Book of Revelation

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This article is about the book in the New Testament. For other uses, see Book of Revelation (disambiguation).
Frontispiece, Book of Revelation, Bible of San Paolo fuori le Mura, 9th century.

The Book of Revelation, often known simply as Revelation or the Apocalypse,[1] is the final book of the New Testament and occupies a central place in Christian eschatology. Written in Koine Greek, its title is derived from the first word of the text, apokalypsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation."

The author of the work identifies himself in the text as "John" and says that he was on Patmos, an island in the Aegean, when he was instructed by a heavenly figure to write down the contents of a vision. This John is traditionally supposed to be John the Apostle, although some historical-critical scholars reject this view.[2] Recent scholarship has suggested other possibilities including a putative figure given the name John of Patmos. Most modern scholars believe it was written around AD 95, with some believing it dates from around AD 60.

The book spans three literary genres: epistolary, apocalyptic, and prophetic. It begins with an epistolary address to the reader followed by an apocalyptic description of a complex series of events derived from prophetic visions which the author claims to have seen. These include the appearance of a number of figures and images which have become important in Christian eschatology, such as the Whore of Babylon and the Beast, and culminate in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

The obscure and extravagant[3] imagery has led to a wide variety of interpretations: historicist interpretations see in Revelation a broad view of history; preterist interpretations treat Revelation as mostly referring to the events of the apostolic era (1st century), or, at the latest, the fall of the Roman Empire; futurists believe that Revelation describes future events; and idealist or symbolic interpretations consider that Revelation does not refer to actual people or events, but is an allegory of the spiritual path and the ongoing struggle between good and evil.

The Book of Revelation is the only apocalyptic document in the New Testament canon, although there are short apocalyptic passages in various places in the Gospels and the Epistles.[a]

Title[edit]

The author of the work provided no title for it. However, a title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: ἀποκάλυψις apokalypsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation". It is also known as the Book of the Revelation of Saint John the Divine or the Apocalypse of John (both in reference to its author), or the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ (in reference to its opening line), or simply Revelation (often called Revelations in contrast to the singular in the original Koine), or the Apocalypse.

The word "apocalypse" is also used for other works of a similar nature in the literary genre of apocalyptic literature. Such literature is "marked by distinctive literary features, particularly prediction of future events and accounts of visionary experiences or journeys to heaven, often involving vivid symbolism."[4]

Authorship[edit]

St. John on Patmos by Hieronymous Bosch, circa 1489
St. John receives his Revelation. Saint-Sever Beatus, 11th century.

The author of Revelation identifies himself several times as "John."[5] The author also states that he was on Patmos when he received his first vision:[6]

I John ... was in the isle that is called Patmos for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. ... [A]nd I heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet saying: What thou seest, write in a book ...[7]

As a result, the author of Revelation is sometimes referred to as John of Patmos.

Early theories[edit]

Justin Martyr (c. 100–165 AD) who was acquainted with Polycarp, who had been mentored by John, makes a possible allusion to this book, and credits John as the source.[8] Irenaeus (c. 115–202) assumes it as a conceded point. At the end of the 2nd century, it is accepted at Antioch by Theophilus (died c. 183), and in Africa by Tertullian (c. 160–220). At the beginning of the 3rd century, it is adopted by Clement of Alexandria and by Origen of Alexandria, later by Methodius, Cyprian, Lactantius,[citation needed] Dionysius of Alexandria,[9] and in the 5th century by Quodvultdeus.[10] Eusebius (c. 263–339) was inclined to class the Apocalypse with the accepted books but also listed it in the Antilegomena, with his own reservation for identification of John of Patmos with John the Apostle, pointing out there were large differences in Greek skill and styles between the Gospel of John, which he attributed to John the Apostle, and the Revelation.[11] Jerome (347–420) relegated it to second class.[12] Most canons included it, but some in the Eastern Church rejected it. It is not included in the Peshitta (an early Syriac translation of the Christian Bible).[13]

Traditional theory[edit]

The traditional theory holds that John the Apostle—considered to have written the Gospel and the epistles of John—was exiled on Patmos in the Aegean archipelago during the reign of Domitian, and there wrote Revelation. However, other ancient witnesses (such as the Old Syriac Version, 2nd century) put John's time on Patmos during the reign of Nero. Those in favor of apostolic authorship point to the testimony of the early church fathers (see "Early Theories" above) and similarities between the Gospel of John and Revelation. For example, both works are soteriological and possess a high Christology, stressing the divine nature of Jesus as opposed to the human nature stressed by the Synoptic Gospels. In the Gospel of John and in Revelation, Jesus is referred to as "the Word of God" (Ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ), although the context in Revelation is very different from John. The Word in Rev 19:13 is involved in judgment but in John 1:1 the image is used to speak of a role in creation and redemption.[14]

Charles Erdman (1866–1960) advocated apostolic authorship and wrote that only the Apostle John fits the image of the author derived from the text.[15]

Modern theories[edit]

More recent methods of scholarship, such as textual criticism, have been influential in suggesting that John the Apostle, John the Evangelist, and John of Patmos were three separate individuals. Differences in style, theological content, and familiarity with Greek between the Gospel of John, the epistles of John, and the Revelation are seen by some scholars as indicating three separate authors.[16] The English Biblical scholar Robert Henry Charles (1855–1931) reasoned on internal textual grounds that the book was edited by someone who spoke no Hebrew and who wished to promote a different theology from that of John. As a result, everything after 20:3, claims Charles, has been left in a haphazard state with no attempt to structure it logically. Furthermore, he says, the story of the defeat of the ten kingdoms has been deleted and replaced by 19:9–10.[17] John's theology of chastity has been replaced by the editor's theology of outright celibacy, which makes little sense when John's true church is symbolised as a bride of the Lamb. Most importantly, the editor has completely rewritten John's theology of the Millennium, which is "emptied of all significance."[18]

John Robinson in "Redating the New Testament" (1976) has heavily criticised Charles' position and accepted apostolic authorship, dating John's Gospel before the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. He also argues that John's "poor" Greek is a literary device since Galileans were known to have excellent Greek.[19] He says: "The Greek of the Apocalypse is not that of a beginner whose grammar and vocabulary might improve and mature into those of the evangelist. It is the pidgin Greek of someone who appears to know exactly what he is about[.]"[20]

It has also been contended that the core verses of the book, in general chapters 4 through 22, are surviving records of the prophecies of John the Baptist.[21] In this view, the Lamb of God references and other hallmarks of Revelation are linked to what is known of John the Baptist, though it must be confessed that little information about him is known.

Date[edit]

According to early tradition this book was composed near the end of Domitian's reign, around the year AD 95. Others contend for an earlier date, AD 60-69, in the reign of Nero or shortly thereafter.[22] The majority of modern scholars accept one of these two dates, with most accepting the Domitianic date.[23]

Those who favour the later date appeal to the earliest external testimony, that of the Christian father Irenaeus (c. 150–202),[24] who wrote that he received his information from people who knew John personally. Domitian, according to Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 263–339), started the persecution referred to in the book. While some recent scholars have questioned the existence of a large-scale Domitianic persecution,[25] others believe that Domitian's insistence on being treated as a god may have been a source of friction between the Church and Rome.[26]

The earlier date, first proposed in modern times by John Robinson in a closely argued chapter of "Redating the New Testament" (1976), relies on the book's internal evidence, given that no external testimony exists earlier than that of Irenaeus, noted above, and the earliest extant manuscript evidence of Revelation (P98) is likewise dated no earlier than the late 2nd century. This early dating is centered on the preterist interpretation of chapter 17, where the seven heads of the "beast" are regarded as the succession of Roman emperors up to the time of the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70,[27] Caligula through Vespasian.

