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

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
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            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 5 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]









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









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            • 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 6 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
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                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 7 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
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                  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 8 of 23 , Oct 13, 2006
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                    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."

                    New releases
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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 9 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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