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Re: Rev 2:9; 3:9

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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