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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]
    • 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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          • 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 5 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 6 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 7 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."

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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 8 of 23 , Oct 15, 2006
                  • 0 Attachment
                    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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