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RE: [revelation-list] Rev 2:9; 3:9

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  • David Scholer
    My recent PhD student, Philip Mayo, wrote his dissertation on Revelation and the Jews. It has now been published by Wipf and Stock in the Princeton Monograph
    Message 1 of 23 , Oct 12, 2006
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      My recent PhD student, Philip Mayo, wrote his dissertation on Revelation and
      the Jews. It has now been published by Wipf and Stock in the Princeton
      Monograph Series. He has a discussion of these complex issues; of course,
      there is a fairly large literature on this. Personally, I take "Jews" here
      to mean "ethnic Jews."

      David M. Scholer
      Professsor of New Testament and Associate Dean for the Center for Advanced
      Theological Studies
      Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena CA 91182
      626-584-5288; dscholer@...


      -----Original Message-----
      From: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:revelation-list@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Sinclair Stable
      Sent: Friday, September 15, 2006 12:24 PM
      To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [revelation-list] Rev 2:9; 3:9

      beloved,

      I was wondering if the group could give the understanding of Rev 2:9; 3:9.
      Spacifically if the identity of "Jews" is of ethnic origin = children from
      the whole house of Israel.

      This could be according to the historical evidences / documents we have at
      the time
      the book of Revelation was given to John; or the church age as a whole.


      Rev 2:9
      I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and [I
      know] the
      blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the
      synagogue of Satan.

      Rev 3:9
      Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews,
      and are not, but do lie;
      behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know
      that I have loved thee.


      Thank you, I will read the replies in the digest.


      barb sinclair
      <saskatchewan>

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





      Yahoo! Groups Links
    • enonezed
      I would agree with Dr. Scholer that the Jews mentioned in Rev. 2.9, and 3.9 are ethnic Jews. I am unaware of any reason to understand the references in any
      Message 2 of 23 , Oct 12, 2006
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        I would agree with Dr. Scholer that the Jews mentioned in Rev. 2.9,
        and 3.9 are ethnic Jews. I am unaware of any reason to understand the
        references in any other way. Does anyone know of an alternative?

        Edmond Long
        PhD student
        New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
      • drjenney2
        I agree [ethnic Jews], though there is a related question here, still unanswered in my own mind. The Apocalypse clearly understands the people of God to be
        Message 3 of 23 , Oct 12, 2006
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          I agree [ethnic Jews], though there is a related question here, still
          unanswered in my own mind.

          The Apocalypse clearly understands the "people of God" to be comprised
          of two groups: "the 144,000" ["ethnic Jews"] and the "great
          multitude"["from every nation.." (Gentiles)].

          My question is are these groups divided primarily by ethnicity or
          covenant? That is, are the "144,000" comprised only of Jews "saved" in
          the OT and the "great multitude" composed of everyone saved under the
          new covenant [including Jews]? Or are the 144,000, all Jews,
          irregardless of covenant, and the great multitude all Gentiles, again
          irregardless of whether they were "saved" in the OT [like Naaman,
          Rahab, etc.] or the NT?

          Anyone got any thoughts on this question?

          Tim Jenney
          Adj. Prof, NT
          Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando
        • KennethGentry@cs.com
          In a message dated 10/12/2006 9:20:29 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... I, too, believe the Jews in 2:9 and 3:9 are ethnic Jews. My understanding of Revelation is
          Message 4 of 23 , Oct 12, 2006
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            In a message dated 10/12/2006 9:20:29 PM Eastern Standard Time,
            drjenney@... writes:


            > My question is are these groups divided primarily by ethnicity or
            > covenant? That is, are the "144,000" comprised only of Jews "saved" in
            > the OT and the "great multitude" composed of everyone saved under the
            > new covenant [including Jews]? Or are the 144,000, all Jews,
            > irregardless of covenant, and the great multitude all Gentiles, again
            > irregardless of whether they were "saved" in the OT [like Naaman,
            > Rahab, etc.] or the NT?
            >


            I, too, believe the Jews in 2:9 and 3:9 are ethnic Jews.

            My understanding of Revelation is that it is something of an expansion of the
            Olivet Discourse which was sparked by Christ's rejection of the temple (Mt
            23:38-24:1-2) and his promise to judge it in "this generation" (Mt 24:34).

            I understand its theme verse (1:7) as pointing to the (first century) Jews as
            responsible for the "piercing" of Christ (see: Lk 24:20; Acts 2:22-23, 36;
            3:13-15a; 4:10; 5:28, 30; 7:52; 10:39; 13:28-29; 1 Thess. 2:14-15). As a
            consequence of their covenantal guilt, he "comes" in judgment against them as "the
            tribes" in "the Land" (tes ges). The theme verse (which points to AD 70) occurs
            in the very context where John emphasizes that the events must "shortly take
            place" (1:1) because "the time is at hand" (1:3). (I have a brief paper on 1:7
            from this perspective that I could post on revelation-list if anyone would
            like for me to.)

            The 144,000 represent Jewish converts to Christ in Israel (especially
            Jerusalem) who are protected by escaping to Pella before the Jewish War with Rome
            destroys the city. (The great multitude represent the church outside of Israel,
            with special reference to its multi-racial composition.) The 144,000 correspond
            to the naos and those who worship at the altar in 11:1. They are the ones who
            are to "come out" of Babylon/Jerusalem (18:4) (ther are undergoing an exodus
            from Israel which has become a new Egypt [11:8]). They are those in Judea who
            heed Christ's charge to "flee" (Mt 24:16ff). They are the ones who are to
            expect that he will "come" (spiritually in judgment) against Israel before they
            "finish going through the cities of Israel" (Mt 10:23). They are the "remnant
            according to God's gracious choice" (Ro 11:5).

            I am currently writing a commentary on Revelation titled The Divorce of
            Israel: A Redemptive-Historical Interpretation (I am in Rev 16 currently). I
            understand references to the "earth dwellers" as meaning "those who dwell in the
            Land (of Israel)." They are the apostate Jewish system of the first century whom
            John calls "the synagogue of Satan" (2:9; 3:9) and Jesus charges with being
            "of your father the devil."

            Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.M., Th.D.
            <A HREF="www.KennethGentry.Com">KennethGentry.Com</A>
            "Serious Studies for Serious Christians"

            Revelation Commentary Project
            If you would like to give toward funding my research on
            Revelation please go to <A HREF="www.KennethGentry.Com">KennethGentry.Com</A> then click
            on "Revelation Commentary Project."

            New releases
            Gentry, Covenantal Theonomy: A Response to T. David
            Gordon and Klinean Covenantalism (241 pp; paperback)

            Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology
            (reprint of Second Edition) (600+ pp; paperback)


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • jonknewton
            Two brief comments: Some commentators see the 144,000 as another way of viewing the whole church, i.e. under the image of the ancient Israelite tribes numbered
            Message 5 of 23 , Oct 12, 2006
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              Two brief comments:
              Some commentators see the 144,000 as another way of viewing the whole
              church, i.e. under the image of the ancient Israelite tribes numbered
              for battle, which helps explain their virginity, etc in ch.14. John
              hears the number 144,000 but then sees an innumerable multitude, just
              as in ch.5 he hears of the lion of Judah and sees the lamb as if
              slain, two images for the same reality. Bauckham has some good
              material on the militant imagery.

              The Jews of Rev.2:9 and 3:9 I agree are ethnic Jews, or more
              precisely, non-Christian synagogues, which may also include
              proselytes. By their rejection of the Messiah Jesus they become for
              John a synagogue of Satan.

