Revelation - Lesson 2
Literary Analysis (Part 1)
Apocalyptic literature is based on the idea that the natural order is set within a larger content of a spiritual reality and that the dynamics of the spiritual realm play themselves out in the physical realm. Apocalypse is a message from God regarding what God is about and what he is going to do.
Literary Analysis (Part 1)
A. Communion with God
B. Ultimate Identity in Christ
C. God's Presence in Our Being
II. Approaches to Revelation
A. Literary Analysis
B. Comparative Studies
C. Apocalyptic Literature
III. Origins of Apocalyptic Literature
A. Influence of Zoroastrianism
B. Extension of Prophetic Tradition
C. Context of Subjection
IV. Christian Twist on Apocalyptic
A. Shift in Understanding of God's Kingdom
B. Now-Not Yet Reality
V. Narrative World of Revelation
A. Introduction to the Narrative World
B. Use of "Messiah"
C. God's Covenant People as Servants
D. Necessity and Quickness
- There is a wide range of interpretation of the book of Revelation because of the nature of visions. When John writes Revelation, he uses a pool of images that are familiar to him and his readers and we need to take into account what the images meant to people at the time.
Apocalyptic literature is based on the idea that the natural order is set within a larger content of a spiritual reality and that the dynamics of the spiritual realm play themselves out in the physical realm. Apocalypse is a message from God regarding what God is about and what he is going to do.
The occasion for writing Revelation was the vision John had and the situation of the seven churches. John is trying to describe a scene in which various scenes are being played out simultaneously. John emphasizes the importance of living out your theology, as opposed to only being doctrinally correct.
John had a vision of the Son of Man. He had a message for the church at Ephesus.
Messages for the churches at Ephesus, Smyrna and Pergamum.
Messages to the churches in Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia.
A message to the church at Laodicea and a vision of Jesus as a Lamb who shares the throne with God.
A vision of God the creator and the redeemer Lamb.
A vision of the seven seals.
A vision of the seven trumpets.
- This lesson dives into the idea of encountering God in the world, warns about the destructiveness of sin, and presents a powerful angelic figure symbolizing God and Jesus as triumphant over fallen Babylon, with a mysterious aspect of the vision.
A vision of the seven trumpets. Chronology of the origin and development of the teaching of the rapture and dispensationalism.
A vision of how the death of Jesus on the cross has made it possible for us to be in relationship to God.
The description of the nature of Satan's war against God's children and in contrast to a description of God's redeemed.
A vision of the seven bowls.
A vision of fallen Babylon.
- In this lesson, you gain insights into the concept of Fallen Babylon and the transformative power of the cross. It emphasizes that accepting the cross liberates you from the world's illusions, allowing you to accept your own falsity as healed and yielding to the Holy Spirit's action. The lesson challenges the idea of choosing between the world and Christ, proposing that you can choose both simultaneously, seeking unity, wholeness, and love at the deepest level of your being.
Dr. Mulholland answering questions from the students.
A vision of the victory of the Lamb and discussion of the wrath of God.
A vision of the New Jerusalem.
- Dr. Mulholland's lesson delves into God's love as the core of self-discovery. False self obstructs the truth. True self blooms in faith, openness, trust, and yielding to God, shifting focus from ego to divine presence. Embrace this shift, become citizens of a new Jerusalem in a fallen world.
A vision of the people of the New Jerusalem.
- John wrote the book of Revelation as a call to radical discipleship as faithful citizens of God’s new Jerusalem in the midst of a fallen Babylon world. There is no video for this lecture.
Revelation is a vision of Jesus the Messiah. John focuses on the profound depths of what God has done, is doing, and will ultimately consummate in and through Jesus. A second central theme in Revelation is the role of the cross in what God has done and will accomplish. The contrast and interaction of the "New Jerusalem" and "fallen Babylon" is also a significant theme in Revelation. Videos for lectures 7, 8 and 9 are not avialable yet. Lecture 23 was recorded in audio only.
We think that the title of the devotional book that Dr. Mulholland reads from at the beginning of some of the lectures might be Merton's Palace of Nowhere by James Finley. Unfortunately, Dr. Mulholland is deceased so we can't confirm this.
Dr. Robert Mulholland
Literary Analysis (Part 1)
Good morning. You get the whole of the spiritual life, finds its fulfillment in bringing our entire life into a transforming, loving communion with the ineffable God. This communion is both the raison d'etre and the fruition of our deepest self. Our own ultimate identity is radically one with God in Christ. The inner self is a secret as God and like Him, it evades every concept that tries to seize hold of it with full possession. Although we can do with any spiritual discipline, is produced within ourselves. Something of the silence, the humility, the detachment, the purity of heart, and the indifference which are required if the inner self is to make some shy, unpredictable manifestation of his presence. Sort of reminds me of what Paul says in his speech, the airy optimism in Athens that in him we live and move and have our being. And we really have not grasped that reality. Well. We think of God as, you know, out there, off there, up there somewhere. Rather than as being the very essence of our being itself. In him, we have our being. Apart from him, we have no being. I mean, that's what Paul was directing us to. And. And same thing in Colossians. You know, our life is here with Christ in God. Our true self. Our true identity. Pray with me. We give you thanks and praise our gracious, loving God for the mystery of your indwelling presence. The mystery of our lives hid with Christ in you. The mystery of having our being in you. We pray that, by your grace, you would awaken us. To this reality. That we might find our identity in you. And then you alone. You would help us to see those places where we have sunk the roots of our identity into something other than you. And when you detach from those things as being. Part of our identity. And sink those roots fairly completely in you. In your name. We pray. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Okay, this is the last time I'll call the roll and have a sign up sheet to pass around in the future. But then I'll start working on the names. I don't know. And so if I don't call your name, I already got your checked off. Some I haven't picked up. Nick. Where are you? Oh, okay. Dan Bellinger. Andrea Bremer. Andrea. Chris Burkhart. Yes. I thought I saw you come in. Chris and James is here. Terry is here. John Carter is here. Kristen Shipley. There you are. Okay. Rangel, where are you hiding? There you are. Back there. Okay. You changed Haven. Ted Eller. Tony Franklin Okay. Brian Heffner. Amy Nicks Okay. Laura Verdier. Tom Hofmeyer. Jonathan Hunt. Right. Very rare. Nick Yeah, right. Jonathan joining. Ryan user. Ryan, I've got your paper up here after class. That's not in the paper for this class, by the way. I mean, some people really get ahead, but. Brad Kirk, they're. You're giving. Brandon Lewis. Kraig Neutral. Tom Lyons. Good. Ryan. Martin. Ryan, you're going with. Where are you, Ryan? Oh, thanks. Tab Miller. Robert Mueller. There you are. Brian Nutter. And so. Ryan is here. Amy is here. Randy Race. Questions here. Paula Sargeant Yes. Okay. Jeremy's been our. Ryan's dramatic. Mm hmm. Aaron. Thank you. Mm hmm. Melanie. John David Van Valen. Jessica Verney, Cindy Rector, thank you record. Okay. William Wendel and Jeremy Zirkle. Good. Thank you very much. Okay.
