Tuesday, 21 February 2017

On the Dating of Revelation

Someone wrote:

The first verse reveals WHO it was written to. Therefore the audience was 'BONDSERVANTS/SLAVES.' Rev1:1 . Only one people were ever referred to as SLAVES to a MASTER. Israelites to the LAW. They had to obey their MASTER to be 'adopted,' or be 'cast out.' Sons and daughters of a loving FATHER can never be 'cast out.' Simply apply the rules of proper hermeneutics: who, what, when, where, how and why. Then the entire bible will make sense. Angels ordained the old covenant and carried out it's curses. The New is not subjected to angels. Heb 2:5. Many more proofs that Revelation was written before 70 AD.

My reply:

Only one people were ever referred to as slaves to a master - really? 
Every New Testament Epistle was written by someone who described himself as a servant of Jesus Christ - Paul, James, Peter, Jude and John. They said that their readers - believers in Christ - were also the servants of Jesus Christ. And it's the same Greek word 'doulos' as in Rev.1:1. 

Therefore the fact that John addressed the servants of Jesus Christ in Revelation 1:1 does not necessarily mean John was addressing unbelieving-Jews. Nor does the use of the word 'servant' in Revelation mean that the theme of the Book of Revelation was about the destruction of Jerusalem circa AD70. It doesn't necessarily preclude it either - but it's no proof that it was. 

As for what you call proper hermeneutics, how about this: Jesus' Olivet discourse was to Peter and James and John and Andrew privately (Mark 13:4), and Jesus repeatedly addressed them directly as "ye" (e.g. verse 14: "but when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains") - but James we know didn't live to see it, he was martyred earlier - and yet Jesus had addressed him as 'ye' - "when ye see". According to tradition Peter and Andrew didn't live to see it either. 

Jesus addressed His immediate audience as 'ye' - but He didn't necessarily always have all of them, or even any of them, in mind every time He said 'ye' - He sometimes had a far wider group in mind, and even a time beyond the lifetime of all of His immediate audience - even though He'd addressed His immediate audience directly using the personal plural pronoun 'ye'.

So here we have a precedent, set by the Lord Himself, and in the Preterists' favourite proof-passage itself: the Bible can address an immediate audience, and yet sometimes have a different group, a wider group, and even a different lifetime in mind. How about that for a hermeneutic!

Hebrews 2:5 doesn't mean angels aren't involved in the work of the Gospel, or in believers' lives, or in future judgments. Angels weren't created only for the period of the Law. They are sent forth to minister "for them who shall be heirs of salvation" (Heb.1:14). Angels were reported as ministering for the heirs of salvation, all the way through the Book of Acts. 

So I don't feel satisfied that any of the points you mentioned are 'proofs' that Revelation was written before AD70. 

But it doesn't matter anyway, because regardless of when it was written, it doesn't change the main themes of Revelation, and it doesn't change the Christian's stance, as taught throughout the entire New Testament: that is, we look BACK to the cross, and FORWARD to the second coming. And in the mean time, we overcome, regardless.

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