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RE: [revelation-list] Visions?

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  • Steve Black
    Thanks all for an interesting conversation. Many new possibilities that I hadn t considered have been suggested, for which I am grateful. Jon Newton wrote...
    Message 1 of 22 , Oct 22, 2002
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      Thanks all for an interesting conversation. Many new possibilities
      that I hadn't considered have been suggested, for which I am grateful.

      Jon Newton wrote...
      >This assumes that John was trying to "undermine the colonial power of Rome",
      >which means to some degree reading 21st century ideas into a 1st century
      >text.

      Isn't it inevitable that we bring 21st century ideas into the 1st
      century? We can not think other than as 21st century people. As much
      as we might try to "get into the minds of a 1st century person", but
      we can only do so from our perspective. We only understand history
      within the strange combination of the familiar (what reminds us of
      something we know in our lives) and the unfamiliar (that which is
      truly "other" and from our point of view often "weird" or "strange").

      Certainly the role that imperial Rome played was something that the
      writers of the NT must have thought about. It was a pressing reality
      of their time - how could they not? Much might have happened on a
      unconscious level. I want to know if Rev engaged in a strategy of
      resistance (which I suspect he did), but if he did not, then the
      other options are complicity or collaboration. Either of these
      options should then could be looked at. Political neutrality is a
      non-existent reality, and so John had SOME (thought through or not)
      approach to imperial power.

      --
      Steve Black
      Vancouver School of Theology
      Vancouver, BC
      ---

      Strangers stopping strangers just to shake their hand...

      -Robert Hunter From SCARLET BEGONIAS
    • Gareth Powell
      ... David, Thanks for you pertinent comment. I was wondering which sources you used that Christianity has used the ŒBabylon¹ method to establish its
      Message 2 of 22 , Oct 22, 2002
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        Re: [revelation-list] Visions? On 22/10/02 12:51 pm, "David L. Barr" <david.barr@...> wrote:

        > If a non-steve may join the discussion, I want to qualify a point made
        > by Steve Friesen.  He wrote in part:
        > -------------
        > I agree that Christianity did become an imperial religion, but it did
        > so by adopting part of Rev's model (rather than all of it).  Both
        > Empire and Rev were utopian projects, but the empire asserted they
        > were bringing the divine kingdom into existence while Rev asserted
        > that God (not humans) would destroy evil and bring the divine kingdom
        > to pass.  As orthodox Christianity developed, it moved back to the
        > Roman imperial model of asserting that human aggression produces the
        > kingdom.  So mainstream Christianity accepted Rev's eschatological
        > vision, but betrayed Rev's call to suffering, preferring instead to
        > inflict suffering.
        > ------------------
        > I agree with the main point, have vigorously defended it on occasion; I
        > even agree with the point that in John's vision God would destroy evil,
        > it's the parenthetical I challenge "(not humans)".  Humans have their
        > role to play ("They have conquered him the the blood of the lamb and by
        > the word of their testimony" 12:11).  What subsequent readers betrayed
        > was the means: consistent resistance.  It is rather too easy an out to
        > make god responsible for overcoming oppression.
        >
        > David
        >
        > David L. Barr
        > Professor of Religion
        > Wright State University
        > Dayton OH


        David,
        Thanks for you pertinent comment.  I was wondering which sources you used that Christianity has used the ‘Babylon’ method to establish its eschatological Kingdom.  I am particularly interested in the present day context with regard to Capitalism and Globalisation, which both strike me as bringing about a utopian dream for the rich West whilst inflicting suffering and poverty on those they are exploiting in mainly Non-Western countries.  Unveiling Empire is the most obvious place I have found this kind of recontextualisation of Revelations image of two cities, but if you have other sources in mind, either looking at historical events of the last few hundred years using Revelations images of empire as an interpretive strategy I would love to hear of them.

