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Award-winning voice actor Diane Havens reads the final book of the New Testament, in the language of the King James Version, the imagery is powerful and. A companion video to lesson 1 of the same series that answers the following questions:What is the historical setting of the book of Revelation? Why is it. by Dave Miller, Ph.D. Part one of a simple, sensible treatment of the text of the most perplexing book in the Bible. Introductory matters are discussed, including.

It is by his death that Christ has redeemed people from all the peoples of the world. By the same token, in Revelation 12, John is told in the vision that Satan, the Dragon, the Accuser, has been cast out of heaven, and the accuser of the brothers has been defeated by the brothers because they have not loved their lives even to the point of death.

In other words, the martyrs have conquered the Dragon. Their death looked like defeat, but it was really victory. And so the point of the book of Revelation is that we are to live by what Christ has shown us through the eyes of John by the Word of God — Christ is called the Word of God there, as he is in John's gospel — what Christ has shown us of the realities, and in that light, then, we should endure persecution with courage, with hope.

And we need to remain pure from the defilements that the surrounding pagan culture would try to insert into our lives. Peter Walker The book of Revelation is a very complicated book, 22 chapters that people find very difficult to understand. But the main message of it could be summarized firstly, that God is in control.

So, it's written to be a real encouragement to people who are struggling, perhaps suffering for their faith, and need to lift up their eyes and believe that God really is in control, that behind human history is not total chaos, but God, the sovereign Lord, is there.

That's probably the first and overriding message. But second is the whole theme of Jesus Christ, who shares in the sovereignty of God and who himself is the one who is to be worshiped and adored. So, it's very strong on its doctrine of how we are to worship Christ, the Lamb who is seated on the throne.

And so there's not just a vision of God being in control, but that Jesus is the Lord and that Jesus is in control. Jesus is Lord. Beyond that, I think there's the understanding that then just Jesus is going to take human history somewhere beautiful, somewhere strong, and it's going to work out okay for those who believe in him.

So I think the baseline of Revelation is one of encouragement: God's in control, Jesus is Lord, and this same Jesus is taking human history to a place where it's going to be worth getting to. Glen Scorgie One of the most recognizable characteristics of the entire book of Revelation is this amazing imagery, but the central image of the book of Revelation appears to be the Lamb upon the throne, and not just any lamb, but a lamb with a great wound… And it's a marvelous symbol of Christ in his redemptive sufferings: But now we see the Lamb upon the throne, a symbol of victory, authority, triumph, vindication.

And so we have in John's vision in the Revelation, a revelation of the way things really are, where the one who has been weak is now strong, the one who has been humiliated is now exalted.

And this great reversal of fortunes is a — not only the narrative of the life of Christ in his descent and ascent — but it is a paradigm of the experience of believers as well. They too will experience a measure of suffering, as the first century readers well knew, but the message was that in Christ, this will lead to victory for you, as well.

The hideousness of the images of evil in the book of Revelation are an acknowledgment that the opposition to the work of God and to the security of the believers is serious and considerable.

But that notwithstanding, the Lamb triumphs in the end. So that the Christians can know that through Christ, greater is he that is in them than he that is in the world. And there's an image of the saints having their robes dipped in blood. Now, this is a symbol of, in a sense, their appropriation of the substitutionary forgiveness achieved through Christ. But maybe, just maybe, it is also a symbol of their willingness to participate in the paradigm of costly suffering in order to one day wear the robes of heavenly senators, the vindicated triumphant ones who share in the glory of the wounded Lamb upon the throne.

Glodo I would say that the main message of the book of Revelation is that Christ has overcome, he has overcome death and he has overcome the power of the world, the Devil, and that he now reigns with the Father, and, as it relates to us, that we will share in his victory if we trust in him, if we adhere to him by faith, if we persevere to the end by believing in his victory.

Bradley T. Johnson Well I suppose that scholars would differ on what they consider the main message of the book of Revelation to be, but I think it's fair to say that at the book's center is the idea that God is in charge and he represents ultimate authority. It's not Rome; it's not religious authorities; it's nothing in this world. And I think that the message that seems to be coming to John is really twofold, and it comes in the form of a warning, and the warning is to be righteous.