Just a couple more words on basic approaches. Other than that, the four general approaches. One is and of course, these can operate within any one of the four approaches we talked about Tuesday. But literary analysis is another approach. And of course, you can't use literary analysis no matter what your approach is.
But there there is an approach that sees revelation simply as a literary document. It does not take seriously the possibility of a visionary experience, and it just simply looks at the document as a literary document you get. For instance, R.H. Charles did a tremendous work on on Revelation right at the end of the 1800s, early 1900s, where where he dissects the book into all sorts of literary units that he thought were, you know, developed separately and then sort of scrunched together by a final redacted. So that that's sort of an extreme form of literary analysis. I don't think that holds water. And most most people don't go with Charles's ideas any longer. But there is a legitimate place for literary analysis because John is writing a literary document. And so we have to take seriously the dynamics of literary analysis. That does not mean that we allow literary analysis to trump the idea of a of a visionary experience. So that if literal analysis, you know, comes into conflict with something of the visionary experience, I think we have to go first with the visionary experience and see how the literary analysis perhaps has been adapted or modified in some way to deal with that literary that prisoner experience. Another is comparative studies. This is this is looking at Revelation simply as a document of its time and looking for comparative documents in the Roman Hellenistic world. Now, of course, you do have comparative documents in the Jewish world. And we'll look shortly at the idea of apocalyptic writings, which revelation certainly is one of those. But. There are those who search the Roman Hellenistic world for comparative kinds of writings, and their conclusion is that revelation is no more than a compilation of these various kinds of writings.
And again, it does not take seriously the possibility of a visionary experience. And I think our comparative analysis, it resides almost entirely within the Jewish frame of reference. It's rather difficult to to find clear models in the Roman Hellenistic world of fairly sizable units of Revelation. Now, you may take a verse here or a word here or phrase here that may have some correlation, but to to find larger units of literary documents or literary types or genres in Revelation that have their palace in the Roman Hellenistic world is very, very difficult to do. The Jewish world, as I said, all over the place. Now let's talk about apocalyptic literature, the the origins of apocalyptic literature and of apocalyptic itself. Apocalyptic or apocalyptic system is a particular worldview. It is a worldview that. Sometimes. Transgresses the boundary of dualism, but in the Jewish context hardly ever does that. The idea is that the natural order, the world order is set within a larger context of a spiritual reality. And that the dynamics of that spiritual realm, which in a Jewish context would be spoken of as as heaven or God's realm, that the dynamics of that realm play themselves out in the physical realm in history. That that is the essential idea of of apocalyptic schism. Another dynamic of apocalyptic schism is that it seems to emerge out of a context of subjection. That is, the people are in subjection to some outside power. Apocalyptic ism emerges in Judaism during the international mantel period, where the Jewish people were first under Babylonian domination and then Persian domination, and then the domination of Alexander the Great and then the Ptolemies in Egypt, and then the Seleucids in Syria. And then finally, of course, the Romans. And so the Jews have a special dynamic of apocalyptic, and that is they are they're looking for God to intervene in history, to restore their kingdom and to restore them as God's covenant people on the promised land with their Davidic king, etc..
We'll talk more about that shortly. So this is sort of the driving force behind Jewish apocalyptic. What apocalyptic writings purport to do is to convey something of the dynamics of the spiritual reality that either are or are going to be played out in the hopefully near future. Now. One of the questions about the Jewish apocalyptic writings is whether or not they too. Our genuine visionary experiences because many of the apocalyptic writings. Our vision are purport to be visionary experiences. Sometimes you have there's two basic types. One is the the visionary has a vision and writes it down. The other is that the writer has an encounter with a heavenly being who who comes to them and explains things to them, which I guess you could say is sort of a subset of visionary experience. But those are the two basic dynamics of Jewish apocalyptic. Now the question is whether whether these persons did indeed have visionary experiences that they are writing down. It's hard to discount that possibility. It's equally hard to prove it. We know that the prophets in the Old Testament obviously had visionary experiences. And they they heard God speaking to them and they had visits from heavenly beings. So all of those realities in the prophetic writings of the Old Testament, I don't think we can simply throw those out when we come to the apocalyptic writings that play much more heavily upon visionary experience or encounters with with spiritual beings, any more than them, any more than we can throw out John's. Claim to have had such a visionary experience and you have had a heavenly guide, so to speak, the angel that is explaining a lot of things to him and sort of moving him around from place to place.
And you think of a busy kill where the spirit picks him up and takes him off to Babylon. That really happened. Or is he just using a, you know, a visionary kind of experience as a literary style? I think the reason we have difficulty with this kind of literature and the possibility of these kind of experiences is that we have been far too much subverted by the Enlightenment and its in its avoidance of any kind of reality beyond what can be brought under the control of human reason with the deification of human reason in the Enlightenment. You see, these kind of experiences are just off the table or they're explained away as psychological aberrations of some sort. And of course, to do that, you see, is to close our perception to the possibility that we may live in a world that is more mysterious and has more dimensions than our finite human reason can get hold of and control. And of course, that was one of the dynamics of the enlightenment, you see, of the deification of human reason is to put human reason in control of human reason becomes the arbiter of reality. And anything that cannot be brought under the control of human reason is just basically not there. So the whole idea of visionary experience and encounters with with heavenly beings or spiritual beings, you see just that that's pushed way off to the fringes of of the Enlightenment. And of course, we've inherited all of that, unfortunately. The origin of the apocalyptic are coming. It appears that there has been some influence and the Persian influence through through the exile of the Jews in Babylon and then, of course, in the in the Persian domination that took over from Babylon. The the primary influence of Zoroastrianism would tend toward dualism.