Some interpreters attempt to reconcile the two dates by placing the visions themselves at the earlier date (during the 60s) and the publication of Revelation under Domitian, who reigned in the 90s when Irenaeus says the book was written.[28]

Canonical history[edit]

Revelation was the last of the traditional books to become accepted as part of the Christian biblical canon, up to 100 years later than the other books. According to Denzinger, Revelation was accepted at the Council of Carthage of 397 AD;[29] according to McDonald & Sanders it was added at the later 419 council.[30] Revelation's place in the canon was not guaranteed, however, with doubts raised as far back as the 2nd century about its character, symbolism, and apostolic authorship.[31] These doubts have been regularly expressed through the history of the Church.

Second-century Christians in Syria rejected the book because it was relied heavily upon by Montanism, a sect which the mainstream church deemed heretical.[32] In the 4th century, Gregory of Nazianzus and other bishops argued against including Revelation because of the difficulties of interpretation and the risk of abuse. In the 16th century, Martin Luther initially regarded it as "neither apostolic nor prophetic" and stated that "Christ is neither taught nor known in it,"[33] and placed it in his Antilegomena (his list of questionable documents), though he retracted this view in later life. In the same century, John Calvin believed the book to be canonical, yet it was the only New Testament book on which he did not write a commentary.[34] It remains the only book of the New Testament that is not read within the Divine Liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church, though it is included in Catholic and Protestant liturgies.

Merrill Unger and Gary N. Larson have argued that in spite of the objections that have been raised over the years, Revelation provides a logical conclusion, not just to the New Testament, but to the Christian Bible as a whole, and there is a continuous tradition dating back to the 2nd century supporting the authenticity of the document and indicating that it was generally included within the as yet unformalized canon of the early church.[35][need quotation to verify]

Content[edit]

The Apocalypse of St. Sever, circa 1150.
The Angel Appears to John. The book of Revelation. 13th-century manuscript. British Library, London.

Revelation spans three literary genres: epistolary, apocalyptic, and prophetic.[36]

The epistolary aspect is characteristic of the beginning part of the book, from 1:4 to the end of chapter 3. In 1:4–9, John addresses the reader directly, whereas in chapters 2–3, John addresses each of the seven Anatolian churches as if he were their bishop.[37]

There is no clear evidence that the author drew from noncanonical Jewish apocalyptic literature,[38] even though Revelation has been compared with other non-biblical Jewish writings from 200 BC to AD 200.[39] Revelation makes use of symbolism and visions, mentions angelic mediators, has bizarre imagery, declares divine judgment, emphasizes the Kingdom of God, prophesies new heavens and a new Earth, and consists of a dualism of ages, in other words a present world and a world to come.[39]

In terms of being prophetic, the author of Revelation uses the words: prophecy, prophesy, prophesying, prophet, and prophets twenty-one times in these various forms throughout the text. No other New Testament book uses these terms to this extent.[40]

Using the Greek Septuagint, John makes 348 allusions, or indirect quotes, from 24 of the canonized books of the Hebrew Bible, predominantly from Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Psalms.[41] The narrative of the terrifying and boastful beast that rises out of the ocean, has many horns which represent kings, and which is thrown into the fire, derives from Daniel 7. The beast from the Book of Revelation combines body traits from all four beasts mentioned in Daniel 7. The description of the angel who gives the revelation derives from Daniel 10:5–6; the four horsemen derive from Zechariah (Zechariah 6:1–8); the lampstands and the two olive trees that represent two men derive from Zechariah 4:1–14; the four living beings derive from Ezekiel 1 and Ezekiel 10; the edible scroll that tastes as sweet as honey derives from Ezekiel 2:8–3:2; the marking of people on the forehead to determine who will be harmed and who will be spared derives from Ezekiel 9:3–6; and the locusts that look like horses and have teeth like those of lions derive from the book of Joel.

Text reconstruction[edit]

There are approximately 230 Greek manuscripts available for the reconstructing of the original reading of Revelation. Major texts used are: the uncial scripts Codex Sinaiticus (4th century), Codex Alexandrinus (5th century), and Codex Ephraemi (5th century); the papyri, especially that of p47 (3rd century); the minuscules (8th to 10th century); the church father quotations (2nd to 5th centuries); and the Greek commentary on Revelation by Andreas (6th century).[36]

Some have argued that the author originally wrote Revelation in Aramaic and it was later translated into common Koine Greek. However, the Semitic words and phrases used throughout the book are evidence that Revelation is good "Jewish Greek" as used in 1st century Palestine. Though not proven, this hypothesis[which? clarification needed] may explain the numerous grammatical imperfections of the text.[42] The errors in Greek may demonstrate that the writer's original language was not Greek.[43]

Literary structure[edit]

The author/rhetor appears to have created a Book in seven sections, where each section is made up of an introductory piece followed by seven revelations, and where the seven sections are themselves arranged in the following chiasm: Prologue 1.1–8; Section 1: 1.9–3.22 Messages to the Seven Churches; Section 2: 4.1–8.1 The Seven Seals; Section 3: 8.2–11.18 The Seven Trumpets; Section C: 11.19–15.4 Seven Visions (see kai eidon for the introduction and each vision); Section 3': 15.5–16.21 The Seven Bowls/Plagues (compare Trumpets 1:1, 2;2, etc.); Section 2': 17.1–19.10 Seven Words on the Fall of Babylon (see kai eipen, etc.); Section 1': 19.11–22.15 Seven Final Visions (see again kai eidon); Epilogue 22.16–21. The rhetor's sources/influences likely include Zechariah (opening chapters), the Jewish Menorah and the structure of John's Gospel (seven sections, each of twelve parts).[44] Yet, others below express their views.

In terms of literary structure, Revelation consists of four visions, each involving John "seeing" the plan of God unveiled,[1:9, 4:1, 17:1, 21:9] with an epilogue that concludes the book.[22:6–21][36]

In terms of content, the structure of Revelation is built around four successive groups of seven: the messages to the seven churches; the seven seals; the seven trumpets; and the seven bowl judgments.[36] The repeated occurrence of the number seven contributes to the overall unity of Revelation. While several numbers stand out—3, 4, 7, 10, 12, 24, 144, 1000—the number seven appears to have a special significance. In fact, there are twenty-four distinct occurrences of the use of "seven."[45] Seven is considered the number of perfection in Christianity.[46]

One half of seven, 3½, is also a conspicuous number in Revelation: two witnesses are given power to prophesy 1,260 days, or exactly 3½ years, according to the Hebrew year of 360 days;[11:3] the witnesses are then killed, and their dead bodies lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3½ days;[11:9] the "woman clothed with the sun" is protected in the wilderness for 1,260 days, or 3½ years;[12:6] Gentiles tread the holy city underfoot for 42 months, or 3½ years;[11:2] and the beast is given authority to continue for 42 months, or 3½ years.[13:5]

Kenneth Strand asserts that symbols and phrases of Revelation are organized as a chiastic structure, a literary device used frequently in the Old Testament.[47] Comparison of the chiastic divisions and content help to define the progression and themes of the book and to highlight details of particular importance.[48]

Narrative criticism[edit]

Details surrounding the narrator of Revelation lead the reader to view him as a Jewish Christian. Thus, the story must be related to the point of view of the author-in-text. The main plot of Revelation is the battle between good and evil, God and Satan.[49]

The story starts with the introduction of the main character, John of Patmos, followed by a series of events that lead to the resolution of the main problem, which is the defeat of evil and the establishment of a New Jerusalem. The hero, or protagonist, is Jesus. Satan is the antagonist, the ultimate adversary.[50]

The setting presents elements that are external to the main character, conveying messages through archetypal imagery and symbolism.[51]

The Jesus at the Door stained glass window depiction of Revelation 3:20 at St. Matthew's German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Window attributed to the Quaker City Glass Company 1912.