Those who are righteous will find eternal reward, and the troubles of this day will not be lasting. The other side of that equation is those who are unjust and who fail to repent by acknowledging God's sovereignty will be eternally condemned. So the work of the Lord is both terrifying and exciting depending on one's response to that warning. Every biblical book addresses many different areas of theology.

But some books contribute more to our understanding of certain theological topics than they do to others. When it comes to the book of Revelation, theologians tend to focus on something called "eschatology. Benjamin Gladd Simply, "the study of last things. In the Old Testament we have a number of texts that talk about what will happen in the latter days, or in the end of days — we have synonymous expressions — and typically that involves the conquering, the Messiah coming and conquering the pagan nations, the conversion of the nations joining Israel, peace going out.

Preceding that, immediately preceding that restoration in the latter days there will be an antagonist. Daniel talks about this man of lawlessness who will come. He will spread false teaching. He will deceive Israel and deceive the nations.

And so all of that will happen in the latter days. Now the New Testament makes this remarkable insight that the latter days have begun. It's the last hour. There has been resurrection. And when we move to the book of Revelation we see this all over the place.

KJV, Audio Bible: The Book of Revelation, Audio Download

In fact, in chapter 1, John claims to be a partaker of the tribulation in the kingdom. So both at the end-time tribulation and the end-time kingdom, he is participating in. And so we see that throughout the book of Revelation, not only does it concern about the very last things before the new heavens and new earth, it also concerns things that have begun from the first century to today.

It has all been set in motion. Robert G. Lister Eschatology, in the simplest definition of the word, is the study of the end times or the study of the last things. And so, when we use the term in its simple sense, that's, all that it involves is the study of the end times. We can apply eschatology in a couple of other particular senses. We can think of it in an individual or a personal way, and when we do that, we're asking questions like: What happens to individuals, be they a believer or an unbeliever, following their death in this life, provided that that death takes place prior to the return of Christ?

What about the intermediate state? Is there a separation of body and soul? What does the resurrection to judgment look like for individuals? On what basis does that judgment take place? And then, an individual's reward in heaven or judgment in hell, what might that look like? Individual eschatology is what we're talking about there. We might also think of cosmic or global eschatology, and there we're thinking on a broader level, not just what do the end times look like for individuals and what are the implications for them, but what are God's global purposes in the culmination of his plan of redemption for this earth?

And there we would include broader discussions of things like the millennium in Revelation 20 — some competing interpretations on that. What is God's plan for the new heavens and the new earth? Is it primarily spiritual? Is it primarily physical? Is it a combination of the two? What does the eternal state look like when God has assigned final judgment to believers and unbelievers, the resurrection of the just and the unjust?

So we can kind of talk about it in those three components: One thing that can complicate our reading of Revelation is the fact that it contains different literary genres.

Put simply, a genre is a type or category, like narrative, poetry, wisdom, law, and so on. And each genre has its own conventions — its own way of communicating. So, in order to interpret the book of Revelation responsibly, we need to recognize the genres it uses, and to read each one according to its own conventions.

What genres does the book of Revelation employ? James M. Hamilton Revelation employs at least three genres. The very first word of the book in Greek is apocalypse or " apokalupsis ," so this book, John is identifying it as a "revelation" or perhaps an "unveiling. Number two, it's a prophecy. Revelation 1: And some have distinguished between an apocalypse — being concerned with the events of the very end of history, the consummation of all things, and perhaps heavenly realities — and then a prophecy dealing with the actual outworking of history.

And then thirdly, Revelation employs features of an epistle. So around verse 4, John begins to say, "John, to the seven churches," and then he addresses those seven churches. There's a blessing much like the format of Paul's letters. So if you compare Revelation 1: And then it concludes, the whole book concludes with a grace that is very similar to the way that Paul concludes his letters.

