A revelation for me: the revelation of Revelation

by Eyes Open 44 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Leolaia

    Eyes Open....Ah, the joys of discovering actual exegesis when all you've encountered is arbitrary, irrelevant eisegesis -- which is practically all that the Revelation Climax presents. I have Bauckham's book, which is pretty good, and I would wholeheartedly recommend Aune's three-volume commentary, which is the finest scholarly work on Revelation I have ever seen. Indeed, there was a cultural and social context for the book (i.e. as anti-Roman propaganda) that is explicable from its literary character....it is important in interpretation to try to understand how its earliest readers would have understood the book. And it really does make a lot more sense than it does when it is abused by those who read whatever they see fit into the book. When the interpreter is only interested in seeing how much Watchtower (pseudo)-history can be read into the text, he/she is not likely to pay attention to the actual literary structure and aim of the book.

  • JCanon

    Hi Rapunzel:

    J.C. - Although I thank you for your response, I really do find myself obliged to take issue with it. You state that my argument is incompetent. Sorry, but the adjective, 'incompetent," can only refer to a person. The adjective, "incompetent," refers to a person who is wanting [or lacking] in ability, skills, qualifications etc; it refers to a person who is not competent. Ud. comprende, vato?


    1. Lacking capability: inadequate, incapable, unequal, unfit, unqualified. Seeability/inability, excess/insufficiency/enough.
    2. Totally incapable of doing a job: unable, unfit, unqualified. Seeability/inability.
    3. Lacking the qualities, as efficiency or skill, required to produce desired results: inapt, incapable, inefficient, inept, inexpert, unskilled, unskillful, unworkmanlike. Seeability/inability.

    These definitions are not restricted to a person. By contrast, I believe you are quite competent in delivery your point of view. I believe I did understand you quite well. So I wouldn't call you incompetent. But your argument is incompetent in that it is "incapable of doing the job" of establishing the immediate context for Revelation, when Revelation itself clearly says this is a vision for "The Lord's Day", which the Bible specifically dates to a time after 1874 and more specifically after 1914, after 1947, after 1950, after 1960, after 1989 and after December 26, 1992.

    When you make the claim that this apocalyptic work was for that specific time and not for any future generations, when there is a direct statement of chronology describing specifically when these things would take place, that is, during the "Lord's Day" then then your position is not "weak", it is WRONG, which is another way of saying it is competent since it is baseless. There is ZERO basis for dating this work relevant to its contemporary writing when it specifically dates it to another time. You and/or your argument are making an "unqualified" assessment.

    Oh and...

    Hmmmm, I guess there's an alternative common usage of "mite" as "might" in popular culture. Maybe that's where I got it from. But thanks for the technical note. I wonder if spelled as "might" misconveys the meaning of the phrase? Or perhaps there are two paralell different meanings conveyed when "Widow's mite" vs "Widow's might" are used. My intent was to convey "The Widow's Might" in the context it is understood in the above book title.



  • Eyes Open
    Eyes Open


    Ah, the joys of discovering actual exegesis when all you've encountered is arbitrary, irrelevant eisegesis ... Indeed, there was a cultural and social context for the book (i.e. as anti-Roman propaganda) that is explicable from its literary character....it is important in interpretation to try to understand how its earliest readers would have understood the book. And it really does make a lot more sense than it does when it is abused by those who read whatever they see fit into the book.

    Yes! I would say that "joy" is not an overstatement. Light bulb moments that come as one sees how the symbols relate to very real entities and situations in Rome are truly momentous for a JW. Arbitrary - a word I found myself using again and again as I was trying to remove myself from the mental gutter. And your "more sense" sentence sums it up perfectly for me.

    I've always found your posts to be interesting and nothing over than sensible. Have you had formal training in things like exegesis, or have you developed your knowledge through self study? How did you get into it?


