Category Archives: Revelation

THE TRUE MEANING OF REV 1:1 AND 1:3 (2)

PMW 2020-066 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the final installment of a seven part series on the interpretation of Revelation 1:1 and 3. This is the second and final part of the two-part conclusion of the series, where I focus on the positive evidence for the preterist interpretation. So now let’s consider:

4. Alternative options

Upon reading these several temporal statements we must ask: If John had intended to speak of the events as near, how could he have expressed that more clearly? By eliminating these phrases from his vocabulary we deny him common means of expressing shortness.

Two of these are particularly common expressions for indicating temporal proximity: eggus and tachos/tachu. The word eggus appears frequently in the NT, occurring thirty-one times (11 times in John’s Gospel and twice in Rev). Its verbal form eggizō occurs another forty-two times, with about half of those indicating temporal rather than spatial nearness. This is an important expression in the Gospels for declaring the nearness of Christ’s kingdom which he establishes during his ministry: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 3:2). “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Mt 4:17). “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Mt 10:7). The words tachos appears eight times and its related term tachus thirteen. Thus, these terms appear a total of ninety-four times. Continue reading

THE TRUE MEANING OF REV 1:1 AND 1:3 (1)

PMW 2020-065 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I have been doing a survey of various excuses made by scholars who seek to avoid preterist understanding of Revelation. It is incredible how many different interpretations of Revelation 1:1 and 3 have been created.

Now I have come to the end of the survey of views, so I will present the evidence to support the preterist analysis. Why do we believe the bulk of Revelation was near when John wrote? Let’s see.

NEARNESS EVIDENCE

Revelation 1:1 reads: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon [en tachei] take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John.”
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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? (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

REVELATION AND LITERALISM? (2)

Literal butterflyPMT 2016-031 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is part two of a two-part study on the question of literalism in Revelation. Despite televangelists and rapture-predictors, Revelation is not to be interpreted literalistically. I examined three reasons why this is so in the previous article. I now would like to present one final argument against literalism:

Even if we set aside John’s own opening announcement regarding the symbolic nature of his prophecy, and his explanation of his very first vision, and his interpretive practice elsewhere in Revelation, we should avoid literalism on the basis of common sense. Consider the following absurdities that would arise on the literalist approach. Continue reading

REVELATION AND LITERALISM (1)

Literal hand soapPMW 2020-043 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

By all accounts, Revelation is a difficult book. But naive Christians make it even more difficult than it needs be. A serious problem tripping up the modern would-be interpreter is the assumption of literalism when approaching Revelation. Too many contemporary prophecy students resist the symbolic approach to John’s glorious prophecy. “Literalism!” becomes the rally cry for those who believe Revelation lies in our approaching future.

I would point out that despite the popular claim of literalism: no one takes Revelation literally. We take it as God’s truth, to be sure. And it certainly deals with factual historical events. But we cannot take it as God’s truth in literal form. Let us see how this is so. Continue reading