So I think we can say that Revelation is an apocalyptic prophecy in the form of a circular letter. And there was probably a letter carrier who would have delivered this writing to these churches and then read it aloud in Christian worship.

Revelation (KJV)

Keener One of the most obvious genres in the book of Revelation is the genre of letters. You have letters to the seven churches which some have compared to imperial edicts and so on, but official kinds of letters. But the rest of the book of Revelation is a genre that's much less familiar to us — to many of us in the twenty-first century — and it's a mixture of what we could call prophecy and apocalyptic.

It has features that very much resemble the language of the Old Testament prophets. Pretty much everything could be accounted for on that basis alone.

But some of the features that are most distinctive and repeated in the book of Revelation are also those features that often appear in Jewish apocalypses, a certain kind of Jewish literature that emphasizes heavenly revelations and so on. With regard to even those elements, those elements appear in some of the earlier biblical prophets, Ezekiel, Daniel, and so forth.

But because they're so unfamiliar to us — to many of us at least in most of our cultures in the twenty-first century — it's valuable to immerse ourselves in the language of the Old Testament prophets to get a better understanding of the book of Revelation. Brandon Crowe The book of Revelation is unique in a number of ways, and one of those ways is how it takes three different genres and combines them into a single book.

Revelation employs prophecy, apocalyptic, and the form of a letter for John to make his point. As an apocalyptic book, Revelation concerns visions that are given to John that deal with the divine transcendent reality and how that reality is relevant for our world today.

It gives a divine perspective on the world and shows us something of where history is going. As a prophetic book, John writes with the very authority of God himself, meaning the words that John writes are true.

They are absolutely true in the way that God is himself truth.

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And the categories of apocalyptic and prophetic are very closely united in Revelation as they are, for example, in a book like Daniel in the Old Testament. But thirdly, Revelation is communicated in the form of a circular letter. This is a letter that was sent around to more than one church, and as a letter, Revelation was relevant for churches even in the first century. And it's important to remember that it was a letter, that Revelation is not only about what might happen thousands of years in the future, but Revelation, as it was originally, was given, was written to specific churches in the first century.

And whatever else John might be doing, his message of Revelation is relevant for those first century churches. And so in some senses, Revelation is unique in being a prophetic apocalypse that was sent around to churches in the form of a circular letter. It combines all three of those genres. Question 6: How similar is the book of Revelation to Old Testament prophetic literature? When John wrote the book of Revelation, he drew heavily from the Old Testament prophets, and quoted them frequently.

And of course, the same God inspired both Old Testament prophecy and the book of Revelation. Because of these types of connections, we should expect to see similarities between Revelation and Old Testament prophecy. But do we? Brandon Crowe To understand the book of Revelation, we need to understand that it is a book of prophecy, and the book of Revelation 1: And as a book of prophecy, it has a number of similarities to Old Testament prophets.

It mirrors, for example, some of what… happens in Ezekiel. Some think that the sequence of the visions in Ezekiel had a very formative influence on the way that John had organized Revelation.

We also see John having something like a prophetic commission like what happens to Ezekiel. We see further that Ezekiel is called to write by the Spirit, and John is said to write at the leading of the Spirit, and that there's a divine authority that lies behind what he writes in Revelation. And so we see, just as the true prophets from the Old Testament are actually speaking the very words of God, we see the same thing in Revelation where, as John writes, he's writing the very words of God.

Revelation is also much like the book of Daniel, which is also an apocalyptic prophecy type of book, which we find in Revelation. Revelation 1 begins with John saying, these are the things that must soon take place and these had been shown to him, and we find something very similar in Daniel 2 where the things that will happen in the latter days are going to be shown to them. So we see those similarities as well. Beyond this, the book of Isaiah is quoted a number of times in Revelation.

And in fact, we can point to the way that John often takes Old Testament books, Old Testament wording, Old Testament images, and weaves them into his prophecy to demonstrate his continuity with the prophets that have come before. Some even say that John is writing the climax of biblical prophecy.

