Revelation - Lesson 3

Literary Analysis (Part 2)

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.

Lesson 3
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Literary Analysis (Part 2)

Class Resources
  • 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 2)

Lesson Transcript


So Thursday, Thursday, because I think that's a total turn off. So if you want to take over your last birthday is like, I don't know, I'll just forget that. Okay. You know what you do? Yeah. I don't know what that's like. Oh, okay. It's something I recall with my wife. Okay. How do you like it? If I'm not mistaken? And I mean, it's so hard right now. I mean, it's a little bit of. Oh, yeah. You know, it's like a child. Yes. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, you said you can't even tell this. I didn't think that there's a reason to believe that. Yeah, I wish I knew that. I think, you know, I worry about the. You. For more. Yeah. You. You have. His word will be. Spirit is one of the five. Jesus takes the effect of Adam's disobedience and in his death best guides Jesus in resurrection glory before us in the first fruits of a new humankind whose life is once again grounded in God. We know that Christian life is clearly presented in the New Testament to be primarily in participation in the life of Christ. We are called to die with Him so that we might rise with you. I think Christ was not there to begin a biological attack, but rather begin to knock back to the south in a conversion in which we put on the mind of Christ and live a life through Christ and the Spirit. But our daily life and our prayer quickly revealed to us. And our life in Christ is a life in becoming. Christ is the door that leads to life. And we ourselves must walk through that door by sharing in his death in order to share in his life.


This calls for a daily and sometimes arduous struggle. They're carrying a hard cross, which is above all, our own deeply seated rebellion against God and our resultant tendency toward death. This tendency to send it back is itself a mystery. It is the darkness that has been redeemed by Christ, which we must constantly and with effort, bring to his hearing aids. It is. It is what Merton calls the false self. It says there are a daily and sometimes arduous structural struggle. On the night of Paul, Sir Paul's term, where he said, We die daily. I suspect that's what he's going to also talk about how our outdoor nature is wasting away and our inner nature is being renewed every day. He's talking about our our physical decline. He's talking about that false self, which is the outer nature, the inner nature, the life of Christ in God. That's what we do every day as we allow the outer nature also of Christ. I was pregnant. We give you a thanks and praise, gracious, loving God. For your unfathomable love. Love that has entered into the depths of our deadness. Into the heart of our darkness. To restore us to life in loving union with you. Help us, Lord, to. To yield ourselves to you day by day, moment by moment to. You die with Christ, that we might rise with him. In his name, we pray. Amen. Okay. I now have the inherent infallible class list. Theoretically, I'm just going to read it. Don't. Don't answer. I'm going to. I'll pass this around. And from now on, I'll pass that shit around and I'll start learning the names. I don't know. Jeremiah Aja. The soul of Kayla. Carrie. Allison. Mick Bartlett. Daniel Bellinger. Elizabeth Bentley. Andrea Bremer.


Elizabeth Brown. Christopher Burkhart. James Bush. Harry Harmony. Chrissy Carson. John Carter. Lauren Cartwright. Christian Shipley. Catherine Clayton. William Cobb. Aaron de Gough. Chained to Haven. Ted Eller. Tony Franklin. William Gossett. Aaron Gregor. Brian HEFFNER. Amy Hicks. La Hill. Tom Hofmeyr. William Hogan. Jonathan Hunt. Nick Jones. Jonathan Jordan Ryan User. Brad Kirk. Ryan Kozak. Brandon Lewis. Teresa LeBlanc. Hannah Craig Littrell. Thomas Lyons. Adam Marshall. Ryan Martin Norma Miller. Tabb Miller. Robert Newley. Shinji Nakagawa. Brian Nutter. Brandon Ogden. Ryan Page. Amy Pritchard. Randy Race. West Rico Craig Stefan McKenzie C4 Paula Sargeant. David Shoemaker. Jeremy Spain. Our Aaron Tiger. Josh Tepper. Melanie Cobb. Dan Underwood. Samson Hughton Let John David. Ben Valen. Jessica Varney. Jeff Jeffrey Waters, Dustin Weber, Cindy Rector, William Wendell Yamazaki and Jeremy Zirkle. So if I did not call your name and you are supposed to be either registered or auditing, you need to see the registrar. Okay. Okay. Let's see. We're back to what we talked about. The date of John's revelation. And the occasion, of course, is the vision itself. I mean, that's that's what stimulates the writing of of the vision down. And it is also the occasion is also the situation of the seven churches, which we will look at more closely as we look at those letters to those seven churches. But the basic the basic occasion is the vision. You know, in Paul's letters, for instance, we know there are various occasions for his writing in in first Corinthians, for example, he's writing because he's received reports about the situation of a church, and he's also received a letter from the Corinthians, which is to which he is responding. But in this case, the occasion is the vision itself. The audience, of course, are the seven churches, and I have seven in parentheses.


And this is our first touch upon some of the imagery of John in the Jewish pool of images, which John is utilizing to convey his vision. Seven is the number of totality of completion of perfection of whole mass. So when John writes to these seven churches, one of the questions that arises is where are where are some of the other churches in Asia minor, for instance, where as colossi, we know there's a church in colossi because Paul wrote a letter to the church and colossi and colossi is right near land to see how come to see who gets a letter and class. He doesn't. We also know that they're from other early Christian writings or the church and traveling to the church of magnesia several other churches in this area. Why these seven and why are the others left out? Well, I suspect that what we're dealing with here is John's use of seven. And there's a whole group of seven throughout John's vision. And of course, some of them are very clear. You got you got seven seals, you got seven trumpets, you got seven bowls, you got seven churches. But there are other sevens mingle through offerings. There are seven blessings across Revelation. You know, the first one is in one three. But as you work through, you discover there are seven blessings and there's the whole sequence of sevens that appear throughout. So my suspicion is, is that the seven churches are working at two levels. And as we'll see, John's John's imagery is polyvalent. There are multiple levels going on here. At one level, he is addressing seven historical churches in the first century, but in another level the seven is representative of the totality of the church. So that so that John's vision is not simply for these seven historical churches, but rather John's vision is for the church universal, you might say, in his own day.


