Tag Archives: Revelation 2

JOHN DID NOT WRITE SEVEN “LETTERS” (2)

PMW 2019-034 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In the preceding article in this three-part series, I introduced the concept that the seven messages that appear early in Rev are not really letters. Rather they should be understood as prophetic oracles built on the covenant lawsuit model of the Old Testament. These seven oracles are important for several reasons. I will highlight two of those in this article, and the remaining ones in my next article.

First, a major reason John writes Rev is to encourage faithfulness through the storm of persecution befalling John’s original Christian recipients. Throughout Rev he urges perseverance through the coming trials (1:3, 9; 12:11; 13:10; 14:4–5; 16:16; 17:14; 21:7). For instance, John opens with: “I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Rev 1:9). So at the very beginning of his book John declares that he and his recipients are “in the tribulation” and that they must also engage in “perseverance.” The several other verses I list above also testify to the urgent call to hold on through the storm. Continue reading

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JOHN DID NOT WRITE SEVEN “LETTERS” (1)

PMW 2019-033 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The literary genre of Revelation is one of the key issues in its proper interpretation. The question of genre even affects our understanding of the seven letters in Rev. 2 and 3. The “Seven Letters of Revelation” are a familiar and popular section of John’s Revelation. Unfortunately, these popularly-designated “letters” to the seven churches are not actually letters at all.

Rather the so-called Seven Letters are actually more adapted to Revelation’s overarching literary genre and judgment message. They are prophetic oracles or royal proclamations. And as such they perfectly fit in with the theme and flow of Revelation. Continue reading