Revelation (book of the Bible)

The Apocalypse of John is a book written in Greek in the early 2nd century by a Christian religious and writer named John of Patmos – although he does not claim to be John the Evangelist (who had been a disciple of Christ and had died several decades earlier in late 1st century) -.

In Hellenistic Greek it was called Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰωάννου [Apokálypsis Ioánnou], ‘the disclosure of John’.

It receives several names:

  • Apocalypse,
  • Revelations of Saint John,
  • Revelations of Jesus Christ,
  • Book of Revelationso
  • Revelation

It is also known as Revelations of Jesus Christ by the title that is initially given to this book: Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ [Apokálypsis Iesú Jristú], which means ‘the disclosure of Jesus Christ’.

In some Protestant circles, it is known as the Book of Revelations or simply Revelation .

Because of its literary genre, it is considered by most scholars the only New Testament book of an exclusively prophetic nature.

Summary

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  • 1 Contents
  • 2 Location within the New Testament
  • 3 Analysis of the book
    • 1 Other references
    • 2 The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
  • 4 Relationships of the Apocalypse with other mythologies
  • 5 Historical context of your writing
  • 6 Author
  • 7 Acceptance of the Apocalypse
    • 1 Rejection of the authenticity of the Apocalypse
  • 8 Sources

Content

The author claims that he had a visual and auditory revelation of the destruction of the world and the coming of a new world.

In the text the idea of ​​the second coming of Christ dominates (cf. 1, 1 and 7; I Peter 1, 7 and 13).

The author claims that he heard “a great voice like a trumpet” saying to him, “Write down what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches: Ephesus , Smyrna , Pergamum , Thyatira , Sardis , Philadelphia and Laodicea .

The author of the Apocalypse seems to have interpreted the worsening conditions of Christians in the Roman Empire as a sign of the beginning of a catastrophic period. Apparently, he wrote above all to encourage Christians to resist during this terrifying final crisis, in the confident hope of the coming of an impending era for eternity.

The early Church believed that this event would soon come. When it occurred, a new era would begin in the world, in which Christ and the Church would be triumphant.

Location within the New Testament

The Apocalypse due to various controversies about its authorship and errors of concept that contradict Christian doctrine – was the last text to be accepted within the New Testament of the Christian Bible , and was therefore located at the end.

Analysis of the book

The book is divided into the following four parts:

  1. Introduction and letters to the churches ( Revelation1-3).
  2. The lamb (Jesus Christ), the seven seals, and the seven trumpets ( Revelation4-11).
  3. The dragon (Satan) and combat ( Revelation12-20).
  4. The new Jerusalem ( Revelation21-22).

From the latter you can take this text:

The new Jerusalem ( Revelation  21-22). The vision ends with hope: heaven and earth are created again, Jerusalem would be the city promised by the Judeo-Christian god Yajvéj and his new people, in which he will be with men in love and harmony. It ends with the blessing and with the hope that he would return.

  • Introduction and presentation ( Revelation1):

In this he presents the vision of the whole book and communicates the messages to the church, as if it had come from a man with long robes and white hair, referring to the risen Christ.

  • Message to the Churches ( Revelation2-3):

They are like evaluations, whether good or bad for seven communities, which end with a challenge and the inspiration to win.

Other references

Also found:

  • The theophanies of the god Yajvéj ( Revelation4),
  • The Lamb ( Revelation5),
  • The seven seals ( Revelation6-8),
  • The seven trumpets ( Revelation8-11),
  • The dragon and the beasts ( Revelation12-13),
  • The overcomers ( Revelation14-15),
  • The seven cups ( Revelation16),
  • the prostitute and the fall of Babylon ( Revelation17-19,
  • the defeat of Satan ( Revelation20) and
  • The new Jerusalem ( Revelation21-22).

The four horsemen of the apocalypse

The image of horses comes from the Book of the Prophet Zacharias , where it is established that they are sent by the god Yajvéj . Each one riding a horse with a characteristic color, these riders carry plagues to all humanity, remembering that the number 4 represents all of Creation, so the plagues would then spread throughout the Earth. Recalling the meaning of the colors, the most common interpretation of what each rider represents would be the following:

The four horsemen of the apocalypse.