And I would suggest throughout all of Christian history, so that these letters to these seven churches, as we'll see, are as relevant today as they were for those original churches. The literary style. There are three different aspects I want to look at here. First of all, it is an apocalypse that is, it is written in the style of an apocalypse, and the first three verses are a typical apocalyptic introduction. Where John explains the source of his visionary experience. And then, of course, you have the whole vision played out as you work across the book. Secondly, he uses the literary genre of epistle verses. Chapter one verses 4 to 8 are a typical epistolary introduction, and when you get to 22 or 21, you have a typical epistolary conclusion grace to you and peace. So so John is framing this in the genre of an epistle as well as an apocalypse. So you've got a mingling of genius here. Then also another dimension of this is best explained by by a cyclorama. I don't know if any of you've ever been to a cyclorama, but a cyclorama is a is a circular room in which a scene of some sort is painted on the walls all the way around. Sometimes it was actually, you know, physical artifacts out there sort of in front of the picture, and there's usually sound and lights involved. So you find yourself immersed in some reality. The best one I've ever been to is the one at Gettysburg. And anybody else ever been to the Cyclorama at Gettysburg? You know, just. Just one for Elizabeth or two. Okay. You're standing in the middle of the Battle of Devil's Den. And around you is that it's the scenery that you would see if you stand there.


And of course, you can go out, stand there and see the scenery in real life. But you're standing in the middle of it and you hear that. You hear the sound of the cannons, you hear the the musket balls whistling by you hear the cries of the wounded. You see the flashes of light as the cannons go off. And you're literally standing in the middle of the Battle of Devil's Den in the Gettysburg battle. Now, how would you describe this to someone to whom you were writing a letter? It's a total immersion experience. You know, no matter where you turn in this circular room, you are in the middle of this battle. How do you describe it? Well, you have to pick a point to start. And you would say, Well, I saw this, I heard this. Then I saw this and I heard this and I saw this and I heard this and I saw this. And I and you would work your way all the way around until you had covered the entire cyclorama. Well, that's very similar to what John is doing here. The Johns vision is a unity of vision. And there are a number of clues to this. One of them is that the first first and last thing John does is that he falls at the feet of Jesus. So you're beginning in the ending. You see, you are the same. And I'll point out some other things as we go through where we're you're not dealing with. John saw this on a couple of days later. He had this experience and two days later he had this one. And next week he had this one. Next we get that. This is a unit of experience, an all at once ness.


And this is this is another feature of visionary experiences. If you look at the visionary experiences of, you know, the mothers and fathers of our spiritual tradition, you discover that often they are describing a unity of experience. It's not a sequential kind of thing. Now, one of our problems is, is that literature is sequential, language is sequential. You know, you have no clue what the end of the sense is going to be until I get to it, period. You know, that's the way language works. And so when we sit down and begin to read something like Revelation, we presume that the first chapter happens first and then the second chapter, then the third chapter, then the fourth chapter. What clued me into this was the last three chapters in the last unit you have the in chapter 17 one through 1910, I think it is you have a vision of the harlot falling in Babylon. And then you have in the center you have John's final heavenly vision, 1911 to 221 eight, I guess it is. And then 21 nine the 2210 is the original The bride, your Jerusalem. Well, at the end of the vision of the harlot, John says that he fell at the feet of the angel to worship him. The angel says, Hey, don't do that. I'm a fellow servant of yours. Worship God. You get to the end of the vision of the bride. John falls at the feet of the angel to worship him. The angels says, Hey, man, don't do that. I'm a fellow servant of yours. Worship God. And in the Greek text in both of those introductions and both of those conclusions, there are 26 words. Same form, same sequence, same purpose. Same thing is true with the introduction 17 one, two, three and 21, nine and ten, I think it is.


And when you look through that, the introduction 20, I think it's 25 words, not 26, 25 words. Exactly the same. Parallel. Well, if you look at commentary, you see what happens. John is told at the end of that vision of the harlot not to bow down and worship this angel, but to worship God. He turns right around and disobeys an explicit command that he's received and does it all over again. And if you look at commentaries, commentators are all over the map on that one. And what's going on here and I struggled with this for a long time until one day I happened to pick up John Wesley's notes on the New Testament, and I turned to the passage at the end of the Vision of the Bride. Chapter 22. And Wesley says John was not being disobedient. Puts his finger right on the question. And Wesley said, this is the same event. Yeah, the light went on. You see, I've been reading it as though you have. John has the vision of the harlot. When that's all done, you put that on the shelf, and then you have this heavenly vision. And when that's all done, you put that on the shelf. And then you come to the vision of the bride, you see. So that one, two and three. And I've been reading them as though they were sequential and if you read them sequentially, then yeah, John disobeys. At the end of the vision of the right. Now, one of the interesting things is, is that John is an epitome of obedience all the way through revelation. He does everything he's told to do and he doesn't do anything he's told not to do. For instance, he's told not to write down the Seven Thunders.


So the part of John's vision that we don't have. He was, he started to write it down. The voice from heaven said, Don't write it down. SEAL it up. So we don't know. We don't know which on experience there. Y 13 versus from the end, does he blow this perfect record by disobeying an explicit command, you say? Well, he didn't when Wesley said, you know, it's the same event the light went on that these aren't three sequential pieces. This is a unity of reality. The John sees this all in one unity of experience. But in order to tell it, it is like being the cyclorama. You know, you experience the whole thing all the way around you. But in order to describe it, you've got to describe it sequentially. And that's what John's doing. So, yeah, something that may or may not support is the I heard the voice of Peter move behind me and he has to turn around in chapter one where the vision, even from the get go, wasn't just playing out in front of him. He had to turn around to see it. That's a good point. Yeah. And also, it's interesting there. You know, John, I was in the spirit on the Lord's Day. So you would presume that I mean, John's everything is right, you know, Where where does Christ come to him? Here? No, back there, he has to totally reorient himself to another dimension of it. And some other pieces, too, that we will look at. So that those are some of the dynamics of the literary style. Now some of the major themes of John's vision. Of course, the beginning tells us what the primary theme is. This is an apocalypse. He's a Christian. This is a revelation of the Messiah.


