamps as God’s one spirit whose role it is to bring about God’s grace. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Rev 1:5 <ul><li>Jesus is given a threefold description in this verse. He persevered as faithful witness to the father even in the face of persecution and death. </li></ul><ul><li>Secondly Christ is the “first born from among the dead.” This phrase should draw the readers back to the gospels to see the reality of the resurrection. </li></ul><ul><li>Finally, Jesus is the “ruler of the kings of the earth.” Rome is not sovereign nor is any other nation or entity, only God is sovereign; therefore, Jesus is entitled the ruler of the kings of the earth (See Psalm 89:27, 37). </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>“ To the one who loves us and freed us from our sins” The reality of who Jesus is, causes John to break into a song of praise (anytime we have a glimpse or a greater understanding of God, we should do the exact same thing.). </li></ul><ul><li>“ Blood” most obviously points to Christ’s death, but it is also an allusion to the OT sacrificial system. Blood was associated with the priesthood because it was their job to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice over the people to make atonement for their sin. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>“ Kingdom and Priests” See Ex 19:6. Thus God has made us (Christians) to be the priests of the new covenant (see also Heb. 10:19-22; 1 Peter 2:5-9). </li></ul><ul><li>The highpoint of verses 1-6 lies in the doxology. Praising God for who he is and what he has done and continues to do in Christ and in his church. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Rev 1:7 <ul><li>“ Look he is coming in the clouds and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him” this is a combination of two OT illusions. Daniel 7:13 and Zech 12:10. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Part 2.
  16. 16. 1:9-11 John’s commission <ul><li>“ Your Brother and companion” John is a fellow participant along with the churches in the present suffering and kingdom. </li></ul><ul><li>“ The tribulation, kingdom, and perseverance” are governed by one article in Greek and should therefore be interpreted as a unit. </li></ul><ul><li>“ in Jesus” gives the reader and John a corporate identification with Christ Jesus. </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>“ Tribulation” </li></ul><ul><li>Question: Is he talking about past, present or future tribulations? </li></ul><ul><li>Probably all three could be referenced (see 2:9, 10, 22; 13:10 and 14:12). </li></ul><ul><li>“ Patmos” is a small island off the west coast of Asia Minor, about 50 miles from Ephesus </li></ul><ul><li>“ Because of the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus” </li></ul>
  18. 18. Rev 1:10 <ul><li>“ On the Lord’s Day” This would be Sunday. The day on which Christians gathered together throughout the centuries to worship Jesus. </li></ul><ul><li>“ In the Spirit” This is reminiscent of Ezekiel’s rapture in the Spirit, and it gives John the authority like that of the OT prophets (Ezek. 2:2; 3:12, 12, 24; 11:1; 43:5). </li></ul><ul><li>“ Loud voice like a trumpet” is much like the voice that Moses heard on Mount Sinai (Ex 19:16, 19-20). </li></ul>
  19. 19. Rev 1:11 <ul><li>“ Write and send” John is charged to record the content of his vision and to send it in a circular fashion to seven churches of Asia Minor. The charge to a prophet to write the words of God is often associated with words of Judgment. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Seven Churches” As argued before, “7” is a number the represents completeness, and these seven churches should be understood as being symbolic for the church as a whole. </li></ul>
  20. 20. 1:12-20 The Vision of Christ <ul><li>Introductory note: This vision follows a typical pattern that is seen in Jewish apocalyptic literature and the OT: (1) vision (vv12-16), (2) the seer’s response, and (3) an interpretation of the vision (vv17b-20). </li></ul><ul><li>Overview of 12-20: Christ is pictured as the eschatological heavenly high priest, end-time ruler, and judge. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Rev 1:12 <ul><li>“ Seven golden lampstands” Poythress is right that the lampstands symbolize the churches in their “light-bearing or witness-bearing function (v. 20; cf. Matt. 5:14-16)”; however, one must also see the OT imagery in the lampstands to fully understand their function in Revelation (Poythress, The Returning King, 77). </li></ul><ul><li>The light of the lampstands represented God’s presence among his people. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Christ thus presents the pattern in which the destiny of the whole universe is summed up (Eph. 1:10; Col. 1:16-17)” (Poythress, The Returning King, 78). </li></ul>
