Sunday, May 7, 2017

Revelation 1:2&3, An Expositional Commentary.

    So far we’ve got God giving the Revelation to Jesus Christ. From there it went to an angel, and then John.
    
Verse 2 : Who bare record

   OK, that’s just bad English. The Greek word for “bare record”, transliterated “martureō”, according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, means: to be a witness, to bear witness, i.e. to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something.
    So it should just say “who bares record”.
    I’ll be honest. I read out of the King James Bible as a default while I work on studying through Revelation. But I’ve got five other Bibles that I’ll run the verse through just to see what differences there are; and if they are significant, to try to find out why they are different.
         In case anyone is wondering, those other versions are: the International Standard Version, New English Translation, World English Bible, The New King James and the New International Version.
    Usually the difference comes down to which of the various ancient manuscripts were used in the translation. The King James Bible used the Textus Receptus, while a lot of the newer translations rely on the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. All of these manuscripts have their strengths, all of them have a certain amount of controversy. I’m not going to argue for one translation or manuscript over another here. I am going to try to keep track of all the places where the difference causes a problem in understanding.
    
of the word of God,
    In this case, I just like the way the King James and the New King James Bibles put it.
    John bares record of the Word of God: He’s read the scriptures, and he can testify to what they say.

and of the testimony of Jesus Christ,
    The word “testimony” (marturia) here is not quite the same as the “bare Record” (martureō) at the beginning of this verse. According to Thayer, marturia means “testimony, i.e. before a judge.

    John was there when Jesus testified before the High Priest.
John 18:15 -  And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.
    John didn’t like to identify himself by name in his gospel. He kept making reference to “another disciple” or “that other disciple”. Finally, at the end of John’s gospel, he says:
John 21:24 - This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. He’s clearly got a thing for referring to himself in the third person.
     Everybody agrees the “other disciple” in this verse was John, so he actually heard Jesus Christ’s testimony. I don’t know why he couldn’t get Peter in.

and of all things that he saw.
    So altogether John bore witness to three things: The Word of God (scriptures), the testimony of God (Jesus Christ) and the revelation of God (things that he saw). None of the other translations come out quite as poetic.

Verse 3: Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy,
    Isn’t it amazing how so many churches and preachers won’t touch this book, and yet it is the only book in the Bible that promises a blessing to anyone who reads or hears it.

and keep those things which are written therein:
    To “keep” is “to attend to carefully, take care of.” (Thayer) So, there is that. You are to carefully attend to the words of this prophecy. So that’s what I am doing. I am attending, as carefully as I can, to the words of this prophecy. I want a blessing. Help me along here and you can get a blessing, too.

for the time is at hand.
    You got me here. Every translation I have says either “at hand” or “near”. Look it up in Strong’s and Thayer and they all say near, at hand, imminent.
    Here we are two thousand years later...What does he mean IMMINENT? It is verses just like this that have me hoping someone more learned than I will one day read my blog and give me an answer to this little conundrum. ...and keep reading, because I’ve got more.
    This might be a good place to admit to one of my labels. I’m what they call a “dispensational premillennialist”. (say that five times, fast).  Everybody who thinks about the the end of the world (eschatology - don’t you just love these words) has their own idea of how to interpret books like Revelation. There are several different schools, and they all have really long, incredible sounding names.
    For instance, there is Dispensational Premillennialism. This is the view I hold. I believe that there will be a “Rapture of the church.” That one day, without warning, the church will be snatched into heaven. This automatically leads to the question of: “What is the church?” That question should be answered pretty thoroughly over the next couple of chapters. In fact, this question of the rapture will be coming up again.
    For now, let’s just say that the church refers to those who love and serve God. Sitting in a pew doesn’t necessarily put you in the church.
    After the rapture, there will be what’s called the Great Tribulation. That term’s pretty self-explanatory. Some hold that it is a seven year period. There’s a pretty strong case to be made that, while there is a seven year period in view - The seventieth week that the book of Daniel talks about in chapter 9 of that book - the actual Great Tribulation only covers the second half of that.
    Then we have the second coming of Jesus, followed by the Millennium - The thousand year reign of Christ on David’s throne before Satan is loosed again for the final climax.
    This is just one of the several preconceived views that I bring into this study. It can’t be helped. We all have them. I’ll try to admit to mine as we go along and hopefully, if the text proves me to be wrong, I’ll be able to recognize it and change my thinking. Isn’t that what studying is supposed to be all about?
    Another view would be Historic Premillennialism. This teaching holds that there is no rapture. That there will be a Great Tribulation (seven or three and a half years - take your pick), and then Christ will return with His angels, rescue the church, bind Satan in the Abyss and kick off the Millennium.
    There is also Amillennialism. This would be the position of the 16th, 17th, and 18th Century commentators that I mentioned in my last post. They believe that Satan is already chained in the Abyss, that the Millennium refers to the church age and that Christ will return at the end of the
Church age.
    The problems with this position seems pretty obvious. While it would seem that this position fits well with The time is at hand”, it has still been a lot more than a thousand years. Besides that, if Satan is supposed to be bound, I’d say his chain is too long.

(Just a reminder: all scripture is cut and pasted from the Blue Letter Bible.org)

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