  • The red horse represents war.
  • The black horse represents famine, poverty.
  • The green or yellow horse represents death or disease.
  • The white horse represents death for some, for the fact that it always wins, but for others, for the color, for the fact that it wears a crown and for the fact that Christians do not believe that death is invincible, It would rather represent Christ (or a rider in its representation), also referring to Revelation19: 11-21, where the white horse reappears, with Christ riding it.

Relations of the Apocalypse with other mythologies

In the 404 verses of the Apocalypse there are 518 quotes from the Old Testament , of which 88 were taken from the Book of the prophet Daniel .

In the idea of ​​the 24 elders, it possibly refers to the 24 Babylonian deities of the constellations, who presided over the 24 fortnights of the year.

In the locusts of the fifth trumpet, the imagery of the centaurs from Greek mythology could be present .

Historical context of your writing

The date on which it was written is unknown, although it is supposed to have happened during the reign of the Roman emperors Domitian (between 81 and 96), Nerva (between 96 and 98), Trajan (between 98 and 117) or Adriano (between 117 and 138).

Author

The author calls himself John, and the ecclesiastical tradition has maintained (without any evidence) that it is Saint John the Evangelist .

However, many specialists, taking into consideration such evidence as the linguistic differences between the Apocalypse and the Gospel according to John (also traditionally attributed to John the Evangelist ), are more inclined to attribute it to some other prominent Christian of the early Church, suggesting , for example, that it was Juan de Patmos or Juan el Presbítero (Juan the Elder).

The author claims that he had the revelation in Patmos (one of the Dodecanese islands in the Aegean Sea ), perhaps banished for having preached that Jesus of Nazareth was the same god Yajvéj .

Acceptance of the Apocalypse

Unlike other New Testament books , the Apocalypse took several centuries to be recognized as a genuine work that should be part of the Bible .

According to Eusebius of Caesarea (263-339), in his Ecclesiastical History (of the year 324), the first authority recognized by the Apocalypse of John was Melitón (f. 180), Bishop of Sardes (a town located in the interior of Turkey, a 85 km east of the coastal city of Izmir). He claims that Melitón had even written a comment on the Apocalypse (although that text had already been lost in his time). [one]

Towards the year 120, Papías de Hierápolis (70-163) mentions that the Apocalypse was not written by the Apostle Juan (the youngest and most loved disciple of Jesus) nor by Juan the Evangelist (the author of the Gospel of Juan ) but by the old John the Presbyter. Today’s Catholicism melds all three people into one character.

Around the year 130, the Greek theologian Marcion (85-160) rejected the Apocalypse (because he considered almost all the books considered part of the New Testament to be false or erroneous , except the Gospel of Mark and the Letters of  Paul of Tarsus ).

In the year 180, in Gaul , Bishop Irenaeus of Lyon (130-202), in his book Adversus haereses (‘Against the heretics’), stated that he firmly believed in the apostolic authority of the Apocalypse . [two]

In Africa, Tertullian (160-220) – the only father of the Church (along with Origen ) who was not canonized – in his book Against Marcion (around 208) frequently cited the Apocalypse with no apparent doubts about its authenticity. [3]

In Rome, Bishop Hippolytus of Rome (170-236) assigned the authorship of the Apocalypse of John to the Apostle John .

The Muratorian Fragment (from the 4th century, although its unknown author falsely claims that he wrote it in 170) presents a list of letters and texts to be considered “canonical” (part of the Bible); in that list he lists the Apocalypse of Peter (which will be rejected a few decades later, in the council of 393) and the Apocalypse of John . [4]

The Apocalypse appears in the more than twenty Latin Vetus ( Latin : ‘old Latin [versions]’), which were lousy translations of the Bible published in the 4th century, before the Vulgate translation (published in 382) of Saint Jerome (340-420) became the standard of the Bible for Latin-speaking Christians.

In Alexandria (Egypt) , Clement (150-215) stated that he believed that the author of the Apocalypse John is the John disciple of Christ. [5] [6] His disciple Origen of Alexandria (185-254) [7] also accepted the Apocalypse as inspired, and listed it as part of the Homologumenna .

