WHAT DO REVELATION 1:1 AND 1:3 MEAN? (5)

PMW 2020-064 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is my fifth study in a survey of the scholarly options for interpreting the introductory verses of Revelation. Those verses are Revelation 1:1, 3. And they read:

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, . . . 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

We have looked at seven options among scholars. We are now ready for three more!

8. John speaks from the future

George Beasley-Murray emphasizes “imminence” (Revelation, 168) and “no more delay” (170) but not for the original audience. Actually “in his vision John stands near the close of the period of messianic judgments” (Beasley-Murray 170). Thus, he sees John as speaking from within the future context when the events are about to explode on the seen. Continue reading

WHAT DO REVELATION 1:1 AND 1:3 MEAN? (4)

PMW 2020-063 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I am continuing a survey of the various interpretations of the first three verses of Revelation. These are crucial for understanding what John’s mysterious book involves. Those verses read:

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, . . . 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

We are now ready for two more interpretations that are found among scholars. And dispensationalists.

6. The events are always imminent

The events are imminent in that they could theoretically occur at any minute. Premillennialist Robert Mounce (Revelation, 41) takes this approach: “John writes that the events that constitute the revelation must ‘soon take place.’ That almost 2,000 year of church history have passed and the end has not yet come poses a problem for some. . . . The most satisfying solution is to take the expression ‘must soon take place’ in a straightforward sense, remembering that in the prophetic outlook the end is always imminent. Time as a chronological sequence is of secondary concern in prophecy. This perspective is common to the entire NT.” Continue reading

WHAT DO REVELATION 1:1 AND 1:3 MEAN? (3)

PMW 2020-062 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is a third installment in my series presenting the various scholarly approaches to John’s all-important opening verses to Revelation. These verses are too easily overlooked by the average Christian trying to get to “the good stuff” about the Beast and the Harlot. But to jump over these is to miss John’s point.

How are we to understand Revelation 1:1 and 3? What else have the scholars attempted with these verses?

These verses read:

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, . . . 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

We are now ready for the fourth and fifth approaches.

4. The events will occur rapidly

The events will unfold rapidly whenever they begin to occur. Dispensationalist scholar John Walvoord (Revelation, 35) understands Rev’s opening comment thus: “That which Daniel declared would occur ‘in the latter days’ is here described as ‘soon’ (Gr. en tachei), that is, ‘quickly or suddenly coming to pass,’ indicating a rapidity of execution after the beginning takes place. The idea is not that the event may occur soon, but that when it does, it will be sudden (cf. Luke f18:8; Acts 12:7; 22:18; 25:4; Rom. 16:20). A similar word, tackus, is translated ‘quickly’ seven times in Rev.” Charles Ryrie (Revelation, 13) also holds this view. Continue reading

WHAT DO REVELATION 1:1 AND 1:3 MEAN? (2)

PMW 2020-061 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the second in a short series that is presenting the various views of commentators in their understanding of the opening verses of Revelation, specifically Revelation 1:1, 3. These verses introduce the book and are therefore crucial for its understanding. However, commentators disagree on how these verses are to be interpreted.

So now I will be presenting two more view of these verses.

2. John was ambiguous

The events were prophesied to be soon, but as was customary with Israel’s prophets, the special prophetic language is intentionally “ambiguous.” Prophetic ambiguity is intentional and designed to heighten the hearers’ expectations for moral purposes of readiness. Though not applying his discussion to Revelation, we may easily see how Scot McKnight’s understanding of Hebrew prophecy would explain John’s nearness imagery. Continue reading

WHAT DO REVELATION 1:1 AND 1:3 MEAN? (1)

PMW 2020-060 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

All agree that Revelation is a difficult book. Except for televangelist Hal Lindsey. In this regard, one theologian has noted that for every five commentaries on Revelation you can find six different views.

How is this problem to be solved if we are ever to understand Revelation? The answer: exegetically. We must read what John says he expects at the very beginning of his mysterious work. And what does he say in his opening?

In Revelation 1:1and 3 we read:

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, . . . 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Unfortunately, we will learn that most commentators do not see these words as meaning what they seem to mean. For if they did accept them at face value, they would all be redemptive-historical preterists. In this short series I will be presenting several of the leading interpretations of these verses. I will here present some of the leading options for interpreting John’s declaration. Some of these concepts can be and are blended in some of the writers highlighted. Continue reading

WORLDVIEW APOLOGETICS (4)

PMW 2020-059 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the fourth and concluding article on worldview apologetics.

Presuppositions Make a Difference

Reality (Ontology). When asked to give the basis and starting point for the orderly universe and all external reality, the Christian points to the self-contained, omnipresent all-powerful, all-wise God of Scripture.

When the non-Christian is asked to give the basis and starting for the orderly universe and external reality, he points literally to nothing. All has risen from nothing by the irrational mechanism of chance. When asked if something can miraculously pop into being from nothing in an instant the non-Christian vigorously responds in the negative. Instant miracles are out of the question! But when asked if something can come out of nothing if given several billion years, the non-Christian confidently responds in the affirmative. As Van Til, has noted, the non-Christian overlooks the fact that if one zero equals zero, then a billion zeros can equal only zero. Continue reading

WORLDVIEW APOLOGETICS (3)

PMW 2020-057 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the third installment of four articles on worldview apologetics. As we continue, we must consider:

The Christian System and Presuppositions

What is the Christian’s starting point? What is his most basic presupposition upon which he builds his entire world and-life view? Where do we begin our argument?

Christian thought holds as its logically primitive, fundamental, all-pervasive and necessary starting point or presupposition, the being of God who has revealed himself in Scripture. Thus, our presupposition is God and his word. The Scripture, being his own infallible word (2 Tim. 3:16), reveals to us the nature of the God in whom we trust.

God is self-sufficient, needing nothing outside of himself at all (Exo. 4:11; John 5:26). All else in the universe is utterly dependent upon him (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3). God is the all-powerful Creator of the entire universe (Gen. 1:1; Exo. 20:11; Neh. 9:6). God is personal, thus giving meaning to the vast universe (Acts 17:28). And God has clearly and authoritatively revealed himself in Scripture (2 Pet. 1:20-21), so we may build upon his word as Truth (Psa. 119:160; John 17:17). Continue reading