That's the core of what John's vision is all about. But there are some other themes. The cross, as we will see, is a major thread throughout John's vision, and we'll see how that plays itself out. New Jerusalem and Fall Babylon. And I think I mentioned last week that if you want to if you really want to describe what John's vision is all about in 25 words or less, it's a call to live our lives as and as radical disciples, as radical citizens of New Jerusalem, in the midst of a fallen Babylon world. And John uses the imagery of New Jerusalem, the fall of Babylon, as you know, his basic theme for for portraying the two realms of being in which humanity can live. We can either be citizens of fallen Babylon or we can be citizens of New Jerusalem. Now, we'll see in the letters to some in churches, some are trying to have it both ways. You know, they're trying to have one foot in each of those worlds, which is unfortunately Christian history. Some of the theological concerns of John's vision. Author proxy is far more important for John than Orthodoxy. That is, practice discipleship. Living out of the Christian life is much more important than having your theology straight. God's sovereignty is a major theological concern. And we'll see how that plays out in a number of ways. But what you've got to remember is that John is writing to the original readers who live in the Roman world, where the emperor is the ultimate sovereign. And the Emperor is related to God, to the Jews and all the other gods as well. In fact, the Emperor is the Son of God. Because in the Romans understanding of things, when an emperor died, you know, he would be elevated to a divine status.


And of course, the the empire in the early years, anyway, was a a descent kind of thing. The sun would then become the emperor. So if the emperor has become God, who is the sun? The present emperor is the son of God. So you've got these kind of dynamics at play in John's world. So when John emphasizes God's sovereignty, not only is he saying that God is the ultimate and only God over all of these other deities, but he's also saying God is sovereign over the emperor and the empire. And we'll see how that plays itself out. And then, of course, the restoration of the kingdom. It's another major theme, as we saw when we looked at John's epistolary introduction, how he introduces Jesus the Messiah, the faithful martyr. First born from the dead, who is cleanses from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom and priests. All of those dynamics you see are dynamics that circle around the Jewish expectation of God's restoration of the kingdom. Now, the question of canon necessity is it's a somewhat interesting thing. It's really a very mixed picture. It seems that. For almost 2000 years, there have been concerns within the Christian movement as to the authority and canon necessity of revelation. And the origin of these concerns appears to be Montanez. And if you've taken our church history, you probably at least read about modernism, which emerged in the second century under the leadership of a fellow named Montanez, who led a heretical, charismatic movement which relied heavily upon revelation for its authority. In fact, Madonna said that the new Jerusalem is going to come down in French here where he was located. And, you know, he he interprets revelation in a way that that underpins his particular heretical viewpoint.


Not as as a result of the book being usurped by the mountainous, the the Orthodox Church tended to shy away from it. And of course, you can see that this would affect its ultimate status as part of the canon. Now, this was much more true in the eastern Mediterranean because Montparnasse was centered in what is today the center of what is today, Turkey. In Phrygian, that was the center of his his operation. So you can understand why Revelation would be highly suspect in the region where a mountain is an was was strong. But there were also concerns about revelation voiced by early church leaders in the West, in the western Mediterranean. And this in part may have been due to the fact that Jon is using such heavy Jewish imagery. Whereas the church in the West tended to be much more gentile in its orientation than Jewish. So this may have been another factor, at least in the West, why revelation was very slow to be to be accepted. And even after the the final acknowledgment of the cannon in the fourth century, in in in 363, Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria has passed a letter, lists the 27 books of our New Testament as the authoritative documents. About 30 years later, there is two councils, one in Hippo and one in Carthage, and both of those councils that's in Western Mediterranean and North Africa. Both of those also indicate the 2027 books as being the authoritative writings. But even at that point, there are still questions as to whether or not Revelation should be there. That did not solve the canonical issue as far as Revelation was concerned. And in fact, it's interesting you CBS, who writes earlier in the fourth century, he he lists books in three categories accepted, questionable and spurious.


That is rejected. And revelation appears both in the accepted and the questionable list. He's got it in both places, you say, which reflects the status of of Revelations acceptance in the church in the early part of the fourth century. That pardon would that be the only book that made That's the only book that's in both lists? Yeah. Yeah. All the others are either accepted, rejected or questionable. The revelation comes up in two different places. And even today, you know, for for a variety of different reasons, there are a whole lot of people whose New Testament ends with Jude. You know, a lot of them are just it's a revelation. It's so incomprehensible. And I've had a lot of people say it's so scary. You know, I just don't I don't read that. Well, hopefully this class will help you help those people. What validated revelations can a Nazi over say the revelation of Peter, the apocalypse of Peter, the other apocalyptic documents? Yeah. The question is what what validated revelations candidacy over some of the other apocalypses? That's a good question, for which we really don't know the answer for sure. One of the dimensions of Canon City, of course, was apostolic origin. Of course, the apocalypse of Peter would have that. Second was widespread acceptance, widespread acceptance of the document. And we know that, you know, the apocalypse of John was present throughout the Mediterranean basin with Christianity spread throughout the Mediterranean world. The apocalypse of Peter did not have that kind of circulation. That may have been one of the factors that militated against it. What's the third factor? Well, one one factor during the persecutions of the third century was what documentary Willing to die for. Because one of the ways in which Rome would eradicate movements it did not want were to destroy their writings.