Now, as I said, the the Jewish forms of apocalyptic. They pushed to the boundary of dualism, but they never they never really transgress it. You don't have a a pure spiritual world that is that is good and evil, bad material world, which is the essential nature of Zoroastrianism. You have this radical dualism between the spiritual realm, which is good and the material evil. You do not see that in in Jewish. Apocalyptic. Now, another another aspect of the origin and this this probably has much more to do with the origin of Jewish apocalyptic comes out of prophetic Judaism. It is, in a sense, an extension of of the prophetic line. Now, prophecy, as we think of it in the Old Testament, seems to have ceased during this entire testimonial period. And it is replaced by these apocalyptic writings. Now, the difference between prophecy and apocalyptic is that the prophets. We're speaking primarily to their own time. Now to be sure there is future dimensions there, but the primary message of the prophet was to speak to God's covenant people right now. And primarily to call them back to faithful covenant relationship with God. Then, of course, they point out what the consequences are going to be if Israel does not return to God. So in that sense, you see there they're seeing the future that there's there's going to be this horrible demise if Israel doesn't straighten out, which, of course, comes true. But then the prophets also see. And of course, the source of the Jewish expectation of the restoration of the kingdom goes back to the the prophets. But prophetic. The prophetic perspective. CS got much more involved in the ongoing flow of history, that God is engaged with the covenant people and God is engaged with the other nations, in fact, in an ongoing process that will bring Israel to its consummation as a covenant people of God in history on the Promised Land.
Apocalyptic because of this long period of foreign domination, which of course never took place during the prophetic period. I mean, they had problems with with the Assyrians, they had problems with with other peoples that they were warring with from time to time. But until the Babylonian captivity, well, you got the Assyrian captivity that just eradicates the ten northern tribes. But the prophetic writings, the later prophetic writings come from the Southern tribe. From Julian Benjamin. And. They there they are never they've never had the experience, you see, of being under a long period of foreign domination. We're starting, you know, around 600 B.C.. Right down into the New Testament period, the Jews were essentially under Roman domination that whole period. There was that, you know, the Hasmonean dynasty from about 152 to 63 B.C., but the Hasmonean became as great Hellenism as the solution to the ptolemies had been. And in fact, there was a civil war where the Jews rose up against their their rulers, so to speak, and the rulers had to bring in foreign troops to put down the revolution of their own people. So, so the Jews were on to this long period. And what happened in that is that they had sort of abandoned the idea of God working sort of progressively in history to to bring about this consummation of the kingdom into the Jewish state. And that God is going to act at some point in the future to to bring this age to a close, sometimes called this present evil age, and to inaugurate the age to come or the restored kingdom. And so you you get a shift in apocalyptic thinking. You see that that has a disjunct between this age and the age to come. Whereas in prophetic thinking, basically this age is going to morph into the age to come that God is going to work in the midst of this age to bring about the fruition of God's purposes for his covenant people.
So that that's one of the basic shifts that takes place in in apocalyptic literature. And prophetic Judaism really seems to be the primary source. For Jewish apocalyptic. It just emerges out of the prophetic tradition. It is. As I mentioned, it is basically the literature of the marginalized or the oppressed. Now, probably it might be better to think of it as the literature of the marginalized, because in the Judaism of this period, you do have the development within the Jewish people of an elite, basically the high priestly families and the wealthy aristocracy who have a long history of working hand in glove with whoever the ruling power is. And of course, they were sort of looked down upon by the, quote, faithful Jews, unquote. And the faithful Jews often saw themselves as being marginalized even by their own leadership, because their leadership did not represent their interests. That's why Alexander Genius has a civil war on his hands, because he was seen he and his the ruling families were seen to have gone so far down the road of colonization that they were really no longer faithful Jews and the faithful Jews led by the Pharisees, you know, rise up against him and his regime. So that see, they see themselves as marginalized, not simply. As being oppressed by these foreign domination, but even by their own leadership. Apocalyptic literature. The term itself apocalyptic comes from Revelation one one. Apocalypses Gates of Christian Revelation of Jesus the Messiah. Apocalyptic literature is the literature of this worldview that I've been describing some of the characteristics. As I said, it is a disclosure and apocalypses and uncovering given by God. God is always the source of of the apocalypse of your apocalyptic writing. And it is to show or to to describe or speak to God's people what God is about and what God is going to do.
And another dimension of this is there's sort of a, I guess you call it a necessity involved. That is, it is necessary for things to play themselves out in God's way. That is, God has a plan and God is working that plan. And at some point down there in the future, God is going to intervene and bring this evil age to a close and inaugurate needs to come in which God's plan will be consummated. So the idea there are certain necessary things that have to take place leading up to this. And in the process of that transition, there are certain necessary things and of course, the apocalyptic writing. Tell us what those necessary things are and we'll we'll see how John plays off of that. And often, as I mentioned, apocalyptic writing has an intermediary of some sort, an angel or a messenger of some sort that that brings this word, either brings the word to the person or interprets the vision for the person. You got to to various means that it works, that the way it works there. Now, one one of the things we have to be very careful of here is trying to squeeze John's vision into the parameters of Jewish apocalyptic. John indeed is using that literary genre. There's no question about that. But the thing is, is that John constantly morphs that genre into something different. And one of the primary issues here is that Jewish apocalyptic is looking forward to the time when God will restore the kingdom to Israel. John is looking back to the reality that it has been done. And it is already in process. That is the major difference between John John's revelation and the apocalyptic writings. Also the major difference between John and Daniel.