              Jon Newton, Ph.D. cand.
              Tabor College NSW, Australia

              --- In revelation-list@yahoogroups.com, "drjenney2" <drjenney@...> wrote:
              >
              > I agree [ethnic Jews], though there is a related question here, still
              > unanswered in my own mind.
              >
              > The Apocalypse clearly understands the "people of God" to be comprised
              > of two groups: "the 144,000" ["ethnic Jews"] and the "great
              > multitude"["from every nation.." (Gentiles)].
              >
              > My question is are these groups divided primarily by ethnicity or
              > covenant? That is, are the "144,000" comprised only of Jews "saved" in
              > the OT and the "great multitude" composed of everyone saved under the
              > new covenant [including Jews]? Or are the 144,000, all Jews,
              > irregardless of covenant, and the great multitude all Gentiles, again
              > irregardless of whether they were "saved" in the OT [like Naaman,
              > Rahab, etc.] or the NT?
              >
              > Anyone got any thoughts on this question?
              >
              > Tim Jenney
              > Adj. Prof, NT
              > Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando
              >
            • ottoerlend
              Sinclair Stable wrote: I was wondering if the group could give the understanding of Rev 2:9; 3:9. I was about to ask you to search the (old) archives, as I
              Message 6 of 23 , Oct 12, 2006
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                Sinclair Stable wrote:

                "I was wondering if the group could give the understanding of Rev
                2:9; 3:9."

                I was about to ask you to search the (old) archives, as I am sure
                that you will find some information there. (I know this subject has
                been discussed before.) But I was not able to get access to the old
                archive at http://post-boks.dk/rev-list -- in fact, it seems to have
                been removed or deleted. (Perhaps Georg Admamsen knows more about
                this.)


                Best regards

                Otto E. Nordgreen
                Oslo, Norway
              • ottoerlend
                Kenneth Gentry wrote: I have a brief paper on 1:7 from this perspective that I could post on revelation-list if anyone would like for me to. I would very
                Message 7 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
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                  Kenneth Gentry wrote:

                  "I have a brief paper on 1:7 from this perspective that I could post
                  on revelation-list if anyone would like for me to."

                  I would very much like you to post this paper. Thanks!


                  Regards

                  Otto E. Nordgreen
                  Oslo, Norway
                • George F Somsel
                  Due to the fact that the number is given as precisely 144,000 as opposed to an innumerable multitude, I would say that these are the faithful Jews of the Old
                  Message 8 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
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                    Due to the fact that the number is given as precisely 144,000 as opposed to an innumerable multitude, I would say that these are the faithful Jews of the Old Covenant. This is, of course not to say that there are exactly and only 144,000 Jews and that they are comprised of precisely 12,000 from each tribe. Rather, what this indicates is that the number is now complete. As regards the innumerable multitude, on the other hand, the number is not complete so no number (even a representative number) can be given.

                    george
                    gfsomsel
                    _________



                    ----- Original Message ----
                    From: drjenney2 <drjenney@...>
                    To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Thursday, October 12, 2006 9:18:07 PM
                    Subject: [revelation-list] Re: Rev 2:9; 3:9

                    I agree [ethnic Jews], though there is a related question here, still
                    unanswered in my own mind.

                    The Apocalypse clearly understands the "people of God" to be comprised
                    of two groups: "the 144,000" ["ethnic Jews"] and the "great
                    multitude"[" from every nation.." (Gentiles)].

                    My question is are these groups divided primarily by ethnicity or
                    covenant? That is, are the "144,000" comprised only of Jews "saved" in
                    the OT and the "great multitude" composed of everyone saved under the
                    new covenant [including Jews]? Or are the 144,000, all Jews,
                    irregardless of covenant, and the great multitude all Gentiles, again
                    irregardless of whether they were "saved" in the OT [like Naaman,
                    Rahab, etc.] or the NT?

                    Anyone got any thoughts on this question?

                    Tim Jenney
                    Adj. Prof, NT
                    Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando






                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Ramsey Michaels
                    If ethnic Jews are meant, isn t John saying that when a Jew calls himself a Jew he is lying? Is that what we should say to our Jewish friends? Does a Jew stop
                    Message 9 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
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                      If ethnic Jews are meant, isn't John saying that when a Jew calls himself a
                      Jew he is lying? Is that what we should say to our Jewish friends? Does a
                      Jew stop being a Jew just because he does not accept Jesus as Messiah?

                      I believe the interpretation of Rev 2:9 and 3:9 as referring to ethnic Jews
                      reads the text altogether too much through the lens of Romans 2:28-29. But
                      even Paul stops short of saying that those who are Jews "outwardly" are
                      lying when they call themselves Jews. And surely the author of the Gospel of
                      John did not hesitate to call ethnic Jews "Jews."

                      For an alternative view (Judaizing Gentiles), see my IVP Commentary, pp.
                      73-74, 84.

                      Ramsey Michaels


                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "Sinclair Stable" <sincink@...>
                      To: <revelation-list@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Friday, September 15, 2006 3:23 PM
                      Subject: [revelation-list] Rev 2:9; 3:9


                      > beloved,
                      >
                      > I was wondering if the group could give the understanding of Rev 2:9; 3:9.
                      > Spacifically if the identity of "Jews" is of ethnic origin = children from
                      the whole house of Israel.
                      >
                      > This could be according to the historical evidences / documents we have at
                      the time
                      > the book of Revelation was given to John; or the church age as a whole.
                      >
                      >
                      > Rev 2:9
                      > I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and [I
                      know] the
                      > blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the
                      synagogue of Satan.
                      >
                      > Rev 3:9
                      > Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are
                      Jews, and are not, but do lie;
                      > behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know
                      that I have loved thee.
                      >
                      >
                      > Thank you, I will read the replies in the digest.
                      >
                      >
                      > barb sinclair
                      > <saskatchewan>
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                    • David L Barr
                      Colleagues: I would like to recommend two articles that I think complicate this discussion; they both appear in *The Reality of Apocalypse: Rhetoric and
                      Message 10 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
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                        Colleagues:

                        I would like to recommend two articles that I think complicate this
                        discussion; they both appear in *The Reality of Apocalypse: Rhetoric and
                        Politics in the Book of Revelation* (David L. Barr, ed.; Society of Biblical
                        Literature, 2006). In the first Steve Friesen ("Sarcasm in Revelation 2-3:
                        Churches, Christians, True Jews, and Satanic Synagogues") explores how the
                        rhetoric of slander functions to define the communities that John included
                        and excluded. After reviewing scholarly appraisals of John's rhetoric as
                        "vilification" or "polemic" and considering especially who and what John
                        means by the expression "synagogue of Satan," he suggests ways to cast the
                        discussion in new terms. First, we need to recognize the ironic strategies
                        employed by the author of Revelation. The sarcasm directed against
                        opponents must be read as sarcasm; it is not a claim to be the true Israel.
                        Second, we need to reject the term "Christian" as an appropriate description
                        of John, his text, or his congregations. The term is an anachronistic
                        retrojection which diverts the discussion. John's imagery and language
                        depict the churches as an eschatological movement that cannot be described
                        with the terms "Jew," "Israel," or "Christian." John was guilty of
                        sarcastic name-calling, but not of supercessionist ideology.

