Fr. Jude 6/4/08
1. Introduction :
It is the most misunderstood book f the NT,
People are seeing the end of the world in the NT.
It is least read book of the Bible,
The images cannot be understood.
Many people have profited from the book, many movies were made.
It is used in the lectionary & Breviary.
Holy, holy is the Lord – is taken from Rev.
Conclusion : Rev gives a glimpse of the majesty of God & his plan for human kind.
NT was written in Greek
2. Title: Apocalypse = apo / kalupsis Gk.
Away from / hidden
Taking away from what is hidden = revealing
Removing a veil from what is hidden, removing a veil.
1:1 What is the thing that must be revealed; what is revealed to Jn must take place
3. Who is the author :
It is John, who is this John
The author does not say if he the Apostle / disciple of Jesus
He does not call himself a prophet, but speaks like one.
The author describes his heavenly message, shows us that it comes from God from heaven
The church fathers believe him to be the apostle John
The author speaks of the apostles & looks back to them as the great founders of the church Rev 21:14.
The author of Rev is not the same as the writer of the 4th Gs, because there are differences in the language style, theological positions, notably its view on the second coming ogf Xt. the Parousia.
The author is a Jewish Xtian who thought in Aramaic & wrote in Greek
It is the worst Greek text in the NT
However the author has used vivid, imaginative, powerful, pictorial writing.
The author of Rev continuously calls himself ‘ I John’ which is not found in the 4th Gs.
The dominating ideas in the 4th Gs of light, life, truth, grace these do not dominate in the Rev.
4. Eschatology : In the 4th Gs the Es of J has come in Rev. Jesus will come = future Es
Similarities= Rev does use Johanine vocabulary, typical of the 4th Gs, The interpretation of the death of Jesus
Both the Gs & Rev comes from the same region of Asia minor
‘ It seems best to conclude that the author is an early Xtian prophet by the name of John.
Otherwise he is unknown.
John was most probably a Palestinian Jew who had come to Asia Minor late in life & occupied a certain position of authority as a prophet within the Xtians communities there
( prophetic role of the ministry ) not only does he share in the persecution Rev 1:9.
John was exiled on the island of Patmos, He presents himself as a Prophet, & thus he has the right to speak : 10:11; 19:10; 22:6,9. 18:19.
He writes what he sees, what he sees comes from God, his word is faithful & true Rev 1:11,19
John is conscious that he is carrying the prophecy for his community 1:1-3, 22:6-8.
He speaks with authority & demands obedience 22:18-19.
His authority comes from the wd of God !;2.
He incorporates this wd in his own life 10:8-11.
The recipients are the7 churches of Asia minor- Asia minor-
7 is a correct # which stands for whole church 1:4-7 They are: 1:11.These are in modern day Turkey.
1. Ephesus 5. Sardis
2. Smyrna 6. Philadelphia
3. Pergamum 7. Laodicea
5. What is the occasion of the letter & its historical background.
a. What was the political background at the time :
The Romans were in charge
The Roman emperor & their official rigorously promoted the worship of the emperor, both living & dead as Gods & Roma ( The state) as the queen
Why state & worship of the emperors
This was a political measure to inculcate loyalty & unity among the diverse population of the empire.
How was this done.
Temples shrines, alters statues were erected throughout the empire.
A priesthood was established to supervise the rite of the cult.
All subjects of the state were to show their loyalty by participating in the rites of the cult.
Official backing was used to enforce the cult.
Power was granted by Rome to police & its agents in the government
As time went on the cult of the living emperor took precedence & was violently enforced.
b. Religious Situation :
The Xtians of Asia minor & else where refused to participate in emperor worship, because they belonged to the one true God revealed in JC. Thus they were persecuted & even put to death
They also faced social pressure from their family & friends & neighbors.
Some Xtians sort a compromise ie performed the rites & still were the members of the state.
The church authorities did not permit this.
There were only 2 choices Remain loyal to Christ, or face death
Many left and became apostates.( believers who left their faith )
Some other religious factors:
Some Xtians were exhausted after many years of testing Rev 2:2 & the first fervor was waining 2:4
False leader also arose claiming to be apostles & promoting false doctrine 2:6-14, 15, 20
Jews were also hostile to the Xtians 2:9. 3:9
Faith not tested is no faith at all
CONCLUSION : to the Religious situation
a. The persecution was violent 12:13, 17, 13:7
b. Many Xtians men & women had suffered martyrdom 7:13-14, 2:13. 6:9-11,16:6,18:24, 20:4
c. Jn himself was a prisoner 1:9.
d. It was difficult to hold on to ones faith 2:3-4.
e. The police exercised total control 13:16
f. Who ever refused to worship could not buy or sell 13:17.
g. The Emperor was God and saviour 14:4, 12, 14.
6. Purpose of the book:
The real danger was that many Xtians would fall away from faith, & if left unchecked this defection could eventually weaken & destroy these Xtians communities.
It was meet this severe crises that Jn wrote Rev
‘ Remain faithful, J is the lord of the situation let your faith be strong’ was the main message of the book. It gives us message of hope, to enlighten encourage, & comfort
Jn is writing not only to the 7 churches as mentioned in Rev but to all the Xtians of his time, who were tested & persecuted for the faith.
