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Re: [revelation-list] Digest Number 201

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  • Loren L. Johns
    A good place to start on this would be Elaine Follis s article on Sea in the Anchor Bible Dictionary and the bibliography she includes there. Based on her
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 13, 2003
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      A good place to start on this would be Elaine Follis's article on "Sea" in the Anchor Bible Dictionary and the bibliography she includes there. Based on her treatment of "sea" as a cosmic element, a cultic object, and its use in symbolic imagery, she concludes that Rev 21:1 is probably "best understood as no more threat, even potentially, to God's authority and harmonious governance of the universe."
      In Near Eastern mythology, whether Ugaritic or Babylonian, the sea was a force of evil (Yam/Tiamat) (cf. the parallelism in Ps. 74:13).
      Also, Ryken points out that the defeat of Rahab the sea-monster is an echo of the Near Eastern tale of the struggle between Baal and Yam and is occasionally a metaphor for Yahweh�s victory over Egypt (Is 30:7; Ezek 29:3�5; Ps 74:13�14, 86:10) [Dictionary of Biblical Imagery].
      Creation is sometimes portrayed as Yahweh's subduing of the Sea (Gen 1; Pss. 74; 89), which could suggest that in Rev. 21:1, John is suggesting that although Yahweh checked and limited evil Yam at creation, he is now eliminating evil Yam in the new heaven and new earth.
      David Aune comments on 21:1c: "Though the destruction of the sea is mentioned in Rev 21:1, it is noteworthy that the sea is not mentioned in connection with the new heaven and the new earth. This may be because the sea was a negative symbol for chaos and even for the abyss (cf. Rev 13:1 with 11:7). The motif of the disappearance of the sea reflects the ancient Israelite tradition of the opposition of Yahweh and the sea. The antipathy between Yahweh and the sea is expressed in a variety of ways in the OT and early Judaism (Kloos, Combat, 81�83): (1) Yahweh establishes a border or sets a guard on the sea (Jer 5:22; Job 7:12). (2) Yahweh rebukes or is angry with the waters (Isa 1:2; Nah 1:4; Hab 3:8; Pss 18:6; 29:3; 1 Enoch 101:7). (3) Yahweh dries up the waters (Isa 1:2; 19:5; Jer 1:38; 51:36; Ezek 30:12; Nah 1:4; Ps 18:16; Job 12:15; Sib. Oracles 5.447; 1 Enoch 101:7). Some of these motifs are combined in individual passages: (1) 1 Enoch 101:7 (God rebukes the sea so that it dries up), (2) Ps 18:16 = 2 Sam 22:16 (God rebukes the sea so that its beds become visible), (3) Nah 1:4 (God rebukes the sea and dries up the sea and all the rivers), and (4) Isa 1:2 (God rebukes the sea, dries it up, and turns the rivers into desert)."
      See also the comments by David Clines on Job 3:8 in the Word Biblical Commentary.
      Loren Johns
      Academic Dean
      Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary

      revelation-list@yahoogroups.com wrote:
      Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2003 09:30:33 -0400
      From: "Timothy P. Jenney"
      Subject: [Rev. List]: No More Sea?

      Can anyone out there suggest a plausible reason for Rev. 21:1 "and the sea
      was no more"?

      Thanks in advance,

      Timothy P. Jenney

      Peace, Loren Johns
      Goshen, Indiana
      �In the days ahead we must not consider it unpatriotic to raise certain basic questions about our national character. We must begin to ask, �Why are there forty million poor people in a nation overflowing with such unbelievable affluence? Why has our nation placed itself in the position of being God�s military agent on earth...? Why have we substituted the arrogant undertaking of policing the whole world for the high task of putting our own house in order?�� (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go from Here? p. 151)

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