And so the question becomes, what are you willing to die for? And apparently, Revelation was not worthy to die for. And these others may or may not have been. But that that's that's a fuzzy area. And there's a project where you haven't got your project fixed yet to try to try to figure that out. The Gospels and your festivals have supported it. Could it have formed a corpus like the, you know, the revelation of the gospel and the source with that? A lot of people know that. And that really doesn't seem to have played out. Sort of the question is that the Johannine Corpus, you know, would that have been a body by itself within the development of Canada? And no, it's not. When you look at the at the canonization of these 27 documents, very New Testament, you discover that there's a very mixed picture. For instance, the letters of John, you don't get three of them until you get well into the third century. There's no evidence of three letters of John in the second century. And also, there's no you know, they don't put them together. The only thing that really is held together are the Pauline epistles. You know, those are kept together as a group, probably because they were initially collected as a group, whereas the Gospel of John, the letters and Revelation obviously were circulating separately. Now, as to the textual history, it's very interesting. If you do textual criticism, if you get into the area of textual criticism, the textual history of revelation is almost a world by itself. It's very different from that of the rest of the New Testament. Probably. In large measure due to the fact of its rejection or widespread rejection in the Eastern church, the eastern Mediterranean, where most of our early manuscripts are from.


So that that may that may have played a part. Now, having said that, however, one of the strongest manuscripts of Revelation is, is Codex Alexandrina, which is a fifth century codex of the New Testament, which, as you can tell by the title Alexandrina seem to have arisen in the in the Egyptian church. Now, it's interesting because Alexandrina is a very poor manuscript in the Gospels. In AKs, it's comparable to Sunni Atticus. It's a very strong early manuscript. And in Revelation. Alexandrina is even stronger. And Sydney advocates. Right now, Of course, we haven't got time getting into textual criticism, but this is this is done by comparing all the various manuscripts that we have and classifying the variant readings in different families and groupings and things like that. But Alexandrina comes out to be one of our strongest manuscripts for Revelation. Then Alexandrina is usually usually supported in its readings in Revelation by Codex E Framing. Alexandra, if you look at a list of codecs which, by the way, Alexandrina is a iframe, you see they started when they started discovering these ancient manuscripts, these ancient manuscripts, that's capital letter manuscripts. They started well, the first one was A, second one was B, C, D, well, when they ran out of English alphabet. Then they went to the Greek alphabet. Finally, about a century ago, somebody decided, look, we've got too many of these, this number them. So but they'd already used numbers for minuscule manuscripts. So now they said, Well, let's put a zero in front. So and then, of course, in the 18th century, Titian George discovered Sydney Atticus. And he thought that that was the autograph. He thought that was the original copy of the Bible. And so that got put ahead of a and used the Hebrew letter alpha.


So that's the designation. But now that's a one. And Alexandrina says, Oh, to iframe is oh four. And so forth. Anyway, those two, Alexandrina and the Preemie, are the two major manuscripts, the strength that the two strongest manuscripts for Revelation. Also, there's an early papyrus papyrus 47, and that is the earliest textual witness to Revelation comes from the third century. And it has Revelation 910 to 17 two. It's not a complete manuscript. It just has that unit and it stands very close to any Atticus. So it's sort of an earlier version of the same strength of of manuscript edition. And Sidney Atticus is. So, you know, you have to deal with each variant reading in on its own. But generally when Alexandrine is any framing agree there there agreement on on a reading is usually. The original reading, much more likely to be the original reading. Now, another factor in the textual history here is that I think I mentioned last week that John Benz the language. The force of the vision is so powerful that language has become plastic, and he misuses language in some places to try to convey the dynamic of the vision. This results in a whole host of textual variants to correct these kind of grammatical issues. So so you get a an added layer of textual history here in Revelation because of the nature of the book itself that you don't find, for instance, in the Pauline Corpus of the Gospels and things like that. Okay. Just to try to sketch quickly what John is about, He sees two orders. One is the redeemed order. The foundation of the redeemed order is heaven. God, of course, is the ruler of that realm. The lamb Jesus is image as the lamb is God's presence in the human order.


And New Jerusalem is the human component of this redeemed order. These are those who follow the lamb wherever he goes. These are those that have been made priests of God. These are those who are the kingdom that has been established and restored. So you got this picture. Then you've got the rebellious order that can be image in the same way. Death in Hades is the foundation of that or the essential nature of the rebellious order is death. That is its essence. It is not life. It is death. Satan, of course, is the ruler of that realm and the cause of that realm, the beast and false prophet are, say, the incarnation of Satan's rebellion in human history, just like the lamb is the incarnation of God's redemption in human history. The beast and false prophet are the incarnation of Satan's rebellion in human history. And we'll see how that plays itself out. Now, by the way, I call him the Beast and the False Prophet. These are the two beasts of Chapter 13. But later on, the second Beast, John changes his identification as the false prophet. It's very clear that it is not second beast, so I just call them the beast and the false prophet from the get go just to simplify things. Then fall in Babylon is the human community that worships the beast and its image and receives the mark and all that sort of stuff. These are those that have been subverted by Satan's rebellion and become the human component of it. So here's how John sort of shapes these two orders of being the redeemed order and the rebellious order. Now with a rebellious order, you got several phrases that describe them. First of all, death in Haiti, starting from the bottom is the fallen order of rebellion against God.