What did Jn want to reveal to the community.
a. No one could understand the meaning of the events
b. Under severe persecution people were becoming impatient. 6:10
c. If God is in charge of the universe & of everything how could he allow an endless persecution
d. Has God lost control of the situation
e. The emperor seems to be the ruler of the world not God
f. God gives the answers to the persecuted members thro his servant John.
g. On Gods order 1:11, 19 & thro Jn he will disclose his plan of salvation to the people stage by stage
h. He will show ‘what must soon take place 1:1, The time is near 1:3 within the historical time marked by persecution there exists a time of God & the plan of God.
i. The divine plan has entered it final stages. There will be no more delay. God is coming soon to liberate the people. He will change the entire situation.
Rev takes up the veil to unable people to discover within the events of the persecution the good news that the lord of God the liberator is coming thus the people are encouraged, Gods victory is certain over every evil power. God will come to their help as he has done in the past
(Egypt, Babylon Palestine)
Because of the D & R of Jesus God has made Xt the Lord of history & he is in charge of the destiny of the world. Jesus won the final victory over death, so his people too will conquer with him, by sharing with his passion, they will win the victory, by the blood of the lamb & the wd of their testament Rev 12:11. Thro their enduring suffering they will enter into Jesus own glory & live with him forever in the new Jerusalem the city of God. What is needed is only to be loyal to Xt .
To sum up, Don’t fear the human ruler, You will share the victory of Jesus. The end is to live with the Lord in Jerusalem, be loyal Xt whatever.
Revelation = Theological truth not future prediction & prophecies.
7. Date: Rule of the Emperors:
i) AUGUSTUS: 27BC -14AD Connected with the census at the birth of Jesus. Jesus born in 4, 3 BC,
Lk 2:1 During his reign there was no trouble.
ii) TIBERIUS : 14 – 37Ad connected to the public ministry of Jesus Lk 3:1
iii) CALIGULA; 37 – 41 AD Start Emperor worship. He was murdered in Jan 41AD.
iv) CLAUDIUS: 41 – 54AD Acts 18:2. He expelled Jews from Rome, including Jewish Xtians
He comes to the throne by military support. ( troops acclaim)
*v) NERO: 54 – 68 AD He persecuted Rome, Peter was killed in this persecution, Paul was executed.
Nero committed suicide
vi) GALBA 68 -69 AD murdered in Jan 69AD
vii) OTHO 69AD. He was replaced.
viii) VITELLIUS: 69AD.
ix) VESPASIAN: 69 – 79AD Temple in Jerusalem is destroyed Mk 13:2 Siege of Jerusalem was led
by Titus son of Vespasian, because of the military support.
x) TITUS 79 – 81AD succeeded his father
*xi) DOMTIAN: 81 – 96AD Was called Nero resurrected The Book of Rev. comes in to being.
He was called Satan incarnate. His persecution was same as Nero only worse.
1. Persecution Under Nero: This took place after the death of Jesus. Before the persecution the Gs was spreading like wild fire. Jews harassed the Xtians (Acts of the Apostels) The Xtians were traitors. The Jews called the Xtians converts, heretics, Jewish Xtians were called ‘minim’
Caligula was called the King of the world Rev 13:4, 14.
For Xtians only Jesus is the Lord of the World
There was a clash all had to worship the emperor as God 13: 4-8.
13:8-15. All had to worship the Lord 13:16-17.
2. The life of the people was controlled by the emperor
The poor were exploited 18:3; 3;11-19
Act 2:44-45; 4:32-34 The Christians lived like bro & sisters & condemned those who exploited the poor & refused to support the Roman Empire Rev 18:4.
The community of Xtians became a threat to the Roman Empire & the system
July 64AD the Xtians were falsely accused of starting a fire, & with this the persecution began
The first phase of persecution was under Nero.
3. The wave of persecution under Domitian:
Domitian was known as Nero re divivus, cult of the emperor worship flourished. He was called ‘Our Lord & God’ Every one had to say this. & it was compulsory. The title Lord & God was blasphemous to the Xtians, many Xtians were even put to death, Some Xtians even abandoned their
faith (Apostasy) The future of Xtians was in danger & so the book of Rev. was written in 95Ad to give new hope definitely after Neros death. .After the new persecution there was a danger that the community would be decimated
Though there are illusions Rev 13:3,18; 17:8,11.
The use of term Babylon for Rome, ‘whore of Babylon’
The term Babylon was applied to Jewish literature before John wrote it stood for political power, great luxury, Babylon destroyed Rome in 90AD.
8. LITERARY GENRE: There are 3 forms, We can identify in the Book of Rev.
c. Epistolary Form.
a) Apocalyptic Literature :
i) Satan (evil) is in control of the temporal & evil age of human history. He has demonic Human agents
ii) But his power will be soon come to an end by the direct intervention of God. Gods age (rule) will be righteous, perfect & eternal.
iii) After Satan is defeated god will create a new & eternal age, where he will rule & all his righteous followers among the living & the resurrected dead will enjoy everlasting Joy.