Figures in Revelation[edit]

In order of appearance:

  1. John of Patmos
  2. The angel who reveals the Revelation of Jesus Christ
  3. The One who sits on the Throne
  4. Twenty-four crowned elders
  5. Four living creatures
  6. The Lion of Judah who is the seven horned Lamb with seven eyes
  7. Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
  8. Four angels holding the four winds of the Earth
  9. The seal-bearer angel
  10. Seven angelic trumpeters
  11. The star called Wormwood
  12. Angel of Woe
  13. Scorpion-tailed Locusts
  14. Abaddon
  15. Four angels bound to the great river Euphrates
  16. Two hundred million lion-headed cavalry
  17. The mighty angel of Seven thunders
  18. The Two witnesses
  19. Beast of the Sea having seven heads and ten horns
  20. The woman and her child
  21. The Dragon, fiery red with seven heads
  22. Michael the Archangel
  23. Lamb-horned Beast of the Earth
  24. Image of the Beast of the sea
  25. The False Prophet
  26. Whore of Babylon
  27. Death and Hades

Outline[edit]

Main article: Events of Revelation
The angel gives John the letter to the churches of Asia, Beatus Escorial, circa 950.
Revelation 6.2: And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. White Rider from Tolkovy Apocalyps, Moscow, 17th century
Apocalypse 7, the 144,000 elect. Beatus d'Osma, 11th century
The Fourth Angel sounds his trumpet, Apocalypse 8. Beatus Escorial, circa 950.
Apocalypse 12, the Woman and the Dragon. Beatus d'Osma, 11th century
A seven-headed leopard-like beast, Apocalypse 13, Beatus Escorial
An 1880 Baxter process colour plate illustrating Revelation 22:17 by Joseph Martin Kronheim
"Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe." (14:15), Escorial Beatus
  1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ
    1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ is communicated to John of Patmos through prophetic visions. (1:1–9)
    2. John is instructed by the "one like a son of man" to write all that he hears and sees, from the prophetic visions, to Seven churches of Asia. (1:10–13)
    3. The appearance of the "one like a son of man" is given, and he reveals what the seven stars and seven lampstands represent. (1:14–20)
  2. Messages for seven churches of Asia
    1. Ephesus: From this church, those "who overcome are granted to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." (2:1–7)
      1. Praised for not bearing those who are evil, testing those who say they are apostles and are not, and finding them to be liars; hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans; having persevered and possessing patience.
      2. Admonished to "do the first works" and to repent for having left their "first love."
    2. Smyrna: From this church, those who are faithful until death, will be given "the crown of life." Those who overcome shall not be hurt by the second death. (2:8–11)
      1. Praised for being "rich" while impoverished and in tribulation.
      2. Admonished not to fear the "synagogue of Satan," nor fear a ten-day tribulation of being thrown into prison.
    3. Pergamum: From this church, those who overcome will be given the hidden manna to eat and a white stone with a secret name on it." (2:12–17)
      1. Praised for holding "fast to My name," not denying "My faith" even in the days of Antipas, "My faithful martyr."
      2. Admonished to repent for having held the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel; eating things sacrificed to idols, committing sexual immorality, and holding the "doctrine of the Nicolaitans."
    4. Thyatira: From this church, those who overcome until the end, will be given power over the nations in order to dash them to pieces with the rule of a rod of iron; they will also be given the "morning star." (2:18–29)
      1. Praised for their works, love, service, faith, and patience.
      2. Admonished to repent for allowing a "prophetess" to promote sexual immorality and to eat things sacrificed to idols.
    5. Sardis: From this church, those who overcome will be clothed in white garments, and their names will not be blotted out from the Book of Life; their names will also be confessed before the Father and His angels. (3:1–6)
      1. Admonished to be watchful and to strengthen since their works have not been perfect before God.
    6. Philadelphia: From this church, those who overcome will be made a pillar in the temple of God having the name of God, the name of the city of God, "New Jerusalem," and the Son of God's new name. (3:7–13)
      1. Praised for having some strength, keeping "My word," and having not denied "My name."
      2. Admonished to hold fast what they have, that no one may take their crown.
    7. Laodicea: From this church, those who overcome will be granted the opportunity to sit with the Son of God on His throne. (3:14–22)
      1. Admonished to be zealous and repent from being "lukewarm"; they are instructed to buy the "gold refined in the fire," that they may be rich; to buy "white garments," that they may be clothed, so that the shame of their nakedness would not be revealed; to anoint their eyes with eye salve, that they may see.
  3. Before the Throne of God
    1. The Throne of God appears, surrounded by twenty four thrones with Twenty-four elders seated in them. (4:1–5)
    2. The Four Living Creatures are introduced. (4:6–11)
    3. A scroll, with seven seals, is presented and it is declared that the Lion of the tribe of Judah, from the "Root of David," is the only one worthy to open this scroll. (5:1–5)
    4. When the "Lamb having seven horns and seven eyes" took the scroll, the creatures of heaven fell down before the Lamb to give him praise, joined by myriads of angels and the creatures of the earth. (5:6–14)
  4. Seven Seals are opened
    1. First Seal: A white horse appears, whose crowned rider has a bow with which to conquer. (6:1–2)
    2. Second Seal: A red horse appears, whose rider is granted a "great sword" to take peace from the earth. (6:3–4)
    3. Third Seal: A black horse appears, whose rider has "a pair of balances in his hand," where a voice then says, "A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and [see] thou hurt not the oil and the wine." (6:5–6)
    4. Fourth Seal: A pale horse appears, whose rider is Death, and Hades follows him. Death was granted a fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and with the beasts of the earth. (6:7–8)
    5. Fifth Seal: "Under the altar," appeared the souls of martyrs for the "word of God," who cry out for vengeance. They are given white robes and told to rest until the martyrdom of their brothers is completed. (6:9-11)
    6. Sixth Seal: (6:12–17)
      1. There occurs a great earthquake where "the sun becomes black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon like blood" (6:12).
      2. The stars of heaven fall to the earth and the sky recedes like a scroll being rolled up (6:13–14).
      3. Every mountain and island is moved out of place (6:14).
      4. The people of earth retreat to caves in the mountains (6:15).
      5. The survivors call upon the mountains and the rocks to fall on them, so as to hide them from the "wrath of the Lamb" (6:16).
    7. Interlude: The 144,000 Hebrews are sealed.
      1. 144,000, from the twelve "tribes of Israel," are sealed as servants of God on their foreheads. (7:1–8)
      2. A great multitude stand before the Throne of God, who come out of the Great Tribulation, clothed with robes made "white in the blood of the Lamb" and having palm branches in their hands. (7:9–17)
    8. Seventh Seal: Introduces the seven trumpets (8:1–5)
      1. "Silence in heaven for about half an hour" (8:1).
      2. Seven angels are each given trumpets (8:2).
      3. An eighth angel takes a "golden censer," filled with fire from the heavenly altar, and throws it to the earth (8:3–5). What follows are "peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake" (8:5).
      4. After the eighth angel has devastated the earth, the seven angels introduced in verse 2 prepare to sound their trumpets (8:6).
  5. Seven trumpets are sounded (Seen in Chapters 8, 9, and 12).
    1. First Trumpet: Hail and fire, mingled with blood, are thrown to the earth burning up a third of the trees and green grass. (8:6–7)
