Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Revelation Chapter 1 verses 1-5a part 1


Chapter 1:1-8

I. Title
a. Apokaluyis (apokalupsis)
i. This is the subject of the book
1. It is about John’s experience with God
2. God’s word is dynamic
ii. It is the nature of the book
1. It is what the book does
2. It reveals what God intends
3. God’s word is truth
iii. This is the only place within the book where this word is used of the material
1. In all other locations it is called prophecy
b. Revelation of Jesus Christ
i. There are two possible understandings of this phrase
1. It is a revelation about Jesus – focused on revealing/unveiling the lordship of Christ
2. It is a revelation by means of Jesus – focused on revealing coming through Jesus’ mediation
c. Chain/process/order of revelation
i. God gave the revelation to Jesus
1. That it might be shown to His bond-servant/slave/doulos (doolos)
ii. Jesus sends the revelation by means of His angel
iii. His angel communicated/signified the revelation to his bond-servant, John
iv. John bears witness to the word of God and the testimony of Chrsit
1. Word of God and testimony of Christ are not separate
2. The second expands the understanding of the first
3. It is the Gospel
v. “all he saw” can refer to two things
1. It refers to Christ – Jesus sent and communicated all he saw…
2. It refers to John – who bore witness to all he saw regarding the word of God
d. Signified – shmainw (semaino)
i. This carries the idea of figurative representation
ii. “give signs”; “make known”
iii. God/Christ communicates by means of symbolic language (through visions)
iv. The message and the medium cannot be separated
1. You cannot extract the message while leaving the images for “better” images
v. The author intends to draw the reader/hearer in by means of imagination and emotion
e. Content
i. Things which must quickly come to pass
1. Quickly poses a problem for some people
a. It is a “time” issue
2. Possible answers to the “time problem”
a. Quickly refers to the events after the “end times” begin
b. Quickly is understood as meaning certainly
c. John is referring to the coming persecutions only
d. Quickly is understood in reference to Christ’s resurrection and the inauguration of his kingdom then
e. Prophecy language is always the language of imminence
3. Daniel 2:28-30, 45-47
a. With reference to Daniel, this is a definite, imminent time of fulfillment which has likely begun in John’s lifetime
b. John fully expects all of what was seen in the visions as the beginning of the fulfillment but not the final, complete fulfillment

II. Beattitude
a. There are 7 beattitudes (blessed are) in the Revelation (1:3; 14:3; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14)
b. They are similar to and may be borrowed from Luke 11:28
c. John 12:47a is a negative parallel to this beatitude

Revelation Chapter 1 verses 1-5a part 2


II. Beattitude
a.There are 7 beattitudes (blessed are) in the Revelation (1:3; 14:3; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14)
b.They are similar to and may be borrowed from Luke 11:28
c.John 12:47a is a negative parallel to this beatitude
d.Blessed is/blessed are
i.The one who reads
1.Ancient texts were almost always read aloud in the congregation
2.Possibly someone with a skill/art for reading
3.Words chosen to effectively communicate meaning aurally
4.A feature of Revelation is that it is written explicitly for oral performance
5.There is an epistle (letter) feature of the Revelation
ii.The one who hears
1.It is thought provoking
2.Prophecy – similar to the Old Testament idea – the word proclaimed for the hearer
iii.The one who heeds – the one who does
1.The Revelation has ethical implications within
2.Old Testament prophecies carried ethical implications for the people
iv.The time is near
1.This is linked directly to verse 1 – things which quickly take place
2.The time issue is bound to the understanding that this is a prophecy
a.Prophetic messages are more concerned with ethical implications than predictive fulfillments
i.Jonah 1:1; 3:3-4

III.Greeting – 1:4-8
a.This is similar to many other New Testament and other Greek letters
i.Superscriptio – sender
a.There is no claim to authority or title
i.Galatians 1:1
ii.Adscriptio – addressee
1.7 churches in Asia
a.Some disagreement on what these 7 churches represent
b.Symbolic representation of the entire church
i. 7 is a number of completeness/wholeness
ii.This would then be a letter to all believers
1.There is no mention of the churches after chapter 3
2.Worldwide judgments in 7 seals, trumpets, bowls
3.Final completion of the entire biblical tradition
c.A circuit of churches in Asia
i.If you draw a line connecting the churches in order beginning and ending with Ephesus it completes a circle
d.John has special relationship or authority with these churches
e.Each church represents an aspect of persecution or problem
f.They represent the entire church through different eras of history
iii.Grace and peace
1.This is similar to other New Testament greetings
2.It is a combination of Greek and Hebrew greetings
a.xapin (karin) – favor or pleasure becomes the Christian xaris (charis) – grace
b.Shalom – the Hebrew blessing of peace
3.A difference from the New Testament is the source of the grace and peace
iv.He who is, who was, and who is coming
1.This refers to God
a.Exodus 3:14
b.Grammatically it is incorrect
i.From he who is, from he who becomes
ii.This “error” preserves the immutability and absoluteness of the divine name
v.7 Spirits
1.Symbolic understanding of one complete spirit – Holy Spirit
2.Archangels of Jewish tradition
3.Spirits/angels associated with the rest of the revelation
a.They would be undefined
4.Sharing of God’s spirit within each church
5.Manifestations of God’s character through spirit – Isaiah 11:2
vi.Jesus Christ
1.The third entity from whom grace and peace flow
2.The only “real” evidence for grace and peace
a.Faithful witness
i.“witness” is a Johanine term for Christ’s mission of mediating God’s message
ii.martus – Greek for witness
1.martus -> martyr -> one whose witness results in death
2.Psalm 89:37b
b.firstborn of the dead
i.Literally firstborn is the first child, usually a son, born to a family
1. Jesus was the first to experience resurrection
2.He was the first but is not the last providing for resurrection of believers
ii.Figurative – the firstborn assumes the power and glory of the father
1.Christ is exalted through death and resurrection
2.He thus has sovereignty over the cosmos
iii.Psalm 89:27a
c.Ruler of the kings of the earth
i.Psalm 89:27b
ii.Parallels king of kings reference later in Revelation
d.All three represent the entire salvation effort through Christ
i.Witness – death
ii.Firstborn – resurrection
iii.Ruler – exaltation