                        In the second Paul Duff ("The 'Synagogue of Satan': Crisis Mongering and the
                        Apocalypse of John") focuses particularly on the "synagogue of Satan"
                        accusation that occurs in two of the so-called letters, those addressed to
                        the churches in Smyrna and Philadelphia. Traditionally this accusation has
                        been understood to refer to the Jewish communities in these cities and the
                        hostility has been linked to the supposed cooperation of the Jews in the
                        persecution of Christians. After reviewing recent studies that question
                        this identification, Duff argues that the traditional view is (partly)
                        right: John does intend the Jewish synagogue. He also argues that the
                        Apocalypse itself contains little evidence (indeed, none outside what some
                        infer from these expressions) of any Jewish hostility towards John's
                        community. Based upon this and the fact that John's overall attitude toward
                        Judaism is positive throughout the Apocalypse, he argues that John demonized
                        the local Jewish communities in order to drive a wedge between his most
                        conservative churches and the synagogues in their respective cities. Faced
                        with the ascendancy of the liberal "Jezebel" faction in some of these
                        churches, John was trying to discourage his most loyal (and most
                        conservative) allies from deserting their churches for the synagogue, a
                        place where it might be easier for his followers to maintain the high walls
                        between themselves and the larger society.

                        The biggest problem I have with Mayo's book is that he assumes what he must
                        prove: Jewish hostility toward John's communities. A far more likely
                        hypothesis, for my money, is that John demonizes these synagogues precisely
                        because they accommodate to Greco-Roman culture. Such accommodation is the
                        cardinal sin of John's opponents.

                        David L. Barr
                        Professor of Religion
                        Wright State University
                        Dayton Ohio, USA
                      • John W. Marshall
                        Colleagues, David Barr s helpful reference to very recent (too recent for libraries at my institution) articles from Friesen and Duff has helped turn the
                        Message 11 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
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                          Colleagues,

                          David Barr's helpful reference to very recent (too recent for libraries at
                          my institution) articles from Friesen and Duff has helped turn the
                          converstion away from unsupported assumptions about clear distinction of
                          Judaism from Christianity and mutual hostility between John and other Jews.

                          My own take on it is expressed in Parables of War: Reading John's Jewish
                          Apocalypse (Waterloo: 2002):


                          And so I read the "synagogue of Satan" as referring to a group of people who
                          do not stand in opposition to Rome and the wider Greco-Roman culture in the
                          way John does. Given the problems of translating names, I could justifiably
                          translate sunagwgh\ tou= Satana as "gathering of the adversary." The
                          questions of Jew and Christian that interpreters ask of Rev 2:9 and 3:9 are
                          not the questions that occupy John in the messages to the angels of the
                          seven assemblies. This makes it difficult to say who his adversaries are in
                          terms of a Jew/Christian/Pagan/Godfearer scheme. But to press forward with
                          the question here in spite of John's evident lack of interest in it, it
                          seems that John's concerns about integration with Greco-Roman religion and
                          culture as well as his concerns about using the term "Jew" suggest that the
                          group he opposes consists of a mixture of Pagan Godfearers and comfortably
                          Hellenizing Jews who welcome the Godfearers without requiring a substantial
                          (in John's eyes) separation from Greco-Roman culture in either themselves or
                          their adherents. <outbind://9/#_ftn1> [1]

                          _____


                          <outbind://9/#_ftnref1> [1] As noted, the exceptions are Gager (1983:
                          132), Shepherd (1971), and Wilson (1992: 614-15; 1995: 163). Kraft suggests
                          that John's polemic in Rev 2:9 and 3:9 is undertaken within the "church"
                          over issues of syncretism (1974: 60-61). Stephen G. Wilson's quotation of
                          Dio Cassius provides a very concrete example of the judaizing phenomenon:
                          "This title [I|oudai=oj] is also borne by other persons who, although they
                          are of other ethnicity, live by their laws" (fe/rei de\ kai\ e)pi\ tou\j
                          a)/llouj a)nqrw/pouj o(/soi ta\ no/mima au)tw=n, kai/per a)lloeqnei=j
                          o)/ntej, zhlou=si. Roman History 37.16.4) The unreliability to which Dio
                          witnesses for the title "Jew" would apply even more to the less specific
                          term sunagwgh/.


                          _____________________________________
                          John W. Marshall
                          Assistant Professor
                          Department for the Study of Religion
                          University of Toronto


                          <http://geo.yahoo.com/serv?s=97359714/grpId=3221869/grpspId=1705082179/msgId
                          =859/stime=1160751314/nc1=3848518/nc2=3848576/nc3=3848568>



                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • George F Somsel
                          I would take that as referring to ethnic Jews who opposed the Church. Remember that after Jamnia there was considerable antipathy for Christians. I believe
                          Message 12 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
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                            I would take that as referring to ethnic Jews who opposed the Church. Remember that after Jamnia there was considerable antipathy for Christians. I believe Bar Kochba also martyred some Christians. I'm probably alone on the list in not viewing Bar Kochba as an anacronism to the Apocalypse.

                            george
                            gfsomsel
                            _________



                            ----- Original Message ----
                            From: ottoerlend <ottoerlend@...>
                            To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 2:56:47 AM
                            Subject: [revelation-list] Re: Rev 2:9; 3:9

                            Sinclair Stable wrote:

                            "I was wondering if the group could give the understanding of Rev
                            2:9; 3:9."

                            I was about to ask you to search the (old) archives, as I am sure
                            that you will find some information there. (I know this subject has
                            been discussed before.) But I was not able to get access to the old
                            archive at http://post- boks.dk/rev- list -- in fact, it seems to have
                            been removed or deleted. (Perhaps Georg Admamsen knows more about
                            this.)

                            Best regards

                            Otto E. Nordgreen
                            Oslo, Norway






                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • George F Somsel
                            Since the whole Church is represented by the innumerable multitude and the two groups are clearly distinguished, I don t think it likely that the 144,000 would
                            Message 13 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
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                              Since the whole Church is represented by the innumerable multitude and the two groups are clearly distinguished, I don't think it likely that the 144,000 would also represent the Church. The rest of the book seems to be against that.

                              george
                              gfsomsel
                              _________



                              ----- Original Message ----
                              From: jonknewton <jonknewton@...>
                              To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 2:50:34 AM
                              Subject: [revelation-list] Re: Rev 2:9; 3:9

                              Two brief comments:
                              Some commentators see the 144,000 as another way of viewing the whole
                              church, i.e. under the image of the ancient Israelite tribes numbered
                              for battle, which helps explain their virginity, etc in ch.14. John
                              hears the number 144,000 but then sees an innumerable multitude, just
                              as in ch.5 he hears of the lion of Judah and sees the lamb as if
                              slain, two images for the same reality. Bauckham has some good
                              material on the militant imagery.

                              The Jews of Rev.2:9 and 3:9 I agree are ethnic Jews, or more
                              precisely, non-Christian synagogues, which may also include
                              proselytes. By their rejection of the Messiah Jesus they become for
                              John a synagogue of Satan.