If you look, for example, in Revelation 18 and 19 and the downfall of Babylon, it's been argued that he's actually taking all of the Old Testament statements about the downfall of Babylon from the prophets and weaving those into that account to demonstrate how his prophecy of the downfall of Babylon stands in continuity with what has come before. Miles Van Pelt The book of Revelation is not unique in the entire biblical canon in terms of the type of literature that we find there.

There are actually several books in the Old Testament that correspond to the same literary type of genre. One of the ones I'm thinking of right now is apocalyptic literature… Now, apocalyptic literature we often think of in the book of Revelation as that literature where you get wild and outrageous animals and things being described, for example, dragons and beasts with multiple heads, horns and eyes.

Well, that type of language is not unique to the book of Revelation. We find that in the book of Daniel. We find apocalyptic literature in Ezekiel, in Zechariah, even a little bit in Isaiah. So the book of Revelation has many, kind of, literary antecedents in Old Testament prophetic literature.

And what is the purpose of Old Testament prophetic literature at the apocalyptic level, or even the book of Revelation? One thing that's helpful to think about is that the coming of apocalyptic literature appears to focus around a particular community at a particular time, and that's usually God's people in exile.

And so if you think of Ezekiel who was cast into exile in Babylon and received apocalyptic visions, Daniel who went into exile to Babylon: And the purpose of these apocalyptic visions, they were not to confuse people, which we normally think today, but actually to comfort and encourage God's people in this way: And those two really big themes kind of frame how apocalyptic literature, or what it embodies in terms of its content and when it is coming to God's people in terms of their timing.

So there are antecedents in the Old Testament for the apocalyptic literature that we normally think of describes the vast majority of the book of Revelation. Greg Perry The emphasis in the book of Revelation is on its role or identity as a prophetic word, a book of prophecy. And so what we see is a great deal of similarities with the ways in which the prophets would represent God's covenant in terms of the things they would see — their visions — to call people back to covenant faithfulness and repentance.

And so the emphasis in the opening part of the book of Revelation is on a call to repent and to overcome. And that's consistent with what we see in the prophets where the warnings are, "unless you repent, you'll suffer this discipline.

And so we see this through John. Jesus brings this word of blessing that he promises to those who will repent and those who will overcome, this great invitation to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

We also see common imagery.

So, whether it's imagery from the plagues and the Exodus and the experience of the deliverance of God's people from the Exodus, and of course, the identification of Jesus as the Passover Lamb that is consistent with that imagery, and Moses as a prophet. Or where we see the heavenly council and one like the Son of Man like we see in relation to Daniel 7 in chapters 4 and 5, and the gathering of the heavenly council there, or whether it's the New Jerusalem that's consistent with what we see in the book of Ezekiel, or whether it's these figures like the two witnesses or what we see with the lampstands — imagery that really comes from the book of Zechariah — where again these things represent God's leaders like the king and the priest, and God's people in relation to the nations, and God's call for them to be faithful in the midst of the nations and his dealings with the nations.

So these things are very consistent with what we see in the imagery and in the function of the books of prophecy in the Old Testament. Question 7: How is apocalyptic literature similar to and different from typical biblical prophecy? The author of the book of Revelation wrote in both the prophetic and apocalyptic genres. These two genres have many similarities, but they also have significant differences.

Robert B. Chisholm, Jr. In apocalyptic literature, we have more of a vision of the distant future with a succession of kingdoms and what God is going to be doing in the future; whereas, classical prophecy tends to be a little more immediate. Or if it talks about the distant future, it's maybe a little more vague.

The book of Revelation talks about the future and uses a lot of symbolism — there are angelic visitations — those are characteristics of apocalyptic literature.

So it's really kind of a big picture, long range sort of thing. And because of the large amount of symbolism, it really does differ from classical prophecy. Scott Redd Well, apocalyptic literature is similar to biblical prophecy in the sense that it does tell something about the future. It anticipates God's work in the world and the surety, or the confidence that God's people can have, that he will continue to be involved in the goings-ons of their life and the life of the world around them.