And although I mentioned this the other day, I'm not going to put Daniel and the revelation on the same level for interpretive purposes is a exegetical fallacy because Daniel is looking forward to the time of restoration. Daniel is looking forward to the time of the Messiah. John is looking on from that time. You see, John has to look back to see the time of the Messiah and then what the consequences of that are. So they're dealing with two very, very different dynamics. And one of the major problems with interpretation revelation, if you use Daniel, is the key for understanding revelation. You just can't do that because they're dealing. You might say they're dealing with the same reality, but they're dealing with it from two very different directions. Daniel is looking forward to this for John, as we'll see it has happened and now we are in a restored kingdom. Let's see what else we need to say about apocalyptic. We can't talk about that. Yeah. The Christian twist. And that's what I was just describing. That is that for for Chris. And by the way, John's revelation, not the only Christian apocalyptic is the only one we have in the New Testament, but there was an apocalypse of Peter and several other apocalypses in the early period of Christianity. The twist is that what the apocalyptic writings were looking forward to. Has already been accomplished. That in Jesus, God has done what he intended to do and and is continuing to play that out now. And of course, you do get a little bit of a difference here because you see for the Jews, you've got this straight line idea of history this age or this present evil age and the age to come, the restored kingdom.
And it's sort of a straight line with with the disconnect in between. And, of course, messianic expectations revolved around that disconnect. Jesus takes that picture and morphs it into a different kind of picture, where if this is the age to come and this is the present age and this is the age to come. Jesus says that the age to come is already broken in. When is the kingdom coming? What will the signs be? It's already here, Jesus says. And so the age to come, the restored kingdom and the present evil age continue on. Until a point where the present evil age will be consummated. It will be ended. And the final consummation of the kingdom will take place. You see that in Jesus parable of the wheat and the weeds. Where the wheat and the weeds grow together until the harvest. You see, Jesus here is listening to that parable. That would really. Push the envelope beyond its limits for them, because their understanding is, is that, you know, God's going to come and wipe out the weeds and grow the wheat. And Jesus has them both growing together at this age and the age to come or the consummation are going to continue on. And the early church understood that. And this is what John is playing off of as well as we shall see. Yeah, right. Seems to be a conceptual interlocking that the commentary talked about happening structurally, I guess looking forward to the age to come, but also having this the, the remains of the present evil age. Yeah. It's sort of yeah, it's the now not yet reality. Yeah. That we already now are part of this reality but it will have a future final consummation. And see, that's that's the shift that take place.
That that's part of that. And I call that Christian twist. Now, let's let me talk a bit now about the narrative world of revelation. That's right back here. Narrative. Narrative criticism is very helpful to us in in trying to decipher what John is doing. Narrative. If you have dealt with narrative criticism in your exegesis courses, you know that narrative criticism deals with the idea that a a writer, real or purported writer creates a literary document for a real or purported audience, and that the writer creates a a narrative world. In which to convey his message to the audience. Now, John, does this for us in really a wonderful way. You have an apocalyptic introduction verses one, two, three. Chapter one one, two, three. You have an epistolary introduction versus 4 to 8, and you have a personal introduction like that. You have a third and you have a personal introduction in verse nine. Hi, John, your fellow participant with you in the tribulation, the kingdom Patient endurance. So let's let's look, first of all, as the epistolary introduction, John begins the revelation, the apocalypses, Yazoo Christou, the Revelation of Jesus the Messiah. Now, that immediately sets your narrative world. When John uses the word Messiah. That word functions in only one world. That's the Jewish world. The rest of the world and jazz. They did not have messiahs either existent or expected. Only the Jews were looking for the magic. The anointed one. The one anointed by God who would restore the kingdom. So when John begins apocalypses games with Chris, do you see he is he is setting the Jewish world as his narrative world. And he is doing something very specific there in indicating that Jesus is the Messiah. So John is claiming that Jesus, that the Messiah has already come.
Okay. See, there's there's where you're getting that that twist off of apocalyptic. And then let me I forgot to get my Bible works up here. Let me get the text up here in front of us. On one. Okay. Then he says, which God gave him to show to his servants. What must soon take place. Now when John says God. In what narrative world is he operating? Of course, you could say, well, he's operating in any negative world in the Roman world with its polytheistic culture. But you see, he's already established his narrative world as the Jewish narrative world by using Messiah. So the God that he's talking about would be Yahweh, Jewish God, the God of the Covenant people. And then he says, which God gave him, that is, now you give it to Jesus. I think we have to get some some translate some interpreters say, no, he's giving it to John. But we're going to see that what's given to John shortly. Now it's a revelation that God gave to Jesus. This is the revelation that Jesus has made not okay to show to his servants. Okay, now you're talking the Jewish people of images who are God's servants. The covenant community. You go back into the Old Testament and often the people of Israel are spoken of as the servants of Yahweh. So again, Jon is playing with the Jewish American world. Now. Here, let me back up and take a tangent for my notice. What must soon take place. And if you look at the Greek here, John says the things necessary to come to pass and talk. Now, we've already seen this idea of necessity in apocalyptic writings, that is, that there are certain necessary steps or or things that have to take place in order for God's plan to be worked out.
And so John is playing off of that, the things necessary to come to be. But then the phrase is translated quickly. They said soon. And talk is very interesting because it's it's a prepositional phrase used adverbial. And that's a legitimate Greek usage. The problem is, is that there is a perfectly good preposition that John could have used PACU, which means quickly. Why does he use and talk? Instead of takeout. We'll see. He uses Taco elsewhere, but here he uses intake. And I think it's for a very specific purpose. The word cock. The stem is is the Greek word tock through those first three letters. It's a word that means to put things in order to arrange things in some sort of order. For instance, if I decided to have you sit alphabetically. Starting with. The first person whose name is on the list here and down through b, c, d, e, f, g. I would be pursuing you, I would be arranging you. Paso is the present tense of that verb. What John seems to be doing with it, you see. Is saying the things necessary to come to be in their proper order. Of course, we have an advantage over his original readers. However, they might have understood and talk. We've got a 2000 year advantage on him, obviously soon. It mean temporally soon, within the first millennium. And that's why I think John doesn't use an adverb that would readily be understood as soon he uses this rather strange variant form and park. Partly to call attention. Why does he say it that way? What's going on here? And when you work through it, you see you see it fits in with the hot day. Guinness nye the things necessary to come to be.