                              Jon Newton, Ph.D. cand.
                              Tabor College NSW, Australia

                              --- In revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com, "drjenney2" <drjenney@.. .> wrote:
                              >
                              > I agree [ethnic Jews], though there is a related question here, still
                              > unanswered in my own mind.
                              >
                              > The Apocalypse clearly understands the "people of God" to be comprised
                              > of two groups: "the 144,000" ["ethnic Jews"] and the "great
                              > multitude"[" from every nation.." (Gentiles)].
                              >
                              > My question is are these groups divided primarily by ethnicity or
                              > covenant? That is, are the "144,000" comprised only of Jews "saved" in
                              > the OT and the "great multitude" composed of everyone saved under the
                              > new covenant [including Jews]? Or are the 144,000, all Jews,
                              > irregardless of covenant, and the great multitude all Gentiles, again
                              > irregardless of whether they were "saved" in the OT [like Naaman,
                              > Rahab, etc.] or the NT?
                              >
                              > Anyone got any thoughts on this question?
                              >
                              > Tim Jenney
                              > Adj. Prof, NT
                              > Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando
                              >






                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • John W. Marshall
                              Twice John sees the world in a two part taxonomy of Jews and Gentiles: 7.1-9 (144,000 from Israel and innumerable Gentiles) and 14.1-6 (144,000 on Mt Zion and
                              Message 14 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
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                                Twice John sees the world in a two part taxonomy of Jews and Gentiles: 7.1-9
                                (144,000 from Israel and innumerable Gentiles) and 14.1-6 (144,000 on Mt
                                Zion and a different angel proclaiming good news to the nations). The
                                history of trying to make the two part taxonomy of how John sees the world
                                into a three part taxonomy matching the way later Christian interpreters see
                                the world shows clearly the ingenuity by which the the Bible treated as
                                scripture can be made into the something nearly opposite to ancient texts
                                treated as objects of historical investigation.

                                --jwm
                                _____________________________________
                                John W. Marshall
                                Assistant Professor
                                Department for the Study of Religion
                                University of Toronto



                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • George F Somsel
                                No, I don t think the author of the Apocalypse means that when a Jew calls himself a Jew he is lying. What I think he is saying is that the then current
                                Message 15 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
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                                  No, I don't think the author of the Apocalypse means that when a Jew calls himself a Jew he is lying. What I think he is saying is that the then current representatives of Judaism were not true to the tradition of Judaism (as the author conceived it, of course). Since the Church viewed itself as the legitimate successor to the religion of the OT, anything which did not tend toward its viewpoint was ipso facto a deviation from the religion of the OT and its proponents heretics (perhaps a reaction to the "blessing" of the Nazorenes reputed to have been a part of the 18 benedictions?).

                                  george
                                  gfsomsel
                                  _________



                                  ----- Original Message ----
                                  From: Ramsey Michaels <profram@...>
                                  To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                                  Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 9:25:24 AM
                                  Subject: Re: [revelation-list] Rev 2:9; 3:9

                                  If ethnic Jews are meant, isn't John saying that when a Jew calls himself a
                                  Jew he is lying? Is that what we should say to our Jewish friends? Does a
                                  Jew stop being a Jew just because he does not accept Jesus as Messiah?

                                  I believe the interpretation of Rev 2:9 and 3:9 as referring to ethnic Jews
                                  reads the text altogether too much through the lens of Romans 2:28-29. But
                                  even Paul stops short of saying that those who are Jews "outwardly" are
                                  lying when they call themselves Jews. And surely the author of the Gospel of
                                  John did not hesitate to call ethnic Jews "Jews."

                                  For an alternative view (Judaizing Gentiles), see my IVP Commentary, pp.
                                  73-74, 84.

                                  Ramsey Michaels

                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                  From: "Sinclair Stable" <sincink@imagewirele ss.ca>
                                  To: <revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com>
                                  Sent: Friday, September 15, 2006 3:23 PM
                                  Subject: [revelation- list] Rev 2:9; 3:9

                                  > beloved,
                                  >
                                  > I was wondering if the group could give the understanding of Rev 2:9; 3:9.
                                  > Spacifically if the identity of "Jews" is of ethnic origin = children from
                                  the whole house of Israel.
                                  >
                                  > This could be according to the historical evidences / documents we have at
                                  the time
                                  > the book of Revelation was given to John; or the church age as a whole.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Rev 2:9
                                  > I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and [I
                                  know] the
                                  > blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the
                                  synagogue of Satan.
                                  >
                                  > Rev 3:9
                                  > Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are
                                  Jews, and are not, but do lie;
                                  > behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know
                                  that I have loved thee.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Thank you, I will read the replies in the digest.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > barb sinclair
                                  > <saskatchewan>
                                  >
                                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >






                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • enonezed
                                  When the identities of the Jews and the 144,00 are considered, one issue to be addressed is how John understood the source and nature of the conflict the
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
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                                    When the identities of the "Jews" and the 144,00 are considered, one
                                    issue to be addressed is how John understood the source and nature of
                                    the conflict the churches were encountering. If the "Jews" were the
                                    gathering of the adversary, who was the adversary from John's point of
                                    view? The Jews, the Romans, gentiles in general? Or, was the source of
                                    the conflict inside the church and not external to it (cf. Duff's "Who
                                    Rides the Beast?")? One certain opponent of John was Jezebel. Could
                                    the "gathering of the adversary" have been Jezebel's group of
                                    followers? Further, since the 144,000 had not defiled themselves with
                                    women, might they not have been a symbolic representation of those
                                    among the churches who had rejected both Jezebel and her teaching and
                                    remained faithful to John and the gospel he taught? If sarcasm (and
                                    parody, by the way) were a part of John's strategy, could he not have
                                    been slandering Jezebel (beyond the use of a slanderous name)?

                                    Edmond Long
                                  • Robert Dalrymple
                                    I agree that the Jews in Rev 2:9 are ethnic jews. As for the two groups in Rev 7, I have recently published an Article in Biblica 86 (2005) 396-406 titled
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      I agree that the Jews in Rev 2:9 are ethnic jews. As for the two groups in Rev 7, I have recently published an Article in Biblica 86 (2005) 396-406 titled 'These are the Ones.' Here I argued that the two groups in Rev 7--the 144,000 and the innumerable multitude--are indeed the same based on literary and thematic issues.

                                      Rob Dalrymple


                                      ----- Original Message ----
                                      From: George F Somsel <gfsomsel@...>
                                      To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                                      Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 10:41:36 AM
                                      Subject: Re: [revelation-list] Re: Rev 2:9; 3:9

                                      Since the whole Church is represented by the innumerable multitude and the two groups are clearly distinguished, I don't think it likely that the 144,000 would also represent the Church. The rest of the book seems to be against that.

                                      george
                                      gfsomsel
                                      _________

                                      ----- Original Message ----
                                      From: jonknewton <jonknewton@yahoo. com.au>
                                      To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com
                                      Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 2:50:34 AM
                                      Subject: [revelation- list] Re: Rev 2:9; 3:9

                                      Two brief comments:
                                      Some commentators see the 144,000 as another way of viewing the whole
                                      church, i.e. under the image of the ancient Israelite tribes numbered
                                      for battle, which helps explain their virginity, etc in ch.14. John
                                      hears the number 144,000 but then sees an innumerable multitude, just
                                      as in ch.5 he hears of the lion of Judah and sees the lamb as if
                                      slain, two images for the same reality. Bauckham has some good
                                      material on the militant imagery.

                                      The Jews of Rev.2:9 and 3:9 I agree are ethnic Jews, or more
                                      precisely, non-Christian synagogues, which may also include
                                      proselytes. By their rejection of the Messiah Jesus they become for
                                      John a synagogue of Satan.