Apocalyptic writing also found in the OT Daniel 2:12. Book of Enoch2nd estras, 2nd Barook
b) Prophetic literature:
The key wd ‘Thus says the lord’
Apocalyptic writing writes down in the book what you will see
Prophetic Lit. was primarily concerned with this life & not the next age, life to come. The prophets appeal to the people to change their ways in the present order. In the Prophetic literature God has not for a single moment given up his control over Satan. The Prophets sometimes present God as using certain aspects of evil as punishment for sin.
The present age will not be destroyed but purified & transformed for the future,
c) Epistolary Form: Very short at the beginning & the end of the book.1:4-3:33; 22:21.
APOCALPTIC LIT. IN REV.
1. How is the Apocalyptic language written in Rev.
The Rev. comes from a dream of vision, the author is transported in to the heavenly realms where he is privileged to see the eternal secrets of Gods purpose. Some time he is accompanied by an angelic
being who acts as a interpreter disclosing the meanings of the extra ordinary things he is seeing. Therefore the language is cryptic (hidden) It is trying to describe something that is not describable
2. Also because of the current situation of persecution the apocalyptic books were frequently written in codes the language deliberately couched & unintelligible to the outsider & hence the key to the code was most important.
3. The language is richly symbolic, every element has symbolic value, person places, animals actions objects parts of the body #s garments etc
The visions are never to be interpreted literally. The symbols need to be translated back into ideas, which the writer intends to convey.
4. CONCLUSION: Apocalypts (those who write the language) Wrote in the time of crises. They despaired the present situation & pinned all their hopes on the future. They hoped for divine intervention to put an end to an intolerable evil situation. They echoed a certain degree of fatalism, ie future was fixed an order according to divine calendar, no human action can alter it Ecc 1:3.
The book of Rev an apocalyptic work. Rev is an apocalyptic literature having affinities, prophecies, letters( epistles) , drama. The content of Rev. has a focus secret of the cosmos(calendar, planets) & secret of the future(political & Historical, who will rule)
Many cosmic elements in apocalypse.
9. APPROACHES: ----How should we study the Book of Rev
a) HISTORICAL CRITICAL APPROACH:
The message of Rev. was written for a specific group of Xtians, who were living in a special historical situation in the past. Hence the interpretation of the contents of the book is always to be related to the events in the original historical content.
b) LITERAL APPROACH:
Taking the text literally & applying it to our present situation. Hence the book becomes a
coded message, which is to show what is to take place in our lives today. In this Lit. App. Interpretation is wholly subjective & arbitrary.
c) ANOLOGICAL APPROACH:
This approach looks to the past & present, what does the original message mean, for us today. It respects the historical app. & its method of interpretation. It is analogical because it seeks to find the similarities & the dis similarities between the John of Rev. situation & our own.
CONCLUSION: After studying Rev. critically we can draw the following truths for self study.
a. God is the Lord of history (persona history & social History)
b. Evil seems to be victorious in the world today
c. But God will ultimately triumph over evil no matter how great a power a particular power may
wield. It is nothing compared to the power of God
d. All those who are faithful to God will conquer & reign with Xt in the new creation
2 : 7, 11, 17, 28. 3: 5, 12, 21. 21: 5-7.
e. Jesus continues to stand at the door & knock 3:20--------------------------------(Gen3:10)
He invites us to enter into partnership with him
f. Xt gives us the promise that all good would be rewarded & evil punished even as he judges all
1. 1:1- 3 Prologue 3. = DIVINE FULLNESS
2 1:4-3:22 Letters to the 7 Churches 4. = TOTALLITY
a) 1:4-20 A general or a covering letter 7. = FULLNESS,
b) 2:1-3:22 7 individual letters. PERFECTION, COMPLETENESS
3. Worship in Heaven 4:1-5:14
a) 4:1-11 Worship of God as creator
b) 5:1-14 Worship of the Lamb as saviour.
4. 6:1-8:1 The 7 Seals
a) 6:1-17 The 6 Seals
b) 7:1-17 The interlude
c) 8:1 The 7th Seal
5 8:2-11:19 The 7 Trumpets
a) 8:2 – 9:21 The 6 Trumpets
b) 10:1-11:14 The interlude
c) 11: 15-19 7th Trumpet.
6. 12:1-14:20 The Churches Vs the power of evil
a) 12:1-17 The women & the dragon
b) 13:1-16 The 2 Beasts
c) 14:1-20 The Vision of Triumph & Doom
7. 15:1-16:21 The 7 Bowls
a) 15:1-8 An introduction to the 7 bowls
b) 16:1-21 The 7 Bowls
8. 17:1-18:24 The destruction of her allies (Babylon. (Rome)
a) 17:1-18 The Whore & the beast
b) 18:1-24 The fall of Babylon
9. 19:1-20:15 The Final Victory
a) 19:1-10 Songs of Victory
b) 19:11-21 Victory over the beast & hert allies
c) 20:1-15 Victory over Satan
10 21:1-22:5 The New Creation
11 22:6-21 Epilogue.
11 TEXT: CODE OF THE BOOK SYMBOLISM.
3. = DIVINE FULLNESS , It denotes the greater possible emphasis
Holy, Holy, Holy. 4:8
In the NT it’s the Holy Trinity. Father Son & Holy Spirit.