    2. Second Trumpet: Something that resembles a great mountain, burning with fire, falls from the sky and lands in the ocean. It kills a third of the sea creatures and destroys a third of the ships at sea. (8:8–9)
    3. Third Trumpet: A great star, named Wormwood, falls from heaven and poisons a third of the rivers and springs of water. (8:10–11)
    4. Fourth Trumpet: A third of the sun, the moon, and the stars are darkened creating complete darkness for a third of the day and the night. (8:12–13)
    5. Fifth Trumpet: The First Woe (9:1–12)
      1. A "star" falls from the sky (9:1).
      2. This "star" is given "the key to the bottomless pit" (9:1).
      3. The "star" then opens the bottomless pit. When this happens, "smoke [rises] from [the Abyss] like smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky [are] darkened by the smoke from the Abyss" (9:2).
      4. From out of the smoke, locusts who are "given power like that of scorpions of the earth" (9:3), who are commanded not to harm anyone or anything except for people who were not given the "seal of God" on their foreheads (from chapter 7) (9:4).
      5. The "locusts" are described as having a human appearance (faces and hair) but with lion's teeth, and wearing "breastplates of iron"; the sound of their wings resembles "the thunderings of many horses and chariots rushing into battle" (9:7–9).
    6. Sixth Trumpet: The Second Woe (9:13–21)
      1. The four angels bound to the great river Euphrates are released to prepare two hundred million horsemen.
      2. These armies kill a third of mankind by use of three plagues: fire, smoke, and brimstone.
    7. Interlude: The little scroll. (10:1–11)
      1. An angel appears, with one foot on the sea and one foot on the land, having an opened little book in his hand.
      2. Upon the cry of the angel, seven thunders utter mysteries and secrets that are not to be written down by John.
      3. John is instructed to eat the little scroll that happens to be sweet in his mouth, but bitter in his stomach, and to prophesy.
      4. John is given a measuring rod to measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.
      5. Outside the temple, at the court of the holy city, it is treaded by the nations for forty-two months (3 1/2 years).
      6. Two witnesses prophesy for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. (11:1–14)
    8. Seventh Trumpet: The Third Woe that leads into the Seven bowls (11:15–19)
      1. The temple of God opens in heaven, where the ark of His covenant can be seen. There are lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.
  6. The Seven Spiritual Figures[52] (Events leading into the Third Woe)
    1. A woman "clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars" is in labor with a male child. (12:1–2)
    2. A great, fiery red, seven-headed dragon drags a third of the stars of heaven with his tail, and throws them to the earth. (12:3–4). The dragon waits for the birth of
    3. The child. However, sometime after the child is born, he is caught up to God's throne while the woman flees into the wilderness for one thousand two hundred and sixty days (3 1/2 years). (12:5–6). War breaks out in heaven between Michael and the Dragon, identified as the Devil, Satan.(12:9) After a great fight, the Dragon and his angels are cast out of heaven for good, followed by praises of victory for God's kingdom. (12:7–12). The Dragon engages to persecute the Woman, but she is given aid to evade him. Her evasiveness enrages the Dragon, prompting him to wage war against the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (12:13–17)
    4. A seven-headed leopard-like beast emerges from the sea, having one mortally wounded head that is then healed. By the Dragon, he is granted power and authority for forty-two months. (13:1–5)
    5. The Beast of the sea blasphemes God's name, wages war against the Saints, and overcomes them. (13:6–10)
    6. Another beast appears, but from the earth, having two horns like a lamb and speaking like a dragon. He directs people to make an image of the beast, breathing life into it, and forcing all people to bear "the mark of the Beast," "666" or in one source "616." (Rev 13:11–18). Events leading into the Third Woe:
    7. The Lamb stands on Mount Zion with the 144,000 "firstfruits" who are redeemed from earth. (14:1–5)
      1. The proclamations of three angels. (14:6–13)
      2. One like the Son of Man reaps the earth. (14:14–16)
      3. A second angel reaps "the vine of the earth" and throws it into "the great winepress of the wrath of God... and blood came out of the winepress... up to one thousand six hundred furlongs." (14:17–20)
      4. The temple of the tabernacle, in heaven, is opened. (15:1–5)
      5. Seven angels are given a golden bowl, from the Four Living Creatures, that contains the wrath of God. (15:6–8)
  7. Seven bowls are poured onto Earth:
    1. First Bowl: A "foul and loathsome sore" afflicts the followers of the beast. (16:1–2)
    2. Second Bowl: The sea turns to blood and everything within it dies. (16:3)
    3. Third Bowl: All fresh water turns to blood. (16:4–7)
    4. Fourth Bowl: The sun scorches the Earth with intense heat. (16:8–9)
    5. Fifth Bowl: There is total darkness and great pain in the Beast's kingdom. (16:10–11)
    6. Sixth Bowl: Preparations are made for the final battle at Armageddon between the forces of good and evil. (16:12–16)
    7. Seventh Bowl: A great earthquake: "every island fled away and the mountains were not found." (16:17–21)
  8. Aftermath of Babylon the Great
    1. The great harlot who sits on many waters: Babylon the Great. (17:1–18)
    2. Babylon is destroyed. (18:1–8)
    3. The people of the earth mourn Babylon's destruction. (18:9–19)
    4. The permanence of Babylon's destruction. (18:20–24)
  9. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
    1. A great multitude praises God. (19:1–6)
    2. The marriage supper of the Lamb. (19:7–10)
  10. The Judgement of the Beast, Devil and Dead (19:11–20:15)
    1. The beast and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire. (19:11–21)
    2. Satan is imprisoned in the bottomless pit for a thousand years. (20:1–3)
    3. The resurrected martyrs live and reign with Christ for a thousand years. (20:4–6)
    4. After the Thousand Years
      1. Satan is released and makes war against the people of God, but is defeated. (20:7–9)
      2. Satan is cast into the lake of burning sulfur. (20:10)
      3. The Last Judgment: the wicked, along with death and Hades, are cast into the lake of fire. (20:11–15)
  11. The New Heaven and Earth, and New Jerusalem
    1. A new heaven and new earth replace the old. There is no more suffering or death. (21:1–8)
    2. God comes to dwell with humanity in the New Jerusalem. (21:2–8)
    3. Description of the New Jerusalem. (21:9–27)
    4. The river and tree of life appear for the healing of the nations. The curse is ended. (22:1–5)
  12. Conclusion
    1. Christ's reassurance that his coming is imminent. Final admonitions. (22:6–21)

Interpretations[edit]

Revelation has a wide variety of interpretations, ranging from the simple message that we should have faith that God will prevail (symbolic interpretation), to complex end time scenarios (futurist interpretation),[53][54] to the views of critics who deny any spiritual value to Revelation at all.[55]

In the early Christian era,[citation needed] Christians generally understood the book to predict future events, especially an upcoming millennium of paradise on earth. In the late classical and medieval eras, the Church disavowed the millennium as a literal thousand-year kingdom. With the Protestant Reformation, opponents of Roman Catholicism adopted a historicist interpretation, in which the predicted apocalypse is believed to be playing out in church history. A Jesuit scholar countered with preterism, the belief that Revelation predicted events that actually occurred as predicted in the 1st century, such as the Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire under the Emperors Nero and Domitian. In the 19th century, futurism (belief that the predictions refer to future events) largely replaced historicism among conservative Protestants.

