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349RE: [revelation-list] Question on Revelation 6:2 bow

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  • Georg S. Adamsen
    Nov 3, 2002
      Hi Jason,

      Interesting message to which I have a few comments. Sorry for the delay.

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: coates [mailto:jasonnola@...]
      > Sent: Friday, October 18, 2002 1:01 PM
      > To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: RE: [revelation-list] Question on Revelation 6:2 bow
      > David Chilton points out that Habakkuk 3:9 is the OT
      > scriptural basis for
      > Revelation 6. (The Days of Vengeance, Tyler, Texas: Dominion
      > Press, 1987
      > p.186.) Christ is depicted here as the warrior-king of
      > Habakkuk carrying a
      > bow. The victory of the Redeemer over His enemies is seen in
      > Psalm 45 where
      > again the warrior-king is seen going forth conquering and to
      > conquer. (The
      > sense here is that conquest is ongoing and not yet completed.)

      It is certainly possible that Hab 3:9 is the OT scriptural basis, or at
      least, background. It could also be just a parallel. Habakkuk 3,
      however, describes a theophany, and Revelation describes the coming of
      both God and Christ as a theophany, or epiphany, if you like. I have
      argued in my thesis that it is important to be able to explain why God
      features so prominently in Revelation.

      Several scholars point to Psalm 45 as the background. In my thesis I
      have pointed to a large number of parallels between Psalm 45 and
      Revelation, but I was not able to show that Revelation contains any
      certain allusions to Psalm 45. I think, however, it is fair to conclude
      that Psalm 45 may provide us with a model for the understanding of
      Christ as the coming warrior-king. The wedding motif also seems to be
      present in both Psalm 45 and Revelation, as McIlraith, among others, has
      shown. This is one of the reasons why I suggest that Christ is depicted
      as a Warrior-Bridegroom in both texts, but especially in Revelation.

      > I find it interesting that there is no mention of an arrow or
      > quiver of
      > arrows. The bow of the warrior-king is empty. One explanation
      > is that the
      > "one" arrow - Christ's redemption of man - was released, and
      > therefore any
      > act of Christ, such as the judgement and conquest of his enemies, is
      > predicated upon this.

      Bornkamm argued convincingly already in 1937 that it is part of John's
      narrative technique that he does not always mention everything. One of
      his (or his primary) argument was a careful comparison of Rev 14:14-20
      and 19:11-21. This article is rather important, but few seems to have
      read it. That there is no mention of an arrow or a quiver of arrows does
      therefore not necessarily mean that there were no arrows or quiver. It
      may rather be one example of his narrative technique.

      If Revelation employs theophany language -- and it does e.g. here and in
      6,12-17 -- then I think it is important to provide an explanation which
      fits the theophany concept. One could argue that John used theophany
      language without any notion of theophany. However, I wonder how any
      reader well acquainted to the OT (and the pervasive use of the OT in
      Revelation suggests that John assumed that his readers were acquainted
      with the OT) should have been able to see that. It would only have been
      possible if the texts itself makes clear that the theophany language is
      used without the very theophany notion. If this is indeed the case, then
      it should be easy for us to detect. Several studies have, however,
      argued that John makes use of the theophany concept.

      > Chilton continues to offer some very interesting explanations
      > of where the
      > bow comes from, and how it fits in the scheme of judgement on apostate
      > Israel. (Op. cit. p186-7.)

      I am well aware that Chilton and others interpret the plagues as a
      judgment on apostate Israel. It is true that Revelation uses OT texts
      which describe that, but Revelation also uses a number of other texts
      which are concerned with the judgment on other nations. Indeed, I think
      that just as God's people is international, so are those who will be

      One problem, which I think it unsatisfactorily answered by Chilton and
      other AD 70-interpreters, is what relevance the AD 70-judgment has for
      the seven cities of Asia. Another is what "every eye" in Rev 1:7 means.

      Georg S. Adamsen
      LSTA, Denmark
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