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The Inhabitants of the Earth vs. The Nations

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  • P. Alain-Marie de Lassus
    It seems that in Rev. 6-20 God s judgments are directed at the same time against the inhabitants of the earth and against the nations, but does it mean that
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 29, 2006
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      It seems that in Rev. 6-20 God's judgments are directed at the same time
      against the inhabitants of the earth and against the nations, but does it
      mean that both groups are to be identified? I don't think so.

      On the one hand we have "the inhabitants of the earth". As Caird said very
      well (p. 87-88): "Unlike Christians, whose citizenship is in heaven (Phil.
      33:20), and who have acknowledged that there they have no lasting city, but
      are strangers on a journey through the earth (Heb. 11:13; 13:14), their
      opponents are at home in the present world order, men of earthbound vision,
      unable to look beyond the things that are seen and temporal." The
      inhabitants of the earth live spiritually in Babylon. Basically, this means
      that "the inhabitants of the earth" is always a pejorative expression in
      Revelation, which is not the case in apocalyptic literature such as I Enoch
      37:2-5, 2 II Baruch 25:1; IV Ezra 3:34, etc.

      On the other hand there are the nations against which John is ordered to
      prophesy (10:11). They rage against God (11:18), invade the holy city during
      forty two months (11:2) and are smitten by the sword of the word of God
      (19:15).

      Rev. 13:18 speaks of the inhabitants of the earth as those whose name was
      not written in the book of life, which entails (according to 17:8) that they
      end up in the lake of fire. But the nations will worship God (15:4) and will
      eventually enter the New Jerusalem (21:24-26). The great crowd of 7:9 is
      composed of people coming from the nations.
      The three woes of 8:13 are directed to the inhabitants of the earth, not
      explicitly against the nations. Revelation says that the inhabitants of the
      earth worship the Beast, which is not said of the nations.

      If the two groups are not to be identified, why then does Revelation present
      God's judgments as directed against both groups? My suggestion is that it is
      because both groups are mutually imbricated in each other, a situation which
      was never the one of Israel in the Old Testament, even during the
      deportation in Babylon. The plagues of the trumpets, the proclamation of the
      gospel (14:6) and the preaching of the two witnesses intend to convert the
      nations (the future disciples of Christ, son of the one who is "king of the
      nations", 15:3), seduced by the Beast and Babylon (18:23) and to separate
      them from the inhabitants of the earth who refuse to believe. I agree with
      Bauckham when he interprets 11:13 as the conversion of the majority of the
      nations

      I'd like to receive some feedback about these considerations. Thank you.


      Alain M. de Lassus
      Prof. of New Testament
      Ecole Saint Jean
      42590 Saint Jodard
      France
    • Christian Maymann
      Hallo! I am not quite sure, that you can differate between the two groups. I see the following reasons to see them as two different descriptions of the same
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 29, 2006
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        Hallo!

        I am not quite sure, that you can differate between the two groups. I see
        the following reasons to see them as two different descriptions of the same
        group.

        i) The key text is the fifth seal, there you see the soul under the alter.
        The people ask God to revenge there blood "on them that dwell on the earth"
        (6:10). The greek text reads: "ekdikeis to haima hêmôn ek tôn katoikountôn
        epi tês gês". After the fall of Babylon, we hear (18:20) a great voice
        proclaim: "for God hath avenged you on her". The greek text goes: "ekrinen
        ho theos to krima hymôn ex autês". That is likely to refer back to 6:10. The
        avenged on Babylon is the answer on the cry for "revenge on them that dwell
        on the earth". That indicate that the two names are referees for the same
        group.

        ii) In the last part of the book the idiom "them that dwell on the earth" is
        absent. It is used last time in 17:8. After that it "Babylon" that is the
        referent for the world not following god. Your theory has to explain why the
        formulation "them that dwell on the earth" disappears after 17:8. In my view
        it is because it is replaced by another formulation i.e. The nations.

        iii) In 13:8 "them that dwell on the earth" is said to worshiped the beast.
        In 16:2 they are referred as "upon the men which had the mark of the beast,
        and upon them which worshipped his image". This indicates, that the
        revelation uses different names for the same groups of people. Sometimes
        just "men" other times "Them that dwell on the earth"


        One comment to your points:
        Is is correct, that "The three woes of 8:13 are directed to the inhabitants
        of the earth, not explicitly against the nations". But if - and only if -
        the last trumpet is part of the woes it describe God's judgments as directed
        against "The nations" (11:17). This indicates that the nations too is part
        of the judgment against "the inhabitants of the earth", and this is - I
        think - because they are a parallel description to "the inhabitants of the
        earth"


        Christian Maymann
        Copenhagen, Denmark


        -----Original Message-----
        From: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
        [mailto:revelation-list@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of P. Alain-Marie de
        Lassus
        Sent: 29. marts 2006 10:29
        To: Revelation List
        Subject: [revelation-list] The Inhabitants of the Earth vs. The Nations

        It seems that in Rev. 6-20 God's judgments are directed at the same time
        against the inhabitants of the earth and against the nations, but does it
        mean that both groups are to be identified? I don't think so.

        On the one hand we have "the inhabitants of the earth". As Caird said very
        well (p. 87-88): "Unlike Christians, whose citizenship is in heaven (Phil.
        33:20), and who have acknowledged that there they have no lasting city, but
        are strangers on a journey through the earth (Heb. 11:13; 13:14), their
        opponents are at home in the present world order, men of earthbound vision,
        unable to look beyond the things that are seen and temporal." The
        inhabitants of the earth live spiritually in Babylon. Basically, this means
        that "the inhabitants of the earth" is always a pejorative expression in
        Revelation, which is not the case in apocalyptic literature such as I Enoch
        37:2-5, 2 II Baruch 25:1; IV Ezra 3:34, etc.

        On the other hand there are the nations against which John is ordered to
        prophesy (10:11). They rage against God (11:18), invade the holy city during
        forty two months (11:2) and are smitten by the sword of the word of God
        (19:15).

        Rev. 13:18 speaks of the inhabitants of the earth as those whose name was
        not written in the book of life, which entails (according to 17:8) that they
        end up in the lake of fire. But the nations will worship God (15:4) and will
        eventually enter the New Jerusalem (21:24-26). The great crowd of 7:9 is
        composed of people coming from the nations.
        The three woes of 8:13 are directed to the inhabitants of the earth, not
        explicitly against the nations. Revelation says that the inhabitants of the
        earth worship the Beast, which is not said of the nations.

        If the two groups are not to be identified, why then does Revelation present
        God's judgments as directed against both groups? My suggestion is that it is
        because both groups are mutually imbricated in each other, a situation which
        was never the one of Israel in the Old Testament, even during the
        deportation in Babylon. The plagues of the trumpets, the proclamation of the
        gospel (14:6) and the preaching of the two witnesses intend to convert the
        nations (the future disciples of Christ, son of the one who is "king of the
        nations", 15:3), seduced by the Beast and Babylon (18:23) and to separate
        them from the inhabitants of the earth who refuse to believe. I agree with
        Bauckham when he interprets 11:13 as the conversion of the majority of the
        nations

        I'd like to receive some feedback about these considerations. Thank you.


        Alain M. de Lassus
        Prof. of New Testament
        Ecole Saint Jean
        42590 Saint Jodard
        France





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