4. = TOTALLITY
The 4 living creatures 4:8; totality of the choirs of angels, their fn is to praise God perpetually.
The 4 corners of the world 7:1, meaning the whole earth totally, modern day NSEW.
4 Horns of heavenly alter 9:13 Total power of God
4 angels = agents of Gods Judgment
7. = FULLNESS, PERFECTION, COMPLETENESS.
7 Spirits 5:6 seven arch angels, possibly reference to head angels
Gabriel, Michael, Raphael Uriel, Raghuel, Saragael, Ramel.
7 angels with 7 trumphets 8:2-6
Angels = ministers of Gods perfect Judgment
Trumphets = announcements = of theophany = manifestation of God
7 angels with 7 bows 15:6-8
7 stars = angels of 7 churches Rev 1:20
7 eyes & 7 horns of the Lamb Rev 5:6; eyes = all knowing; horns = all
7 lamp stands Rev 1:12; 7 churches totally the Xtian community.
7 Seals rev 6:1>
7 trumphet 8:2, 5, 6.> They are fullness of
7 bowls 15:7 > Punishment
7 thunders 10:3-4 >
7 = FULLNESS OF EVIL
7 heads & diadens of the dragon (satan) Rev 12:3
7 heads of the beast from the sea Rev 13:1
7 heads of the beast on which the whore sat
7 hills of Rome on which the city was built = 7 emperors of Rome 17:3, 7, 9.
10. = FULLNESS.
10 in Rev is connected to evil
There are 10 days of afflictions 2:10
10 horns of the dragon 12:3; horns = power.
10 horns & Diadems of the sea beast 13:1
10 horns of the beast on which the whore sat.; horns=power; whore = Rome;
It was believed that after Nero death he would return & with the help of Partisan kings of the east he will return & conquer Rome, it came true with the coming of Domitian.
1000 is a multiple of 10 = IMMENSITY, HUGENESS Rev 5:11; 20:2-7.
It was believed that between the end of persecution & the end of the world there was a long intermediate period 9:16
12 = COMPLEATENESS, TOTALLITY.
12 gates of the New Jerusalem & 12 angels 21:12, 21; indicating the 12 tribes of Israel
12 foundation stones; 12 names of the apostles represents the New Israel which is the church
12 months of fruits – middle of the city – new Jerusalem is continually & completely fruitful. Based in the book of Gen.. Begins with the tree of life & ends with it.
24 is a multiple of 12; 4:4, 10.
24 thrones on which sat 24 elders. Complete order & rule in the universe; the elders stand for the entire people of God.
144000= 12*(old Israel)12*(New Israel)1000 = denotes immensity & completeness 7:4; 14:1.
144000 is a symbolic # representative. The new Israel is made up of Xtians martyrs. Whether of the people of Isrel or other people or were protected by the grace of God in tribulation.
3 1/2. days or yrs, a temporary time 12:14.
1 + 2 + ½.=3 1/2. = ½. 0f 7; 42 mts; 1260 days.. A limited period of persecution or terror
1/3. & ¼. Of the world 6:8, 8:7
4th a part of the world; 3rd a part of the world; cosmic punishment of God.
2. In completeness 13:11
2 horns of incompleteness of power possessed
6 short of 7 = half of 12 = incomplete #s
666= 3 times perfect ness incompleteness.
GOLD: ROYALTY SPLENDOUR, GLORY
In the book of Rev. it is used positively
Gold lamp stands 1:13,20 Churches who share in the Glory of God.
Lampstands = churches
Gold = Glory
Golden Crown 4:4 >
Sign of Royal splendor.
Golden Sash 1:13 > All reflect the splendor
Golden Alter 9:13 > of God
Golden bowls incense (for divinity) 5:8 >
Golden censor 8:3 >
Angels with Golden sashes 15:6 = they share in the divine splendor 15:7, 8,
Golden bowls with plates = Judgment of God
Walls & streets of pure Gold in the New Jerusalem 21:18, 21.
They reflect Gods kingly splendor.
Locust wearing crown of Gold, agents of destructions (power of satan) 9:7
The Gold cup of abomination 17:4 A wicked earthly ruler a wicked city.
RED: Violent warfare, Killing blood shed, Martyrdom 6:4; 12:3
BLACK : Death, mourning 6:5
PALE GREEN: death from plague / illness 6:8
SCARLET / PURPLE : Wanton Superfluous, Luxury, Riches
17:3 (beast) 17:4 9robes) 18:16 purple Scarlet.
Jesus robes Rich man Lazarus
WHITE: Eternity, Purity, Victory 1:14
Head hair is white
2:17 white stone
7:9, 13, 14 White Robes
6:2 White horse, victory, Glory
3. LIVING ( PERSONS, ANIMALS, BIRDS)
i) BEASTS: Symbol evils agents of earth of Satan, devil, dragon.
11:7 Beast from the bottomless pit (abyss) = some beast from the sea.
13:1-10 Beast from the sea = Roman empire or the empire who are incarnate of evil
13: 11-17 Beast from the land = Local or provincial official who enforced emperor worship.