Religious interpretations[edit]

Most of the interpretations fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Historicist, which sees in Revelation a broad view of history;
  • Preterist, in which Revelation mostly refers to the events of the apostolic era (1st century), or—at the latest—the fall of the Roman Empire;
  • Futurist, which believes that Revelation describes future events (modern believers in this interpretation are often called "millennialists"); and
  • Idealist, or Symbolic, which holds that Revelation does not refer to actual people or events, but is an allegory of the spiritual path and the ongoing struggle between good and evil.

Eastern Orthodox interpretation[edit]

Orthodox icon of the Apocalypse of St. John (16th century)

Eastern Orthodoxy treats the text as simultaneously describing contemporaneous events (events occurring at the same time) and as prophecy of events to come, for which the contemporaneous events were a form of foreshadow. It rejects attempts to determine, before the fact, if the events of Revelation are occurring by mapping them onto present-day events, taking to heart the Scriptural warning against those who proclaim "He is here!" prematurely. Instead, the book is seen as a warning to be spiritually and morally ready for the end times, whenever they may come ("as a thief in the night"), but they will come at the time of God's choosing, not something that can be precipitated nor trivially deduced by mortals.[56] This view is also held by many Catholics, although there is a diversity of opinion about the nature of the Apocalypse within Catholicism.

Book of Revelation is the only book of the New Testament that is not read during services by the Eastern Orthodox Church. In the Coptic Orthodox Church (which is not in communion with the Eastern Orthodox church but is liturgically similar), the whole Book of Revelation is read during Apocalypse Night or Bright Saturday (6 days after Pascha).

Paschal liturgical interpretation[edit]

This interpretation, which has found expression among both Catholic and Protestant theologians, considers the liturgical worship, particularly the Easter rites, of early Christianity as background and context for understanding the Book of Revelation's structure and significance. This perspective is explained in The Paschal Liturgy and the Apocalypse (new edition, 2004) by Massey H. Shepherd, an Episcopal scholar, and in Scott Hahn's The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth (1999), in which he states that Revelation in form is structured after creation, fall, judgment and redemption. Those who hold this view say that the Temple's destruction (70 AD) had a profound effect on the Jewish people, not only in Jerusalem but among the Greek-speaking Jews of the Mediterranean.[57] They believe The Book of Revelation provides insight into the early Eucharist, saying that it is the new Temple worship in the New Heaven and Earth. The idea of the Eucharist as a foretaste of the heavenly banquet is also explored by British Methodist Geoffrey Wainwright in his book Eucharist and Eschatology (Oxford University Press, 1980). According to Pope Benedict XVI some of the images of Revelation should be understood in the context of the dramatic suffering and persecution of the churches of Asia in the 1st century.

Accordingly, the Book of Revelation should not be read as an enigmatic warning, but as an encouraging vision of Christ's definitive victory over evil.[58]

Seventh-day Adventist interpretation[edit]

Adventists maintain a historicist interpretation of the Bible's predictions of the apocalypse.

Bahai Faith interpretation[edit]

'Abdu'l-Baha has given some interpretations about the 11th and 12th chapters of Revelation. The 1260 days spoken of in different forms refers to the 1260 years of Islam that lasted until the beginning of the Revelation of the Bab in 1260 AH or 1844 AD. The "two witnesses" spoken of are Muhammad and 'Ali.[59] "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads." The seven heads and seven crowns are the seven countries and dominions that the Umayyads had control over, while the ten horns were the ten names of the Umayyad leaders.[60] A more detailed explanation can be found in the references.

Esoteric interpretation[edit]

The esoterist views Revelation as bearing multiple levels of meaning, the lowest being the literal or "dead-letter." Those who are instructed in esoteric knowledge enter gradually into more subtle levels of understanding of the text. They see the book as delivering both a series of warnings for humanity and a detailed account of internal, spiritual processes of the individual soul.

The Gnostic Kabbalist believes that Revelation (like Genesis) is a very profound book of Kabbalistic symbolism.

Christian Gnostics, however, are unlikely to be attracted to the teaching of Revelation because the doctrine of salvation through the sacrificed Lamb, which is central to Revelation, is repugnant to Gnostics. Christian Gnostics "believed in the Forgiveness of Sins, but in no vicarious sacrifice for sin ... they accepted Christ in the full realisation of the word; his life, not his death, was the keynote of their doctrine and their practice."[61]

James Morgan Pryse was an esoteric gnostic who saw Revelation as a western version of the Hindu theory of the Chakra. He began his work, "The purpose of this book is to show that the Apocalypse is a manual of spiritual development and not, as conventionally interpreted, a cryptic history or prophecy."[62] Such diverse theories have failed to command widespread acceptance. But Christopher Rowland argues: "there are always going to be loose threads which refuse to be woven into the fabric as a whole. The presence of the threads which stubbornly refuse to be incorporated into the neat tapestry of our world-view does not usually totally undermine that view."[63]

Radical discipleship interpretation[edit]

The radical discipleship interpretation asserts that the Book of Revelation is best understood as a handbook for radical discipleship; i. e., how to remain faithful to the spirit and teachings of Jesus and avoid simply assimilating to surrounding society. In this interpretation, the primary agenda of the book is to expose as impostors the worldly powers that seek to oppose the ways of God and God's Kingdom. The chief temptation for Christians in the 1st century, and today, is to fail to hold fast to the non-violent teachings and example of Jesus and instead be lured into unquestioning adoption and assimilation of worldly, national or cultural values – imperialism, nationalism, and civil religion being the most dangerous and insidious. This perspective (closely related to liberation theology) draws on the approach of Bible scholars such as Ched Myers, William Stringfellow, Richard Horsley, Daniel Berrigan, Wes Howard-Brook,[64] and Joerg Rieger.[65] Various Christian anarchists, such as Jacques Ellul, have identified the State and political power as the Beast.[66]

Aesthetic and literary interpretations[edit]

Many literary writers and theorists have contributed to a wide range of theories about the origins and purpose of the Book of Revelation. Some of these writers have no connection with established Christian faiths but, nevertheless, found in Revelation a source of inspiration. Revelation has been approached from Hindu philosophy and Jewish Midrash. Others have pointed to aspects of composition which have been ignored such as the similarities of prophetic inspiration to modern poetic inspiration, or the parallels with Greek drama. In recent years theories have arisen which concentrate upon how readers and texts interact to create meaning and are less interested in what the original author intended.

Charles Cutler Torrey taught Semitic languages at Yale. His lasting contribution has been to show how much more meaningful prophets, such as the scribe of Revelation, are when treated as poets first and foremost. He thought this was a point often lost sight of because most English bibles render everything in prose.[67] Poetry was also the reason John never directly quoted the older prophets. Had he done so, he would have had to use their (Hebrew) poetry whereas he wanted to write his own. Torrey insisted Revelation had originally been written in Aramaic.[68] This was why the surviving Greek translation was written in such a strange idiom. It was a literal translation that had to comply with the warning at Revelation 22:18 that the text must not be corrupted in any way. According to Torrey, the story is that "The Fourth Gospel was brought to Ephesus by a Christian fugitive from Palestine soon after the middle of the first century. It was written in Aramaic." Later, the Ephesians claimed this fugitive had actually been the beloved disciple himself. Subsequently, this John was banished by Nero and died on Patmos after writing Revelation. Torrey argued that until 80 AD, when Christians were expelled from the synagogues,[69] the Christian message was always first heard in the synagogue and, for cultural reasons, the evangelist would have spoken in Aramaic, else "he would have had no hearing."[70] Torrey showed how the three major songs in Revelation (the new song, the song of Moses and the Lamb and the chorus at 19: 6–8) each fall naturally into four regular metrical lines plus a coda.[71] Other dramatic moments in Revelation, such as 6: 16 where the terrified people cry out to be hidden, behave in a similar way.[72]

