Symbolisms in Revelation

by snowbird 26 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Narkissos

    Addition to my previous post: as an example of the negative role of Dan in end-time scenarii, read the Testament of Dan, especially chapter 5: Such ideas were carried over into early Christianity since both Irenaeus (Adversus Haereses, V,30,2) and Hippolytus (De Antichristo, 14) echo the tradition that the Antichrist would come from the tribe of Dan.

    Btw, the Testament of Dan may offer another possible clue to the inclusion of Joseph -- along with (his son) Manasseh instead of (his other son) Ephraim -- in the Revelation list, in addition to the frequent criticism of Ephraim in the "prophetic" books (which in Jewish tradition includes what we term "historical" books like Judges and Samuel-Kings): Dan's "sin" is mostly against Joseph (midrashic development on Genesis 37ff); Joseph is vindicated and glorified while Dan is condemned.

    A more general reflection on snowbird's remark:

    According to the angel who presented it to John, we are supposed to be happy about reading it!

    This imo illustrates the basic problem with Revelation (as well as with most Bible texts, but much more clearly with Revelation). It was not written to us, or for us. The original audience could understand its "symbols" quite easily because they were part of their political, religious and cultural environment. They were not "scholars," they didn't need any special knowledge to "uncipher the code," but average Christian communities of Asia Minor, as the reading instruction you refer to suggests (1:3) : as was usual back then, in a context of limited literacy, one person reads the book aloud for others to hear. This target audience has disappeared long ago, but the book remained and was eventually (and painfully) canonised. Nowwe need to delve into several specialised fields of scholarship (late Judaism, early Christianity, ancient history of the Eastern Roman empire) to understand in part what it was about. But the temptation is strong for every generation of Bible readers to shortcut such scholarship and simply assume that the book must be directly meaningful to them. For a 16th-century Protestant reader it was naturally about Reformation and Papacy; to a 21st-century American reader, it has to relate with 21st-century America.

  • snowbird
    It was not written to us, or for us.

    Thanks, Narkissos. I agree that Revelation wasn't written to us, but I feel sure it was written for the enlightenment of all.

    I believe the NWT is one of the few translations that says "happy is the one who reads the prophecy." The others render it "blessed."

    Special thanks, also, to Chalam for those links, and all others who responded.

    I'm so happy to be a member of this forum.


  • Narkissos

    "Happy" is an untraditional but semantically correct translation of makarios, although "blessed" may better suit the function of the word in the stereotyped formal structure of pronouncement "makarios (is/be) somebody" (only NT exception, h├Ęgemai emauton makarion, I count myself fortunate in Acts 26:2). One reason for formal translations to avoid "blessed" is the possible confusion with the distinct verb which actually denotes the action of blessing (but is more rarely included in the blessing itself), euloge├┤ (Matthew 14:19 etc.).

  • snowbird

    One day, dear Lord, I'm going to be that smart!

    Thank you.


  • Chalam

    Here you go Sylvia, remember you have the mind of Christ

    1 Corinthians 1:21-24 (New International Version)

    21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

    All the best,


  • snowbird

    Thanks, Stephen, for restoring my footing.


  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    If anyone has read the book "Revelation: Four Views: A Parallel Commentary" by Steve Gregg, I would be interested to know what his book shows regarding Revelation 7.



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