REVELATION’S JUDAIC IMAGES

PMT 2015-125 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.exodus

Revelation has an extremely Judaic character. This peculiar characteristic underscores John’s theme of God’s judgment on Israel in AD 70.

John’s style is such that “the reader unfamiliar with the OT is hard pressed to make any sense of Revelation” (Beale and Carson). This is because “when reading the book of Revelation one is plunged fully into the atmosphere of the Old Testament. No book of the New Testament is as saturated with the Old as is the Apocalypse” (McKelvey).

Beale and Carson, in fact, that “the imagery is drawn almost exclusively from the OT” so that Rev presents an “overall Semitic style” (Beale). Below I will note in detail the presentation by Fekkes that lists a larger number OT persons, institutions, and geographical features found in Rev, including Balaam, David, Moses, Gog and Magog, the altar of sacrifice, the ark of the covenant, and the tabernacle. As Prigent observes “the ideological context of the book of Revelation is essentially the OT.” Once again, these are most appropriate for a work dealing with the historical failure of Israel and God’s coming judgment on her.


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See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


A widely-noted, recurring theme in Rev is the OT exodus motif which was “the foundational event in Israel’s history” and even “became permanently definitive of the nature of Yahweh, Israel’s God” (Wright). It was central to Israel’s history (Ex 20:2–3; Dt 5:6–7), celebrated at its occurrence (Ex 15:1–18), and mentioned repeatedly elsewhere in song (Pss 78; 105; 106) and prophecy (Eze 20:3–26; Isa 40:3–5; Am 4:10). Some note that since exodus was written, “confessions of faith from this point on derive from the exodus events” (Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology).

Thus “the motif of the exodus is one of the unifying images of the Bible. The literal exodus of Israel from Egypt . . . becomes the single richest source of allusion for OT writers” (Dictionary of Biblical Imagery). Imagery reflecting the exodus and the conquering of the Promised Land even fires the imagination of first-century Jewish anti-establishment enthusiasts. For instance, Theudas threatens to encircle Jerusalem and to cause the walls to collapse at his command (J.W. 2:13:5 §261; Ant. 20:8:6 §169; Ac 21:38), just as Joshua does at Jericho (Jos 6).

Stephen even employs exodus imagery in his polemic against Israel’s rulers (Ac 7:39–43). In fact, in Rev “a good case can be made for the dominance of the Sinai story (including the plague sequence)” (Moyise). Mathewson lists the following verses reflecting exodus imagery just from Second Isaiah: Isa 40:3–5; 41:17–20; 42:14–16; 43:13, 14–21; 48:20–21; 49:8–12; 51:9–10; 52:11–12; 55:12–13. Bauckham explains that “since the exodus was the key salvation event of the history of Israel, in which God liberated his people from oppression in Egypt, destroyed their oppressors, made them his own people and led them to theocratic independence in a land of their own, it was naturally the model for prophetic and apocalyptic hopes of another great salvation even in the future.”

In Rev we see exodus imagery in many places, such as: Jesus as the Passover Lamb (5:6–10; 7:14; 12:11; 13:8; cp. Ex 12:12, 23), ransomed / purchased people (5:9; 14:3–4; cp. Dt 7:8; 13:5), sealing of the faithful (Rev 7:4–7; cp. Ex 12:7, 22–23), plagues (8:7ff; 15:1ff; cp. Ex 7–11), deliverance on eagle’s wings to the desert (12:14; cp. Ex 19:4; Dt 32:11), the “song of Moses” (15:3–4; cp. Ex 15), lightning, earthquake, and trumpet sound (8:2, 6ff; 16:18; cp. Ex 19:16–18), kingdom of priests (1:6; 5:10; cp. Ex 19:5–6), one of the two witnesses modeled on Moses (11:6), the city called “Egypt” (11:8), the ark of the covenant (11:18; cp. Ex 25:10ff), the drying up of the sea (Rev 21:1c; cp. Ex 14:16, 21–22), and more.


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American culture and to our Christian influence in culture.
In this sermon series Dr. Gentry tackles the homosexual question head on
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


Beasley-Murray notes regarding the “exodus typology” in Rev that “the parallel to the exodus narrative in the Old Testament is not accidental but conscious and deliberate.” Beagley shows how this fits our pre-70 context and Jewish judgment concerns, noting that he: “investigated the use of the Exodus motif in the Apocalypse, and the conclusion was reached that this motif constitutes the overall theological framework in which the Seer presents his message. . . . The Christian community is depicted as the counterpart of the Israelites who were preserved from judgment, while the Egyptians themselves suffered fearful torments. Jesus Christ is presented as the Passover Lamb. But who or what in Revelation is the counterpart of Egypt, on whom the judgments fell? . . . The author himself provides his readers with a clue: there is one explicit mention of the name ‘Egypt,’ and it is applied to ‘the great city . . . where their Lord was crucified’ (11:8). . . . We thus have prima facie evidence that the plagues of Revelation are to fall upon Jerusalem.”

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