    I have a challenge for you. Read, with an open mind, these three books in the following order:

    How to Read the Bible: History, Prophecy, Literature - Why Modern Readers Need to Know the Difference, and What It Means for Faith Today by Steven L. McKenzie.

    Daniel: With an Introduction to Apocalyptic Literature (Forms of the Old Testament Literature) by John, Joseph Collins

    The Apocalypse (New Testament Message; A Biblical-Theological Commentary) by Adela, Yarbro Collins

    When you have done so, and have given some real consideration to genre, textual criticism and history relevant to the time periods in which the literature was written, then post back here with your thoughts.

    Until you have done so, it's not a topic about which we can have a constructive discussion.

  • JCanon

    Dear Eyes Open. I do believe you need a further explanation regarding the statements in Revelation about the immediacy of the Christ arriving as you point out. Something I had not fully addressed:

    10Then he told me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near.

    12"Behold, I am coming soon!

    20He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

    The WTS attempts to resolve this by saying in God's eyes, where 1000 years is like a day that the near 2000-year gap from the time of John to modern times associated with the second coming is a "short time." But I couldn't quite buy that so sought to understand this better. I'm not putting this forth dogmatically but it is where I fell comfortably resolved about the apparent contradiction.

    Of note, besides specific direct statements that this is in the context of "the Lord's Day" which definitely is an end-times context, the events themselves are clearly linked with the end-times,such as Satan being kicked out of heaven and the birth of the new imperfect human messiah at the time Satan is kicked out of heaven, the destruction of Babylon the Great, the sealing of the anointed, which cannot happen until Satan is kicked out of heaven, etc. The abundant Bible chronology is specific for some of these events.

    So we are not in doubt about when these things take place, nor surmise in any way they were fulfilled during John's day when he wrote the Revelation. So I considered whether we were missing something in the context that would explain why Revelation is making this so immediate for the audience. I was looking for something that would limit and isolate the chronology of the intented audience.

    What I came up with is Revelation 1:7 which says:

    " 7 Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, and those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief because of him. Yes, Amen."

    This verse is specific to Matthew 24:

    29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

    These scriptures limit and make specific who the "tribes of the earth" are, that is, not every nation but specifically only those who would see Christ arrive, his secret anointed ones, those "eagles" who surround the carcass of Jesus at the second coming. So Jesus comes with the clouds quickly in the context of those who would see him arrive. Therefore, within a "generation" mentioned in Matthew 24. It is to these specific "slaves" that Revelation is thus written. Thus we read at Revelation 1:1 in the very first verse:

    1 A revelation by Jesus Christ, which God gave him, to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place.

    Thus we ask are these slaves generally all Christ's slaves? Or specific slaves otherwise identified in scripture who specifically would be involved with these things. If these are specific slaves who would appear first in the context close to when the messiah would arrive, that is within a generation of his arrival, then the context that Jesus would be arriving "quickly" after the their appearance would remove the discrepancy you are addressing. Thus in that regard I refer to the famous parable where Jesus sends out his ten slaves to do work and increase his belongings until he returns "with kingly power." (Luke 19:13)

    Thus at a specific time Christ sends out those who would do work just before he arrives. He is not a king when he sends them out but when he returns, he will be a king. This specifically relates to the work of the "last generation" that is 80 years from 1914 to 1994. This is the time when there was a special "planting" and "investing" with slaves who would prepare the way for Christ's arrival as king late in those 80 years at which time he would then pay the slaves for their work and reap the harvest that had grown. For these, therefore, the reference that Christ is coming quickly and that these events would "shortly take place" is consistent with the limit of a generation that Jesus put on the events of the "end times" or his paraousia.

    Thus Revelation is specifically for those "slaves" who would be seeing the Christ themselves return, so the context of Jesus coming quickly and in short order is consistent with the time and events being related to.