But when you compare apocalyptic literature to, for instance, to typical biblical prophecy, you find that there are also some very significant differences. Biblical prophecy is typically involved in the genre of prayers or speeches, for instance. Biblical prophecy is often prayers to God, lamenting for sin, repenting for sin, or prayers of praise, or prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord.

So they often show up in a sort of poetic style and involve the vivid and metaphorical imagery that we find in poetry. Sometimes biblical prophecy is also taken up in speeches, speeches to God's people, either declaring the threat of judgment or declaring a hope in blessing and salvation in the future.

Again, like all biblical prophecies, the most significant aspect of the prophecy is that it's calling God's people to faithfulness and repentance. However, when we turn to apocalyptic literature, we find a very different mode of communication. We see the prophet, instead, taken up in the Spirit often, into sort of a spiritual realm where they watch a drama played out before them.

Now, like biblical prophecy, the drama involves concerns about the future, sometimes the near future and sometimes the very distant future. But as the prophet watches this drama played out, he reports to us on what he sees… In apocalyptic visions, the prophet will often have an angelic tour guide who is explaining to him the events that he sees around him.

The prophet can ask questions to the angel, and the angel will often respond or give other kinds of clarification to what the prophet is seeing in front of him. Now, the drama that is played out in a visionary apocalypse is one which is very figurative, it's very vivid in its imagery, but it tends to draw large lines and broad strokes about future events. They're always involving cosmic conflict, battle between light and darkness, battle between God and his enemies.

And we see these great broad strokes being drawn out throughout the apocalyptic vision, often using very vivid and very exciting imagery… So you see the apocalyptic genre is really a vision report, reporting on a drama that's played out in the future of great cosmic conflict between God and his enemies. Biblical prophecy, on the other hand, typically involves poetry, things like prayers and speeches. And the book of Revelation is John's record of and commentary on these visions.

Listen to John's account in Revelation On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea" Revelation Here, and in other passages like Revelation , John made it clear that he wrote in obedience to this command from God.

God was going to show him a vision, and John was to record this vision and send it to these seven churches in Asia Minor. Knowing that the book of Revelation resulted from a supernatural vision given to John has led some interpreters to diminish the importance of John as the author of this book. After all, if it's just a record of a vision, then what difference does its author make?

What possible input could John have made? I think that when we think about how the Holy Spirit worked with people in the production of Scripture as God's Word and as a human word, that we can say both, that these are human writers that are thinking things through, and they're articulating what they understand and what they want to make known, and we can see that the Holy Spirit is shaping them and working with them and guiding them in the things that are written.

There are some cases where the Holy Spirit is just directly telling people what to write, so we have some dictation, we have clear oracles. But in other cases, you've got the literary artistry of a human author, and he's expressing things in cultural forms in the way that he wants them to be understood, and God is working with those free decisions to make them exactly what he wants. It is a compatibility of God's sovereign direction and human responsibility to do things.

It's God's word, it's a human word altogether. John E. McKinley] The Spirit uses the different circumstances, the different personalities, the different vocabularies, the different historical chronology of each person and highlights that in such a way as to bring the optimum amount of clarity to the particular truth that is being demonstrated by the argument of the writer.

And so throughout Scripture what we have is this complete interaction of the gifts, and the historical background, and the knowledge, and the experiences of the writers, and at the same time, the particular activities of the Holy Spirit in guiding them to use all of these personal gifts which God in his providence has prepared them to have — using all these personal gifts in a way to create a book of divine revelation that is precisely as he would have it to be including all of the literature types, and all the historical narratives, and all of the angst of the writers.

All of this is a matter of divine superintendence and divine revelation without, in any sense, destroying the genuine personality and history of the writers.

Thomas J. Nettles] With the possible exception of the letters in chapters 2 and 3, God revealed visions to John, not the actual words he was to write. Generally speaking, John wrote about his visions in his own words. So in this regard, the book of Revelation is a lot like the Gospel of John. First, John observed the events of Jesus' life. Later, he reported those events in his gospel, in a way that was designed to meet the particular needs of his audience.

