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Revelation Apocalyptic Literature

Revelation Apocalyptic Literature. The End. Characteristics of apocalypse. Level of conflict is cosmic Involves the whole earth, and spiritual worlds. Irony in that the Jews and Christians were very small people groups. Two mighty opposites in mortal combat

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Revelation Apocalyptic Literature

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  1. RevelationApocalyptic Literature The End

  2. Characteristics of apocalypse • Level of conflict is cosmic • Involves the whole earth, and spiritual worlds. • Irony in that the Jews and Christians were very small people groups. • Two mighty opposites in mortal combat • The good will triumph, but it will be a good fight. • The evil people are raised up to a level nearly equal with God. • More concerned with the end of the world than presenting specific details • Still, they are written in specific contexts. • There is a present age (era), and an age to come. • Usually in comes in the form of a vision • So, the writer is not the “author.” • Fantastic allegory (beast against beast rather than nation against nation). • Involves a writer, a seer, a vision(s), an interpreter, an interpretation. • Ascribed to a great individual of the past • Revelation is an important exception • Helps to get people to pay attention to the work • Success with one work, encourages imitation of its conventions

  3. The Book of Daniel • Chs 1-6 is about Daniel, 7-12 is by Daniel (“I, Daniel…”) • Daniel was a traditional folk hero. Perhaps his stories make an attractive introduction. • There are four visions that apparently relate to the same events of the recent past, present, near future, and final days • Book composed around 110BCE under the oppressive control of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. • Summarizes Israel’s history from exile to present. • Encourage readers by saying the present suffering will soon end and the oppressors will be punished. • No human solution is possible to solve the Jews’ problem. • Only God’s intervention can save the people. • Living Jews and resurrected dead would be judged and rewarded or punished eternally in accord with how they behaved during the terrible persecution.

  4. Daniel vs. the Prophets

  5. Revelation as an apocalypse • It follows most conventional features of an apocalypse. • “We are currently living in the worst possible circumstances” (surely these are the last days). • Faithful believes are encouraged to remain faithful, for their deliverance will come and it will be great! It will be worth the wait! • Christians at the time of the writing of Revelation were facing a situation quite similar to that of the Jews when Daniel was written. • Three phases of Satan’s defeat • in the heavens (by the birth of Christ) • on the earth (by the destruction of Rome) • in the underworld (by the final elimination of the Devil, Death, Hades and the Sea at the end of the age)

  6. Revelation Overview 1 John’s greetings and the circumstance of his call 2-3 The Letters to the seven churches 4-5 The heavenly court of the lamb 6-7 The seven seals 8-11 the final seal brings seven angels with 7 trumpets • between 6 & 7 trumpet, 7 thunders (kept secret) 12-13 The pregnant woman, the dragon’s defeat, the two beasts 14 visions of reassurance and warning (an interlude) 15-16 the seven bowls of wrath climaxing in battle of Armageddon that involves all the kings of the earth 17-18 the whore of Babylon and the beast 19-20 the defeat of the dragon’s forces, the final judgment • dragon chained up for one thousand years 21-22 the New Jerusalem, conclusion • Here humans will dwell in face-to-face relationship with God, sustained by the water of life, the tree of life, and the presence of God.

  7. Revelation as purely literature? • Religious and mythic material is shaped according to conventions • The purpose is to provide comfort to the faithful • This makes the book less mysterious • Consider the literary challenge and effect of representing evil symbolically as dragon, beast, etc. • In a sense, all victories of good over evil are the same. • Perhaps that is why we see the repeated pattern: Various forms of evil, destruction of evil, rejoicing in heaven, New evil that’s much like the old evil, but in new form.

  8. Jewish Response to Apocalyptic Literature • It is linked to extreme action and great destruction • Apocalyptic writing and a belief in God’s intervening hand prompted fanatical Jewish resistance against Rome. • Patriots tried to force God’s hand by warring against Rome and forcing a situation in which God must intervene. • A lot of Jewish apocalyptic literature was written during the exile and post-exile period, but… • “The Writings” which were canonized around 100 CE do not include many apocryphal apocalyptic books, perhaps because of the negative influence in stirring up trouble with Rome. • Why Daniel survives is a little mysterious.

  9. Christian Response to Apocalyptic Literature • Jesus life, death, and resurrection meant a partial fulfillment of ancient apocalyptic literature. • Jesus’ first coming paves the way, and prepares things for his second coming which will still fulfill apocalyptic writing of the past • Jesus first coming was already a triumph over darkness, evil, Satan, the devil. • Whereas Jews eventually rejected apocalyptic thinking, it became an important part of Christian thought. • Other apocalypses were written revealing visions of Peter, Paul, James, Thomas, the Virgin Mary, and others. • Other apocalyptic passages in the New Testament • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 • 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 • Mark 13

  10. 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18 • 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,* about those who have died,* so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died.*15For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died.*16For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.

  11. 1 Corinthians 15: 20-28 • 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.*21For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; 22for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. 23But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24Then comes the end,* when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For ‘God* has put all things in subjection under his feet.’ But when it says, ‘All things are put in subjection’, it is plain that this does not include the one who put all things in subjection under him. 28When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.

  12. Mark 13 • The whole chapter is apocalyptic, but the following lines may feel especially so. • 24 ‘But in those days, after that suffering,the sun will be darkened,   and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven,   and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. 27Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

  13. The Continuing Appeal of the Apocalypse • Great days are coming for the faithful! • This is an appealing message for any troubled time. • Proposes “solutions that are abrupt, dramatic, and violent (in comparison to the Prophets). • Unlike prophecy, there is no room for repentance or a change in God’s intentions. • A flash of God’s power • Harsh punishment for those who have taken advantage of the misery of others. • Glorious rewards for those who have suffered undeservedly. • Can these writings apply specifically to our times? • People have thought this many times over the centuries • This fact proves the effectiveness of the literature, the themes and symbols.

  14. The Whore of Babylon Rev. 17.5 • William Blake 1809 • John sees a woman in royal dress riding on a seven-headed scarlet beast; she is called “Babylon the Great” and is “drunk with the blood of the saints.”

  15. New Heaven and New Earth Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  (Revelation 21:1) (Duncan Long)

  16. New Jerusalem Descending from the Heavens Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, 1851

  17. New Jerusalem Gustave DoreThe New Jerusalem1860s Merian, Matthaeus the Elder circa 1625

  18. New Jerusalem And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  (Revelation 21:2 ) Duncan Long

  19. Through the Gate of the Eternal City And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, each of the gates is a single pearl, and the street of the city is pure gold, transparent as glass. (21:21) Rev 21:21-22:6

  20. The River and the Tree of Life The angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the tree is for the healing of the nations. (Rev 22:1-3) Bamberg about 1020 John 4:10 Living water Isaiah 53:7 Lamb who suffered Gen 2:9 Tree of life

  21. A New Beginning William Heartland, 2005 John Martin, The Plains of Heaven

  22. Come, Lord Jesus See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone's work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (Rev 22:12-13) Ted Larson Rev 22:13

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