    Thus it would be an inaccurate though understandable presumption that John includes Christians in general as the focus of Revelation including future generations. Instead, Revelation clearly would only be for those who were close enough in time to witness the second coming in short order, those slaves whose "every eye would see him", which are specifically not the entire world, not even Christians in general, but specifically those associated with the eagle-woman mentioned in Revelation (Rev. 12:14) that relate to "Where the carcass is, so the eagles will be gathered togehter." (Matt. 24:24:28).

    So it is only the eagles that surround the physical identity of the messiah, who is called a "carcass" because part of the time he is spiritually dead as the prodigal son:

    Luke 15: 23 And bring the fattened young bull, slaughter it and let us eat and enjoy ourselves, 24 because this my son was dead and came to life again; he was lost and was found.’ And they started to enjoy themselves.

    So everything works out quite well if we understand Revelation was specifically written as a guide for the "slaves" that Jesus would send out during the end-times just prior to his second coming, within a short enough time for those who were doing this work to actually experience his arrival in "kingly power." When specifically directed to them, that generation of slaves who were to see all these things "shortly take place" then this short time is no more than a generation of 80 years, 40 years if you consider the first appearance of the "sign of the son of man" which appears when the new second prodigal son is born in 1950.

    So I'm surmising that is what is actually going on here, a specific book for those who would be involved with the actual articulated events leading immediately to the messiah, that is, those slaves who would be sent out to do work during "The Lord's Day".

    So THANKS for bringing this out. Sometimes we read things in the Bible and don't fully understand them and we gloss over it, satisfied with so many other resolved Biblical questions. I had not paid much attention to this before you brought it up. But now that you have, I can refine my concept of the focus of Revelation.

    Ironically, Glenster helped to clarify this by specifically suggesting the absolute opposite. That is, that Revelation was specifically meant for those living at the time John wrote the Revelation and not for anyone in the future. I had generally considered Revelation to be like the other books, a general reference for all Christians leading up to the last days. But in fact, thanks to both of you, we can clarify that Revelation specifically was written for the future slave generation that would experience the second coming, those slaves sent out in 1914 to create the "eagle woman" congregations, the "tribes of the earth" who would see the messiah with their own eyes, and specifically not for any other generation other than this one, presumably the 1914-1994 generation, with the messiah arriving in 1992 specifically, but sealing into heaven from Passover of 1993.

    Again, I aknowledge this might be confusing to some and certainly I can understand if they stand on the idea that John wrote this for those of his time and thus deal with the apparent contradiction, which some tolerate with scripture who don't need it to be "inerrant." But I don't have that option, so I needed to resolve this further and I'm "comfortable" with my interpretation of the literary context for Revelation now.

    Since the context throughout Revelation clearly shows Christ coming quickly and shortly, it can only have been directed or relevant to those who would see the messiah arrive themselves, so, it must have specifically been meant for them.

    Thanks, again, for an interesting point of refinement!!

    By the way, you know that part where it says "those who pierced him will see him?" That means during the second coming scenario with the prodigal son, some who pierce him, spiritually, putting him to death spiritually, would later become his own followers and thus part of the JIOR. This relates to when I was disfellowshipped unjustly by a wayward, over-aggressive and prejudgmental committee whom I sought an "appeal" for. That is, if you're disfellowshipped, and you think the verdict is wrong or that perhaps there were conflicts of interests with the disfellowshipping committee, then you can appeal this and another committee will come in and hear your case, which is a nice arrangement. But that arrangement is ineffective if the committee members chosen for the appeal committee are hand-picked favorites of the disfellowshipping committee. The idea is to get an un-biased look at the situation where perhaps the committee didn't already have personal preconceived ideas about the person on trial. The committee totally violated my "rights" in this case and instead of allowing my case to be heard by an appeals committee who did not know me peronsally, which I specifically requested, they just went to the next congregation and picked their own favorite brothers, all of whom knew me personally as well. So it was a sham. I was disfellowshipped under protest and unjustly. This is the reference to them "piercing" me. When you are disfellowshipped, you are considered "dead." Witnesses even have this folkloric concept that if Armageddon comes while you're disfellowshipped then you're outside Jehovah's favor and unprotected in some way.

