Description Melvin traces the emergence and development of the motif of angelic interpretation of visions from late prophetic literature Ezekiel 40—48; Zechariah 1—6 into early apocalyptic literature 1 Enoch 17—36; 72—82; Daniel 7—8. Examining how the historical and socio-political context of exilic and post-exilic Judaism and the broader religious and cultural environment shaped Jewish angelology in general, Melvin concludes that the motif of the interpreting angel served a particular function.
Building upon the work of Susan Niditch, Melvin concludes that the interpreting angel motif served a polemical function in repudiating divination as a means of predicting the future, while at the same time elevating the authority of the visionary revelation. The literary effect is to reimagine God as an imperial monarch who rules and communicates through intermediaries—a reimagination that profoundly influenced subsequent Jewish and Christian tradition. Release date:.
Emerging Scholars: Bible. It will captivate the interest of scholars and students working in the areas of angelology, Israelite prophecy, wisdom literature, apocalyptic literature, and the broader area of Second Temple Judaism. Living emperors were not worshiped as deities but as The exceptions to this are: Revelation where one of the twenty-four elders give an explanation; Revelation cf. John's Use of the Old Testament in Revelation, The Book of Revelation. The Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism, Apocalypse and Allegiance, Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John, The Triumph of Christianity, Sacrifices were offered on their behalf or in order to be protected by traditional gods.
Temples were dedicated to them where ordained priests offered sacrifices in their honor. It was rather of local character and voluntary participation. Imperial cult was generally perceived and promoted by authorities. It was argued that for the well-being of the empire it is good to worship emperors. Rome was thought to be divinely elected to rule the world and lead it to prosperity and security. For John, the church is a place of counterweight to the dominating imperial culture saturated in imperial propaganda inscriptions, coins, altars, buildings, etc.
He knows, through revelation, that the church is a structure that is chosen by God and will prevail over time. The Imperium will not last forever because of its rooting in human affairs. Revelation counters these symbols with its own imagery in order to show the twisted nature of Rome. It is quite possible that especially his rule shaped the composition of the Revelation. SPQR, Roman Imperial Imagery in Revelation, , Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John, 4. New Testament History, Interpreting the book of Revelation, Who Rides the Beast?
The phenomenon of intertextuality considers the use of quoted speech. In this section, we would like to explore the nature and character of intertextuality pertaining to the book of Revelation. There are up to six hundred citations of the Old Testament in the book of Revelation.
The precise number depends upon applied methods or a particular researcher. The author can quote a passage in the way of applying it to a new situation or create a composite citation out of several passages. The author is not that much depended on the original source as we would have expected.
Some positions argue for the predomination of his own creativity new application, and own interpretation , while others for John being more faithful to the original meaning of the source. The foremost problem is that citation cannot be understood in a standard way as we are used to in our culture. In Revelation, it looks more like that John quotes creatively and loosely from his memory.
The Old Testament in the New, 4. Decoding Revelation's Trumpets, Does the Author of Revelation Misappropriate the Scriptures? Elusive Allusions, A citation is defined as such that a full quotation of original is reproduced together with identification of a source in the same way as we are used to doing in our copyright culture. This kind of quotation is supposed to be the most precise.
Unfortunately, there is no such case in the book of Revelation. An allusion, on the other hand, tends to be less precise taking only a few words of the original source. The weakest type of quotation is an echo. It resonates with some idea, idiom or expression because of the ordinary vocabulary of the author. In the case of the last two types, it is a question whether such quotation is intentional or accidental.
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The function of the allusion is to point the reader into the original context of an allusion while assuming that the reader knows the source text. Whereas in the case of echo it is not automatically the case. A verbal parallel occurs whenever at least two major words from the source material are employed as a key connection. In the case of thematic parallel, different wording occurs when only an idea or synonyms are reproduced. This can be even the case of just one word.
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And finally, a structural parallel follows a literary or theological structure of the original text in wording and especially in the arrangement. We are never certain whether the author employed a given echo consciously or it is just a matter of his vocabulary. In determining the intentionality, general fixed meaning of an echo needs to be explored in the area of the New Testament for its possible fixed meaning. Therefore, there is a caution in not to import the supposed original context of some supposed allusions while they are in fact echoes after their further evaluation. It was long thought that the Apocalypse of John has a poor Greek, is of Semitic influence, or ghetto dialect.