                                      Jon Newton, Ph.D. cand.
                                      Tabor College NSW, Australia

                                      --- In revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com, "drjenney2" <drjenney@.. .> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > I agree [ethnic Jews], though there is a related question here, still
                                      > unanswered in my own mind.
                                      >
                                      > The Apocalypse clearly understands the "people of God" to be comprised
                                      > of two groups: "the 144,000" ["ethnic Jews"] and the "great
                                      > multitude"[" from every nation.." (Gentiles)].
                                      >
                                      > My question is are these groups divided primarily by ethnicity or
                                      > covenant? That is, are the "144,000" comprised only of Jews "saved" in
                                      > the OT and the "great multitude" composed of everyone saved under the
                                      > new covenant [including Jews]? Or are the 144,000, all Jews,
                                      > irregardless of covenant, and the great multitude all Gentiles, again
                                      > irregardless of whether they were "saved" in the OT [like Naaman,
                                      > Rahab, etc.] or the NT?
                                      >
                                      > Anyone got any thoughts on this question?
                                      >
                                      > Tim Jenney
                                      > Adj. Prof, NT
                                      > Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando
                                      >

                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • David Scholer
                                      For what it is worth, I agree. I will look for Rob s article, which I had not seen. The discussion of this whole issue has been fun. As G. K. Chesterton
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
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                                        For what it is worth, I agree. I will look for Rob's article, which I had
                                        not seen. The discussion of this whole issue has been fun. As G. K.
                                        Chesterton said (in Orthodoxy): St. John saw many strange creatures in this
                                        visions, but none so strange as his commentators!



                                        David M. Scholer

                                        Professsor of New Testament and Associate Dean for the Center for Advanced
                                        Theological Studies

                                        Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena CA 91182

                                        626-584-5288; dscholer@...



                                        -----Original Message-----
                                        From: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                                        [mailto:revelation-list@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Robert Dalrymple
                                        Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 1:45 PM
                                        To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                                        Subject: Re: [revelation-list] Re: Rev 2:9; 3:9





                                        I agree that the Jews in Rev 2:9 are ethnic jews. As for the two groups in
                                        Rev 7, I have recently published an Article in Biblica 86 (2005) 396-406
                                        titled 'These are the Ones.' Here I argued that the two groups in Rev
                                        7--the 144,000 and the innumerable multitude--are indeed the same based on
                                        literary and thematic issues.



                                        Rob Dalrymple





                                        ----- Original Message ----

                                        From: George F Somsel <gfsomsel@...>

                                        To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com

                                        Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 10:41:36 AM

                                        Subject: Re: [revelation-list] Re: Rev 2:9; 3:9



                                        Since the whole Church is represented by the innumerable multitude and the
                                        two groups are clearly distinguished, I don't think it likely that the
                                        144,000 would also represent the Church. The rest of the book seems to be
                                        against that.



                                        george

                                        gfsomsel

                                        _________



                                        ----- Original Message ----

                                        From: jonknewton <jonknewton@yahoo. com.au>

                                        To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com

                                        Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 2:50:34 AM

                                        Subject: [revelation- list] Re: Rev 2:9; 3:9



                                        Two brief comments:

                                        Some commentators see the 144,000 as another way of viewing the whole

                                        church, i.e. under the image of the ancient Israelite tribes numbered

                                        for battle, which helps explain their virginity, etc in ch.14. John

                                        hears the number 144,000 but then sees an innumerable multitude, just

                                        as in ch.5 he hears of the lion of Judah and sees the lamb as if

                                        slain, two images for the same reality. Bauckham has some good

                                        material on the militant imagery.



                                        The Jews of Rev.2:9 and 3:9 I agree are ethnic Jews, or more

                                        precisely, non-Christian synagogues, which may also include

                                        proselytes. By their rejection of the Messiah Jesus they become for

                                        John a synagogue of Satan.



                                        Jon Newton, Ph.D. cand.

                                        Tabor College NSW, Australia



                                        --- In revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com, "drjenney2" <drjenney@.. .> wrote:

                                        >

                                        > I agree [ethnic Jews], though there is a related question here, still

                                        > unanswered in my own mind.

                                        >

                                        > The Apocalypse clearly understands the "people of God" to be comprised

                                        > of two groups: "the 144,000" ["ethnic Jews"] and the "great

                                        > multitude"[" from every nation.." (Gentiles)].

                                        >

                                        > My question is are these groups divided primarily by ethnicity or

                                        > covenant? That is, are the "144,000" comprised only of Jews "saved" in

                                        > the OT and the "great multitude" composed of everyone saved under the

                                        > new covenant [including Jews]? Or are the 144,000, all Jews,

                                        > irregardless of covenant, and the great multitude all Gentiles, again

                                        > irregardless of whether they were "saved" in the OT [like Naaman,

                                        > Rahab, etc.] or the NT?

                                        >

                                        > Anyone got any thoughts on this question?

                                        >

                                        > Tim Jenney

                                        > Adj. Prof, NT

                                        > Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando

                                        >



                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]









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                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      • Ramsey Michaels
                                        Isn t that just a more polite way of saying the same thing? Alternatively, if those who say they are Jews and are not are actually Judaizing Gentiles, then
                                        Message 19 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          Isn't that just a more polite way of saying the same thing?

                                          Alternatively, if those who say they are Jews and are not are actually
                                          Judaizing Gentiles, then John is telling the literal truth: they are lying
                                          in claiming to be Jews.

                                          In the very city to which Rev 3:9 is directed, notice Ignatius' polemic
                                          against Gentiles who preach Judaism (Philadelphians 6.1; see also Magnesians
                                          10.3).

                                          Ramsey Michaels



                                          ----- Original Message -----
                                          From: "George F Somsel" <gfsomsel@...>
                                          To: <revelation-list@yahoogroups.com>
                                          Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 3:08 PM
                                          Subject: Re: [revelation-list] Rev 2:9; 3:9


                                          > No, I don't think the author of the Apocalypse means that when a Jew calls
                                          himself a Jew he is lying. What I think he is saying is that the then
                                          current representatives of Judaism were not true to the tradition of Judaism
                                          (as the author conceived it, of course). Since the Church viewed itself as
                                          the legitimate successor to the religion of the OT, anything which did not
                                          tend toward its viewpoint was ipso facto a deviation from the religion of
                                          the OT and its proponents heretics (perhaps a reaction to the "blessing" of
                                          the Nazorenes reputed to have been a part of the 18 benedictions?).
                                          >
                                          > george
                                          > gfsomsel
                                          > _________
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > ----- Original Message ----
                                          > From: Ramsey Michaels <profram@...>
                                          > To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                                          > Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 9:25:24 AM
                                          > Subject: Re: [revelation-list] Rev 2:9; 3:9
                                          >
                                          > If ethnic Jews are meant, isn't John saying that when a Jew calls himself
                                          a
                                          > Jew he is lying? Is that what we should say to our Jewish friends? Does a
                                          > Jew stop being a Jew just because he does not accept Jesus as Messiah?
                                          >
                                          > I believe the interpretation of Rev 2:9 and 3:9 as referring to ethnic
                                          Jews
                                          > reads the text altogether too much through the lens of Romans 2:28-29. But
                                          > even Paul stops short of saying that those who are Jews "outwardly" are
                                          > lying when they call themselves Jews. And surely the author of the Gospel
                                          of
                                          > John did not hesitate to call ethnic Jews "Jews."
                                          >
                                          > For an alternative view (Judaizing Gentiles), see my IVP Commentary, pp.
                                          > 73-74, 84.
                                          >
                                          > Ramsey Michaels
                                          >
                                          > ----- Original Message -----
                                          > From: "Sinclair Stable" <sincink@imagewirele ss.ca>
                                          > To: <revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com>
                                          > Sent: Friday, September 15, 2006 3:23 PM
                                          > Subject: [revelation- list] Rev 2:9; 3:9
                                          >
                                          > > beloved,
                                          > >
                                          > > I was wondering if the group could give the understanding of Rev 2:9;
                                          3:9.
                                          > > Spacifically if the identity of "Jews" is of ethnic origin = children
                                          from
                                          > the whole house of Israel.
                                          > >
                                          > > This could be according to the historical evidences / documents we have
                                          at
                                          > the time
                                          > > the book of Revelation was given to John; or the church age as a whole.
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > > Rev 2:9
                                          > > I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and
                                          [I
                                          > know] the
                                          > > blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the
                                          > synagogue of Satan.
                                          > >
                                          > > Rev 3:9
                                          > > Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are
                                          > Jews, and are not, but do lie;
                                          > > behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to
                                          know
                                          > that I have loved thee.
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > > Thank you, I will read the replies in the digest.
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > > barb sinclair
                                          > > <saskatchewan>
                                          > >
                                          > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                        • George F Somsel
                                          Almost, but not quite. The difference is that those whom he labels as not being Jews are probably the more negative ones. george gfsomsel ... From: Ramsey
                                          Message 20 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            Almost, but not quite. The difference is that those whom he labels "as not being Jews are probably the more negative ones.

