Re: Slater's article
- Dear Aleksander,
Thank you for drawing my attention to Slater's article.
The Revelation never appeals to apostolic authority (Slater, p. 253), I think, because such authority would have been immediately understood by those who read it.
Otto's observation that Slater allows Nero to be the fifth king is interesting. Slater opposes those Dometian-date supporters who, (without proving that John would have also omitted them) exclude Galba, Otho and Vitellius (p. 256), though they are included in the 'official' lists. Yet he readily accepts Bell's assessment that Nero was the fifth king (p. 256) despite the fact that Julius is included on the official lists.
It seems to me that Slater wants to have his cake and eat it too when it comes to the Revelation being either true prophecy or ex eventu prophecy. He wants both (p. 257). It may be that the apparent reference to the Nero redivivus myth in the Apocalypse is, in fact, the origin of the myth rather than a reference to it.
Nor do we need to see that John was writing in the midst of the tribulations about which he was writing. Here I disagree with mark (Loftus). The references to the coming suffering in the Revelation were all future orientated - it was coming soon. The apostles and others were regularly mistreated for the gospel and Rev 1:9 is just another such instance. So, as one who was suffering/persecuted for the gospel, John wrote about a new wave of persecutions that were about to come upon the Church, persecutions that he thought would precede the imminent parousia.
I think that the Revelation was truly prophetic in that it indicated events that had not yet happened and were about to occur. Contrary to Slater (p. 257), I think that the reason that some of what was predicted seems not to have occurred (e.g. ch's 21-22) is that the book was also an apocryphon. Perhaps I want my cake and eat it too!
Finally, one small point, Jerusalem may have been destroyed in a few days (not 42 months - p. 257) but it can be argued that the period of the Beast (i.e. Nero) who trampled on the living temple, the Church, lasted, as close as can be estimated, to 42 months. His persecution began close to the end of 64 and he suicided in June of 68.
For me, to be truly prophetic, the Revelation had to be given before Nero began his persecutions and with sufficient time for the churches - especially those in Asia - to respond to the letters addressed to them and which predicted the coming trouble. I am glad that Bell offers a period of writing as precise as June 68 to January 69; it makes me less coy about the precision of the date that I hold, June-July 62.