PMW 2020-107 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
The final evidence from Revelation’s self-witness that I will mention focuses on the relationship of the Jew to Christianity in Revelation. And although there are several aspects of this evidence, I will just briefly introduce it. We may illustratively refer to two important passages and their implications regarding:
Christianity and Israel
First, when John writes Revelation, by all appearances Christianity is in its early, formative, “Jewish” stage. Initially Christians tended to mingle with the Jews (since most of them were Jewish), considering themselves members of the true Israel, the “continuing Israel,” as it were. Continue reading
PMW 2020-106 Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In Revelation 17:9-10 John records a vision of a seven-headed Beast. In this vision we discover clear evidence that Revelation was written before the death of Nero (June 8, A. D. 68), well before the temple’s destruction in August, A.D. 70:
Here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
Perhaps no point is more obvious in Revelation than this: Rome is here symbolized by the seven mountains. After all, Rome is the one city in history that is recognized for its seven hills: the Palatine, Aventine, Caelian, Esquiline, Viminal, Quirinal, and Capitoline hills. The Roman writers Suetonius and Plutarch refer to the first century festival in Rome called Septimontium, i.e. the feast of “the seven hilled city.” The Coin of Vespasian (emperor A.D. 69-79) pictures the goddess Roma as a woman seated on seven hills. The famed seven hills of Rome are mentioned time and again by ancient pagan writers such as Ovid, Claudian, Statius, Pliny, Virgil, Horace, Propertius, Martial, and Cicero, as well as by Christian writers, such as Tertullian and Jerome. Indeed, “there is scarce a poet that speaks of Rome but observes it.” Continue reading
PMW 2020-105 Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
As I open my argument for the early dating of Revelation, I will first engage the internal indicators of time discoverable in Revelation. This engages the evidence from Revelation’s self-witness. In that I hold to the full inspiration and inerrency of Scripture, I am convinced that these are the most fundamental evidences. Later I will consider the external evidence, the material derived from church tradition. Generally, the late-date advocates begin with the evidence from tradition, and the early-date advocates with the evidence from self-witness. I am convinced that the late-date reliance upon external indicators is methodologically flawed in this book containing so many historical and cultural indicators. Continue reading
PMW 2020-104 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Although this topic is basically an academic one, its ultimate issue is extremely practical — hence the popular flavor of my presentation. Resolving the question of Revelation’s compositional date is one of the most — if not the most — important issues facing the interpreter. We may see its significance both regarding the interpretive and the practical questions revolving around the book.
Dating and Interpretation
First, interpretively, Revelation’s date exercises a tremendous influence upon its proper understanding. The current majority of biblical scholars is in fundamental disagreement with the majority of the scholars from 75 years ago and earlier. The current opinion — the late-date view — is that John wrote Revelation while in exile during the closing days of the reign of Domitian Caesar, in about A.D. 95 or 96. This contradicts the nineteenth century view — the early-date view — which held that Revelation was written by John prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70. This position was held by such worthies as B. F. Westcott, F. J. A. Hort, John Lightfoot, Alfred Edersheim, Philip Schaff, Milton Terry, and others. Continue reading
PMW 2020-103 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
The first word in the Book of Revelation, the word which became its title, is: apokalupsis, which means “unveiling, revelation.” Despite this title Revelation is undoubtedly the most difficult to interpret, most hotly debated, and most abused book in all of Scripture. The book is so perplexing that John himself could not understand portions of it (Rev. 7:13-14; 17:6-7). Indeed, its abuse seems directly attributable to its difficulty: The less theologically astute and exegetically trained the “commentator,” the more confident his assertions — and, unfortunately, the greater the sales of his books. Continue reading
PMW 2020-102 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
I am writing this article as a brief tribute to Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen (Sept. 17 1948–Dec. 11, 1995) regarding his influence on Revelation studies, especially as the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death is approaching. He certainly is gone, but not forgotten.
Dr. Bahnsen’s formal training and primary ministry focus were in the field of philosophy, including Christian apologetics and biblical ethics. Nevertheless, deep interest, wide learning, careful analysis, and perceptive insights touched on many and varied fields of study. Among his leading interests was eschatology and the Book of Revelation. And though he never released a commentary on this majestic prophecy, he did produce sixty-three hours of taped expositional lectures, which have been very popular and quite influential in reformed circles. Continue reading
PMW 2020-084 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In this eighth entry in an 8-part series I am concluding my argument that the Jewish Temple in the first-century effectively functioned as tool of emperor worship, in that it was under the control of Roman-controlled priests. I recommend reading the previous articles first, and in order.
We must recall that Jesus called first century Israel under its unbelieving authorities an “adulterous generation” (Mt 12:39//; 16:4//). That charge harkens back to OT Israel’s unfaithfulness through idolatry. Thus, the first century temple system about which John is writing, is controlled by a corrupt, Messiah-denying high priesthood and has now become an idol linked with and likened to emperor worship. For this reason, Christ begins moving his people away from the temple because with his coming it no longer serves any God-approved purpose. As Wright (Jesus and the Victory of God, 182) observes: Jesus “prophesies that God will destroy the temple . . , not only because it was becoming obsolete but because of its flawed use and Israel’s rejection of Jesus.” Continue reading