Christina Rossetti was a Victorian poet who believed the sensual excitement of the natural world found its meaningful purpose in death and in God.[73] Her The Face of the Deep is a meditation upon the Apocalypse. In her view, what Revelation has to teach is patience.[74] Patience is the closest to perfection the human condition allows.[75] Her book, which is largely written in prose, frequently breaks into poetry or jubilation, much like Revelation itself. The relevance of John's visions[76] belongs to Christians of all times as a continuous present meditation. Such matters are eternal and outside of normal human reckoning. "That winter which will be the death of Time has no promise of termination. Winter that returns not to spring ... – who can bear it?"[77] She dealt deftly with the vengeful aspects of John's message. "A few are charged to do judgment; everyone without exception is charged to show mercy."[78] Her conclusion is that Christians should see John as "representative of all his brethren" so they should "hope as he hoped, love as he loved."[79]

Recently, aesthetic and literary modes of interpretation have developed, which focus on Revelation as a work of art and imagination, viewing the imagery as symbolic depictions of timeless truths and the victory of good over evil. Elisabeth Schuessler Fiorenza wrote Revelation: Vision of a just world from the viewpoint of rhetoric.[80] Accordingly, Revelation's meaning is partially determined by the way John goes about saying things, partially by the context in which readers receive the message and partially by its appeal to something beyond logic. Professor Schuessler Fiorenza believes that Revelation has particular relevance today as a liberating message to disadvantaged groups. John's book is a vision of a just world, not a vengeful threat of world-destruction. Her view that Revelation's message is not gender-based has caused dissent. She says we are to look behind the symbols rather than make a fetish out of them. In contrast, Tina Pippin states that John writes "horror literature" and "the misogyny which underlies the narrative is extreme."[81] Professor Schuessler Fiorenza would seem to be saying John's book is more like science fiction; it does not foretell the future but uses present-day concepts to show how contemporary reality could be very different.

D. H. Lawrence took an opposing, pessimistic view of Revelation in the final book he wrote, Apocalypse.[82] He saw the language which Revelation used as being bleak and destructive; a 'death-product'. Instead, he wanted to champion a public-spirited individualism (which he identified with the historical Jesus supplemented by an ill-defined cosmic consciousness) against its two natural enemies. One of these he called "the sovereignty of the intellect"[83] which he saw in a technology-based totalitarian society. The other enemy he styled "vulgarity"[84] and that was what he found in Revelation. "It is very nice if you are poor and not humble ... to bring your enemies down to utter destruction, while you yourself rise up to grandeur. And nowhere does this happen so splendiferously than in Revelation."[85] His specific aesthetic objections to Revelation were that its imagery was unnatural and that phrases like "the wrath of the Lamb" were "ridiculous." He saw Revelation as comprising two discordant halves. In the first, there was a scheme of cosmic renewal "great Chaldean sky-spaces" which he quite liked. Then the book hinged around the birth of the baby messiah. After that, "flamboyant hate and simple lust ... for the end of the world." Lawrence coined the term "Patmossers" to describe those Christians who could only be happy in paradise if they knew their enemies were suffering in hell.

Academic interpretations[edit]

Modern biblical scholarship attempts to understand Revelation in its 1st century historical context within the genre of Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature. This approach considers the text as an address to seven historical communities in Asia Minor. Under this interpretation, assertions that "the time is near" are to be taken literally by those communities. Consequently the work is viewed as a warning not to conform to contemporary Greco-Roman society which John "unveils" as beastly, demonic and subject to divine judgment. There is further information on these topics in the entries on higher criticism and apocalyptic literature.

Although the acceptance of Revelation into the canon has from the beginning been controversial, it has been essentially similar to the career of other texts. The eventual exclusion of other contemporary apocalyptic literature from the canon may throw light on the unfolding historical processes of what was officially considered orthodox, what was heterodox, what was even heretical. Interpretation of meanings and imagery are anchored in what the historical author intended and what his contemporary audience inferred; a message to Christians not to assimilate into the Roman imperial culture was John's central message. Thus, his letter (written in the apocalyptic genre) is pastoral in nature, and the symbolism of Revelation is to be understood entirely within its historical, literary and social context. Critics study the conventions of apocalyptic literature and events of the 1st century to make sense of what the author may have intended.

Criticism[edit]

Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll called Revelation "the insanest of all books."[86] Thomas Jefferson omitted it, along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time he considered it as "merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams."[87] Friedrich Engels claimed that the Book of Revelation was primarily a political and anti-Roman work.[88]

Martin Luther changed his perspective on Revelation over time. In the preface to the German translation of Revelation that he composed in 1522, he said that he did not consider the book prophetic or apostolic, since "Christ is neither taught nor known in it." But in the completely new preface that he composed in 1530, he reversed his position and concluded that Christ was central to the book. He concluded, "As we see here in this book, that through and beyond all plagues, beasts, and evil angels, Christ is nonetheless with the saints and wins the final victory."[89]

G. K. Chesterton commented, "And though St. John the Evangelist saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators."[90]

Old Testament origins[edit]

Much of Revelation employs ancient sources, primarily but not exclusively the Old Testament. For example, Howard-Brook and Gwyther[91] regard the Book of Enoch (1 Enoch) as an equally significant but contextually different source. "Enoch's journey has no close parallel in the Hebrew scriptures."

Academics showed little interest in this topic until recently.[92] This was not, however, the case with popular writers from non-conforming backgrounds, who interspersed the text of Revelation with the prophecy they thought was being promised. For example, an anonymous Scottish commentary of 1871[93] prefaces Revelation 4 with the Little Apocalypse of Mark 13, places Malachi 4:5 ("Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord") within Revelation 11 and writes Revelation 12:7 side-by-side with the role of "the satan" in the Book of Job. The message is that everything in Revelation will happen in its previously appointed time.

Steve Moyise[94] uses the index of the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament to show that "Revelation contains more Old Testament allusions than any other New Testament book, but it does not record a single quotation." Perhaps significantly, Revelation chooses different sources than other New Testament books. Revelation concentrates on Isaiah, Psalms, and Ezekiel, while neglecting, comparatively speaking, the books of the Pentateuch that are the dominant sources for other New Testament writers. Methodological objections have been made to this course as each allusion may not have an equal significance. To counter this, G. K. Beale sought to develop a system that distinguished 'clear', 'probable', and 'possible' allusions. A clear allusion is one with almost the same wording as its source, the same general meaning, and which could not reasonably have been drawn from elsewhere. A probable allusion contains an idea which is uniquely traceable to its source. Possible allusions are described as mere echoes of their putative sources.

Yet, with Revelation, the problems might be judged more fundamental. The author seems to be using his sources in a completely different way to the originals. For example, he borrows the 'new temple' imagery of Ezekiel 40–48 but uses it to describe a New Jerusalem which, quite pointedly, no longer needs a temple because it is God's dwelling. Ian Boxall[95] writes that Revelation "is no montage of biblical quotations (that is not John's way) but a wealth of allusions and evocations rewoven into something new and creative." In trying to identify this "something new", Boxall argues that Ezekiel provides the 'backbone' for Revelation. He sets out a comparative table listing the chapters of Revelation in sequence and linking most of them to the structurally corresponding chapter in Ezekiel. The interesting point is that the order is not the same. John, on this theory, rearranges Ezekiel to suit his own purposes.