        I agree whole heartily that we as humans have our part to play in bringing in the kingdom of God here on earth and would use the two cities of the New Jerusalem and Babylon as images of two entirely different approaches to creating a Kingdom.  One which exploits and gains most for those who are rich and powerful (Babylon), the other which seeks to create equality, respect of both creation and humanity within that creation, as well as true worship (New Jerusalem).  I think both of these images are the climax of John’s prophetic critique of the Roman Empire and his vision of an alternate ‘Empire’.  We are Christians are called to bring about the second city and community, that of the New Jerusalem.  How we are to do this lies in Revelations pneumatology which I believe centres around the life giving qualities of the holy Spirit which orientates our lives and Christian communities to mirror that ‘heavenly’ community we see in the New Jerusalem.  The work of the Spirit is transformational and life-giving, as well as prophetic, each of which involves the individual, as well as the corporate to make life-giving decisions and live life-giving lifestyles with regard to the whole of creation – not just humanity.

        Regards
        Gareth Powell
        London Bible College
        England
      • Leo R Percer
        ... I basically agree with David here, so I m not offering a criticism except to say that Revelation 12:11 includes another sentence fragment that makes the
        Message 3 of 22 , Oct 22, 2002
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          Non-Steve and respected scholar David Barr said:
           
          > I agree with the main point, have vigorously defended it on
          >
          occasion; I
          > even agree with the point that in John's vision God would
          destroy
          > evil,
          > it's the parenthetical I challenge "(not
          humans)".  Humans have
          > their
          > role to play ("They have
          conquered him the the blood of the lamb and
          > by
          > the word of
          their testimony" 12:11).  What subsequent readers
          > betrayed
          >
          was the means: consistent resistance.  It is rather too easy an out
          > to
          > make god responsible for overcoming oppression.
          >
          I basically agree with David here, so I'm not offering a criticism except to say that Revelation 12:11 includes another sentence fragment that makes the first two portions explicit in how "humans" can play a role in victory over the dragon.  The fragment is "For they loved not their lives even to death."  In other words, humans bear "testimony" (marturias) to the Lamb's sacrifice by following his example.  It seems to me that John describes the path to victory as one of martyrdom or self-sacrifice.  Just like the "dragon" couldn't destroy the Lamb with the cross (the ultimate place of self-sacrifice), even so (according to John) Babylon and other "dragon" associated entities will not be able to overcome the witnesses (or "martyrs") of the Lamb as they follow his example.  Well, that's how I see it at any rate.
           
          Leo Percer
          Waco, TX
           
           
        • Lastday
          Dear Mr. Percer: Do you see the martyrs path to victory over Satan (by not loving their corporate life unto death) being inspired by the knowledge that NOW
          Message 4 of 22 , Oct 23, 2002
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            Dear Mr. Percer:
             
            Do you see the martyrs' "path to victory" over Satan (by not loving their corporate life unto death) being inspired by the knowledge that "NOW has become the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ ... because the accuser of our brethren before God was cast" by Michael from heaven to earth?
             
            May the timing for this corporate victory be set in the same eschatological context of a "short period" that Daniel similarly describes as taking place at the "end of time" when Michael casts Satan from heaven for a period of 3 1/2 times? Is not this "end of time" period when Christ comes with the Saints to "give the kingdom to the people of the Saints"? Dan.12:1,4,7; Dan.7:22-27; Rev.12:10,12,14. 
             
            I find it very intriguing that the Mighty Angel swore to John that the end of "chronos-time will occur when the 7th trumpet is about to sound," and did so in the name of the one who lives forever. For so did the man who swore to Daniel regarding the 3 1/2 appointed kairoi-times at the end (LXX). Rev.10:6,7. The "kairoi times" of Luke 21:24 and Rev.12:14 cease when the Lamb appears with all the Saints to destroy the Beast and Ten Kings who make war against Him. Dan.12:7; Dan.7:25-27; Rev.17:14. Mel Miller
            ----- Original Message -----
             
             
            Sent: Tuesday, October 22, 2002 9:43 PM
            Subject: Re: [revelation-list] Visions?

