recapitulation - 7 Cycles in Revelation

by Pterist 4 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Pterist

    The chart provides a summary of the whole book, supporting the theory of recapitulation.

    This view suggests that the events in Revelation do not all form a continuous series but the series of sevens (seven seals in Rev 6:1-8:5, seven trumpets in Rev 8:6-11:19, and seven bowls in Rev 15:1-16:21) repeatedly bring us to the end of the world , when Christ comes in judgment to either reward or punish.

    As noted earlier, even the interlude of Revelation 12-14 begins with the first coming of Christ (Rev 12:1ff.) and ends with the Final Judgment (Rev 14:14-20). There is"chronology" in the sense that within each series of seven (the seals, the trumpets, and the bowls), and also within the interlude of Revelation 12-14, the reader is brought to "the end." Thus, once again we see that a chronological reading of Revelation is not possible.

    Interesting stuff ....
    Here is a link if interested

  • fulltimestudent


    That's precisely the pattern that the Lecturer, in one of my current study units, teaches.

    He maintains that it was written in a time of persecution, with the message that God was in control, and would, in his own time (always like that) bring relief and the promised reward of E.L. Hence, he does not see it as a book of detailed prophecy. It is only prophetic in a general sense, i.e. that, some day in the future, Jesus will attack the persecuting nations, and the Kingdom of God will descend to bring relief to sufferering humankind.

    Famously, Nero was the first general persecutor (as compared to unique local instances of tyranny).

    Was the Apocalypse written in response to his bout of persecution?

    Using gematria*, the technique of assigning a numerical value to each letter of the alphabet, 13:8 says that "the number of the beast is ... 666" so take the greek word for "beast," which is therion, assign numbers, calculate theri sum, and you come up with 666. 'But,' (to quote Achtemeier et al's, work, Introducing the New Testament, p. 570),

    '666 is also "the number of its name" and "the number of a person" (13:17-18; 15:2). When Nero Caesar is written in Hebrew characters, their sum is 666, so that he is that person.'

    Introducing the New Testament, (pp. 569-573) discusses many aspects of the general view of Nero, from the perspective of the literate Roman elite and it can be seen that if Nero is the 'beast', that the language of the author of Revelation, reflects their perspective also.

    * See Introducing the New Testament, p. 571 for some ancient example of gematria used in connection with Nero and other Emperors.)

    So all the trite experiences of the Jws since 1914 turn out to be meaningless rubbish in the greater sweep of history.

  • Hairtrigger



  • raymond frantz
    raymond frantz

    Problem is that there is no proof that John or other apostles or any Jew of the first century knew or relied or used gem atria to prove anything and for that reason I personally dismiss the Nero=666 of explanation

  • fulltimestudent

    raymond frantz:

    Problem is that there is no proof that John or other apostles or any Jew of the first century knew or relied or used gem atria to prove anything and for that reason I personally dismiss the Nero=666 of explanation

    Fair enough, RF!

    But then it is notoriously difficult to connect anything to anything in NT studies. Scholars make their reputations on their success in making such connections.

    The compaaratively few documents that we have, permit glimpses onlyk of what was happening at that time.

    But, let's stick to Revelation. As an example, how do we attribute authorship? Before seeking an answer that 'might' connect the disciple John to the book, let's look at a few other examples of apocalyptic writing and see if we can detect a pattern.

    Consider first, The Apocalypse of Peter. It seems to be a second century document, which may make authorship by THE disciple Peter, very unlikely. The subject material- describing a journey through heaven and hell - suggests a later influence, rather than early Christianity thought.

    So what's the author intention in calling the document, The Apocalypse of Peter? The answer is that he's doing something that can be demonstrated by other apocalyptic writings - presenting himself as an ancient (older), worthy, authorative person, whose name gives 'respect' to the writing. More it permitted the contemporary writer to write about contemporary events as if they had been predicted prophetically.

    Another early Christian writing like that, is the Ascension of Isaiah, which in part describes the prophet's ascent to heaven where he sees ' the beloved,' (Jesus) descend from heaven to earth and his return to heaven. (foretelling the resurrection).

    A pattern emerges - we call it pseudonymity. So was the author of Revelation hiding behind a false name? A lot of scholarship argues yes. A lot argues no! I suggest that other factors aside, the answer likely depends on the date of writing.

    If the author is THE disciple known as John, and IF he is the same John who wrote the gospel, then contemporary scholars see an author who has, as well as a native understanding of Judaism, a sophisticated understanding of Graeco-Roman thought. That may not describe John as the supposedly young Jewish man, "whom Jesus used to love." But that young man may have devoted himself to study of many things in the intervening years and be able to write with a knowledge of graeco-roman thinking.

    Achtemeier, Green and Thompson's, extensive collation of NT studies in their, Introducing the New Testament, Its Literature and Theology, offers a collection of ancient examples of gematria. Six examples are given on p.571, covering the wider graeco-roman world, Rabbinic tradition and the set of writings known as The Sibylline Oracles (probably written/edited between the second and sixth centuries CE) and regarded as a part Jewish, part Christian set of writings.

    The fifth book of Sibylline Oracles has a long list of Roman Emperors, all alluded to be their number, as in this example of Nero:

    And one whose mark is fifty 10 shall be lord,
    40 A dreadful serpent breathing grievous war,
    Who sometime stretching forth his hands shall make
    An end of his own race and stir all things,
    Acting the athlete, driving chariots,
    Putting to death and daring countless things;

    the footnote 10 adds:

    10 39. Fifty.--The letter N, here denoting Nero, and Nerva
    in line 58

    Those extracts are from p.42 of Milton Terry's translation which can be accessed at:

    Everyone is free to believe or disbelieve anything at all, but I suggest (influenced, for certain, by my current sceptical approach to the faith that I once possessed) that the possibility exists that the author of Revelation could have had a knowledge of gematria.

    Of course, if someone wants to hang on to the idea that the Bible foretells the future, then I guess, they would not want to believe that Revelation is a great example of theodicy - that is, when we experience suffering or hostility, recalling the action of God in this event becomes a means of comfort.

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