In 367, Athanasius (296-373) Bishop of Alexandria, fully recognized him in his Easter letter 39 . [8]

In 382, ​​the book was definitively accepted by the decree of Pope Damasus I (304-384), who threatens with death at the stake who denies his claim. [9]

Since then it has been attached to the Apocalypse of John with all the other New Testament writings :

  • In 393, at the Hippo Council, directed by Agustín de Hipona. [10]
  • In 397, Augustine of Hippo (354-430) in his book On Christian Doctrine[eleven]
  • In 397, at the First Council of Carthage [12]
  • In 400, Rufino de Aquilea (345-411) in his Commentary on the Apostles’ Creed[13]
  • In 405, Pope Innocent I (350-417) – who reigned between 401 and 417 – in a letter to the Bishop of the city of Toulouse [14]
  • In 419, at the Second Council of Carthage [15]
  • Between 519 and 553, the Decretum Gelasianum(written by an anonymous scholar, falsely attributed to Pope Gelasius I, who died in 496), contains a list of Scriptures accepted as canonical. He falsely claims that this list of Gelasius had originally been published at the Council of Rome (in 382), although that council does not mention the list. [16]
  • In 730, John of Damascus (675-749) in his book An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith[17]
  • In 1442, at the Council of Florence . [18]
  • In 1546, at the Council of Trent . [19]

In the churches of the East it was not included in the biblical canon until after much controversy (which lasted until the 9th century), although it is the only New Testament book that is not read as part of the liturgy in the Orthodox Church .

Rejection of the authenticity of the Apocalypse

The Christian presbyter Gaius of Rome, in his Dialogue against the Montanist Proclus, affirms that the Apocalypse was written by a certain Cerinthus. [20] He accused Cerinthus of attributing the book to Saint John of Patmos – while his contemporary in Rome, Bishop Hippolytus (170-236) attributed the book to the apostle John himself . Furthermore, the priest Caius condemns Cerinthus for spreading in the book some ideas that contradict the teachings of Jesus Christ (for example, that the End of the World would present some signs, when the Gospels affirm that Jesus said that he would come as the thief in the night, without no notice).

at the beginning of the 3rd century they rejected the Apocalypse for promoting millenarianism.

The most important antagonist of the authority of the Apocalypse was Dionysius the Great (190-264), Bishop of Alexandria (Egypt) and disciple of Origen . In his work Two Books on the Promises (written between 253 and 257) he does not oppose the idea that Cerinthus was the author of the Apocalypse:

This is the doctrine that Cerinthus taught: the kingdom of Christ will be earthly. And since [Cerinthus] loved the body and was completely carnal, he imagined that he would find those satisfactions he longed for, those of the womb and those of the lower womb, that is to say, eating, drinking, and marriage: in the midst of parties , sacrifices and immolations of sacred victims, by which he tried to make such theses more acceptable.

Bishop Dionisio of Alexandria (year 257)

In 324, another disciple of Origen, Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea (263-339) disagreed with his Alexandrian teacher by rejecting the Apocalypse as a biblical writing, although he was forced to acknowledge its almost universal acceptance. He stated the following:

The Apocalypse is accepted by some among the canonical books, but others reject it.

Eusebius of Caesarea: History of the Church (year 324) [21]

Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386) did not name him among the canonical books. [22]

In 363, the Council of Laodicea removes it from the list of canonical books. [2. 3]

Gregorio de Nacianzo (329-389) openly denied the authenticity of the book.

The Apocalypse was the only book omitted from the Peshite version of the Bible (the Syrian Vulgate , written in Aramaic ).

In the fourth century , Saint John Chrysostom (347-407) and other bishops argued against the inclusion of this book in the New Testament canon , especially due to the difficulties posed by its interpretation and the latent danger that it could entail. The Christians in Syria also rejected it because the Montanists relied heavily on it. [twenty]

In the 9th century , it was included along with the Apocalypse of Peter among the “discussed” books of the Stichometry of Saint Nicephorus (758-829), Patriarch of Constantinople .

Martin Luther (1483-1546) considered that the Apocalypse “is neither apostolic nor prophetic”, and said that “here one does not teach about Christ, nor know anything about him”. [24]

 

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