In much the same way, John observed the visions he reported in the book of Revelation. Then he wrote his book as a true record of his experiences. And as we'll see in these lessons, John selected and arranged the material in the book of Revelation in ways that addressed the needs of his original audience. Like the rest of the Bible, the book of Revelation was inspired by God. The Holy Spirit superintended John's work so that everything he wrote was true and authoritative. But as we'll see throughout these lessons, John was still an active, thinking author.

With the possible exception of the letters in chapters 2 and 3, John didn't receive dictation from Jesus. He was responsible for recalling his vision, for understanding it, and for presenting it in his own words. Now that we've considered John's location and experience when he wrote the book of Revelation, let's look at the date when he composed it. Date Evangelical interpreters generally point to one of two probable dates for the writing of Revelation: either an early date during the time of the Roman emperor Nero, or a late date in the time of the Roman emperor Domitian.

We'll consider both these dates, beginning with the time of Nero. Nero The Roman emperor Nero reigned from A. In Nero's early years, competent advisors had great influence with him.

But over time his rule degenerated dramatically. Nero is notorious for having blamed Christians for the fire of Rome in A. Emperor Nero undertook this persecution in the middle of the first century mainly to use Christians as scapegoats. Fire broke out in the city of Rome, and Emperor Nero was known for his urban renewal projects, so with that fire hitting the landscape very heavily and then other forces coming in and clearing out buildings some felt unnecessarily, there were a number who felt that they were really on the receiving end of the urban renewal project, and it was the emperor's fault.

So there was an uprising threatened. He was looking for someone to blame it on and attached that to the Christians. And in that, various forms of torture were employed to try and extract from the Christians an admission that they were behind this. James D. Smith III] The arguments for dating the book of Revelation during the late years of Nero's reign are based on at least three pieces of information.

The first main evidence is John's reference to seven kings.

In Revelation 17, John described a scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns. And in verses , he said that the seven heads represented seven kings.

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Most interpreters agree that these seven kings were Roman emperors. Julius Caesar is sometimes counted as the first emperor of Rome. In fact, in Revelation , we find the detail that the sixth king of Rome was in power when John received his vision and wrote the book of Revelation. This reference has led many interpreters to conclude that John's Apocalypse was written during the reign of Nero.

A second major argument that John wrote during Nero's reign comes from John's reference to the Jewish temple. In particular, John mentioned the temple in Revelation 11, and some scholars interpret this to mean that the Jewish temple in Jerusalem was still standing when Revelation was written. But history records that the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in A. So, if the temple was still standing when Revelation was written, it's likely that the book of Revelation was written during the reign of Nero.

The third factor that may point to a date in Nero's time is that John wrote during a period of persecution. The book of Revelation frequently mentions the fact that John's readers were suffering. We can see this in Revelation ; , 10, 13; and And as we have already said, Nero was well-known for promoting the persecution of Christians.

He wasn't the only Roman emperor to do this, but he was the first to do so in a noteworthy manner, even if his persecutions were generally limited to the area around Rome. The Roman emperor Nero who reigned from was known to be a pretty brutal emperor. He also was known to persecute many people in a number of ways.

For example, he killed members of his own family, and he was probably the first Roman emperor to really persecute Christians. Now how did he do that? Well, we have an ancient historian named Tacitus who tells us that some Christians were covered with pitch and burned actually as lamps in Rome. Some were put inside of the skins of wild beasts and fed to the animals, and some were also said to be nailed to crosses.

Brandon Crowe] Although there's no specific historical evidence that the persecution under Nero spread beyond Rome to other parts of the Empire, this possibility can't be ruled out. So, this can also be seen as supporting a date during Nero's reign. But while the arguments favoring a date in Nero's reign have some merit, they aren't entirely convincing. In fact, a number of objections have been raised against them.

First, Julius Caesar wasn't actually an emperor. His successor Augustus was the first to claim that title. So, Julius Caesar might not be the first of the seven kings mentioned in Revelation Second, as we've seen, Revelation 11 mentions the temple.