                                            george
                                            gfsomsel
                                            _________



                                            ----- Original Message ----
                                            From: Ramsey Michaels <profram@...>
                                            To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                                            Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 5:38:55 PM
                                            Subject: Re: [revelation-list] Rev 2:9; 3:9

                                            Isn't that just a more polite way of saying the same thing?

                                            Alternatively, if those who say they are Jews and are not are actually
                                            Judaizing Gentiles, then John is telling the literal truth: they are lying
                                            in claiming to be Jews.

                                            In the very city to which Rev 3:9 is directed, notice Ignatius' polemic
                                            against Gentiles who preach Judaism (Philadelphians 6.1; see also Magnesians
                                            10.3).

                                            Ramsey Michaels

                                            ----- Original Message -----
                                            From: "George F Somsel" <gfsomsel@yahoo. com>
                                            To: <revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com>
                                            Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 3:08 PM
                                            Subject: Re: [revelation- list] Rev 2:9; 3:9

                                            > No, I don't think the author of the Apocalypse means that when a Jew calls
                                            himself a Jew he is lying. What I think he is saying is that the then
                                            current representatives of Judaism were not true to the tradition of Judaism
                                            (as the author conceived it, of course). Since the Church viewed itself as
                                            the legitimate successor to the religion of the OT, anything which did not
                                            tend toward its viewpoint was ipso facto a deviation from the religion of
                                            the OT and its proponents heretics (perhaps a reaction to the "blessing" of
                                            the Nazorenes reputed to have been a part of the 18 benedictions? ).
                                            >
                                            > george
                                            > gfsomsel
                                            > _________
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > ----- Original Message ----
                                            > From: Ramsey Michaels <profram@comcast. net>
                                            > To: revelation-list@ yahoogroups. com
                                            > Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 9:25:24 AM
                                            > Subject: Re: [revelation- list] Rev 2:9; 3:9
                                            >
                                            > If ethnic Jews are meant, isn't John saying that when a Jew calls himself
                                            a
                                            > Jew he is lying? Is that what we should say to our Jewish friends? Does a
                                            > Jew stop being a Jew just because he does not accept Jesus as Messiah?
                                            >
                                            > I believe the interpretation of Rev 2:9 and 3:9 as referring to ethnic
                                            Jews
                                            > reads the text altogether too much through the lens of Romans 2:28-29. But
                                            > even Paul stops short of saying that those who are Jews "outwardly" are
                                            > lying when they call themselves Jews. And surely the author of the Gospel
                                            of
                                            > John did not hesitate to call ethnic Jews "Jews."
                                            >
                                            > For an alternative view (Judaizing Gentiles), see my IVP Commentary, pp.
                                            > 73-74, 84.
                                            >
                                            > Ramsey Michaels
                                            >
                                            > ----- Original Message -----
                                            > From: "Sinclair Stable" <sincink@imagewirel e ss.ca>
                                            > To: <revelation- list@ yahoogroups. com>
                                            > Sent: Friday, September 15, 2006 3:23 PM
                                            > Subject: [revelation- list] Rev 2:9; 3:9
                                            >
                                            > > beloved,
                                            > >
                                            > > I was wondering if the group could give the understanding of Rev 2:9;
                                            3:9.
                                            > > Spacifically if the identity of "Jews" is of ethnic origin = children
                                            from
                                            > the whole house of Israel.
                                            > >
                                            > > This could be according to the historical evidences / documents we have
                                            at
                                            > the time
                                            > > the book of Revelation was given to John; or the church age as a whole.
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > Rev 2:9
                                            > > I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and
                                            [I
                                            > know] the
                                            > > blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the
                                            > synagogue of Satan.
                                            > >
                                            > > Rev 3:9
                                            > > Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are
                                            > Jews, and are not, but do lie;
                                            > > behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to
                                            know
                                            > that I have loved thee.
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > Thank you, I will read the replies in the digest.
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > barb sinclair
                                            > > <saskatchewan>
                                            > >
                                            > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >






                                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          • KennethGentry@cs.com
                                            In a message dated 10/13/2006 3:10:33 AM Eastern Standard Time, ... EVEN THOSE WHO PIERCED HIM Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D. Revelation is the most difficult
                                            Message 21 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
                                            • 0 Attachment
                                              In a message dated 10/13/2006 3:10:33 AM Eastern Standard Time,
                                              ottoerlend@... writes:


                                              > "I have a brief paper on 1:7 from this perspective that I could post
                                              > on revelation-list if anyone would like for me to."
                                              >
                                              > I would very much like you to post this paper. Thanks!

                                              "EVEN THOSE WHO PIERCED HIM"

                                              Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D.



                                              Revelation is the most difficult book to interpret in all of Scripture.
                                              And it becomes even more difficult when would-be exegetes overlook its stated
                                              theme. Anytime we endeavor to understand a work, we must seek to do so on the
                                              basis of the original author's theme. This is especially true when the author
                                              states his theme — as the Apostle John does in Revelation.

                                              As with the temporal indicators provided in Revelation 1:1 and 3, John
                                              places his thematic statement early in his prophecy. In fact, it appears in his
                                              seventh verse (in our modern versions):

                                              "Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even
                                              those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him.
                                              Even so. Amen" (Rev. 1:7).



                                              The initial impression this verse leaves on us today is the conviction
                                              that John is speaking of the Second Advent. It certainly does involve language
                                              quite applicable to the future, glorious, history-ending Second Coming of
                                              Christ. The Scriptures speak often of his Second Coming, and even with this sort of
                                              cloud-coming judgment language (cp. Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; 2 Thess.
                                              1:7-10). And the historic, universal Christian Church has always affirmed that
                                              majestic event.

                                              Yet looks are deceiving. Despite this reasonable first impression, strong
                                              evidence compels us to interpret Revelation 1:7 differently. I believe this
                                              verse presents us with a judgment prophecy against first century Jerusalem,
                                              whose destruction occurs in AD 70. John's theme looks to the approaching
                                              devastation of the Temple and Jerusalem under the Roman generals Vespasian and Titus.
                                              In that this interpretation of John's theme is not immediately obvious and is
                                              quite unfamiliar to most modern Christians, I will need to defend it in some
                                              detail.

                                              Several compelling reasons move us away from a Second Advent
                                              interpretation to an AD 70 one. I will prsent eight lines of evidence supporting a first
                                              century interpretation.



