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Re: [revelation-list] Re: Revelation allusions to I Enoch

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  • Don K
    Kym, I always enjoy your thoughts, even if/when I don t agree. :-) I full concur with the posit that John was using the prophetic vernacular of the day, and
    Message 1 of 8 , Jun 4, 2003
      Kym, I always enjoy your thoughts, even if/when I don't agree. :-)
      I full concur with the posit that John was using the "prophetic vernacular"
      of the day, and addressing his own "sitz em leben" in terms understandable
      to his readers. I think Minear (NT Apocalyptic) was correct when he stated
      the NT writers used the imagery of "cosmic disturbances" and catastrophes
      without any explanation, indicating that they expected their audiences to
      understand. Further, he noted, as most do, that this imagery came from the
      Old Testament primarily. Thus, if the NT prophets used OT imagery without
      explanation, it would seem that the modern exegete would be well advised to
      go to the OT for the source of that imagery.
      This is where I would disagree with you, Kym. John is clearly anticipating
      an imminent eschaton. With that, I fully concur. The question is the nature
      of that eschaton.
      He does speak of the passing of the "heaven and earth," but I think the
      question is, did he actually expect the termination of the literal creation?
      I would answer in the negative. There are plenty of OT examples of the
      "providential" judgment of the nations in which those judgments are
      described in terms of cosmic destruction, e.g. the destruction of Babylon
      (Isaiah 13-14; the destruction of Edom (Isaiah 34), the destruction of
      Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 4:25f), the destruction
      of the 10 northern tribes (Micah 1:2f), etc. etc.
      Now, it is patently clear that while judgment did come, imminently, as
      predicted in these prophecies, the fabric of literal creation was not
      dissolved. The social structure of the kingdoms under judgment was
      destroyed, the nation (s) under judgment were "cast down from the heavens
      (Lamentations 2:1).
      In short, this "de-creation" language is typical metaphoric hyperbole to
      describe the providential judgment of nations by Jehovah's sovereign use of
      one nation versus another (Isaiah 10:5f; Ezekiel 30:24-25, etc.). There was
      no expectation of a literal catastrophe. (It is refreshing to see that this
      is being increasingly recognized. see N. T. Wright's, Jesus: The Victory of
      God for instance, and France and Caird, to varying degrees have recognized
      the metaphoric nature of this language.)
      In regard to John's "New Heaven and Earth" motif I would offer this brief
      analysis, that hearkens back to what I just stated. It is metaphoric, but it
      is also covenantal.
      1.) If John was truly anticipating the fulfillment of the prophetic hope of
      the Old Testament prophets (Revelation 10:7f),
      2.) And if the Old Testament prophets foretold the coming of the New Heavens
      and Earth,
      3.) Then it seems that the right approach to understanding John's hope is to
      go to the Old Testament predictions of the New Heavens and Earth, to grasp
      what John was anticipating.
      For brevity, Isaiah 65 foretold the New Heavens and Earth (65:17f). And, he
      did so within the context of a prediction of judgment on Israel (v. 13f; "I
      will destroy you, and call my people by another name."" The correspondence
      with Revelation is, in my view, perfect. Isaiah saw the New Creation coming
      when Israel was destroyed (Incidentally, the parousia under consideration in
      Isaiah was to be like previous comings, i.e. providential, Isaiah 64:1-5.
      God had come in the past, and was coming again as He had done, per the text.
      Patently, He had never literally descended out of heaven to destroy literal
      creation in the past.)
      Likewise, in the Apocalypse, John sees the New Creation coming after the
      judgment of Babylon. I would, of course, differ with the assessment of
      Babylon as Rome. It is the city "where the Lord was slain, where the
      prophets were slain, and the city guilty of killing the apostles and
      prophets of Jesus. I think Jesus' assessment "It is not possible that a
      prophet perish out of Jerusalem" is determinative here, as well as the
      consistent story of persecution in the epistles leading up to the
      Apocalypse.
      So, to be short as possible, John's expectation of , and his use of the
      imagery of, the New Creation, was taken from Isaiah 65. But Isaiah 65
      foretold the New Creation at the time of the judgment of Israel. Therefore,
      unless it can be proven that John was in fact, altering the prediction and
      application of Isaiah, it appears that John had the judgment of
      Israel/Jerusalem as Babylon in mind, followed by the New Covenant creation
      of the Messiah.
      Well, that is more than enough for me at the moment.
      As always, good to hear from you.
      Don K
      Who Is This Babylon?