            Non-Steve and respected scholar David Barr said:
             
            > I agree with the main point, have vigorously defended it on
            > occasion; I
            > even agree with the point that in John's vision God would destroy
            > evil,
            > it's the parenthetical I challenge "(not humans)".  Humans have
            > their
            > role to play ("They have conquered him the the blood of the lamb and
            > by
            > the word of their testimony" 12:11).  What subsequent readers
            > betrayed
            > was the means: consistent resistance.  It is rather too easy an out
            > to
            > make god responsible for overcoming oppression.
            >
            I basically agree with David here, so I'm not offering a criticism except to say that Revelation 12:11 includes another sentence fragment that makes the first two portions explicit in how "humans" can play a role in victory over the dragon.  The fragment is "For they loved not their lives even to death."  In other words, humans bear "testimony" (marturias) to the Lamb's sacrifice by following his example.  It seems to me that John describes the path to victory as one of martyrdom or self-sacrifice.  Just like the "dragon" couldn't destroy the Lamb with the cross (the ultimate place of self-sacrifice), even so (according to John) Babylon and other "dragon" associated entities will not be able to overcome the witnesses (or "martyrs") of the Lamb as they follow his example.  Well, that's how I see it at any rate.
             
            Leo Percer
            Waco, TX
             
             


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          • David L. Barr
            Leo Exactly so, though I suspect that they way these terms ( testimony sacrifice cross ) have become religious terms connoting a certain kind of piety
            Message 5 of 22 , Oct 23, 2002
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              Leo
                  Exactly so, though I suspect that they way these terms ("testimony" "sacrifice" "cross") have become religious terms connoting a certain kind of piety hides what is required of us, which I take it to be more akin to what that Chinese student did who stood in front of the tank, refusing to let it pass without running over him. 
               
              David

              David L. Barr
              Professor of Religion
              Wright State University
              Dayton OH

              937-775-2293
              937-775-2892 (FAX)
              http://www.wright.edu/~david.barr

              -----Original Message-----
              From: Leo R Percer [mailto:PercerL@...]
              Sent: Tuesday, October 22, 2002 9:43 PM
               
              I basically agree with David here, so I'm not offering a criticism except to say that Revelation 12:11 includes another sentence fragment that makes the first two portions explicit in how "humans" can play a role in victory over the dragon.  The fragment is "For they loved not their lives even to death."  In other words, humans bear "testimony" (marturias) to the Lamb's sacrifice by following his example.  It seems to me that John describes the path to victory as one of martyrdom or self-sacrifice.  Just like the "dragon" couldn't destroy the Lamb with the cross (the ultimate place of self-sacrifice), even so (according to John) Babylon and other "dragon" associated entities will not be able to overcome the witnesses (or "martyrs") of the Lamb as they follow his example.  Well, that's how I see it at any rate.
               
              Leo Percer
              Waco, TX
               
               


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            • Leo R Percer
              David: What can I say to your brief response below but Amen ? Leo Percer Waco, TX P.S.--I want also to say Thanks to you for your articles and other
              Message 6 of 22 , Oct 23, 2002
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                Message
                David:
                 
                What can I say to your brief response below but "Amen"?
                 
                Leo Percer
                Waco, TX
                 
                P.S.--I want also to say "Thanks" to you for your articles and other materials on Revelation that showed up so prominently in several places in my dissertation.  May God continue to bless your work.
                 
                 
                On Wed, 23 Oct 2002 20:32:37 -0400 "David L. Barr" <david.barr@...> writes:
                Leo
                    Exactly so, though I suspect that they way these terms ("testimony" "sacrifice" "cross") have become religious terms connoting a certain kind of piety hides what is required of us, which I take it to be more akin to what that Chinese student did who stood in front of the tank, refusing to let it pass without running over him. 
                 
                David

                David L. Barr
                Professor of Religion
                Wright State University
                Dayton OH

                937-775-2293
                937-775-2892 (FAX)
                http://www.wright.edu/~david.barr

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