This, however, is random, not present on other places where the same grammar is in order. So, John knows for sure the rules of proper grammar. The Layers of the Apocalypse, The Old Testament in the New, Semitisms and Septuagintalisms in the Book of Revelation, esp. The Apocalypse and Semitic Syntax, The Language of Apocalypse, This dissonance is therefore intentional for the reader to sense that there is an allusion. Daniel is the most important book for John as demonstrated by its frequent use. What is striking is that especially Daniel 7 just one chapter is employed across Revelation.
Motifs like sea beast Da 7; Rev 13 , son of man Da ; Rev ; , or period of days Da ; ; Rev ; Despite heavy dependence on Ezekiel, John is still very creative in his own right. This book is quoted frequently in a composite manner pieced together with other texts. John is using Isaiah in a special way. When he speaks about particular topics, he employs motifs from Isaiah. Other such as Psalms also very prominent among the above , Pentateuch, Samuel, Kings, or Job are employed in various degree.
John, Semitisms and Septuagintalisms in the Book of Revelation, Nevertheless, there is at least some degree of agreement in regard to chapters However, it is more difficult in the following chapters of Thus, the book would be divided into two parts and Prologue 2. The Exalted Christ and His Churches 3. Heavenly Throne as Locus of Righteous Judgment 4. Dramatic Enactment of Final Judgment 5. The perspective of the New Jerusalem 6. Epilogue Each occurrence of the phrase locates the vision to a different place bringing a new aspect of the whole visionary experience guided by a mediator figure either Jesus or an angel.
Revelation 1—5, c. The Revelation of John, Revelation 1—5, xci- xciii. However, its structuring force on the macrostructure is hard to demonstrate. It is rather used by John to delineate a transition or progression throughout the story. It is not a problem to detect small chiastic structures on a micro-level, however, on the macro-level, it becomes a little bit tricky. Kenneth A. Strand can be used as a showcase of a typical example of the chiastic approach.
Each item has a respective counterpart on the same level. Therefore, for example, the epilogue is the counterpart of the prologue and so on. This arrangement also suggests a particular topic dominating in a given sequence. An Apocalypse for the Church and for the World, Revelation 1—5, X Marks the Spot? The Elusive Macrostructure of the Apocalypse of John, One of the most crucial is the lack of exegetical precision.
It can be put here for our analytical purposes since it is using symmetry in its organization. However, we must note that her approach is not purely based on chiasms as that of Strand. Rather it is based on a combination of various compositional techniques that John is employing pattern of seven, intercalation and interlocking, and scroll and inaugural visions together with structuralist analysis for confirmation.
Throughout the book, various groupings of seven appear like seven proclamations , seven seals , seven trumpets , and seven bowls The seven messages 3. The seven seals 4. The seven trumpets 5. Seven unnumbered visions 6. The seven bowls Babylon appendix 7. Revelation 1—5, xciv. The Combat Myth in the Book of Revelation, Epilogue This structure is well aware of interlockings a device dealing with interludes.
The first disturbing feature is the introduction of unnumbered visions points 5 and 7 because their recognition is on the side of the reader and does not have to resemble authorial intent. The second problematic feature is a difficult reconciliation of appendix sections and We have shown that there are three genres working as a primary communicative framework for the whole book. However, we must note, that there are more genre forms that can be detected in the Revelation. Taking the complexity seriously brings various possible traits in regard to rhetorical goals.
Both the apocalypse and prophecy genres elevate the divine authority of the message as well as unveil the hidden reality. While the letter genre ascribes importance to the contemporary situation and concerns of the Asia Minor community. The imagery of the Apocalypse of John is also very complex literary feature.
On the level of communication, it functions as a powerful rhetorical device to influence the reader in an unordinary way such as to affect emotions or to evoke various associations. Since imagery as such widens the meaning, it is difficult to pinpoint only one reading in one and each particular case. In the same way, it is difficult to read the symbols with simple referential meaning as some kind of code language.
On the socio-political level, the imagery empowers the rhetorical force of the book to counteract the contemporary political agenda. The imagery of the book is largely derived from the Old Testament intertextuality making it the essential part of the composition. As noted above the intertextuality is mostly present in the form of allusions. We will further work with a thesis that John is employing the Old Testament material in scope of New Testament situation. The power of intertextuality is such that it brings a known material into a new situation building on its historical message and authority.
Despite the lack of consensus and peculiarities of the structure of Revelation, there are some common grounds. It nevertheless bears narrative unity. This unity is important in that there is a presence of the development of the story and communicative goal. The results of this analysis will later serve us as a background for rhetorical-narrative analysis in the following chapter. We will carefully go through the whole text trying to pay close attention to every significant idea communicated.