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Kym Smith" <ksmith@...>
      To: <revelation-list@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2003 12:16 AM
      Subject: [revelation-list] Re: Revelation allusions to I Enoch


      > Dear Alan,
      >
      > <<<So should we understand that the imagery is borrowed from previous
      literature to describe John's situation, or do you think the symbols and
      figures describe something that existed outside of John's political, social
      environment?>>>
      >
      > As already stated, much of the imagery used was 'borrowed' because it was
      already known to John and his readers. It was familiar territory around
      which the early church could find its way.
      >
      > As an example, at our synod on the weekend just past (I'm an ordained
      Anglican) a motion was put that encouraged the work of 'Earth Ministry'.
      This flows out of the understanding of a group that is trying to understand
      the Bible - I think they may even be rewriting it - from what they see is
      the earth's (i.e. creation's) perspective (A bit New Ageish for me!). Now a
      lot of the motion contained good ecological sense, but its preamble on
      'Earth Ministry' etc put people offside because they were not familiar with
      the language and did not understand what was being said. The motion was
      passed after all that part of it was removed.
      >
      > By the urgency of the language I think John had no other thought than that
      what he was seeing was about to come on the world, it was immediately
      applicable to his 'political, social environment'. The Beast/antichrist was
      about to be revealed, the Church was about to face a great persecution,
      there would be catastrophic judgments on the earth and Jesus would return to
      gather his own and to renew the heavens and the earth. The letters to the
      seven churches of Asia were to prepare them (and the rest of the Church).
      They indicate that a severe persecution was about to begin, it would last a
      short while, then Jesus would reward the faithful. The rest of the
      Revelation would have been understood as an apocalyptic/encoded filling out
      of the details. The symbols and figures, having been taken largely from
      existing Jewish literature, made sense to the early Church that was familiar
      with the OT and readily gained an interpretation - even if parts of it were
      found later to be inaccurate. For example, the woman of Rev 12:1 was Israel
      (cf Joseph's dream of Gen 37:9f); they understood Babylon as the dominant
      world power and/or its capital (Rome); the beasts as kingdoms and/or kings
      (Dan 7:23) and horns as kings (c.f. Dan 7:7-8,15-20,24). The actual empire
      (Rome) and king (Nero) could not be named (c.f. Mark 13:14) without making
      the Revelation obvious anti-state propaganda which would invite retribution
      from the emperor.
      >
      > A question remains, if John thought that the Revelation was immediately
      applicable to his 'political, social environment', then did he get it wrong?
      The answer, I think, is Yes and No. No, because there was an immediate
      fulfilment (i.e. through Nero) about which the Revelation gave warning and
      for which it enabled the Church to prepare. Yes, because much of what was
      foretold in the Revelation did not happen as the apostles thought that they
      would., heaven and earth, for example, were not destroyed and replaced by
      the new.
      >
      > The answer is, I think, that God allowed certain conditions to develop
      which demanded some judgments in the Church and which also brought about the
      Neronic persecutions. He then used those conditions to give to the apostolic
      Church and through an apostle a prophetic vision which, while having
      immediate implications, reached beyond the 'political, social environment'
      of that day but which would, at the appropriate time, be fulfilled. I do not
      think that such a vision, given at any other time in subsequent history and
      to anyone other than an apostle would not have been received by the Church.
      If it were not apostolic - or at least had no chance of being apostolic - I
      suspect it would be given no more credibility than Nostrdamus, interesting,
      maybe, but...
      >
      > This, of course, does not deny the value of the Revelation for all ages
      for its understanding of suffering, God's sovereignty, etc.
      >
      > Following Nero's death the remaining apostles would have come to terms
      with their partial (mis)understanding of the Revelation and begun equipping
      the Church for a longer stay. I suspect that even during the 42 months of
      Nero's nastiness (end of 64 to mid 68) they may have had a growing awareness
      that events weren't happening quite the way they had expected and begun
      questioning their original understanding. Hindsight is a great thing. The
      imminence of the end, felt prior to and at the beginning of Nero's
      persecutions, faded to some degree, but the expectation that a final
      fulfilment would come remained. Again, I suspect that John probably thought
      that he woul dlive to see the end, the final fulfilment, and that is why he
      included the enigmatic comments he did in John 21:20-23.
      >
      > I think that's more than enough from me.
      >
      > Sincerely,
      >
      > Kym Smith
      > Adelaide
      > South Australia
      > khs@...
      >
      >
      > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      > revelation-list-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
      >
      >
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
      >
    • irbrown@andrews.edu
      Dear List Members, My comments refer specifically to issues raised by the portion of Don s post quoted below. It is one thing to say that that Old Testament
      Message 2 of 8 , Jun 4, 2003
        Dear List Members,
        My comments refer specifically to issues raised by the portion of Don's post
        quoted below.

        It is one thing to say that that Old Testament prophets used cosmic language
        to describe metaphorically God's judgments on various people groups; however,
        it is another thing to say that the same language in John is also to be seen
        metaphorically. To say the latter in addition to the former requires one to
        assume, I think, that John and his readers would (or even could) read those
        prophecies with enough insight into the literary and the historical contexts
        to see them as simply metaphorical descriptions of historical events. My
        question here, and one I had while reading N. T. Wright as well, is whether
        this assumption is valid; and, in fact, can this question of validity really
        be settled one way or another for John specifically?