17:3-17 Scarlet beast, beast on which the whore (ROME) sat = stood for Nero.
ii) Bride of the Lamb: Glorious people of God the Church. 19:7-8.
iii) Dragon of Serpent: Satan enemy of God ; 12 Dragons & the women
13:2-4 Dragon (Satan) gives power to the beast (Emperor)
20:1-10. Serpent, Devil, Satan
iv) Eagle; Messenger of God who announced 3 calamities
12:14 Women escaped on the 2 wings of the great eagle.
Wings = in the OT wings were a symbol of the protective arms of God.
17- The whore is the city of Rome
On the wings of the snow white dove = protective arms of God
v) WOMEN: People of God. Israel in the OT; New Israel—The church in the NT.
4. VARIOUS OBJECTS:
i) CROWN: Royalty, Kingly Authority. Made use =vely & -vely
Crown also refers to the reward of eternal life that the faithful one would receive 2:10; 3:11
4:4 24 elders wore crowns
6:2 First horseman wore a crown
14:4 Son of man wore a crown
12 the women wear a crown.
ii) DIADEMS= Royalty or Rule;
Kingly ornament for the Head, distinct badge of Royalty / rule.
12:3 7 Diadems on the dragon -----diadems=rule
13:1 10 diadems on the horns
19:12 On his rule (Xt) diadems
iii) EYES: All encompassing knowledge, used knowledge to judge.
1:14, 2: 18 Eyes were a flame of fire, fiery eyes of the glorified Xt,
4:6b, 8 4 living creatures full of eyes in front & behind. = heavenly knowledge.
5:6 Lamb has 7 eyes = Xt is full of knowledge.
iv) FIRE: = Judgment, purification, punishment.
3:18 Gold is refined thro fire = purification.
8:5 Fire from the alter.
8:7 Hale & fire, hail = plague punishment from God
8:8 Mountains burning with fire = all things symbolic for judgment of God.
10:1 Angel legs are pillars of fire = the bearer of Gods Judgment.
15:2 Sea of glass mingled with fire. Ref not known clearly,--- possibly the red sea.
19:20, 20:10 A lake of fire that burns with sulfur = image of hell,
aboard of everlasting punishment.
]v) HEADS & HORNS = power good or evil
5:6 The Lamb has 7 horns… all powerful lord. Jesus is all powerful
12:3 Dragon has 7 heads & 10 horns = completely evil
13:11 Beast from the land had 2 horns = local official had incomplete power.
17:3 17:4 the beast on which the whore sat = completeness of evil
Morning Star = 2:28 Victory over death
Palm branches = 7:9 Victory & triumphant
Precious Stones = 4:3 Jewels & Gems. Great beauty, wealth Brilliance awesome.
Jasper, carnelian, emerald = great beauty of God
-17:4 Gold jewels pearls = Great wealth of the whore (Rome)
21:18-21, Great beauty of new Jerusalem.
Rainbow: Halo, encircling divine 4:3 glorious splendor of God.
Sea : An abode of evil, evil destructive power, chaos
4:6 Sea of Glass like a crystal; the purification Is 6
Huge bronze basin in Solomon’s temple holding 12000gallons of water used for purification. Basin was called the sea 1 Kings 7:23-26; MoltenSea Jer 27:17; 52:20
1. Necessity of purification before entering in the presence of the all holy God
2. Purification by martyrdom
3. Sea =Historical chaos of persecution which the faith must pass in order to immerge victorious like Xt Sea 15:2 Sea of Glass mingled with fire possible Ref of the crossing of red sea/ reed sea the fire of Egyptians persecution = pillar of fire in the OT.
2nd death 2:11 Physical death = 1st. death, Spiritual Death = 2nd death.
To be cut from the source of death = cut of from God.
Sun = Shining brilliance, something that stands out
1:16 refers to Glorious Xt
10:1 Description of a mighty angel
Sword: The judging word of Xt. 19:15; 21; 2:12.
Waters: People & nations of the world under the power of Rome
17:1; 15. Coming out of Gods will, Gods protection.
Wings : Gods protection / Omni presence of God 4:8; 12:14.
2:1 – 3:22 LETTERS TO THE 7 CHURCHES:
1:4-20 Covering letter—Introduction meant for all the churches
Three titles of Jesus in 1:5:
Faithful witness = Death of Jesus.
First born of the dead = resurrected
Ruler of the Kings of the Earth = Glorious.
PATTERN OF THE LETTERS:
1. Commissioning, indicated by the word write,
2. Church is Identified.
3. A phrase or text about Xt is stated
4. The words ‘I Know’ & the words that follow are quite prominent.
5. A Praise or Rebuke for the Church.
6. There is a Promise or Reward / threat or punishment
7. Who ever has ears let him listen. ( Jesus used to also use these words)
1. Letter to the Church of EPHESUS: 2:1-7.
Ephesus was a key city ( St Paul evangelized 3 yrs there)
It was famous for the Temple of Diana Acts 19 (Diana’s Gk name was Artemisia)
2:1 Seven Stars = Seven Churches
at the Right hand = a place of authority.
Lamp stands = Churches.
2:2 False leaders = they have boasted that they have been commissioned by the risen
Lord or the congregation – He asks them to be careful.
2:3 Weary of persecution.