Therefore, to catch these ideas, every detail matter. We will approach our analysis via sections thematically arising from the story. Main blocks of the division in this chapter follow the content-based description of events in the story. The change of action or described object is the determinative element in our arrangement. Further sub-divisioning follows the logical and thematic arrangement of the story.
Our general outline is as follows: 1. Introduction a 2. The Vision of the Woman 3b-6 2. Seating 3b 2. Clothing 4a 2. Holding 4b 2. Forehead Inscription 5 2. Drunkenness 6a 2.
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The Mystery of the Woman and the Beast 3. Prelude to the Explanation of the Mystery 7 3. The Mystery of the Beast 3. The Identity of the Beast 8 3. Call for Wisdom 9a 3. The Identity of the Seven Heads 9b 3. The Identity of the Ten Horns 3. The Mystery of the Woman 3. The Identity of the Waters 15 3. Destruction of the Woman 3. The Identity of the Woman 18 Further, every section will be introduced with the structured Greek text of the section in scope. The structured arrangement should highlight the development and distribution of ideas in a particular text.
Translation of the text will be provided throughout the following analysis when dealing with its particular parts. Some of the key motifs of the text will be referred to in their original Greek forms without further supplementing their translation. Translation will be provided only in the case of their first occurrence.
The vision works as a description of her nature to justify the reason for her judgment which was in fact already executed in the previous chapter when the seven bowls were poured out see esp. Here, in Revelation 17, the execution of judgment is described again in yet from a different perspective. The following chapter 18 then pictures the effect of the judgment on her lovers. This is an essential structuring feature in Revelation which is used to join both previous and following contexts together.
This reference gives us information on A literary device working both as a conclusion of the preceding section and an introduction to a new. We are to perceive it as a follow-up part of chapters This particular vision starts in and ends in This whole discourse contains a presentation of a woman who is variously identified as Babylon, giving a rationale for her judgment b-6; What is striking is that a similar introduction appears in It is working as a comparison synkrisis between two women who are being described in a parallel textual corpus of and Very close structuring also appears in concluding part of both texts as well as in macro-chiastic structure.
It does not hold its conjunctional function as would usually be expected. It is used like this all over the following text as well as in the entire book. Therefore, this story is not in direct continuity with the previous one. This intersentence conjunction is creatively used by John as a stylistic device. Revelation 1—5, xcv-xcvii. The introduction part is of special importance also in that it introduces an angel who is not only showing the vision to John but is also the one who gives an explanation of it.
The occurrence of an angel who is giving any explanation angelus interpres is the first and second to last place in the entire revelation. A character of the interpreting angel is far more abundant in apocalyptic literature than in Revelation in general. Biblical roots of this motif can be found in Old Testament books of Ezekiel , Zechariah , and Daniel In these texts, an angel interacts with a seer to assist him in understanding and interpreting a vision. In the context of this text, therefore, the angel himself is not the originator revelator of the vision.
He is just the messenger doing his job assigned by God. Moreover, what the angel actually does, as we shall see below, is not to give a referential one-to-one explanation of the vision, as rather to expand images. Functionally, we can say that we are given more information helping us to decode images. However, on the other hand, we can also say that these details further complicate our understanding of the vision.
The word introduces a new character, mentioned here for the first time in the entire text of the Revelation.
This is strange because the text of Revelation is quite precise with its grammar when objects or characters are introduced for the first time. Generally, we can explain this particular use as an emphasis. This emphasis could be also employed to especially warn us about this character. Or we should understand it in a way that we have already met the character previously in other form as will become apparent later in the vision.
Everything what God does in Revelation is exercised from the place of the throne as the central place of his sovereign power and authority. Therefore, women outside their home, in a public place, might be considered a prostitute. These three words cover action, person, and the general idea of the fornication. This does not have to be the accidental employment of words.
The Interpreting Angel Motif in Prophetic and Apocalyptic Literature by David P. Melvin
It can well serve as a stylistic decoration to show how wicked this character is. In its very essence, the character is polluted with fornication on every level. To put this differently, it is totally immersed in fornication. This sense of promiscuity is also conveyed in the cultural concept of this word. This brings us to the Old Testament. There are some texts like Isaiah , Jeremiah , and Ezekiel using this particular picture.
