- Dear Ian,
> An interesting phrase: 'John must have meant'. Why so? Whatwould John's > readers have understood? >>> and
>>>There is the particular > question of what John and hisreaders understood by 'global' and what we > understand by it.
>>>John's terminology - e.g. 'the whole earth' (13:3); 'every tribe and
people and tongue and nation' (13:7) - clearly implies a
considerably broader collection of people than just those of Asia.
It may be that John meant the Roman Empire alone, but there
can be no doubt that he was aware of nations outside of the
empire - both because there were armies advancing and
defending the Empires boudaries and because of personal
dealings he must have had with people from beyond those
boundaries (e,g Acts 2:9-11).
While his readers understood - or expected - that the events
depicted in the Revelation would affect the whole world - I think
they would have particularly understood that much of it would be
occur in the arena over which the Beast (Nero) had authority, i.e.
the Roman Empire.
>>>I am not sure they would have understood it as only > beinga 'partial fulfilment' so we therefore have to ask the
hermeneutical > question as to why we should read it differently.
>>>I do not think that the Church which received the Revelation and
those who led it would have expected a 'partial fulfilment'. They
believed that the end was upon them and hence much of the
expectaion in the New Testament that they would see the
parousia. They expected a complete fulfilment. Some questions
may have begun to creep in prior to Nero's death - perhaps as
the persecutions began to wane - but it was only after it (Nero's
death) and the realization that Christ did not return at the time
that they expected that they had to come to grips with the
multilayered nature (i.e. another, final fulfilment) of the