In their order and in sort of emphasizing that apocalyptic idea of of necessity, that things will work out in God's way of working them out. Then he goes on and says, He got hurt. Yeah, he made it known. Now here, we don't know who he is at this point. Come back kind of saying he made it known by sending his angel who is serving John. And of course, the word angel could also be translated messenger. So here, here. You see, you've got the heavenly being coming to John. Typical apocalyptic ideas. And of course, the idea of. Of angels. As we think of angels, you know, messengers of God is a very Jewish concept again. So John is is continuing to play off of the Jewish narrative world. Then he says to John, who testified, bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus. It is the Word of God and the Manchurian Word martyr from the American Ryan of Jesus, the Messiah whatsoever, things he saw. So so John, you know, bears witness. There's Mark, the same word here. Now this this phrase we see again and again. The Johns. Basic description of believers in this vision are those who have the Word of God and the witness of Jesus. You will see it playing itself out several times through the book. What does it mean to have the word of God in the witness of Jesus? Now, remember, we're dealing with a Jewish narrative world. Where the word of God. Is. God himself. The var yang way, you see is is God's proclamation. And it's God's proclamation of himself to Israel. So to have the word of God. And here, of course, you have to sort of morph over into John's Christian understanding.
To have the word of God is not to have the Scripture. They didn't have a New Testament at this time. Didn't really have an Old Testament this time, that the law and the prophets didn't have this large body of writings. So it's not to have go to seminary, get your theology straight. Paul has an interesting statement. I'll get you in a second. Paul has an interesting statement in Colossians where he talks about let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. The only place in the New Testament where Word of Christ appears. Well, what does it mean to have a word of Christ dwelling richly? Well, if you go on into chapter four of Colossians, Paul talks about he asks the cross to pray for him. Remember, this is an imprisonment epistle and he asks the classes to pray for him. That a word that that a door may be open for him to to proclaim the word boldly. And then he says it again. The mystery of God. The word in Paul's undertaking is the mystery. But what is the mystery, Paul, that you've got to kind of go back to Colossians chapter one. And Paul says, this is the mystery Christ in you, the hope of glory. And glory. Some of you know this. You've been in my classes before. The Greek word docs on is a word that is used to describe the essence of a person. It's what makes them who they are. So to speak, of the dark side. The glory of God is to speak of the essence of God. God is the very essence of God's be. So when Paul says, Christ in you. There's that indwelling presence again. The hope of glory. It is the hope of being restored to wholeness in the image of Christ.
Or as Paul says to the to the Ephesians, we must grow up into it. We must grow up in every way into him, always the head into Christ. So I have the word of Christ. You see, is to have your inner being shaped. In Christ likeness. Hmm. Now, if that's the case, what is your lifestyle going to look like? If your inner being is shaped in Christ like that's what your life's not going to look like. Like me Christlike, isn't it? You're going to have a witness of Jesus. So I think this is what John is dealing when he talks about having the word of God in the witness of Jesus. They go together. It's being and doing. Okay, Tom, you're first and then entree. Okay. Now, everything you just said here when you were connecting Colossians 316, it just enhances my question then. Then would you say that, John? Because my my question stems off of the take place word talk that you just mentioned. How much do you think John knew what he was writing about? And I and I. I asked the question, and I don't want to say he was some, you know, like our movies, we have this, like, mindless writer writing oracles down. And you you don't even see the pupils of his eyes anymore. Eyes either. Completely white. How much? And I don't I use that as an extreme example. You know, based off of, you know, just TV. How much of this do you think John knew what he was writing, you know, because of the topic that you were mentioning and, you know, wanting and Paul wanting to be more like Christ in this sense or John's like, I have no idea what this is. I'm going to write it down anyway.
I think John has a pretty good idea of what it is. Okay, Because, I mean, just we look at John's gospel and we haven't talked about authorship. I will come to that. Okay. But when you look at John's gospel, John seems to have a much. How do we see richer and deeper understanding of. Jesus in the Synoptic. Still, his angle is very different. For instance, one of the one of the interesting features of John's gospel is that every time it talks. First of all, he never uses the noun, pistol, faith or belief only uses the verb. So believing is a dynamic thing, not a static concept. Okay. Okay. And then when you talk about believing in Jesus, believing in him in almost every instance, I think there are only two exceptions. He uses the dynamic preposition, as you believe into Jesus, that you don't believe in Jesus. See, to believe in Jesus could be understood as believing certain, you know, propositions about man Jesus or the God man. Jesus. Believing into Jesus is a dynamic, relational reality. And I think that that's what John is dealing with, you know, throughout his gospel. You know, whoever believes in Jesus, out of his heart will fill rivers of living water. And John says he was talking about the Holy Spirit, which had not yet been given, you know, and all the way through you, you get these little John gives you these little sort of side glances, editorial comments. That helped unpack the deep spiritual reality that John perceives Jesus to be bringing to us. And so and that's one of the points I think we're carrying right through into his vision. Does that help? Yes, sir. Thank you, Perry. Just real quick. This expression seem other places in the New Testament.
The martyr, the. The root there. Yeah. So is it what I'm saying here? More than just an advocate. Jesus is an embodiment or image along the right lines there. Now, of this word you're saying is the word of God in the witness of Jesus. So it's more than just an advocate. But yeah, it's, you know, it is manifest in Christ's likeness to the world. Okay. Yeah. Okay. Okay, then. Then John goes on and. And says Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy. And blessed are those who hear and keep what is written in it. For the time is near. Now, of course, the word of this prophecy again, the Jewish narrative world. And we'll come back and unpack the rest of that in a little bit. Then let's look at let's look at the epistolary introduction. And it's a it looks very sounds very much like Paul, actually. John, author to the Seven Churches in Asia recipients. Grace to you and Peace just like Paul. But then John has an expanded greeting here. Grace You and peace from the one who is who was in years to come. That's God. And from the seven spirits who probably better translate the sevenfold spirit before his throne. In from Jesus the Messiah. Can we come back to Jesus the Messiah, the faithful martyr? They translated witness, but martyr is a better way to do it. The. First born from the dead. The ruler of the kings of the earth through him who loves us and is freedom from our sins by blood and has made us to be a kingdom and priest serving his God and Father now. Let me just walk through a little bit of the Jewish expectation of the restoration of the kingdom.