    At any rate, I must say that the pain of being INSIDE the congregation, which publicly announces you being disfellowshipped and everybody knowing what it's for was more painful than being out. In fact, I had to fight with myself simply on academic and moral issues to protest the decision which I knew was wrong having been "raised in the truth" and being in the truth longer than some of the committee members, because the personal relief of being disfellowshipped was welcomed anyway. I felt more comfortable being out of the truth than I did in at this point. Because I had to live down the image of being gay in public. Think about that. I may have been gay but everybody in the community didn't know my business. Once you get disfellowshipped then that's like a big announcement: HEY THIS GUY IS A HOMOSEXUAL! The whole community knows now and you have to live with that shame and cloud over your head. That part of your very private life is stripped away. So it was painful living that down. It was awkward! I avoided using the rest room for fear some 13-year old might be in there alone with me and someone might think I was doing something. So just go to the meeting with my shades on and sit in front of the hall and ignore the brothers was heaven. I did that for my "pennance" year and they let me back in. But I never forgave them.

    But back to those who pierced me, just to fulfill that scripture and to have you understand this is not about those who pierced Jesus, who would have been that one soldier at his cross (oops!). It was those brothers who did injustice to me and disfellowshipped me without cause and violated my appeal process. But, turns out, when all this messiah stuff started unfolding, some of them began JIOR. Three out of six in fact (six including the appeals committee). So that's what that's about. It would be impossible without the specific details to understand how that scripture is fulfilled. That's why truly Revelation is a very closed book on many points with lots of things that will not be understood in any way by the general public. Some things are obvious, like the destruction of Babylon the Great, etc. but many things are just too specific that the JIOR themselves will only appreciate or presume is fulfilled.

    So, thanks again Open Eyes and Glenster to helping to refine the understanding of the literary context of Revelation. Jolly good!!!


  • Eyes Open
    Eyes Open


    I do believe you need a further explanation...

    I have read your post. Will you be reading the books I suggested?

  • ldrnomo

    4 hours before John saw these visions, he dined on a plate of muton with mushroom sauce

  • Rapunzel

    J,C. - By entitling her book The Widow'sMight, it is obvious that Cherie Brown was making an ironic allusion to Jesus' parable of the widow's mite. In other words, she was making a pun. She was punning on the two words, which are homophones; they are two different words, with different spellings and different meanings. Two other pairs of homophones are flour/flower and for/four. Come to think of it, there is also pear/pair and root/route. You can't write here when you mean hear. And it would be a mistake to confuse they're [a contraction of "they are"] with their [a possessive adjective] or there [an adverb denoting location or spatial position].

    There are, in fact, many homophonic pairings in English. The word, homophone, is comprised of the Greek prefix - homo - meaning "the same," and phone, which means "sound" [a telephone is a device which enables you to hear "sounds" from "afar" - tele. The Greek word, phone, emphasizes that, in regard to homophones, the crucial issue is sound. In spoken spoken speech - in oral conversation/discourse - there is no difference in the way homophones are pronounced. But, let's imagine a situation in which a buxom woman walks by holding a certain piece of delcious-looking fruit. Someone might then exclaim - "Man, she has a nice..." How do I finish this written sentence? With which written word do I finish it? What do I write now, pair or pear? In spoken speech, it doesn't matter which one I have in mind as long as I am correct in my pronunciation. In writing, - under normal circumstances - a person is forced to choose one word of the two in homophonic pairings, to the exclusion of the other. In certain circumstances, however, it is possible for a clever person to "have it both ways." He or she is able to conflate or combine the denotations of both words in the pair. This is what Brown did in the title of her book.