2:5 At first— Jer 2:2 Yahweh complains about his people of Israel.
Community has become weak = weak in Love.
Works = works of Love
Remove the Lamp stands = Remove the Churches.
Nicolaitans = Most probably Balamites; could be false teachers / or Leaders
There is a threat.
2:6 Tree of Life = Immortality = Lord Jesus.
2:7 Paradise = New Jerusalem
2. Letter to the Church of SMYRNA. 2:8-10.
This was an important city in Turkey, it had an excellent harbour. There fore it flourished with trade, commerce & money.
2:8 Of the first & the last = refers to Jesus; alpha / omega; death / resurrection
2:9 Rich & poor Greeks were rich / Galileans were poor
Migrants who came to Smyrna between AD 66-74.
Somebody is attacking ie the Jews
Synagogues of Satan = Jewish hostility to the Xtians
Acts 17:1-9 Jews had attacked the Xtian tribulation
2:10 10 days complete of complete power & tribulation
crown = royalty & victory
Smyrna was famous for organizing these games.
2:11 2nd. Death = spiritual death, = eternal punishment. not to be separated from God, who is the source of Light
3. Letter to the Church of PERGAMUM2:12 – 17.
Pergamum was an important city of Asia Minor
Parchment comes from this word, pergamum, pergamenia famous for the leather
parchments. 2nd centuary the king of pergamum used animal skin for writing material known as pergamenia, because of the shortage of the supply of papyrus from Egypt.
This city was the first center of emperor worship in Asia Minor.
2:12 2 edged sword = judgment of Xt.
2:13 Satan throne = emperors throne.
In Pergamum an alter was built dedicated to Zeus; temple dedicated to Rome the whore of Babylon; temple dedicated Augustus Caesar.
Pergamum was a seat of the Roman Governor
2:13 Antipas the witness of Xt was arrested & executed
2:14 Balaam #s 31:16; #s 25:1-2
= idolatry ( in marriage, following their spouses Gods)
= worship of Zeus, Roma, Agustus
2:16 sword = judge
2:17 Hidden manna coming from Jewish apocalyptic teaching in the OT
The treasure of manna would descend in the messianic age ( 2nd. Apocalyptic Barook)
Manna = bread of life Jn 6.
White stone an amulet on which was written a magical name, whose power would be trapped by the one who knows the name
New name = risen lord,the name of Jesus, the glorious one 3:12; 19:12
Only Xtians would have total power of the name of God.
4. Letter to the Church of THYATIRA: 2:18-29.
Of the 7 cities Thyatira was the least important.
Acts 16:14 Lydia was cloth, which came from this city.
2:18 Son of God
eyes = all knowing
fire = purification
urnished = shining
bronze = firm.
2:19 jezebel = foreigner, she was the daughter of Sidon 1 Kings 16:31, she was a Canaanite, she was a worshiper of Bal. She introduced the pagan practices in to the Israelite Religion 1 Kings 19:21 2 Kings 9:22
fornication = idolatry / temple prostitution.
2:24 Deep thing of the Satan = magical practices, formulas/ practices to contain evil sp.
2:27 iron rods / earthly pots Ps 2:8-9. It implies authority & power of Xtians over unbelievers
I myself = JC
Morning star = victory over death = new life
Sharing of the faithful Xtians in the victory of the risen xt over the darkness of death
Dan 12:3; Mt 13:43; 1 Cor 15:42-44.
5. Letter to the Church of SARDIS 3:1-6.
This was the capital of the region of Lydia 50 Km from Thyatira. It was a city famous for its wealth before the Roman era, center of the Emperor worship cult
7 Spirits = 7 Archangels ( arch angels are totality of Gods servants)
7 stars = 7 Churches; each church had an arch angel to protect it.
3:1 Spiritual death
3:3 thief in the night = death, with death came judgment
The church is faulted by it laxity
Sardis was conquered twice, because of its laxity, it was not vigiliant, carelessness would lead to laxity
3:6 soiling ones garments = sinful Zacaria 3:3-5; soiled ones baptismal garments because of sin, we can rewash it in the blood of JC in reconciliation.
3:5 clothed in white robes = symbol of glory, the faithful will rise after death, or at the time of resurrection Rev 6:11; 7:9-13 2 Cor 5:4
I will not blot = originally rooster of names Mal 3:16- 4:3; Ex 32:32
It is the list of those who would enter the New Jerusalem 21:27.
6. Letter to the Church of PHILADELPHIA 3:7-13.
Philadelphia is made up of 2 Gk words Philos = Love; adelphia = brotherly
Philosophy = love of wisdom
It was named after it founder Philadelphus around 1st 2nd. BC, this city was near the city of Lydia 45kmto the SE of Sardis, served as a vital link of communication between Sardis & pergamum to the (W) & Laodicia & Hierapolis to the (E)
3:7 Holy one = true one = Jesus
Key of David Is 20:22 A new steward is described as having authority over the personal access to the King. Jesus is the only mediator between humanity & God
3:8Opendoor = Jesus is the open door to the father
True Jesus Xtians have an access to God no one can deprive them of this
3:9-10 The church is prepared
3:12 Pillars, visions of the new Jerusalem
There is no temple as a building but a direct relationship & dwelling together of God & people 21:22 22:3-4.