But John was told in Revelation that all but the outer court of this temple would be protected from the Gentiles. In contrast to this, in Matthew , Jesus himself had already predicted that the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Gentiles.

So, it's difficult to be sure that Revelation 11 refers to the temple that was destroyed in A. Third, while it's possible that Nero's persecution spread to Asia Minor, there is no historical evidence that it actually did. So, it's difficult to tie John's descriptions of Christian persecution directly to Nero. Because of problems like these, a majority of evangelicals prefer a later date for the book of Revelation.

Now that we've looked at the arguments for a date in the days of Nero, let's turn to the evidence suggesting that John wrote the book of Revelation during the reign of Domitian. Domitian Scholars who favor a late date for the writing of Revelation tend to place it during the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian, who ruled from A. At least four factors can be cited in favor of this date for the writing of Revelation. First, several early church fathers indicated that the book was written at this time.

For instance, in his work Against Heresies , book 5, chapter 30, section 3, the early church father Irenaeus reported that Revelation was written "toward the end of Domitian's reign. So, there is good reason to trust his testimony on this matter. This date also concurs with the testimony given by some of the church fathers in the early second century, such as Clement of Alexandria, who implied that John was released from exile upon Domitian's death. A second factor favoring a date in Domitian's reign is the same reference to seven kings that some interpreters use to support a date in Nero's reign.

As we've seen, in Revelation , John explained that the seven heads on the scarlet beast were seven kings. Those who argue for a date in Domitian's reign argue that all seven kings are presented as severe persecutors of the church.

So, rather than counting all the Roman emperors, they count only those emperors who persecuted the church in significant ways. By this reckoning, Caligula was the first emperor. He reigned from A. Claudius, was the second, reigning from A. Nero was the third, reigning from A.

Following Nero, three minor emperors are ignored, because they did not significantly contribute to the persecution of the church. The fourth emperor that persecuted the church was Vespasian, who reigned from A.

The fifth was Titus, who reigned from A. And the sixth, during whose reign Revelation would have been written, was Domitian, who ruled from A. A third factor that points to a date in Domitian's reign is the persecution of Christians. Domitianus was the son of Vespasian and the brother of Titus. Now, what you need to know about that is Vespasian and Titus were responsible, personally, for the Fall of Jerusalem in A.

So, one of the things that you can say about that family is that they were not very Jewish-friendly, to say the least. So, it's not a surprise that Domitianus would be an emperor who would persecute a sect that he would see as sort of a split-off from Judaism. The persecution seems to have been sporadic, rather than systematic. It seems to have been more regional that it was empire-wide, but it was nonetheless vicious.

Ben Witherington III] Domitian went after everybody, and he was so much hated by the people that after a while, they actually scratched his name out of inscriptions for things like amphitheaters that were dedicated to him, and so they actually went through the empire and wiped out his name because he was so widely hated.

Why was he hated? Well, because he crushed any opposition to himself that he saw was out there. Brandon Crowe] The persecution of Jews is better known to us really than the persecution of Christians, but there's no doubt that it was severe in both cases, and as a result of that, many who place Revelation at the very end of the first century will sense that the beast or the monster that's being addressed in Revelation is, in fact, Domitian. He was, even more than Nero, most likely crazy, certifiably crazy.

He was one who in his own habits loved to see women and dwarfs battle, would catch insects and stab them repeatedly with needles — these are recorded by some of those who watched him — and ultimately he was executed, murdered by a former slave of his who came back and saw an opening and just couldn't take it anymore.

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The Background of Revelation

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Third, while it's possible that Nero's persecution spread to Asia Minor, there is no historical evidence that it actually did. First, Julius Caesar wasn't actually an emperor. VCY America. Revelation 04 : Your browser does not support the audio element. If Christians refused to join in this idolatry, they could be accused of atheism — a crime that carried severe consequences, and could even result in execution.

Its unpleasantness made it a good location to punish popular people who were perceived as threats to the civil order of the Roman Empire.

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