                                              The Preceding Context of the Theme
                                              Perhaps the leading interpretive principle for understanding any document
                                              can be summarized in three words: "Context. Context. Context." Before we
                                              arrive at Revelation 1:7 upon opening John's book, we must pass through verses 1
                                              and 3. These two verses emphatically declare that the events expected in
                                              Revelation "must shortly take place" (Rev. 1:1) because "the time is near" (Rev.
                                              1:3).
                                              We must carefully note that not only does John declare the events of his
                                              book near, but in those nearness declarations he relates his purpose, applying
                                              it to his first century audience. Revelation 1:1 informs the original
                                              recipients that he is writing about "the things which must shortly take place" (Rev.
                                              1:1). One would think that if he is writing about "the things which must
                                              shortly take place" this would involve his very theme. It would be strikingly odd
                                              if John were to declare temporal nearness for the very purpose of his writing,
                                              then give a theme which reached thousands of years beyond his day. After all,
                                              does not he declare the nearness of "the time" as reason why his first century
                                              readers must read, hear, and "heed the things which are written in it" (Rev.
                                              1:3)? Why would he urge their heeding the things written, if his thematic
                                              purpose lies untold centuries in the future?
                                              So then, just four verses before John states the theme of Revelation, he
                                              declares the events near and applies them to us original audience.

                                              The Following Context of the Theme

                                              Not only does John introduce his theme in a way demanding its fast
                                              approaching fulfillment, but just two verses after stating it he applies it to the
                                              grueling circumstances of his original readers: "I, John, your brother and
                                              fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in
                                              Jesus, was on the island called Patmos, because of the word of God and the
                                              testimony of Jesus" (Rev. 1:9).

                                              John is ministering to a persecuted minority: God's concern with those
                                              suffering for the faith in the first century is a major, recurring theme running
                                              throughout Revelation (Rev. 2:9-10; 3:9-10; 6:9-12; 13:5-7; 14:13; 20:4).
                                              Surely he is not telling these persecuted saints that the time is near, that they
                                              must heed that which he is writing, that God is concerned with theirr
                                              persecution — but he will avenge his people thousands of years in the future?
                                              Revelation 1:7 must apply to the first century circumstances.



                                              The Apocalyptic Language in the Prophecy
                                              John frames his thematic statement in apocalyptic imagery by speaking of
                                              Christ "coming with the clouds" (Rev. 1:7). And though this sounds like the
                                              Second Advent, and though that glorious event will be literally "with the
                                              clouds," we find this type of language can be used symbolically of divine historical
                                              judgments other than the Second Coming. Anyone reading Revelation quickly
                                              recognizes that he is in a work with strange imagery. And that imagery must often
                                              be understood symbolically. I believe such is true here in our theme verse as
                                              well. Let us note just two examples of apocalyptic imagery used of historical
                                              events.
                                              In Isaiah 19 we find a warning to Old Testament Egypt. In that prophecy
                                              God threatens judgment upon that ancient nation, a judgment which transpires
                                              when the Assyrian king Esarhaddon conquered Egypt in 671 B.C. Yet notice the
                                              language Isaiah employs: "The oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the Lord is riding
                                              on a swift cloud, and is about to come to Egypt; the idols of Egypt will
                                              tremble at His presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them"
                                              (Isa. 19:1). Clearly the prophecy applies to Egypt. And just as clearly it claims
                                              the Lord "is about to come" to Egypt. Yet no interpreter believes the
                                              Egyptians saw God Almighty sitting on a cloud and descending among them in judgment.
                                              In Matthew 26 the Lord Jesus himself uses this language in speaking of
                                              his judgment against Israel in AD 70:
                                              "And the high priest stood up and said to Him, 'Do You make no
                                              answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?' But Jesus kept
                                              silent. And the high priest said to Him, 'I adjure You by the living God, that You
                                              tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.' Jesus said to him, 'You
                                              have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son
                                              of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of
                                              heaven.'"
                                              Verse 64 is similar to Revelation 1:7: "you shall see the Son of Man sitting
                                              at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." And note that
                                              he is speaking to the high priest and those gathered around him: "you shall
                                              see." This must refer to the AD 70 judgment, which is prophesied in several
                                              places by Christ (see particularly Matt. 21:33-34; 22:1-7; 24:1-34), and which
                                              would be witnessed by many of those who stood against Christ on that day.
                                              So then, Revelation 1:7 can be applied to the historical judgment
                                              befalling Israel in AD 70. Nothing in Scripture prohibits such an apocalyptic
                                              rendering. As the evidence mounts, we will be driven to that very conclusion.

                                              The Lord's Prior Teaching on the Subject
                                              In the preceding evidence I mentioned as an aside that Christ himself
                                              employs apocalyptic judgment-coming language when referring to the approaching
                                              destruction of the Temple. Let us look a little more closely at this phenomenon
                                              as we unpack the meaning of Revelation 1:7.
                                              In Matthew 21:33-48 Jesus presents the Parable of the Vineyard Owner. In
                                              that parable we have a picture of God's loving blessings upon Israel over the
                                              centuries (21:33-34). But God's providential care of Israel is portrayed
                                              against the backdrop of her stubborn disobedience leading her to kill the prophets
                                              whom God sent to her (21:35-36). Finally God sends his very son, only to have
                                              Israel kill him (21:37-40). Based on this parable Jesus asks the religious
                                              leaders of Israel: "Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he
                                              do to those vine-growers?" (21:40).
                                              Israel's leaders unwittingly respond to his query: "They said to Him, 'He
                                              will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard
                                              to other vine-growers, who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons'"
                                              (21:41). He shocks them by catching them in their own words: "Therefore I say to
                                              you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation
                                              producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to
                                              pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust" (21:43-44).
                                              They then understand his point: "And when the chief priests and the Pharisees
                                              heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them" (21:45).
                                              This parable and its consequent discussion look to the AD 70 destruction
                                              of the Temple, speaking of the AD 70 judgment as a "coming" of the Lord: "when
                                              the owner of the vineyard comes" (21:40). In the following context another
                                              parable speaks more literally: "But the king was enraged and sent his armies,
                                              and destroyed those murderers, and set their city on fire" (Matt. 22:7).
                                              Clearly then, Revelation 1:7 can at least theoretically be applied to AD
                                              70. And given its contextual setting (and other matters I will rehearse
                                              below), this is the preferred understanding of John's theme.

                                              The Specific Cause of the Judgment

                                              Having established the context and the possibilities, we must now focus
                                              on the express wording of Revelation 1:7. John applies the prophecy
                                              particularly against "those who pierced him": "Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and
                                              every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the
                                              earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen" (Rev. 1:7). This provides a clue for
                                              the proper interpretation of the theme which is as overlooked as the clues
                                              regarding John's temporal expectations.

                                              We are all aware that the Roman soldiers were the direct, physical
                                              instruments of Christ's crucifixion. The Bible, however, strongly and repeatedly
                                              emphasizes Israel's covenantal responsibility for the whole terrible event. I
                                              will list several verses that point directly to Israel as the cause of Christ's
                                              crucifixion (in a later chapter we will see how relevant this is to the message
                                              of Israel).

                                              "And all the people answered and said, 'His blood be on us and on our
                                              children!'" (Matt. 27:25).

                                              "They therefore cried out, 'Away with Him, away with Him, crucify
                                              Him!' Pilate said to them, 'Shall I crucify your King?' The chief priests
                                              answered, 'We have no king but Caesar'" (John 19:15).

                                              "This Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge
                                              of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death"
                                              (Acts 2:23).

                                              "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by
                                              hanging Him on a cross" (Acts 5:30).

                                              See also: Acts 7:52; 10:39; 13:13-15; 1 Thess. 2:14-16.