7. Letter to the Church of LAODICIA 3:14-22.
Laodicia was a commercial prosperous city in the region of Phrygia (Ref Paul in Acts)
It was known specifically for it eye centers & its eye ointment. It was in the neighborhood of Colossae & Hierapolis Col 2:1; Gal 4:13-16
3;14 Amen = faithful & true witnesses
= yes of God Is 65:16 Possibly meaning The Amen
3:15 Xtians cannot be compromising; you have to be either hot or cold but not lukewarm
Water that came from the hot springs 6km away that reached the city was lukewarm
Either you are Xt or not for Xt.
3:17 People from Laodicia were rich but complacent
Economic prosperity resulted in spiritual bankruptcy
3:18 Be zealous & repentant; The Xtians of Laudicia are called to testify even though they may face persecution, being accused & even put to death.
3:21 Denotes the qualities of the father & the Son
Son sits with his father because of his victory over his death.
They will share in Gods rule.
WOMEN & THE DRAGON 12:1-18.
Introduction: It comes from extra biblical literature, Babylon, Greek.
This is closest to the Greeco-Roman version of Apollo’s birth.
Apollo was the son of Zeus & Leto, the monster is python
Leto is about to give birth to Apollo & Artemisia.
John is using this story to show:
New Israel = The Church
Women = the whole people of Israel Is 66:7-11; Jer 4:31; Is 51:18-30 Jer 31:15.
12 stars are the 12 tribes
Women here is giving birth to the New Israel
Here the dragon is the Satanic Roman Empire.
OT Motifs = Patterns
In all the OT texts shows the people of Israel as = women
Red Dragon = Fullness of violent evil.
The church sees in the women the male child & his ascension 1260 days is a symbolic period of persecution
6:1 – 8:1 7 seals
8:2 – 11:19 7 Trumphets
15:1 – 16:21 7 Bowls
Introduction : Symbolic language is used of what will happen in the immediate eschatological future.
John answers the Q whether God is in control of the universe thro a series of cataclysmic events ( Things that are beyond any earthly emperors)
3 major themes emerge :
1. The persecution of the future.
2. The Judgment of the persecuted.
3. The victory of the faithful.
The pourpose is to sustain the Xtians in their desentful period of persecution
6:1 – 8:1 7 seals
6:1-17—The 4 seals are connected with 4 horsemen
breaking of the seals reveal scenes of disaster that affect the nature of humans
John selects events typical of chaos & suffering & projected them into the future
Zec 1:8-11 vision of the 4 horsemen – they are here to patrol the earth.
6:1-8 are 8 chariots this stands for kinds of disasters.
6:1 white horse is a symbol of conquest; bow is the symbol of Parthian armies
6:3 Red horse = bloodshed, violence
6:5 black = death, here the death is by famine
6:7 pale green = death with plague
6:9-11; Xtian martyrs (witnesses) those who suffered for Jesus
those under the alter, with incense 8:34; sy. of prayer 5:8
cry to God for vindication----How long O Lord.--- avenge 79:8-10
Is the persecution going to stop
White robe = purity
Those who are victorious & those that are going to die
6:12 The 6th seal is a set of cosmic disasters , such were typically associated with the day of the Lord Is 13:10 Ez 32:7 Joel 2:10 Amos 8:9
The cosmic disaster are seen as a punishment of those who persecuted the followers of xt.
Earth quake , the sun became black as a sack cloth, the full moon became like blood, The stars of the sky fell to the earth, the sky vanished like a scroll.-----
Imagery taken the martyrs pray for vindication would be answered
8:1 the 7th. Seal calm before the storm, last seal there is silence
& there are the 7 Trumphets following
8:7 hail, fire , blood 1/3rd..
Mountains & fire 1/3rd. blood.
8:10 comet & meteors darkness
11:15 7th trumpet is victory
they have similarities with the plagues Joel 3:15
Theological truths from Rev truth about the church
1. The church is the bride of Xt.
2. The church is the community of worshipers
3. The church is called to be a faithful witness to Jesus in the world
5. The church is called to be repetitive
1. The 2nd coming of Jesus in all; his glory
2. There will be judgment
4. There will be hell.
5. There will be heaven 21:1 22:5------ Heaven & hell are centered on love.
666 - Who Is The Beast Of The Revelation?
Rev. Dr. Paul Kariamadam V.C.
In the Bible there are symbolic uses of some figures. Ancient languages like Hebrew, Greek,
Syriac and Latin gave letters the value of figures. This article delves deep into
the mysteries of some numbers, especially 666.
The Verse 13:18 in the Book of Revelation has been the source of many discussions and doubts and a number of studies have been conducted to arrive at their correct interpretation. We read: "This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred sixty-six." Who is this beast? Why is this number 666 used here? To understand the implications, we have to take into consideration how figures were used in the ancient times.
Use of Letters Instead of Figures
It is significant to note that ancient languages like Hebrew, Greek, Syriac and Latin gave letters the value of figures. Prior to Roman Arabic numerals came into popular use, the ancient languages used letters in place of figures. It is worthy to remember that Rabbis use Hebrew letters in place of Arabic numerals to indicate the chapters and verses of the Testament.