There were certain, there were certain expect certain dynamics that adhered to that expectation. First of all, one was that when God restored the kingdom, the righteous dead, and particularly the righteous martyrs would be resurrected to participate in that kingdom. You have to realize that when the New Testament talks about resurrection. It's talking in a very Jewish context. And the resurrection of Jesus, you see, is understood to be the beginning of the restoration. That's why Jesus is spoken of as the first born from the dead. What does that imply? Second, third, fourth and more. Okay. He's the first one from that. This is this is why, for instance, have you ever noticed an act in the first six chapters of ACT? The only opponents of the Christians are the Sadducees. The ruling aristocracy of the Jews, the high priestly families and the wealthy aristocracy. The elders. Why are they so uptight? And when? When Peter and Paul, Peter and John get hauled into jail, they're for the front or the court for the first time. The issue is because they are proclaiming Jesus the resurrection from the dead. Why is that a concern to the Sanders's? They didn't believe in an afterlife because that's a political that's a seditious political statement, because the restoration of the kingdom entails the overthrow of Rome. And this addresses their power base is their cooperation with the Roman overlords. They don't want the status to be changed the status quo. They want to remain that way. Going around proclaiming the resurrection has begun. You say that is very. That's dynamite. They want to put this down as fast as they can. So resurrection, you see, is intimately associated with the restoration and particularly the righteous murders. If you read the Second Maccabees, you have the story of the mother with seven sons that are that are horribly tortured to death by Antiochus Epiphanies.
And in every instance, you know, their response is, well, you can kill our bodies, but we will rise again. You know, we will God when God has overthrown you and restored the kingdom. You see, we're going to be back here to take part. So that's their basic understanding. So here you've got Jesus the Messiah, a faithful martyr. Okay. The first born from the dead. John is working within within this Jewish narrative world. He's saying that Jesus is the Messiah. And of course, his readers would know that Jesus had been crucified, the martyr, and he has been raised from the dead. Okay. So all in all, this sound sounds good and is the ruler of the kings of the earth. And of course, when God restores the kingdom, the king is going to be king of kings and Lord of Lords. All the nations will be subject to Israel. So again, he's playing with this Jewish narrative world. Now, at this point, any Jewish reader would say, Now, wait a minute, John. You're getting ahead of yourself because the reason God has not restored the kingdom up to this point is because there sin in the covenant people. It. Sin has to be taken care of before God can restore the kingdom. This is why John the Baptist was so attractive and all of Judea goes out to him. What's he doing? Last year was a baptism of our wants for the forgiveness of sins. This is the prerequisite for the restoration of the kingdom. And John is talking about the coming kingdom. So look what John does here. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood. The sin issue was taken care of. And then he goes on and has made us to be a kingdom and priests.
This goes all the way back to Exodus 19, where God says to Moses, The purpose of the covenant that is comes in chapter 20, the Ten Commandments. The purpose of the Covenant is an order that Israel might be a priestly nation. A nation of priests. See what John saying. In the Jewish narrative world. You saying God has fulfilled God, consummated the purpose of the old covenant? And it's now made us a kingdom of priests. And that priestly image is one that we're going to see tracks all the way through. John's vision. So. The narrative world that that drawn by the sea of then another thing that he does. Let me get this up on the. Full screen. Inside the faithful martyr firstborn from the dead, the ruler of the kings of the Earth, loose from Sands Kingdom. And priests come with the clouds now. See, here is where John does the same thing Jesus has done. The the coming with the clouds image is from Daniel, of course, the son of man figure in Daniel. What? And then you see this is seen as you know and develop the intense interest as a mental period, as a messianic imagery. It's what Jesus uses for himself. The primary reason is because they can't his hearers cannot attach to that their understanding of son of man, because in their understanding, son of man is a heavenly being that's going to come down bringing this age to an end and inaugurate the kingdom. And here's this guy that appears to be just a human being like the rest of us walking around Palestine, calling himself the son of man. I don't work. That doesn't compute. Let's say Jesus resists all of the other messianic that are might say earthly, historical human.
Only Jesus speaks of himself as the son of man in the Gospels. Nobody else does. The only other person that does is Steven in his martyrdom verses heaven open and God's seated and the son of man and the right hand is the only other use of it. That's Jesus shoes you see now. Notice what's happened. You've got this sort of two phase consummation. The consummation has already begun. You've got Jesus, the righteous martyr who's been raised from the dead. Okay. And has made us his followers. A kingdom and priests. Consummation of the old covenant. And this is what the restoration of the kingdom would bring about and see was the consummation of the covenant. What? He is coming. He hears this final consummation. Somewhere out there in the future. So. So, John, in the early church, you're saying Jesus have taken what the Jews had all. See at the transition point. And they've taken one piece of it and moved it to the end. And that's what John does here. Now and then. Then you have John's personal introduction. So before we go to that, I hope you can see see, we're not into the vision yet. This is introduction. What? In his introduction, John has gone to great lengths. To indicate is narrative world. It is the Jewish narrative world, but it's a narrative world in which the Messiah has come and the restoration of the kingdom has started. It's already here. Okay. Now imagine yourself if you can, as a first century Jew, picking up this document and reading it. You're hooked. I mean, he's got you now. You're going to have to read all the rest of this to see what this is all about, because this sounds too good to be true.