                                              The unrelenting testimony of the New Testament blames Israel for Christ's
                                              death. She is covenantally responsible; she should have known better (Matt.
                                              23:37; John 1:11). So then, Revelation 1:7 promises judgment upon "those who
                                              pierced him," which demands that that judgment fall in the first century while
                                              "those who pierced him" were still alive — especially given the near-term
                                              temporal indicators in the very context of this statement (Rev. 1, 3). The events
                                              of AD 70 present us with a most perfect, relevant, and compelling fit.



                                              The Ultimate Focus of the Judgment
                                              But there is more! Revelation 1:7 also states that: "all the tribes of
                                              the earth will mourn over him." Who are these "tribes of the earth"? And why do
                                              they "mourn"?
                                              The reader must understand that the Greek word translated "earth" (ge)
                                              can also be translated "land." In fact, it often refers to "the land of Israel,"
                                              i.e., "the Promised Land." In a number of places in the New Testament this
                                              word speaks either of the Promised Land as a whole, or some portion of it. In
                                              those places we find it in such phrases as "the land of Judah" (Matt. 2:6), "the
                                              land of Judea" (John 3:22), "the land of Israel" (Matt. 2:20, 21), "the land
                                              of Zebulun" (Matt. 4:15), "the land of Naphtali" (Matt. 4:15), and "the land
                                              of the Jews" (Acts 10:39). Thus, upon purely lexical considerations, the term
                                              can be understood as designating the Promised Land.
                                              When we note that this "land" contains "tribes," we move even closer to
                                              the proper interpretation. The Greek word for "tribe" is phule, which in
                                              Scripture most frequently refers to the Jewish tribes. The New Testament often names
                                              particular "tribes" of Israel: Asher (Luke 2:36); Benjamin (Act 13:21; Rom
                                              11:1; Phil 3:5); Judah (Rev. 5:5; Heb 7:14). The "tribes" found their home in
                                              Palestine; these are "the tribes of the land" Revelation 1:7 mentions. John's
                                              reference to the "tribe of Judah" in Revelation 5:5 clearly points to the
                                              tribal division among racial Jews. The term "tribe" obviously has that racial
                                              import in Revelation 7:4-8 (where it is used of each of the specifically named
                                              Twelve Tribes) and in Revelation 21:12 (where John refers to "the twelve tribes of
                                              the children of Israel").
                                              As a matter or fact, literal translations of the Scripture lean in this
                                              direction:
                                              "Lo, he doth come with the clouds, and see him shall every eye, even
                                              those who did pierce him, and wail because of him shall all the tribes of the
                                              land. Yes! Amen!"
                                              "Behold he comes with the clouds, and will see him every eye and
                                              [those] who him pierced, and will wail over him all the tribes of the land. Yes,
                                              amen."
                                              This not only fits nicely with the near-term temporal indicators, but
                                              also Jesus' warnings of impending judgment upon Israel. Notice three examples
                                              from Luke (in addition to the parables mentioned previously in Matthew):
                                              "And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it, saying,
                                              'If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But
                                              now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you when
                                              your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in
                                              on every side, and will level you to the ground and your children within you,
                                              and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not
                                              recognize the time of your visitation'" (Luke 19:41-44).

                                              See also: Luke 21:20-22 and 23:28-31.
                                              The evidence for an AD 70 meaning of Revelation 1:7 is becoming
                                              insurmountable. John's theme in Revelation is Israel's judgment for rejecting the Lord
                                              Jesus Christ.

                                              The Particular Parallel in the Gospels

                                              Interestingly, Revelation 1:7 finds a remarkable parallel in the Lord's
                                              teaching in the Olivet Discourse. Observe the similarities between Revelation
                                              1:7 and Matthew 24:30, noting particularly the italicized words:

                                              "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all
                                              the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming
                                              on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory." (Matt. 24:30)

                                              "Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him,
                                              even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him.
                                              Even so. Amen." (Rev. 1:7)

                                              Both of these verses are unique in Scripture in merging portions of
                                              Daniel 7:13 and Zechariah 12:10. John draws the "coming on the clouds" imagery from
                                              Daniel, and the "mourning of the tribes" from Zechariah. No other passage in
                                              Scripture merges these two verses.

                                              Furthermore, both of the prophetic discourses in which we find these
                                              verses speak of "the great tribulation" (Matt. 24:21 and Rev. 7:14). And most
                                              commentators note the parallel between Matthew 24:6-11 and the first four seals in
                                              Revelation 6:1-8. And both prophecies are associated somehow with the Temple
                                              of God (Matt. 24:1-3, 15 and Rev. 11:1-2). In fact, we should note that Luke's
                                              version of the Lord's teaching appears to be the source of John's language in
                                              Revelation 11 (note especially the italicized portions):

                                              "They will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive
                                              into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles
                                              until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24)

                                              "And leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not
                                              measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot
                                              the holy city for forty-two months." (Rev. 11:2)

                                              Interestingly, John's Gospel lacks the Olivet Discourse which is found in the
                                              other three Gospels — perhaps because John covers the same material in
                                              another work, Revelation.

                                              Now remarkably for our purposes, both prophecies also expressly focus on
                                              near-term events. I show above that John insists his Revelation prophecies
                                              "must shortly come to pass" (Rev. 1:1; 22:6) "for the time is near" (Rev. 1:3;
                                              22:10). In Matthew, the Olivet Discourse opens with Christ's denouncing the
                                              Temple (Matt. 23:38) and the disciples pointing out the current Temple's beauty
                                              (Matt. 24:1). Jesus responds to their wonder by stating: "Do you not see all
                                              these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here shall be left upon another,
                                              which will not be torn down" (Matt. 24:2), to which the disciples reply: "Tell
                                              us, when will these things be?" (Matt. 24:3). After providing them with
                                              precursory signs, he finally answers their question: "Truly I say to you, this
                                              generation will not pass away until all these things take place" (Matt. 24:34),
                                              which happens to match very nicely with John's assertion that these things "must
                                              shortly take place." And we know from history that that very Temple was
                                              destroyed in AD 70, just forty years after Jesus spoke.



                                              Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.M., Th.D.
                                              <A HREF="www.KennethGentry.Com">KennethGentry.Com</A>
                                              "Serious Studies for Serious Christians"

                                              Revelation Commentary Project
                                              If you would like to give toward funding my research on
                                              Revelation please go to <A HREF="www.KennethGentry.Com">KennethGentry.Com</A> then click
                                              on "Revelation Commentary Project."

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                                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                            • hubbes.laszlo
                                              I cannot pronounce myself on this special issue, since I m not a specialist in this aspect of the Revelation, but this is a good opportunity for me to try to
                                              Message 22 of 23 , Oct 15, 2006
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                                                I cannot pronounce myself on this special issue, since I'm not a
                                                specialist in this aspect of the Revelation, but this is a good
                                                opportunity for me to try to catch the attention again on the next
                                                year's joint SBL-EABS conference in Wien, which will have a special
                                                session organized around the theme of the Revelation in the section
                                                "Early Christianity between Hellenism and Judaism". Maybe somebody
                                                would be interested in submitting a paper to it. Anyone intrerested in
                                                the issue, should contact Michael Labahn at am.labahn@... and
                                                visit the EABS-homepage at http://www.eurassbibstudies.group.shef.ac.uk
                                                I'm not insisting on it, just take the chance of this discussion, and
                                                post again the call for papers, maybe there is somebody who just
                                                haven't noticed the first time.

                                                Hubbes Laszlo
                                                doctorand, Babes-Bolyai University Cluj, Romania

                                                P.S. I'll defend my thesis on Apocalyptic in november, please pray for me.
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