Satan is the ruler of that fallen order. But his throne, his power and his authority are operative in the beast and the false prophet, as we'll see that in chapter 13. So they are the incarnation you see of Satan's realm. Then the beast and the false prophet. They, as we'll see, they represent the perceptual and the functional dynamics which mark the fallen order. You might say worldview and lifestyle. Perceptual functional. And then the human citizens of this rebellious order, John, describes them in two different ways. First of all, he describes them as those who dwell upon the earth. Now, let me say something here. Earth in John's vision is not the third rock from the sun. Oh, okay. Earth is the rebellious order. And you see, those who dwell upon the Earth are the human citizens of the rebellion. That's why John speaks of the redeemed as being redeemed out of those who draw up on the earth. The second phrase that John uses to describe the citizens of in Babylon is those of every tribe, nation, tongue and people. And again, Christians are described as those who have been redeemed out of every tribe, nation, tongue and people. So you see the citizens of New Jerusalem begin as citizens of Babylon, but are redeemed out of that rebellious order into the redeemed order. They redeemed out of those who go up on the Earth are redeemed out of every tribe, nation and tongue of people. And by the way, John plays around those tribe nation tongue and people. He reorders those sequences. There may be something going on there that I haven't grasped yet. And there's another project where somebody you know why? Why does John not keep it exactly the same everywhere? He doesn't.


He he plays. But of course, John modulates all of his imagery. So this to me may be part of that. Modulation is our hand over here. Now also born come saw this back in the 1930s. There is a development in the demise of the rebellious order. Death in Hades are introduced in six eight. Well, there's an earlier introduction, just a note, but they are introduced as an entity in six eight. Satan is introduced in 12 three. Beast and false prophet introduced in Chapter 13 following Babylon, introduced in Chapter 14. So here, here you have, you might say, the construction. John's construction of the rebellious order. Then. He deconstructs it in chapter 17. You have the judgment of the harlot form of Babylon in 1920, The beast and false prophet are thrown living into the lake of fire. In chapter 2010, the Satan is thrown into the lake of fire, and a few verses later, death and Hades are thrown into the lake of fire. So so you have sort of the construction and the deconstruction of the rebellious order in the way in which John has as portrayed his visionary experience. Now trying to outline revelation is an exercise in futility. And for a number of years, every time I taught Revelation, I would begin about a week early and develop my outline of revelation that was going to be the perfect infallible outline. And I get into the class and we'd start working through it by the end of the first week, and it was in the trash can because there are so many interconnecting dynamics. That trying to outline revelation is sort of like taking a, you know, a snapshot of a juggler. You know, you get all the pieces there, but you miss the dynamic of juggling.


You know, you can only take a picture of a juggler with a video camera where you can catch everything that's going on. It's the same way with Revelation. There's so much dynamism here. They're trying to capture it in an outline is, well, it's impossible. Every outline is a very provisional outline. But when I came to it, I've been using this for a number of years now, and I find this helpful sort of a diagram. You might there a map of revelation. And it started with my discovery of that of dynamic at the end. How many of you, when you get a magazine, start from the back and read toward the front? Yeah, that's about the normal. I'm one of those weird people myself. So I. I discovered you say that you have a harlot from a Babylon, the bride, New Jerusalem. And in between you have this heavenly vision. So I said, why not just put that down and see this move forward and see what we find? Well, as you move forward, you find seven trumpets, you find seven bowls, and in between, another heavenly vision. And now, of course, the harlot and the bride are antithesis. They are opposites when you look at the seven trumpets and the seven balls. You discover a whole lot of parallelism. The first four trumpets and the first four balls deal with the same thing. The sun, the sea, the rivers, the water and the earth, the sea, the rivers. The water and the sun. The fifth one. The fifth of each goes their separate ways. The sixth trumpet and the sixth both deal with the river Euphrates, and then the seventh goes their separate ways. But you got five of the seven that are parallel here.


So you got that sort of connection across with I have only vision in the middle while I put that down. What's left? Well, you've got the seven churches and the seven SEALs with another heavenly vision in the middle. And then, of course, you have your earthly vision, which John sees in one 9 to 20, and then you have your introduction in 112, eight, your epistolary and your apocalyptic introductions. And of course, you have your conclusion, 20 1021 or 22, 10 to 21. Now, one of the interesting and of course, the seven church and seven SEALs, they don't seem to have any parallels at all, but. As we'll see when we get into it. The seven churches deal with being a faithful citizen in Jerusalem and fall in Babylon world. And we'll see in the seventh SEAL. You're dealing with the interplay of New Jerusalem and Fall of Babylon. So you get a connection there and then you get all sorts of cross connections. For instance, the in each of the seven churches, there is a you know, the one who is the one who is conquering. And then there's a gift will be given. You find those over there in New Jerusalem, so you get a connection across this way. Well, this way you see another interesting feature, and there are other connections through this. Another interesting feature is. Each of these heavenly visions begin with a statement of something being open. And for one, John sees a door open in heaven. In 1119. He sees the Temple in heaven open in 1911, he sees heaven open. So it's almost as though you're beginning, you see, with the door and then the temple and then everything. So you're sort of moving into a deeper and deeper reality as you move through the vision.


And also, these are the only these are the only three places other than there's one in, in the initial vision where the word open a no go appears. So there's there's a there's a thread going on there. You see in the way in which John has structured this. So that's, you know, that's a way for her to envision for yourself something of a you went through the large picture of John's vision. Although, again, you know, it's it's somewhat artificial, but it puts the pieces in front of you in a way that hopefully will be helpful for you. Okay. Now, John was on the island, Patmos. If we get it down here, then we get online. Not likely. Here we go. No. And I think you see that very well not to click through these. Patmos is, as you saw, sort of shaped like a like a dumbbell. It's kind of an island, the north island to the south of a very narrow isthmus. And this is looking from from the I think it's from the southern part to the northern part. And you see how the harbor is coming in there. This. This is a view into the main harbor, which is in the center of the island. Sheltered. Oops. Here's a view down from where the fortress was on the highest point. Looking down at what is today. The city that's near the village that's there. One of the interesting things about Patmos is what's. I get them all. I think I did. Yeah. Oh, no. Here. Here's part of the the ancient fortification. I know this. You know this this is from the first century B.C. So presumably that would have been there when John John was exiled to Patmos. Amazon itself, as you can see, is not very arable.