In the Jewish Books, especially in the Revelation Literature, numerals had various levels of meaning. Often these numerals have been given symbolic meanings. Letters also have been given values like the numerals and names were written using numerals, reminding one of modern cryptography. We call them 'numerical words'. By finding the value of each cardinal number in the figure and adding them up, one could arrive at the meaning of the name. The modern computers use codes very much in a similar fashion. In the military and espionage fields, encoding and decoding are made use of frequently to conserve secrecy. Gematria is the method by which numerals are used in place of a person's name. Gematria is conducive to matters involving top secrecy.
In the genealogy according to the Gospel of Matthew, we can see numerical values. In the early history, generations have been divided into groups of 14. This number 14 stands for the name David. In the Greek word 'David' there are three consonants - Dalat (D), Waw
(W) and Dalat (D). (In Hebrew, only the consonants are considered letters per se. To indicate vowels, dots are used). The value of Dalat (D) is 4 and that of Waw (W) is 6. Thus the total value of the name David is 14 (D+W+D). Through this process, the fact that Christ is of the tribe of David is repeated thrice in this genealogy.
In Greek too there is the use of numerical values. In some early Greek Christian communities, instead of the name Jesus, the figure 888 is used. In Greek, Jesus is written as Iesous. The values for the letters in this name are as follows: I=10; E=8; S=200; 0=70; U=400; S=200. When we add all these numerical values together the total comes to 888. The cardinal 8 indicates, in Christian tradition, Sunday, the day of resurrection and eternity, as the cycle of the weeks repeats itself on the 8th day. The number 888 indicates that Jesus is the perfection of perfections, the ultimate perfection.
The 666 of Revelation 13:8
This 666 also represents a numerical value. There are differences of opinion as to who is represented by this 666. Many conjectures and speculations have been made about this figure. By calculating the numerical value of some of the great personalities of the Bible, efforts have been made to identify the beast (person) mentioned in 13:8. Some people conveniently found that the numerical value of 666 works out to represent persons they don't like (because of the reference to beast) and such names as Trajan, Hadrian, Napoleon, Hitler, and Martin Luther are mentioned in this category. Some people, who were sworn enemies of the Catholic Church and Papacy, propagated, with the deliberate intention of slandering, maligning and calumniating, that the beast was none other than the Pope of Rome himself.
But the most accepted explanation is that this number stands for Emperor Nero of Rome who was perversely cruel and persecuted the Christians. The total numerical value of the Hebrew name Nero Qaisar (NRWN QSR) works to be 666. Nun (N)=50; Resh (R)=200; Waw (W)=6; Nun (N)=50; Qop (Q)=100; Samek (S)=60; Resh (R)=200. Total=666.
The persecutions perpetrated by Nero remained fresh in the mind of John. John viewed Nero as the opposite of Christ. Nero was the first Roman emperor who persecuted Christians in a deliberate, systematic and organized manner. We can see all the brutal habits of the beast rising out of the sea (Rev 31:1) in him. Even after death, he was considered alive and he was the antagonist of Christ. In him was personified perverse cruelty and debauchery. He committed suicide and was believed to have come back to life in the form of Satan. Nero ruled Rome from AD 54 to 68. John wrote the Book of Revelation in AD 95.
There are some people who believe that this number also represents some other rulers. Some think of 666 as the total of the numerical value of the first names of all the Roman rulers who persecuted Christians. In this view we detect an effort to think of the entire Roman rule as one of inequity. But not all the names of the rulers fit into this numerical value. Then there are people who claim that this figure 666 represents the numerical value of the letters of Emperor Domician who is purported to be a reincarnation or Nero. It was during his reign that the Book of Revelation was written. But, somehow, here also exactitude is in jeopardy.
St. Iraneus argues that the Greek work Lateinos is the one represented by the number 666. Lateinos means the people of Latin, the people of Rome who spoke Latin, and it represents the Roman reign that was perverse and cruel in the extreme. But very few people side with this view. The figure 666 stands for anti Christ, especially for Nero. The contemporaries of John knew the Hebrew language. But the opponents of Christianity did not know this language and the secret codes of the numbers. Such a secret code, cryptogram, was an essential part of the age of persecution, especially to be safe from the enemies, the persecutors.
The number 666 indicates all reigns and powers which stand against Christ and his Church. 6 is an incomplete, imperfect number. The complete number is 7. Jesus asks people to forgive, "not seven times, but seventy-seven times" (Mt. 18:22). In the Church traditions, the number 777 is seen as the perfect number for the Holy Trinity, the Triune Godhead. The number for Christ is 888. In the view of the Church elders, it was on the 6th day that the Devil deceived Adam and Eve and they were, as a consequence of their sin, driven away from the Paradise. This is symbolic of man's frailty, fall and death. 6 is 1 less than the complete number 7. When that number is repeated 3 times, it becomes representative of the perfection of imperfections, the apt symbol for the deceit perpetrated by Satan, for the death he wants everybody to suffer, for sin and the ultimate fall of all. Thus, this number does not point to Nero alone, but to all horrendous images of vices.
N R W N Q S R
50+200+6+50 + 100+60+200 =666