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“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Rev. 1:1–3).

Throughout the book of Revelation, the earth has many plagues that rain down upon it. Over the last two thousand years, the book of Revelation has itself been treated to nearly the same number of interpretations, some of them like hailstones the size of baseballs. In the course of this study, we will endeavor not to do any of that ourselves, at least not on purpose.

The first thing to note is that the book of Revelation is a revelation, an unveiling. It is intended to make things manifest, and so any scheme of interpretation that serves to obscure is an interpretation that should be suspect. This is a revelation. Secondly, it is a revelation of Jesus Christ, of and by Him, meaning that any interpretation that leaves Him out of it should also be suspect.

God gave this revelation to Jesus Christ, who in turn signified by his angel sent as a messenger to John, who in his turn showed what was given to the Lord’s servants. John gives his account of the word of God, he testifies to Jesus Christ, and he also narrates for us what he saw. The things that he saw are described as things that must shortly come to pass (taxos—speedily, quickly, swiftly). This means that the book of Revelation is largely concerned with events of the first century. These events were upon them, which John tells us twice. These things must shortly take place, and the time is at hand. Believing this to be a revelation, and not an obscuring, we should expect the fulfillment of the vast majority of this book to occur within a few years of the time it was given. The operative word is soon. With this assumption, many details within the book swim into focus.

John ends his preamble with a blessing. The blessing promised is for those who read, those who hear, and those who keep.

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Prefiero Figurados
Prefiero Figurados
5 years ago

Hmmm… and all this time growing up I was reading the Arminian Standard Version:

“The Revelation of Jesus ChristIsrael, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortlyeventually maybe when Israel is a state or something come to pass;”

Whoops. Looks like my sarcasm font didn’t work ;-)

lloyd
5 years ago

The new edit makes sense. I was kinda wondering where you were going with that.

Prefiero Figurados
Prefiero Figurados
5 years ago
Reply to  lloyd

If only so much of the rest of life’s mistakes could be so easily edited away ;-)

Luke Pride
5 years ago

Not persuaded yet that the events took place in the first century, or at least that they aren’t ongoing events. However, the argument is quite strong since in Daniel the events are far off, and they were only hundreds of years in the future. I suppose I may take it as both and, that these things are going on and will be till the end, or that certain specific visions are for the immediate first century.
Keep the arguments coming, they have merit.

Nicholas Brown
Nicholas Brown
2 months ago
Reply to  Luke Pride

I just like how the postmil view puts everything into context. Revelation would seem so strange for John to have this vision, and write about it, but have no bearing on the immediate situation Christians in that day were facing.

John: “GUYS I HAD THIS AMAZING VISION… don’t worry tho it’s not for you, its for people thousands of years from now… let’s be sure to make lots of copies so that it survives till then.” ??

Max Focus
Max Focus
5 years ago

Love it. Am presently enjoying Dennis E. Johnson’s Triumph of the Lamb A Commentary on Revelation. G.K. Beale is next up after that. As all of God’s Word is – it is an understatement to say how precious and valuable is the Revelation to our time – and yet it has been freighted to the point of being a closed book! Persecution, doctrinal corruption and materialistic seduction have always been the enemy’s strategy to thwart if not destroy outright the Bride of Christ. The paradox of victory in death and apparent defeat; the Judge with a rod of iron who… Read more »

lloyd
5 years ago
Reply to  Max Focus

How ’bout that connection? Point scored.