  22. 22. Rev 1:13-15 <ul><li>“ Among the lampstands” Jesus is represented as being among his people in their present time of persecution. </li></ul><ul><li>Christ’s work of attending the lampstands: Jesus is acting in his High Priestly role of tending to the lampstands (churches) by correcting and building up the church. </li></ul><ul><li>“ The OT priest would trim the lamps, remove the wick and old oil, refill the lamps with fresh oil, and relight those that had gone out. Likewise, Christ tends the ecclesial lampstands by commending, correcting, exhorting, and warning in order to secure the churches’ fitness for service as lightbearers in a dark world” (Beale, Revelation , 208-9). </li></ul>
  23. 23. Rev. 1:12-16 Ezekiel 1:25-28 Daniel 10:5-6 Daniel 7:9-10 Daniel 7:13-14 Son of Man Robe Gold sash *Head and hair white like wool Eyes like fire Feet like bronze Voice like rushing water Stars in hand Face like the sun Like that of a man Fire Glowing metal Sound like rushing water Radiance A man Linen robe Gold sash Eyes like flame Gleaming bronze Sound of a multitude Like lightning *Head and hair white like wool Son of man
  24. 24. <ul><li>“ His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace” This is a reflection of Christ’ moral purity which serves as the basis of his demand that those among whom he walks must share in his moral purity (cf. 3:18 and the use of fire). </li></ul><ul><li>“ Sound of rushing waters” This is probably taken from Ezekiel 1:24 and 43:2 where God’s voice is compared to the sound of many waters. Note also the temple context in which this voice occurs in Ezekiel and in Revelation 1. This highlights Christ’s divine nature. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Rev 1:16 <ul><li>“ In his right hand he held seven stars” The seven stars are interpreted for us in verse 20; there they are described as the angels of the churches. Thus Christ is Lord of both what happens on earth and in heaven. </li></ul><ul><li>Dan 12:6ff interprets the stars as the wise who will shine like the sun. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Sharp double-edged sword coming out of his mouth” This image is based on the prophecies of Isaiah 11:4 and 49:2, which picture the messianic figure as the eschatological judge. </li></ul><ul><li>“ His face was like the sun shinning in all its brilliance” This language is typically used to describe a theophany scene. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Rev 1:17a <ul><li>“ When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead ” The natural reaction of seeing the “Son of Man” would have been to fall on your face in worship. John does just that. In Daniel 8 and 10 the prophet does the exact same thing when he comes face to face with a vision of God. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Vv 17b-20 are the interpretation to the vision. <ul><li>1:17b) “ Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” After John is strengthened by Jesus, Jesus describes who he really is. </li></ul><ul><li>God’s sovereignty should strengthen the prophetic witness of John and the churches. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Rev 1:18 <ul><li>“ I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!” Christ’s resurrection proves that he is sovereign and that he is able to control the forces of death. The fact that he is the “first and the Last” and that he is the “living One” alludes to Daniel 7 and Christ’s resemblance to the Ancient of Days and the eternality of their existence. </li></ul><ul><li>When Jesus says that he lives “for ever and ever” he is applying an OT ascription of Deity to himself. For it is only God in the OT who is described as living “unto the ages of the ages” (cf. Deut. 32:40; Dan 12:7). </li></ul><ul><li>“ The keys of death and Hades” Christ has authority over this realm and this realm is in his possession. </li></ul><ul><li>Note also that he who holds the “key” conquerors death in Revelation 20:14 and 21:4. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Rev 1:19 <ul><li>“ what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later” </li></ul><ul><li>Futurist or recapitulationist? </li></ul><ul><li>Meta tauta… </li></ul>
  30. 30. Rev 1:20 <ul><li>“ The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches . ” </li></ul><ul><li>There is a corporate identity with both the angels and the churches. Angels are seen as the heavenly counterpart of the earthly churches; furthermore, they represent the saints in the heavenly council. </li></ul>
  31. 31. C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the witch, and the wardrobe, 64-65. <ul><li>“ Aslan a man!” said Mr Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-sea. Don’t you know who is the King of the Beasts? Aslan is a lion—the Lion, the great Lion.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re braver than most or else just silly.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? “Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’m longing to see him,” said Peter, “even if I do feel frightened when it comes to the point.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ That’s right, son of Adam,” said Mr Beaver, bringing his paw down on the table with a crash that made all the cups and saucers rattle. “And so you shall. Word has been sent that you are to meet him, to-morrow if you can, at the Stone Table.” </li></ul>