You can grow some crops, but it's basically a rock. So there's not a lot of natural resources there, which is probably one of the reasons why this was a place of exile in the Roman world. Because you turn people off to this basically barren island where they might be able to scratch together a subsistence existence off a little bit of soil that was there. Now here you're looking up at that, the previous pictures that you saw from above or from this high peak over here. Now you're looking from the other side. Oops. There's the modern. There's the where the Temple of Artemus was. The traditional deities were also Apollo and Hermes. Uh, sculptures of each of those. There's John. You don't know what John looked like. You know how they. How they came up with that? Mm hmm. Is that a self-portrait? John? Yeah. John did that himself. Hmm. Any idea about how many people have been on campus at that time? I have. I have not. I have not run across in my studies any specific numbers? Probably, you know, it would have been not many more than a thousand or maybe 2000. I just couldn't support it, although. They could. The people that were not in exile there would have resources from trade. I mean, they could bring resources in food and materials and stuff by ship. It is sort of in them in knots, not in the middle of the Aegean. If you think of the Aegean, it's sort of to the to the eastern side of the Aegean, right off. Ever since it's about 50 miles off from where it is. But the way that they sailed across the Aegean was that the island hopped because sailing was was somewhat dangerous, especially when storms came up.


So you would go to an island and then you go to the next one. For instance, when Paul goes from Boaz to Philip II, it says, We set sail from Treize and went to Samothrace. Well, that's the island that's between, you know, Asia and Europe. And then from Samothrace, it was one day sail over to Annapolis, which was the sea for Philip II. So. So Patmos would have been a place where ships would sail in, you know, spend the night and then sail on to the next leg of the journey trying to get across the Aegean. Okay, let's let's begin to work our way through the book Solar Question. In the movies, we see Jon imprisoned. Was he living a normal life as an exile life, or was he imprisoned? Yeah. Exiles were not in prison. In fact, imprisonment. When we hear the word imprisonment, we think in terms of our Western well, our modern in prison, where a person is tried and they are put into prison for either life or a certain period of time. That was not what happened in the Rome war. A prison in Roman world was a holding place awaiting your trial. The results of trials were not imprisonment you can have acquittal would be one end. Execution will be the other end. But in between, all sorts of things are fine. Banishment, exile. Or you could be sent to the gallows or to the mines. Now, the gallows in the mines were basically the Roman version of what we call imprisonment. And usually those were death sentences. I mean, if you were sent to the gallows, remind you you were just worked to death. And of course, there was execution as an option. On another another was confiscation of property.


You might not be sent anywhere, or you just your property is confiscated, which means basically you are reduced to to the lowest level of society in a poverty. So pictures of John in prison, it really are not accurate at all. He was he was banished. He was exiled to Patmos, which meant he was removed from society basically, and could not infect society any longer with his teachings. How. How we received that? We don't know. Yeah. So there were like an island there, like two different populations in exile population. And then like, I don't know, for lack of a better word, a normal population. Yeah. Yeah. There would have been a normal population and of course there would have been Roman officials there to ensure that these people in exile just didn't get on a boat and go somewhere. Yeah, especially. Yeah, people are coming. Right. Yeah. So they kept track of who these people were. And there were a number there were a number of these Aegean islands that some of the Roman historians indicate for us were places of exile. Okay, so. Okay, So let's begin working through John Vision here. We've already looked at a lot of this first part. A couple of things I need to go through with you. The revelation of Jesus and the fire, which God gave him. Now you see, it's not what God gave John, what God gave Jesus. John's not in the picture yet. So it's a revelation which God gave Jesus. Now, of course. What kind of a genitive is this? A gender or a subject? Is it is it the revelation that, you know, here, here's a revelation, Ryan, you do something here. Or is Jesus himself the revelation for. And I think as we work through, we'll see that it's Jesus himself.


That is the revelation. Jesus is the revelation of God, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. And we've we've already looked at that phrase. That's the in part K, which must be worked out in its proper order that everything is going to work out in its proper sequence. And he, he made it known in literally in the Greek is his and he signed Simone he signed. You see, he signed this. He he gave a sign that showed this by sending his angel. Or we could say messenger to his servant, John. You know that that is what introduces what's going to come as division. Now, of course, when we get further into chapter one who appears to drop. Jesus won like the son of man. So? So Jesus is the angel. So Jesus is revealing himself to John and revealing what God is doing in him. John. John. The sermon. John would testify to the Word of God and the witness of Jesus. We've already talked about that. That's John's basic descriptor for Christians. Now, remember, Christians are also those who have been redeemed for every tribulation thing, people. Those have been redeemed from those who go up on the earth. But they are also those who have the word of God in the witness of Jesus. And as I mentioned last week, I have a word of God is to be restored into that relationship of loving union with God so that your being is restored as the image of God. And if that's the nature of your being, then you will manifest that in a Christlike life, you will have the witness of Jesus. No question. Yeah. If the angel is Jesus, wouldn't know better. Since you can also translated messenger, wouldn't it be better just to translate his messenger? I guess I'm just asking.


Why? Why would it be translated? Angel? Yeah. Yeah. And. Well, you have to sort of play with this one, because there are when we look at the seven churches, their Angelus should be translated the messenger here. However, I think Angel is legitimate in the Jewish understanding, because in the Jewish understanding there are those appearances of God. We're gone appears as an angel, you see. And so here I think that is what John is playing with, that that the angel is Jesus. Jesus is the angel. And when you get to read chapter 22, Jesus says to John, I, Jesus have sent my angel to you. And of course, Jesus himself has come to him. So just as in the Old Testament, you know, where you have someone like Gideon, you know, he's down in the wine press trying to either the grape or threshing grain in the wine bag to try to hide it from the Philistines. So they want to seize it. And this angel comes to him, and Gideon and the angel have a dialog. But as you read through the dialog, all of a sudden, Gideon is talking to God. Hmm. And you say to yourself, and where to God come from? You know, we've got an angel here. We're done. And you work through. You just kind of The angel is gone. God is the angel. So that is a very consistent Jewish imagery, which I think is exactly what John is doing at this point. Now, that leaves the seven churches there. The translation Angel is not correct, and I'll explain that to you. We get there. Okay. Then even to all that he saw, you know, the whole psychodrama. Then here's the first blessing. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy.


Blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it. For the time is near. Now, this also gives us a little insight into the way in which New Testament documents were circulated. We live in a textual society. And we think of John writing this down, running down to the local Kinko's, making seven copies in seven churches and then eight in seven churches. See, they would they would they would scan it into their computer and print off copies for everybody in the church. That's not quite the way things work. The New Testament documents were written to be read. Writing was simply literary or reality. That is why, for instance, with the letters of Paul, it's so important to work with an understanding of rhetoric because rhetoric was the primary means of communication in the Roman world and the New Testament Writers are good rhetoricians because they know that this is going to be read. And John knows I say better is the one who reads and those who hear you say, if if we are one of those seven churches, someone is going to stand up front and read this document to the gathered community. So blessed is the one who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy. Now again, remember how prophecy operates. In the Jewish understanding of prophecy. Prophecy is not primarily foretelling the future. Prophecy is primarily speaking for what God is doing right now. Okay. So then when you when you see prophecy, that is the primary way John uses it. Now, as we'll see. John does see the final consummation. Yeah. But that's not the main focus of his vision. The main focus of his vision is a call to radical discipleship and citizens of New Jerusalem in the midst of a falling Babylon world.


That's the word God is speaking. You see through John, through the vision to the church. Then the time is near. And if you look at the Greek here, if you know the Greek, it says, Oh, God, Kyra's angles for the time. The Kairos is near angles. Now in Greek, there are two words for time Chronos, which is, you know what I've got here? The Chronos is almost 9:00. And then there's the word hyrax. Hyrax is the the significant moment, the the crucial moment, the the the where all meaning comes together in that one instant, her event or period or what have you. It's interesting how this term is used in the New Testament. You find it first in the Gospels? Where you have that little summation of Jesus ministry. Where Jesus says the time is fulfilled. The Kingdom of God has come near. The word that Jesus or the weird that the gospel writers have used the Greek word that they've used to portray this message of Jesus is high rise, the cross kairos, and is this The time is fulfilled. The kingdom has come near angles. And in the parallelism of that structure, you see the Kairos is fulfilled. The kingdom has come near the cross is the kingdom. See what Jesus is proclaiming is the end breaking of the restored kingdom. Now, of course, as we know, in a very different way than what they expected, but that's what Jesus is indicating. You see, the time is fulfilled. How would a Jewish reader have understood or are here when Jesus said the time is fulfilled? What time are you talking about? They don't. They don't have to ask that question. It means this present evil age has come to attend. The time is fulfilled.


The kingdom is near. It's just. Just about break in, you see. So the high is the kingdom. You find a similar use of this in in effusions and in Colossians you have the same phrase in both of them where Paul says the translation goes, Make the most of the time for the days are evil. The word Paul uses there is Kairos. And the word is translated make the most of is a word from the marketplace. It's a garage door which literally means to buy out someone. You know, if Dustin brings all of his goods into the market and I come in, I buy everything that he's got. I've xor garage told him I bought him out. They want, Paul is saying fully appropriate for yourself. So that's what I do. I fully appropriate for myself. Everything that Dustin had an install our garage told him. What are we to ex our garage zone? Paul What are we fully appropriate for self across. They want. Paul is calling us to their is to live our lives as kingdom citizens. Four. He says the days are evil. You live in a fallen Babylon world. Live as citizens of the kingdom, you see. So. So Kairos gets used in this way. That's one of the ways in which Kyra is using the New Testament. There is, of course, the cross of Jesus, of the Incarnation, and that's one aspect. There is the cross of the future consummation. But in between you have the cross of life in the Kingdom. So when when John says Here, you see, blessed are those who the one who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep the things written in it. For the cameras is near. He keeping the things written in it is to live as faithful disciples of New Jerusalem.


Because the virus is here. Not near hemorrhoids. The Angus is not a temporal term. You have no context for for poor Angus. See, I am Angus. Front row more than I am. The second row, third row, fourth or fifth row. And those of you back there. Angus can be a physical proximity. Or it can be a temporal proximity or it can be any other kind of proximity. NGOs by itself, you see. Simply means near. And when we're talking about the Kairos and see John is going to explain this a little bit later when he introduces Jesus. It makes it clear that God has made us a kingdom. And priests. You see the. RAZ. We're already part of it. It's here. So so John is not talking about the end of the world happening tomorrow. You see he's he's saying to the to the original here is of this document. That if they keep the things written in it. They will be blessed. For the context of this is a kairos the kingdom. It is right here. It is at hand. It's very similar to what Paul says in. In Philippians chapter four, he says, Rejoice always. And then possible command of his, you know, in nothing. Be anxious, rejoice always let everyone know your forbearance is the way it should be translated for the Lord is near the end. Paul is not speaking eschatological there. When he says, let all translators, let all know your forbearance, The Greek word there means you march to a different drummer. And what Paul is saying is. The Lord is that is the contact. The Lord is near. The Lord is the context of your life. That's why you can be not anxious. Okay. So the same thing here, John, is not indicating the imminent end of creation.