The idea of prostitution is linked with the worship of other gods instead of Yahweh as applied in Revevelation [cf. Those engaged in this relationship were to be severely punished by death. Since this was a covenantal relationship, it was metaphorically applied also to the covenantal relationship between Israel and God.
Moreover, improper alliances with other nations were also seen as such. His economic critique of Babylon in Revelation 18 is also connected with the idea of adultery drawn from the Old Testament. In contrast to these, there are some faithful who did not commit adultery with her see However, the actual reality of the judgment was already mentioned in the previous chapter when the last bowl was poured out ; cf. In the following chapters , we see lamentations of her clients The Throne Motif in the Book of Revelation, Prostitution: Old Testament.
BECK, ed. The Anchor Bible dictionary, Thinking and Seeing with Women in Revelation, Foul Spirits, Fornication and Finance, In the vision, John also sees her own allies, whom she maintained, as turning against her and punishing her with a cruel and horrendous death When taking into account what we just said above, the judgment itself is not described as an instant event, but rather as a series of events or snapshots gradually taking down this evil power. It is the information about a change of place.
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In and a different verb is used to describe a similar movement in spirit. These two movements in spirit convey instant transportation of John. In , John is transported in order to show him the New Jerusalem which is a completely different vision than those shown before. And in both texts, there is an angelus intepres see above playing the key role in mediating the visions.
These four occurrences are paired by similar features as well as they are always related to the beginning of the visionary experience. They are linked with gaining a new knowledge about concealed reality to be disclosed. It is also grounded in the fact that he situates himself on Patmos where he received his visions When looking for other occurrences in the NT, these descriptions are more similar to the description of 2 Corinthians rather than Acts where the transport was physical.
Nevertheless, this shows that this word must be thought of in its own contextual environment. A good explanation can be found in allusion to a vision of the judgment of Babylon in Isaiah Therefore, we are approaching the gist of the whole vision in this section. Since the character as such is not new to us, there must be some other qualities that are to be fresh. All of which are depicted by participles. We will go through these characteristics in the following paragraphs. This time the subject is linked with a character that first appeared in Revelation 13 and 12 respectively.
This brings the association with this particular story. We start by investigating the last piece of the description. Even though, the phrase is anarthrous it is already known characterization. Both descriptions are very similar with only slight differences. It is difficult to further elaborate on the specific nature of these names without any further clarification. This is the first occurrence of the color in the book of Revelation followed by other references in and Moreover, we can find this color applied in an interesting context.
Isaiah uses parallelism of colors here metaphorically to denote sin cf. Isaiah Nonetheless, generally, it is difficult to elaborate on the idea expressed in just one word which is not further developed. On the first look, this is quite luxurious stuff. Unfortunately, there is no explicit information to what we should relate the clothing. Revelation 6—16, Though John is very negative about economic entanglements, he is not against them per se as rather against their exploitation. Sadness and lament of these groups is the subject of the following verses. The benefit of luxury was not mentioned in when this group was first introduced to us.
These two groups can be considered together because of their interconnection. They transported luxurious and ordinary goods on boats from distant parts of the world to Rome, the heart of the Roman Empire. Since the cargo travelled a long journey, it was extremely expensive to buy. Nonetheless, there were consumers who were not discouraged by the high cost and enjoyed the benefits despite the price.
This points to unhealthy consumerism. Imperial Cult and Commerce in John's Apocalypse, Beautiful and luxurious clothing is the economic means used to seduce the inhabitants of the world. Further, these materials can also be associated with high priest garment. It is another container for a liquid so often spoken about throughout Revelation. Crisis and Catharsis, It points to an allegiance of its bearers. But none of these mentions reveal the detailed character of that name or mark. It was limited only to give a sign to whom the worshippers paid their loyalty.
Therefore, John is later initiated into its full complexity in the following explanation of the vision provided by the angelic guide in Both of the references point to an anticipation of its fall. The second aspect of her name returns back to the idea of idolatry we explored when dealing with the golden cup. This makes an even stronger case for us to see the main problem associated with her identity. It was a sign of degradation usually associated with slaves. As we have shown above, the main trait here is the usage of names written upon forehead throughout the book of Revelation pertaining to an allegiance of its bearer.
Having an inscription can also be associated with high priest cap. It is because of the seriousness of a picture now about to be shown. Moreover, this specific aspect is highlighted in lamentation over the fall of Babylon chapter 18 situating the cause of its fall to its persecuting character There is a lack of exegetical data to decide the matter. Revelation 17—22, His reaction alludes to Daniel who is also deeply affected by his own vision.