    Brown wrote her book as an inspiration for other women suffering the trauma of widowhood. Brown's book was an inspirational one. In using her title, The Widow'sMight, Brown was engaging in word-play. She knew exactly what she was doing. On the other hand, you, my friend, made an error. You confused the word might with its homophone, mite. I'm willing to bet that there is no English-language version of the Bible which uses the word might in this parable. There is no "alternative common usage" of the two words in "popular culture" [By the way, I am not at all clear on what you mean by "alternative common usage." Are you saying that might is a commonly accepted variant of the word mite? I don't think so. The word might [in its two usages as a noun meaning "strength" or "power,' and as a verb] no doubt appears more commonly [more often] than the word mite, but the two words remain two distinct words.

    You write: "I wonder if spelled as 'might' [it????] misconveys

  • Rapunzel

    the meaning of the phrase." Sorry,again, I don't know what you mean. You also write: "Or perhaps there two parallel different meanings..." Here, you aproach the truth of the matter. However, I would use the word combined, or conflated, or simultaneous.to describe what the woman is doing in her book's title. Her pun conflates the two meanings so that the meanings of both words are understood simultaneously by the reader.

    Sorry about the break in my post, a certain little im I know hit the "submit" button while I was typing.

  • Awakened at Gilead
    Awakened at Gilead
    I immediately came across verse 10 of chapter 1 which states: "By inspiration I came to be inthe Lord's day..."

    So written for those for his time or not, the visions have the setting of "The Lord's Day" which are the end-times.


    Rev 1:10 was actually one of the scriptures that started me down towards my path to apostasy... If you read the footnote it says "I came to be under inspiration on the Lord's day".

    So some in Christendom think that it refers to a particular day that John received the Revelation. Maybe Sunday. Maybe not. But by using the word on instead of in you change the whole framework. Maybe it's not talkling about the supposed Lord's Day that began in 1914, but rather to a particular day that conmmemorated the Lord back then, whether Sunday, Nisan 14, or whatever. The idea that this alternate rendering might be correct is found in verse 11, since John is told to send what he sees to the congregations back then! If the application of the prophecy would only be 1900 years later, there would be now need to send a copy to the local congs, but rather he could hold onto it until the supposed time of the end...

    Have you ever given any thought to how this equally possible alternate rendering of Rev 1:10 would change the whole WTS view of the Apocalypse? I did, and that thought led me to question everything else that the WTS teaches, because they base evrything on possibilities and then teach them as if they were absolute realities... Going through Gilead and seeing how everything in the Bible supposedly pointed to their miserable history in 1919 and shortly thereafter really woke me up... Which is why I was...

    Awakened at Gilead...

  • Leolaia

    This has come up before, so I thought I'd mention that the Society misinterprets Revelation 1:10 as referring to the eschatological "Day of the Lord". The phrase that appears therein is kuriaké hémera, not hémera tou kuriou which is the expression that has eschatological scope in the Greek Bible (cf. Isaiah 13:6 LXX, Ezekiel 13:5 LXX, Amos 5:18 LXX, Acts 2:20, 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10). The quite different term kuriaké rather was used to refer to the day of the week on which Jesus was resurrected (and the Eucharist was celebrated), i.e. Sunday (cf. Ignatius, Magnesians 9:1, Didache 14:1, Gospel of Peter 12:50, Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 17.12, Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions 10.72, etc.; cf. kuriakon deipon in 1 Corinthians 11:20 to refer to the Eucharist, and Barnabas 15:9 which refers to the "eighth day" of the week, i.e. the day after the sabbath, as the one that Christians keep "for rejoicing, in which also Jesus rose from the dead"). The author was saying that he received the vision on a Sunday; compare Daniel 10:4 which states that Daniel received his vision "on the twenty-fourth day of the first month". That the author of Revelation construed his visions and admonitions as pertaining to the time he lived in, and not some distant future time, is patent from their immediacy (cf. 1:1, 2:16, 3:11, 3:20, 17:10, 22:10, 12, 20), as well as the allusions to political and cultural elements from the time (cf. especially the parody of the goddess Roma in ch. 17 and the detailed description of the Roman trade network in ch. 18).

Share this