And of course, it sounds too good to be true, partially because Rome is still in the driver's seat. The Jews are still a subject subject people. What's this guy talking about? So you're going to read on the rest of the story. Then you've got John's personal introduction in one nine and let let's just look at that quickly. I got. Your brother. And fellow participant in the tribulation. And the kingdom and the patient endurance in Jesus. I was on the Isle of Patmos, which is called Patmos on account of the Word of God and the witness of Jesus. There is again, John has been exiled because of his faithful witness. We don't know the details of that, but we do know from Roman sources that Patmos was an island of exile. So John and Peg found the pattern. But notice what he says. I join your brother and fellow participant in the tribulation. BLEEP pleases and the kingdom Massalia. And the Cooper, Monet and the patient endurance in Jesus. Several things to note here. First of all, notice that for John Tribulation, it's not something that's going to happen at the end of the world. Tribulation is what he and his readers are experiencing. Secondly, participating in the kingdom. It's already here. And thirdly, patient endurance. Now, those three go together. And in a sense, John, in his personal introduction, is sort of setting the stage for what we're going to see in the rest of the vision. If you want to to summarize John's vision in 25 words or less, it's like this. John's vision is a call to radical discipleship as citizens of God's New Jerusalem in the midst of a in Babylon world. That's the essence of his vision. It's a call to radical discipleship.
As a faithful citizen of God's New Jerusalem in the midst of a fall in Babylon world. Now, the way John is preparing us for that is his intel, his personal introduction. You say tribulation, as we shall see, is what faithful citizens of New Jerusalem experience at the hands of the fallen Babylon world. Now faithful citizens are the kingdom has made us a kingdom. So we are the kingdom. One result of being faithful citizens of that kingdom in this kind of a world is tribulation. You experience tribulation at the hands of the fallen in Babylon world, which calls for. Patient endurance. See how the three go together and notice where Kingdom is situated in the list. It's the center. It's the center. And because of faithful discipleship as members of God's kingdom. You see, on the one hand, we experienced tribulation at the hands of the fallen Babylon world, and the other hand we're called to faithful endurance in the face of that tribulation. So again, you see John in his personal introduction is also setting a narrative world for us. And it's the narrative world that he's going to play out now as he portrays his visionary experience. Now let's talk about authorship. The the authorship is is much disputed, as you probably realize in reading and being. The author calls himself John. We know who the author is. Is John okay? Too bad he didn't tell us a little bit more about what Johnny was. No. There are. There are basically three positions on the authorship. One is that if John the Apostle. The second is that it's John the Elder, another John called John the Elder. And the third is it's an unknown and unknown John. Well, I guess you could say there's really four.
You know, there's sort of a an extreme view. This as well. The writer really isn't anybody named John. That's just a, you know, a cipher that's put in there. I think that one can be pretty well disguised. The question is, which of the three johns is it? Now, one of the problems with seeing this as John the Apostle is that. Revelation. The language of revelation seems to be different. The Greek of Revelation seems to be different than that of the Gospel in the letters. Not a scholarly opinion is pretty well agree that the same person wrote the gospel and the letters Johannine letters. But the Greek of Revelation doesn't seem to be quite the kind of Greek you find in the gospels in the letters. And so on that basis, questions have been raised about, well, it really can't be the same person. But one of the interesting things here is. John. Seems to be. Bending the language. Or the language you might say is being formed by the visionary experience. Let me give you an example of this. Back in verse four. John says grace to you in peace from the one who is who was and is to come. You get this down where I can. Here's the phrase here. A grace. Grace to you and peace from the one who is and the one who was and the one who is to come or is coming. Now, one of the problems here, the preposition apo takes the genitive case. And our own. Our aim and our common laws are all nominative. They need to be genitive. This is. This is a kindergarten error grammatically. Now we'll see later. John uses his prepositions with surgical precision. We get over into chapter eight. We're going to see how he uses AP, which can be used with different cases to mean different things.
We'll see how John does that. He knows how to use his prepositions. Why does he make a kindergarten error like this? Well, the interesting thing is this phrase, the one who is who wasn't used to come, it appears again in verse nine, it appears again in chapter four. But when you get over to Chapter 11. All of a sudden a phrase changes. It's the one who is and who was. Is coming disappears. Again in chapter 16. The one who is who was is coming disappears. I think what John is doing here and when we get to Chapter 11, we'll see what significant event is that has made the result results in the change in that phrase. Okay. I think what John is doing is right up front. He is alerting his readers. Watch this phrase. You see that in any any Greek reader reading this? It's just it's going to grate on their sensibilities because the Roman Hellenistic world was a world where where rhetoric was. King. And if you going to express yourself, you always express yourself perfectly. You don't make these kind of mistakes. Now, you know, a person might make a mistake like this in speaking, but not in writing, because you can see what you're doing. You take time to reflect upon it. And I think what John is saying to us by this is watch what happens to this phrase. And as you see it being repeated and repeated and all of a sudden changed, you know, hey, wait a minute. What happened here? What happened to is coming. And if you look at the texts, the textual variants in Revelation, when you get over to Chapter 11 and Chapter 16 later scribes have added in is coming because look, it's here and it's here and it's here.
It's got to be here and here to. No, it doesn't. Because John is trying to convey something of the mystery of his vision. By these means. And so the languages, the languages is, you might say, work in order to try to bear the weight of something that can't really bear. I think it was C.S. Lewis said that. Our problem with describing spiritual reality is not that spiritual reality is so ephemeral you can't do it, he says. Our language isn't sufficient to be able to do it. I think that's what John is up against here. Now try to as we go through, as we begin to work through Revelation, I'll try to point out other places where, you know, the language gets spent. Now, another aspect of this is that. There are sort of and I'll point these out to you as we go along as well. There are sort of subtle. Almost inferential dynamics in Revelation that have their parallel only in the Gospel of John. And then some more explicit ones, too. I mean, it's only in the Gospel of John and in Revelation, where Jesus is the LAMB. Not use a different word, to be sure. But the basic image you see is there also, as we'll see if we go to a chapter four, John uses the image of the door and associates it with the voice he heard at first, which is Jesus. Where else is Jesus equated to a door. John's gospel. I am the Dora the sheep. So no more of these as you go along. It seems to me that this kind of evidence. Is is rather strong support for understanding the same person writing the Gospels, the letters and revelation. You can't prove it conclusively, to be sure.