Qodesmith
Qodesmith
5 years ago

Greatest book I’ve read on eschatology was David Chilton’s Days of Vengeance. I read Paradise Restored (same author) first, which only whet my appetite. I was raised on dispensational theology (not that I knew, or cared, what it was at the time) but could never swallow the fact that it was ridden with defeatism – not to say all dispensationalists are defeatists. But the Christ I saw in scripture wins. His people WIN. I couldn’t imagine we’re tasked to just “hold down the fort” till He comes back to rescue us. But love not my life unto the death? Yea.… Read more »

Mike Bull
5 years ago

One translation of “shortly” which I saw was “without delay.” Regarding Days of Vengeance (and Kenneth Gentry as well), I think they get the purpose of the book right, and the beginning and end, but they see the middle as all about the Jewish War. For another view (and one which makes better sense of the symbolism) check out James B. Jordan, or Peter Leithart’s upcoming commentary. Rather than relying on Josephus, they use the Old Testament, so the Trumpets are the apostolic witness (Pentecost to Holocaust), what follows is the response of Herodian Judaism, and the Jewish War is… Read more »

Jeff Irwin
Jeff Irwin
5 years ago
Reply to  Mike Bull

Anyone have an idea when Leithart’s commentary is coming out?

Malachi
Malachi
5 years ago

I am SO looking forward to this!!!

David R
David R
5 years ago

The problem with this viewpoint, is that if it were true, history would have unfolded as described in Revelation. Where were these plagues? When did 1/3 of the population die off? When did a 1/3 of the fresh water disappear? When did the seas become as the blood of a dead man? When was the planet scorched with fire? When was the global earthquake that torn down the cities of the world?

This should be an easy exercise, if all these things have occurred.

lloyd
5 years ago
Reply to  David R

Good questions to be sure. One must consider the genre – prophecy. Prophecy in the OT takes on these grand metaphors to describe events that have taken place – like heavenly bodies falling from the sky to represent the fall of kings and kingdoms (thats in Joel I think, but may be wrong). Further the idea that the world is all “4 corners” of the earth may be out of line with the prophetic genre as well. It could be speaking more specifically of the Jewish world and kingdom. Of course there are real hermeneutical differences in understanding it that… Read more »

David R
David R
5 years ago
Reply to  lloyd

Here is the problem I have with this line of reasoning (i.e. apocalyptic language). The vast majority of OT prophecies were literally fulfilled. I cannot think of a prophecy that was fulfilled, that did not literally happen. Can you point to one? Jesus was literally born of a Virgin (Is 7:14). He literally rode in on a donkey (Zech 9:9). He was literally a descendant of David. He was literally the Suffering Servant (Is 53). He literally died and rose again He was literally betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zech 11:12-13). They literally cast lots over His garments (Ps.… Read more »

Malachi
Malachi
5 years ago
Reply to  David R

It’s very convenient of you to grab a few instances where the prophecy, in fact, was fulfilled quite literally. However, as n8tdo66 pointed out, you are also very conveniently not addressing the literal fulfillment of Daniel’s statue or the many references in OT prophecy of the sun going black and stars falling from the sky.

Surely, hopefully, you don’t require a literal fulfillment of every prophetic vision.

David R
David R
5 years ago
Reply to  Malachi

I dont require it, but I do expect the fulfillment of the prophecy to at least resemble the prophecy. Take the six bowls of wrath. How were they fulfilled? Rev 16:3 – The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living [e]thing in the sea died. That is a pretty specific prophecy. Is there anything that even resembles this since the writing of Revelation? My point is, you cannot just wave this away with “apocalyptic language”. I can see some apocalyptic language being used to describe… Read more »

lloyd
5 years ago
Reply to  David R

Joel 2:10
Is 40:4

There are more but I think 2 is one more than enough to say it was fulfilled but didnt literally happen.

I’m not dismissing your initial questions; I think they are good. But I dont agree with your hermeneutics on OT prophecy (or NT prophecy).

lloyd
5 years ago
Reply to  David R

Theres a neat little book called the Destruction of Jerusalem by George Holford that was written before the pre-millenial understanding took such a strong hold. It was written as a proof that Christianity is true and focused on, as the title says, the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 to be the fulfillment of these scriptures. Maybe he’s wrong with his assumption as to what these prophecies were describing, but things were pretty cataclysmic for Jerusalem, Judaism, the Temple, the Hebrew world.