Or of this planet or of this solar system. You're saying? The kingdom has already broken in and we are part of that reality. Also another interesting thing about this. If revelation. Is a. Vision of end times is futurist would say. So that it doesn't really apply to now. How do you go about keeping the things written in it? That's that's a tricky one. Because of what we're dealing with here is going to happen, you know, even if it's going to happen next week or next year or next decade or the next century. How do we today keep the things written in it? Pretty hard to do. Okay, then. So that that's the. Apocalyptic introduction. Where's my arrow? Here. Oh, there it is. Okay. Now the epistolary introduction, we've already looked at this, drawn to the seven churches in Asia, graced you in peace from him who is who was and is to come. I unpack that for you. John makes that grammatical error here which points out points us to that phrase The seven spirits are before the throne. Seven again, number of totality completion. Interestingly enough, in the Septuagint and in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, in Isaiah, you have seven aspects of the Holy Spirit. And John may be playing off of something of this. We know that he certainly uses naiveté as one of his sources of imagery. So the idea of, you know, sevenfold spirit is probably a better way to translate than the seventh Spirit. That means the fullness of the Holy Spirit and from Jesus the Messiah. Interesting. Notice the sequence John gives here we think of Father, Son, Holy Spirit right now, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


Jesus says at the end of Matthew's Gospel. Here you've got Father, Spirit, Son. Which is which is rather interesting. Why did you give that sequence? I don't know the answer to that. But there it is. And then, you know, the faithful martyr. First born from the dead ruler of the kings of the earth. All of these are dynamics of restoration language. Loved us, Freed us from our sins by his blood and his variant. Their cleansed us from our sins. Either one works again restoration ideas and made us to be a kingdom priest serving his God and Father. And of course, that's the fulfillment of the old covenant, because in Exodus 19, God tells Moses the purpose of what he's going to receive as as the Decalogue and the New Covenant. The old Covenant is that Israel might be a kingdom of Greece, a holy nation. So John is saying it's a done deal. It's happened, and that's what we are now. Okay. To him, be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. And then John goes on to look. He's coming with the clouds. Here is where he is. Is. Is making this. This. Twist this what I call the Christian twist you see in the Jewish understanding. God is going to intervene in the flow of history to bring this age to a close. And inaugurate the age to come or the restored kingdom. What Jesus does is, as I said last week and the gospel and the rest, the New Testament writers pick it up. Jesus has sort of bifurcated this event where you've got the kingdom bringing into this age, not ending it, but breaking into it. And then there will be a future consummation where this age will come to an end, but the age to come will go on.


For that age to come, the kingdom has already started, you see. And so now what John is doing is picking up that same imagery, talking now about the consummation, using imagery from from Zachariah here. He's coming with the clouds every I will see him, even those who pierced him. And on his account, all the tribes on the earth will wail. So it is to be in. And that's that's as close to John comes to an exact location. This is from from Zachariah. Give me the exact. Reference to that in Zachary 1210 following. Now, of course, coming with the clouds is the son of man imagery from Daniel, which John uses Daniel as well. But notice how he you sort of morphs together. Daniel and Zacharias at this point. Zacharias where it talks about every I will see him, even those who pierced him, that's that Zachariah and all the tribes of the earth will wail at Zachariah again. And of course, what Zacharias talking about in his vision is the restoration of the kingdom, as he. Now this is being moved to a future consummation of this present reality. It has already begun. And then notice at the end I am the alpha and the Omega. God is the beginning in the end. And later on Jesus talks says, I am the first and the last. Says the Lord God who is who was and is to come. There's that phrase again. Who is who was and is to come. The Almighty. There's sort of that first statement of God's sovereignty. This is the Almighty God. Then we have John's personal. Introduction here. That's the end of the letter introduction verse eight and verse nine I, John, your brother, share with you in Jesus the persecution.


The kingdom of patient endurance was on the island of Patmos because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus, the witness of Jesus narrative. Again, you see the nature that to a believer is just sick. Now I talked about the sequence persecution or tribulation. It's the word translated tribulation in. Translation. You use that word three pieces they've translated here, persecution, I think, to avoid this whole tribulation language. But notice, tribulation is what John's experiencing and his readers are experiencing. John is is a fellow participant with them in the tribulation. And in the kingdom and in the patient enduring because they are kingdom citizens. You see the living faithful wives and citizens of New Jerusalem. In a fallen Babylon world. They experienced tribulation at the hands of that world. And that's what calls for patient endurance. Okay. Now the question, where's the hand? Yeah. What about that? The translation of that word flips this because you have, you know, RSV tries to stay away from that language. Make it persecution. How important do you think that is? Because it seems different theological movements seem to want to translate that in different ways. Do you think it's important? Does it change the setting to translate it one way or the other? The problem is that because the word tribulation has been. Captured by a very narrow theological perspective, and it's a future thing. There's going to be this great tribulation to use it. May bring that understanding into people's minds as they read it, although here it's hard to do that because John isn't talking about something future. He's talking about something that he and his readers are right now experiencing back there in the first century. So for John and his readers, tribulation is not something that's going to happen in the future.


It is a present reality. So as long as we know that, you know, I have no problem using tribulation in in fact, I prefer to use it because it corrects the error. That futuristic idea. And we'll see how it plays itself out because some of these churches are experiencing and John mentions not in the letters. Ben, how are we doing? Let me let me close with this. This morning. John says I was in the spirit on the Lord's Day. If you look at the Greek here, it's interesting. Notice, he says economy in pain. So hey, aluminum, hydro. I was in Ireland called Panama. No economic in humanity. I was in the spirit. Use the same freedoms in the island. I in the spirit. John is locating himself. In two different spheres at the same time. Geographically. He is in Patmos. He's in the island of Patmos. Spiritually. He's in the spirit. And these are one in the same time. There's not a dualism here. You see that he is in the spirit in the island of Patmos. And of course, this is a dynamic that we're going to see you can carry out all the way through. And then he hears behind him a loud voice, like a trumpet. We'll pick up there on Thursday. Okay. Whoever has the attendance sheet, if you would give it out. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whoever has the attendance sheet, get it up to me, please. Have a good day. We'll see you on Thursday. Yeah.