Some commentators argue that it is these purposes – and not the structure – that really matters. G. K. Beale believes that, however much John makes use of Ezekiel, his ultimate purpose is to present Revelation as a fulfilment of Daniel 7.[96]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Other apocalypses popular in the early Christian era did not achieve canonical status, except 2 Esdras (also known as the Apocalypse of Ezra), which is recognized as canonical in the Ethiopian Orthodox Churches.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Van den Biesen, Christian. "Apocalypse". The Catholic Encyclopedia. New Advent. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Yarbro Collins, Adela (1984). Crisis and Catharsis: The Power of the Apocalypse. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-66424521-4. 
  3. ^ Freeman, Charles (2009). A New History of Early Christianity. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-30012581-8. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  4. ^ Walter A. Elwell, ed. "Apocalyptic." Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1996. Page 28.
  5. ^ Rev. 1:1, 4, 9; 22:8
  6. ^ Rev 1:9; 4:1–2
  7. ^ John. 1, verses 9–11. "Revelation". Bible (King James ed.). Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  8. ^ St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho Chapter lxxxi.
  9. ^ Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History Book vii. Chapter xxv.
  10. ^ St. Quodvultdeus, On the Symbol, 3.1–6
  11. ^ Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History Book iii. Chapter xxv.
  12. ^ Jerome, Homily on Psalm 149 .
  13. ^ "Apocalypse," Encyclopedia Biblica
  14. ^ Revelation By Ben Witherington III, p. 32
  15. ^ "The author calls himself John, both in the opening and the closing verses of the book. He states that because of his Christian faith he has been banished to the isle of Patmos. He addresses the churches of Asia with a consciousness of unquestioned authority. Of no other person in the first century could these statements be made." Charles R. Erdman. Revelation of John: An Exposition. Westminster, 1936.
  16. ^ Ehrman 2004, p. 467ff
  17. ^ Charles Revelation p. xxviii
  18. ^ Charles Revelation p. liv
  19. ^ J.N.Sevenster, Do you know Greek?, 1968.
  20. ^ J.N.Sevenster, Do you know Greek?, 1968. ch. 9
  21. ^ Ford, p. 30.
  22. ^ Kenneth Gentry. Before Jerusalem Fell, ISBN 0-930464-20-6. Powder Springs, Georgia: American Vision, 1989.
  23. ^ Robert H. Mounce. The Book of Revelation, pg. 15–16. Cambridge: Eerdman's. Books.google.com
  24. ^ St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 5 Chapter 30 Section 3.
  25. ^ Brown 1997, pp. 806–809
  26. ^ Cary, E. (trans.) "Dio Cassius' Roman History, Epitome of Book LXI-LXX." Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge MA: Harvard University, 1995. p.349.
  27. ^ Mounce, pg.19–21
  28. ^ cf. Paul Touilleux, Albert Gelin, André Feuillet
  29. ^ Denzinger 186 in the new numbering, 92 in the old
  30. ^ McDonald & Sanders' The Canon Debate, Appendix D-2, note 19: "Revelation was added later in 419 at the subsequent synod of Carthage."
  31. ^ Pattemore, Stephen (2004), The People of God in the Apocalypse, Cambridge University Press, p. 1 .
  32. ^ see N. B. Stonehouse, Apocalypse in the Ancient Church (c. 1929), pp. 139–42, esp. p. 138
  33. ^ "Luther's Treatment of the 'Disputed Books' of the New Testament". Bible researcher. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  34. ^ Hoekema, Anthony A (1979), The Bible and the future, Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans, p. 297, ISBN 978-0-8028-3516-1 .
  35. ^ Unger, Merrill; Larson, Gary (2005), "Revelation", The New Unger's Bible Handbook, Chicago: Moody .
  36. ^ a b c d C. Marvin Plate. Four Views on the Book of Revelation, 2010 (ISBN 0310872391, ISBN 978-0-310-87239-9)
  37. ^ "St John The Evangelist". Ewtn.com. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  38. ^ Henry Barclay Swete. Commentary on Revelation (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1977)
  39. ^ a b Alan F. Johnson. Revelation, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed.
  40. ^ Mal Couch. A Bible Handbook to Revelation, 2001, (ISBN 0825423589, ISBN 978-0-8254-2358-1), p.81
  41. ^ Merrill C. Tenney. Interpreting Revelation (Grand Rapids: Eermans, 1959), 101, 104
  42. ^ Mal Couch. A Bible Handbook to Revelation, 2001, (ISBN 0825423589, ISBN 978-0-8254-2358-1), p.73
  43. ^ Apocalypse and the Writings on Revelation D. H. Lawrence pg 173. Books.google.com. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  44. ^ Sliced Bread, David G Palmer, 1988, New Testament: New Testimony to the skills of the writers and first readers, David G Palmer, 2006
  45. ^ Morris. The Revelation of St. John
  46. ^ Senior, Donald; Mary Ann Getty; Carroll Stuhlmueller (1990). The Catholic Study Bible. New York City: Oxford University Press. pp. 398, 399. ISBN 978-0195297768. 
  47. ^ "Literary Structure—A Key to Interpreting The Revelation". Ministry Magazine. 
  48. ^ "Chiastic Literary Structure". Revelation of Jesus. 
  49. ^ Gilbert Desrosiers. An introduction to Revelation, 2000,(ISBN 0826450024, ISBN 978-0-8264-5002-9), p. 71-73
  50. ^ Gilbert Desrosiers, 2000, p. 73
  51. ^ Gilbert Desrosiers, 2000, p. 73, 74
  52. ^ "The Book Of Revelation Or The Apocalypse Of John". Biblescripture.net. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  53. ^ Robert J. Karris (ed.) The Collegeville Bible Commentary Liturgical Press, 1992 p. 1296.
  54. ^ Ken Bowers, Hiding in plain sight, Cedar Fort, 2000 p. 175.
  55. ^ Carl Gustav Jung in his autobiography Memories Dream Reflections said "I will not discuss the transparent prophecies of the Book of Revelation because no one believes in them and the whole subject is felt to be an embarrassing one."
  56. ^ Averky (Taushev), Archbishop (1996-Eng. tr. Fr. Seraphim Rose). The Apocalypse: In the Teachings of Ancient Christianity. Platina, California: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood. ISBN 978-0-938635-67-3. 
  57. ^ Scott Hahn, The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth, ISBN 0-385-49659-1. New York City: Doubleday, 1999.
  58. ^ Catholic Online (23 August 2006). "Pope Benedict: Read Book of Revelation as Christ's victory over evil – International – Catholic Online". Catholic.org. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  59. ^ http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/SAQ/saq-11.html
  60. ^ http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/SAQ/saq-13.html
  61. ^ R. Frances Swiney (Rosa Frances Emily Biggs) The Esoteric Teaching of the Gnostics London: Yellon, Williams & Co (1909) p.3 & 4
  62. ^ James M. Pryse Apocalypse unsealed London: Watkins (1910). The theory behind the book is given in Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe) The Serpent Power Madras (Chennai): Ganesh & Co (1913). One version of how these beliefs might have travelled from India to the Middle East, Greece and Rome is given in the opening chapters of Rudolf Otto The Kingdom of God and the Son of Man London: Lutterworth (1938)
  63. ^ Christopher Rowland Revelation London:Epworth (1993) p.5
  64. ^ Howard-Brook, Wes; Gwyther, Anthony (1999). Unveiling Empire: Reading Revelation Then and Now. Orbis Books. ISBN 978-1-57075-287-2. 
  65. ^ Rieger, Joerg (2007). Christ & Empire: From Paul to Postcolonial Times. Fortress Press. ISBN 978-0-8006-2038-7. 
  66. ^ Christoyannopoulos, Alexandre (2010). Christian Anarchism: A Political Commentary on the Gospel. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 123–126. "Revelation" 
  67. ^ Charles C. Torrey The Apocalypse of John New Haven: Yale University Press (1958). Christopher R. North in his The Second Isaiah London: OUP (1964) p. 23 says of Torrey's earlier Isaiah theory, "Few scholars of any standing have accepted his theory." This is the general view of Torrey's theories. However, Christopher North goes on to cite Torrey on 20 major occasions and many more minor ones in the course of his book. So, Torrey must have had some influence and poetry is the key.
  68. ^ Apocalypse of John p. 7
  69. ^ Apocalypse of John p. 37
  70. ^ Apocalypse of John p. 8
  71. ^ Apocalypse of John p. 137
  72. ^ Apocalypse of John p. 140
  73. ^ "Flowers preach to us if we will hear," begins her poem 'Consider the lilies of the field' Goblin Market London: Oxford University Press (1913) p. 87
  74. ^ Ms Rossetti remarks that patience is a word which does not occur in the Bible until the New Testament, as if the usage first came from Christ's own lips. Christina Rossetti The Face of the Deep London: SPCK (1892) p. 115
  75. ^ "Christians should resemble fire-flies, not glow-worms; their brightness drawing eyes upward, not downward." The Face of the Deep p. 26
  76. ^ 'vision' lends the wrong emphasis as Ms Rossetti sought to minimise the distinction between John's experience and that of others. She quoted 1 John 3:24 "He abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us" to show that when John says, "I was in the Spirit" it is not exceptional.
  77. ^ The Face of the Deep p. 301
  78. ^ The Face of the Deep p. 292
  79. ^ The Face of the Deep p. 495
  80. ^ Elisabeth Schuessler Fiorenza Revelation: Vision of a just world Edinburgh: T&T Clark (1993). The book seems to have started life as Invitation to the Book of Revelation Garden City: Doubleday (1981)
  81. ^ Tina Pippin Death & Desire: The rhetoric of gender in the Apocalypse of John Louisville: Westminster-John Knox (1993) p. 105
  82. ^ D. H. Lawrence Apocalypse London: Martin Secker (1932) published posthumously with an introduction (p. v – xli) by Richard Aldington which is an integral part of the text.
  83. ^ Apocalypse p. xxiii
  84. ^ Apocalypse p. 6
  85. ^ Apocalypse p. 11 Lawrence did not consider how these two types of Christianity (good and bad in his view) might be related other than as opposites. He noted the difference meant that the John who wrote a gospel could not be the same John that wrote Revelation.
  86. ^ Robert Green Ingersoll. "The Devil". Retrieved 30 November 2007. 
  87. ^ "Bergh: Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. 16". Constitution.org. 1 May 1904. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  88. ^ Engels. "The Book of Revelation". Marxists.org. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  89. ^ For the preface of 1522 see Luther's Works volume 35 pp. 398–399. For the quotation of the preface from 1530 see the same volume, p. 411.
  90. ^ Orthodoxy, page 10, 1908
  91. ^ Wes Howard-Brook & Anthony Gwyther Unveiling Empire New York: Orbis (1999) p. 76
  92. ^ S Moyise p.13 reports no work whatsoever done between 1912 and 1984
  93. ^ Anon An exposition of the Apocalypse on a new principle of literal interpretation Aberdeen: Brown (1871)
  94. ^ S. Moyise The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press (1995) p. 31
  95. ^ Ian Boxall The Revelation of St John London: Continuum & Peabody MA: Hendrickson (2006) p. 254
  96. ^ G. K. Beale John's use of the Old Testament in Revelation Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press (1998) p. 109

