Monday, July 28, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
First, a word about method. Although I can certainly appreciate how much one can add to a discussion of the book of Revelation by multiplying references to Josephus or Irenaeus or, on the other hand, to current news reports, and though I know that every scripture must ultimately be interpreted in the context of all the other scriptures, I am inclined—in light of my present time limitations, and in keeping with my belief that the best place to begin the study of a text is with the internal cues of the text itself—I say, I am inclined to limit the scope of the present discussion to somewhat narrower bounds.
And so, for this series of posts, I will be doing my best to use arguments based solely upon the text of Revelation itself. And if, along the way, anyone should be pleased to join in the discussion, I will be asking you to abide by this same rule of evidence; that is, only arguments based upon specific texts from the book of Revelation will be admissible in this particular case.
And now, with that out of the way, my first rather elementary and obvious point goes something like this: the book of Revelation was written to seven real churches in seven real cities at the time the prophecy was written. To the men and women in those churches at that time, the words spoken, the warnings announced, and the promises made were fully applicable and absolutely true.
Let me be clear: I do not here say that the book is not also directed toward or applicable to other churches in later generations; I merely argue at this point that, regardless of any future generations to which one might believe the words, warnings, and promises of this prophecy to be directed, these were at least true and applicable to those seven churches, in those seven cities, at that particular time.
The primary audience of the book of Revelation is indicated very early in the introduction:
John to the seven churches that are in
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea. (1:10-11)
No real difficulty here. These prophecies we are reading two millennia after they were recorded were originally received, written, and sent by the apostle John to seven real churches that were in seven real cities at the time.
The historical reality of these seven churches is manifested in much more depth in the section immediately following the introduction. Here, Christ, addresses each particular church in turn, referring in each address to specific events these real people in these real churches in these real cities had already experienced by the time Jesus was speaking to them.
To the angel of the church in
And to the angel of the church in Smyra write…(2:8) I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan (2:9). He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches …(2:11)
And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write…(2:12 )… and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you…(2:13) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches…(2:17)
And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write…(2:18) But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan…(2:24) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches…(2:29)
And to the angel of the church in
And to the angel of the church in
And to the angel of the church in
These seven letters reveal even more clearly that Christ is not here just addressing churches in general, but specific churches in a specific context.
Following, of course, these seven letters, comes the bulk of the prophecy itself, a relation of the things that were soon to come to pass. At the end of these prophecies, Jesus once again brings attention back to the intended audience, reminding the modern reader of the book’s original context.
I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches…(22:16)
So, to repeat my rather obvious point once more, whether or not these seven churches were also intended to serve later generations as paradigmatic examples or as types, we can at least be sure that, in its original context, the book of Revelation was written to these real people in these real churches who had, at the time the book was written, already been undergoing some real experiences. These people could clearly and with one hundred percent certainty know that Christ was speaking specifically to them, and addressing the very real situation in which they all found themselves.
In other words, whatever message the book of Revelation presents, that message was especially true for the people in those seven churches to whom it was first presented.
Monday, July 21, 2008
"While anatomists have been unable to explain the use of the liver in the human body, or of antennae in that of insects, they have not on that account found nature in fault; they have put it all to the account of their own ignorance. Why, then, when you happen not yet to have discovered the use of something that is said in the Scriptures, do you lay the blame on any but yourselves, and why will you not wait?"
God-Breathed: The Divine Inspiration of the Bible
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
2. The book of Revelation was written to seven real churches that were in seven real cities at the time the book was written.
3. The tribulation prophesied in the book had already begun to be experienced by those churches in those cities at that time.
4. The eschatological blessings promised in the book were promised to those churches in those cities at that time.
Monday, July 14, 2008
3- 20.00% brad peppo
2- 13.33% rev 20 preterist satan
1- 6.67% preterist gog magog
1- 6.67% beside the still waters
1- 6.67% night sky cafe troy ohio
1- 6.67% preterist 1000 year
1- 6.67% apocalyptic laguage preterism
1- 6.67% preterist why i am not presbyterian
1- 6.67% preterist millennium
1- 6.67% former preterists
1- 6.67% beside the still waters blog
1- 6.67% preterist view of millenium
I don't normally see a great deal of traffic on this blog, but a recent keyword analysis of the few search-engine hits I have been getting lately has begun to present a fascinating pattern-- especially since this is the only post I've ever written on preterism. Perhaps it's time for some more discussion on the matter. Maybe I'll try to fit something into my bar-study breaks.