IS REVELATION PAST? (2)

Objects are nearerPMT 2015-152 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In my last article I introduced the first of four arguments for approaching Revelation from the preterist perspective. The first article focused on the temporal indicators that John places in Revelation. Lexically, it is clear that he expected the events to “soon” take place (Rev 1:1) because “the time is near” (Rev 1:3).

But after placing that argument as the foundation stone for the preterist house, we need to notice that there are other indications as well. In this installment I will consider Audience Indicators. Revelation did not fall down out of heaven as book of concepts. It was given in a real, historical context. It is what scholars call, “occasional literature.” That is, it was written regarding a certain occasion, which I believe to be the fall of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70.

John emphasizes the nearness of his prophetic events, in a way most relevant to his original recipients. In fact, to delay the prophetic events thousands of years would contradict his whole point in writing Revelation.


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First, John writes to seven historical churches. Immediately after twice declaring the nearness of the events (1:1, 3) we read: “John to the seven churches that are in Asia” (1:4a). In 1:11 and 2:1–3:22 he specifically names the churches. John informs these first century churches of events ‘soon’ (1:1) to come to pass because “the time is near” (1:3). How could they have understood John to really mean that either 2,000 years would elapse before the events broke out or that they would drag on and repeat themselves for 2000 years?

Second, studies by William Ramsey and Colin Hermer show how intimately Revelation addresses those specific churches regarding their histories, settings, and struggles. The seven letters are occasional letters designed specifically for their concerns.

Third, within these letters we also find temporal qualifiers suggesting those churches would experience the shock waves from the events of Revelation (2:5; 2:16; 3:11; 22:12, 20). One of them was “about to” be tried by Satan (2:10; cp. 1:19 Gk.). To another Christ is “coming quickly” in judgment (2:16; cp. 1:1). To still another He promises: “I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world [oikumene]” (3:10; cp. 1:19 Gk.). Indeed, a church must “hold fast” for awhile in that Christ’s judgment-coming will trans transpire “quickly” (3:11; cp. 1:1).


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See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


Fourth, John wrote Revelation while these churches were enduring stressful times: “I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus” (1:9a). Revelation promises quickly to vindicate the martyrs who cry: “How long?” (6:9). The were told “they should rest for a little while longer” (6:10-11; cp. Lk 18:7-8). In fact, later in Revelation, we learn “there shall be delay no longer” (10:6). Yet, on the non-preterist interpretation, their vindication was not after “a little while,” and the events await an enormous delay.

And there is more! But you will have to wait for the next article in this series (after Christmas!).

 

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One thought on “IS REVELATION PAST? (2)

  1. Richard December 21, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Great stuff, thank you and Merry Christmas.

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