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bass, Ralph E., Jr. (2004) Back to the Future: A Study in the Book of Revelation, Greenville, South Carolina: Living Hope Press, ISBN 0-9759547-0-9.
  • Beale G.K., The Book of Revelation, NIGTC, Grand Rapids – Cambridge 1999. ISBN 0-8028-2174-X
  • Bousset W., Die Offenbarung Johannis, Göttingen 18965, 19066.
  • Boxall, Ian, (2006) The Revelation of Saint John (Black's New Testament Commentary) London: Continuum, and Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson. ISBN 0-8264-7135-8 U.S. edition: ISBN 1-56563-202-8
  • Boxall, Ian (2002) Revelation: Vision and Insight – An Introduction to the Apocalypse, London: SPCK ISBN 0-281-05362-6
  • Brown, Raymond E. (3 October 1997). Introduction to the New Testament. Anchor Bible. ISBN 0-385-24767-2. 
  • Ehrman, Bart D. (2004). The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. New York: Oxford. ISBN 0-19-515462-2. 
  • Forbes, Andrew ; Henley, David (2012). Apocalypse: The Illustrated Book of Revelation. Chiang Mai: Cognoscenti Books. ASIN: B008WAK9SS
  • Ford, J. Massyngberde (1975) Revelation, The Anchor Bible, New York: Doubleday ISBN 0-385-00895-3.
  • Gentry, Kenneth L., Jr. (1998) Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation, Powder Springs, Georgia: American Vision, ISBN 0-915815-43-5.
  • Gentry, Kenneth L., Jr. (2002) The Beast of Revelation, Powder Springs, Georgia: American Vision, ISBN 0-915815-41-9.
  • Hahn, Scott (1999) The Lamb's Supper: Mass as Heaven on Earth, Darton, Longman, Todd, ISBN 0-232-52500-5
  • Hernández, Juan, Scribal habits and theological influences in the Apocalypse, Tübingen 2006
  • Hudson, Gary W. (2006) Revelation: Awakening The Christ Within, Vesica Press, ISBN 0-9778517-2-9
  • Kiddle M., The Revelation of St. John (The Moffat New Testament Commentary), New York – London 1941.
  • Kirsch, Thomas. A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization. New York: HarperOne, 2006.
  • Lohmeyer, Ernst, Die Offenbarung des Johannes, Tübingen 1953.
  • Muggleton, Lodowicke Works on the Book of Revelation London 2010 ISBN 978-1-907466-04-5
  • Müller U.B., Die Offenbarung des Johannes, Güttersloh 1995.
  • Prigent P., L’Apocalypse, Paris 1981.
  • Samael Aun Weor (2004) [1960]. The Aquarian Message: Gnostic Kabbalah and Tarot in the Apocalypse of St. John. Thelema Press. ISBN 0-9745916-5-3. 
  • Roloff J., Die Offenbarung des Johannes, Zürich 19872.
  • Shepherd, Massey H. (2004) The Paschal Liturgy and the Apocalypse, James Clarke, ISBN 0-227-17005-9
  • Stonehouse, Ned B., (c. 1929) The Apocalypse in the Ancient Church. A Study in the History of the New Testament Canon, n.d., Goes: Oosterbaan & Le Cointre. [Major discussion of the controversy surrounding the acceptance/rejection of Revelation into the New Testament canon.]
  • Sweet, J. P. M., (1979, Updated 1990) Revelation, London: SCM Press, and Philadelphia: Trinity Press International. ISBN 0-334-02311-4.
  • Wikenhauser A., Offenbarung des Johannes, Regensburg 1947, 1959.
  • Witherington III, Ben, (2003) Revelation, The New Cambridge Bible Commentary, New York: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-00068-0.
  • Zahn Th., Die Offenbarung des Johannes, t. 1–2, Leipzig 1924–1926.
  • Francesco Vitali, Piccolo Dizionario dell'Apocalisse, TAU Editrice, Todi 2008

External links[edit]

Book of Revelation
Apocalyptic Epistle
Preceded by
General Epistle
of

Jude
New Testament
Books of the Bible
End