But I think, you know, I'm comfortable with that, you know, wrestle with this for years. And I think this is you know, this is what we're dealing with here. The date and occasion here. If you if you look at the trajectory of interpretation, you get a very interesting phenomena in the 1800s. Revelation was dated in the middle to late sixties A.D. in the 1900s and the 20th century that shifted to the middle nineties. In the last 15, 20 years or so, scholarship is now shifting back to the sixties again. So it sort of looks like, you know, in the century of the 21st century, the sixties is going to be the know what happens after that. Whether we go back to the nineties, I don't know. One of the reasons for this that the basic idea of the nineties grew in the early period where of the 1900s where we discovered documents indicating you know ADC and persecution and not a persecution under the mission. Yeah. Thank you. And so that fits, you know, that that's where it has to be. And but now we know that further evidence has come to light that indicates that that persecution was sort of an in-house kind of thing. That that the mission was sort of eradicating from his. Household, not in terms of family necessarily, but in his his immediate group. Persons who had become Christians. This was not an empire wide thing. And there was no there were no repercussions in the rest of the empire as a result of what happened under Domitian in that, you know, so focused persecution. Whereas under Nero. You see in the middle sixties you have an official persecution of Christians as Christians by the Emperor himself. So. The rest of the empire follows Rome's lead.
It's interesting and we'll see as we as we work through this letter to the seven churches, there is one martyr. One person has been murdered. But it doesn't appear as yet that there was any programmatic persecution of the churches. But it's sort of hanging there in the wings like it's ready to spring. The very kind of situation you would find if. You're speaking of a period immediately following Nero's persecution. They would they would think logically and reasonably that this is going to spread through the whole empire. I mean, the Emperor is persecuting Christians in Rome. It's not going to be long before Roman officials everywhere are going to be pursing, persecuting Christians everywhere. So, you know, that that that sort of fits the picture. Then there are some other internal evidences of that. And we'll look at one of this in chapter 17, you know, where you've got these seven kings, the seven heads on which the Harlot, six or seven kings, five of which have have died. The sixth is the seventh is yet to come and will only be here for a little while. And then there's an eighth that is also part of the seven. Well, we worked that through. It Brings you down to Nero is the fifth one who's now dead, committed suicide in 68. Then you've got the year the three emperors. This one is. That's number seven. That's number six. Another is yet to come be here for a short time. That's also who whose reign was one month or three months, rather. And then there's a third, and it's also part of the eighth, which is part of the seven. I'd be the Telia's. And then that that triumvirate is overthrown by Vespasian, who becomes the emperor and starts a new dynasty.
So that fits the sixties. Also in chapter. Chapter 16. The great city is divided into three parts. It falls into it. You got the idea of a civil war going on, which is exactly what happened after Nero's suicide. You had these three factions that were vying for control. Part of Rome was burned in the battle between these factions. That again fits. So it seems most likely to me that this was written in the sixties. Yeah. We'll talk about the things he tries to argue for the later date of the run, and he argues that it was a Nero myth that was around then for the later date that Nero was going to come back. So yeah, there was sort of Roman apocalyptic. The idea that that Nero that the end of the world would come when Nero was revived and would bring the forces from beyond the Tigris and Euphrates and sweep over the Roman Empire and destroy it. How. How valid that is for interpreting revelation is not clear. When we when we look at the Euphrates, as mentioned in two places here, but when we look at the way it's mentioned. It seems to be rather difficult to link that to this idea of Nero being revived because the Euphrates is a significant image in the Jewish pool of images, because it's from beyond the Euphrates that the Assyrians came and took away the ten northern tribes from beyond the Euphrates. The Babylonians came and took away the southern tribes. So, you know, you're playing off of that kind of deeply ingrained, uh, you know, psychological trauma of a whole people that they carry with them through their history. So just to use the word you free agency, you know, just brings that to mind.
Ryan, the significance of it being for you destruction in the temple. And also, what do you do with like erroneous this account? I'm very serious, I think, because I think it's used for like a later dating principles. Yeah, well, you got conflicting evidences with the early church fathers because Justin, who was a disciple of Polycarp. Who was a disciple of John. Says that John wrote this. You know, for authorship. He doesn't he's not clear on the dating of this. But Justin is middle of second century. Polycarp was martyred. He was the bishop of Smyrna was martyred in 150. Or was it 59? I think 1559, but was a very old man when he was martyred. But. You. It's hard to determine from later. Church fathers. How did they determine that dating? Huh? In keeping with his question about prior post temple destruction. I've read and I couldn't tell you that there are arguments that John may have written his or Jesus is his revelation first and then his gospel and epistles. But it seems to me like I was always raised in the church. Maybe because it's in order from left to right. So I suppose he could have written his gospel and epistles first if it was the revelation was written in the late century, but if it was written in the first century, which meant which came first and which had influence, you know, the first one obviously had influence on the others or vice versa, you know, or if you do, if Andy were correct, that that John the Apostle is the author of all four or five documents. Right. Can you can you can you discern in those a trajectory of development of this understanding? Right. Or through all of them reflect the same basic understanding of the Christian life? That's that's a tricky one, too.
It's our times that we need to close. But coming back to the destruction of the temple. There. There's there's really no clear evidence in the vision. Of the temple having been destroyed. Mm hmm. And you kind of wonder. It's hard. It's hard. We've wrapped now with Hebrews. You know, it's it's almost unmistakably the case that Hebrews has to have been written before 70 A.D., because the writer of Hebrews, if the Temple had fallen, would have proof positive of his position that the cult is is no longer needed. In Revelation, you don't get that kind of indication in the fact that John was using priestly and temple imagery. And I'll point that out as we go through. Is is it because the temple has been destroyed or is it like Paul, who obviously is writing before the temple is destroyed, understands the church to be the new temple. We have the dwelling place of God in the Spirit. We've been built into a holy structure, Paul says. So So Paul and the early church seem to understand that, that they are the new temple, that they are the replacement. And we know Paul wrote before 78. So is John simply using that same understanding of the Christian community as being the temple? We don't know. Have a good weekend.