        In my own detailed study (for a seminar) of the Old Testament backgrounds for
        the sixth seal, which allude to some of the very texts noted below, what was
        clear was that the sixth seal envisions in cosmic language drawn from the OT
        prophets the coming and/or arrival of God's wrath upon wicked humanity and
        that the wicked recognize what is happening as being tied to God's wrath.
        This becomes clear when you identify the specific texts alluded to and see
        their common themes. What is not clear is the specific form that the wrath
        will take. Will the reality behind the prophecy be an actual transformation
        in the earth and its atmosphere? Or will it be some other reality to which
        the cosmic language is simply hyperbole? I do not think that our reading of
        Revelation today can give us an answer to those questions.

        Ian R. Brown
        Ph.D. in Religion student
        Andrews University

        Quoting Don K <dkpret@...>:

        > Kym, I always enjoy your thoughts, even if/when I don't agree. :-)
        > I full concur with the posit that John was using the "prophetic
        > vernacular"
        > of the day, and addressing his own "sitz em leben" in terms
        > understandable
        > to his readers. I think Minear (NT Apocalyptic) was correct when he
        > stated
        > the NT writers used the imagery of "cosmic disturbances" and
        > catastrophes
        > without any explanation, indicating that they expected their audiences
        > to
        > understand. Further, he noted, as most do, that this imagery came from
        > the
        > Old Testament primarily. Thus, if the NT prophets used OT imagery
        > without
        > explanation, it would seem that the modern exegete would be well advised
        > to
        > go to the OT for the source of that imagery.
        > This is where I would disagree with you, Kym. John is clearly
        > anticipating
        > an imminent eschaton. With that, I fully concur. The question is the
        > nature
        > of that eschaton.
        > He does speak of the passing of the "heaven and earth," but I think
        > the
        > question is, did he actually expect the termination of the literal
        > creation?
        > I would answer in the negative. There are plenty of OT examples of the
        > "providential" judgment of the nations in which those judgments are
        > described in terms of cosmic destruction, e.g. the destruction of
        > Babylon
        > (Isaiah 13-14; the destruction of Edom (Isaiah 34), the destruction of
        > Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 4:25f), the
        > destruction
        > of the 10 northern tribes (Micah 1:2f), etc. etc.
        > Now, it is patently clear that while judgment did come, imminently, as
        > predicted in these prophecies, the fabric of literal creation was not
        > dissolved. The social structure of the kingdoms under judgment was
        > destroyed, the nation (s) under judgment were "cast down from the
        > heavens
        > (Lamentations 2:1).
        > In short, this "de-creation" language is typical metaphoric hyperbole
        > to
        > describe the providential judgment of nations by Jehovah's sovereign use
        > of
        > one nation versus another (Isaiah 10:5f; Ezekiel 30:24-25, etc.). There
        > was
        > no expectation of a literal catastrophe. (It is refreshing to see that
        > this
        > is being increasingly recognized. see N. T. Wright's, Jesus: The Victory
        > of
        > God for instance, and France and Caird, to varying degrees have
        > recognized
        > the metaphoric nature of this language.)
        > In regard to John's "New Heaven and Earth" motif I would offer this
        > brief
        > analysis, that hearkens back to what I just stated. ....
      • Lyn H
        Dear folks, I am currently preparing a syllabus for an undergraduate course on Apocalyptic Literature. I am hoping to include a unit on Apocalyptic and
        Message 3 of 8 , Jun 4, 2003

          Dear folks,

          I am currently preparing a syllabus for an undergraduate course on Apocalyptic Literature.  I am hoping to include a unit on Apocalyptic and Revolution--appropriations of apocalyptic texts and imagery in literature advocating, reflecting, responding to social and political revolution.  I am currently looking for literature (not scholarly commentary) from a South African context and thought someone here might have a suggestion.  Please let me know any suggestions or thoughts.  You can contact me off-list, if you prefer, at (anxtygrl@...).

          Thanks,

          Lynn Huber



          Lynn R. Huber
          Emory University
          Graduate Department of Religion
          New Testament and Early Christian History
           
          "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold . . ."  Yeats


          Do you Yahoo!?
          Free online calendar with sync to Outlook(TM).
        • MORIAH PLASTICS (COATES)
          Lynn, Although I don t fully understand the scope of your project, one thing that I would suggest is that you look into the writings of, and around, Siener
          Message 4 of 8 , Jun 6, 2003
             
            Lynn,
             
            Although I don't fully understand the scope of your project, one thing that I would suggest is that you look into the writings of, and around, Siener (Prophet) Van Rensburg. It does seem that as the major Afrikaner/Boer prophet at the turn of the last century, some of his stuff was deeply apocalyptic in character.
             
            Jason Coates
            Johannesburg, S. Africa

            Dear folks,

            I am currently preparing a syllabus for an undergraduate course on Apocalyptic Literature.  I am hoping to include a unit on Apocalyptic and Revolution--appropriations of apocalyptic texts and imagery in literature advocating, reflecting, responding to social and political revolution.  I am currently looking for literature (not scholarly commentary) from a South African context and thought someone here might have a suggestion.  Please let me know any suggestions or thoughts.  You can contact me off-list, if you prefer, at (anxtygrl@...).

            Thanks,

            Lynn Huber



            Lynn R. Huber
            Emory University
            Graduate Department of Religion
            New Testament and Early Christian History
             
            "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold . . ."  Yeats


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