Moreover, both of these parts are further divided into six subparts. The only exception to this scheme is b. This time, however, from the perspective of the angel. This portion of the text also works as a prelude to the interpretation of the vision. This clause helps us to see the structuring of the explanation. This division is not only discerned on the thematic level but also on the textual. Therefore, the division is clearly visible.
This might be because it was not yet presented in satisfying detail in the book. Despite these two points, there still remains the Wording changes here. Here, however, the grammar is employed properly. Therefore, most of our analysis will be based on this intertextual link. Maybe it is not an accident that this statement is used in a context where God is praised.
However, the angel communicates more than a mere resemblance of divine praise in his explanation. The final destination is for sure described later in ; where it is thrown into a burning lake of fire. Do They Never Come Back? The progression of time in the Revelation is not always quite linear in some places as might be expected. Then there is a designation of the group of worshippers. As well as on other places, Revelation is creatively shifting extending the explanation for things. The dead followers of Christ are calling for justice and punishment of these people The connection with Revelation 13 is further strengthened by the call to wisdom.
The principal question is to which subsection this clause calls to. When looking at the following enigmatic context, it is probable that the call is for the following subsection. The same can be also said about an overall outlook of the whole discourse that bears strong explanatory traits. Even though such a thorough explanation is given it is still very enigmatic. We can also draw this logic from where this call was pronounced prior to the introduction of the enigmatic number It is difficult to decide the ambiguity here, since both ways are reasonably possible.
Therefore, we can conclude that the solution to the puzzle might be to associate According to Paul. See 1 Cor This should not be taken as an accident. This is another example when John creatively explains one symbolic figure by more than one idea. From the comparison above, four stages of progression in time can be drawn: 1 past, 2 present, and future. Seen in regard to the arrangement of time, the parallels are obvious. Available theories can be divided into two categories pointing to Such as Dea Roma coin, writings of ancient authors, sculptures and inscriptions in temples all of these bringing some interesting evidence for the suggestion.
This view also draws on similar ideas in other apocalyptic writings such as 1 Enoch or 2 Esdras which see number seven as a symbol for the totality of world empires. General difficulties, adherents of this view struggle with, are which emperor should be the first of the number Julius Caesar, Augustus, or Tiberius , how to deal with the reign of three short- lived emperors Galba, Otho, and Vitellius before Vespasian took over the Empire, and whether some of the emperors should be excluded i. Nevertheless, what we are going to do here is to find some converging characteristics shared among these authors to synthetize these features to get the picture of a particular view.
We will limit our usage of the authors used elsewhere in this thesis. Secrets of Revelation, As well as in the previous discourse there is an essential characteristic provided for the character.
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The first is that it just designates unity among them. This battle is also the second of the three mentions of the final battle that is about to be seen and realized in a vision of According to the nature of these kings, it is assumed that they might represent some client kings such as was Herod the Great. This is probably the most flexible concept in the whole vision. Nonetheless, it well demonstrates how figurative the text of Revelation is. This fourfold group is first mentioned here in the vision of Revelation 17 and altogether seven times throughout the whole book ; ; ; ; ; Both groups basically mean the whole world.
The destruction is also related to the plagues of Revelation 16 as suggested in Interestingly she is not just thrown into the burning lake of fire as are the other enemies of God in ; , but rather destroyed directly by her own allies. This whole process is a reference back to which preceded the strike against the lamb. It was common to equate cities with women in antiquity thinking of them as mothers of their inhabitants.
Having said that, the angel also expresses her relation to God who, in reality, should have the power over earthly kingdoms and their kings. This brings back the idea of dominion as inclusio indicated at the introduction to the whole vision in One of the angels involved with pouring out of the seven bowls comes to John in order to show him the vision. We are informed about several things. The judgment over this character has been already executed in the vision of the seven bowls.
However, it is described in different terms here as a continuation and justification of the judgment. Third, we are informed about the change of setting to a new scenery in the Revelation narrative. All the allusions mostly point to the Old Testament description of the fall of Babylon. This device well suits the announced subject of the vision working as a rationale for a reason of the destruction.
Generally, it brings about some aspects of the past and shows its future destiny. Three things are noted. No Results? Retry your search in Worldcat Discovery books. No Results There? Retry your search in Google Scholar. New international commentary on the Old Testament. New York : Bloomsbury, Journal of theological interpretation supplements ; Winona Lake, Indiana : Eisenbrauns, Emerging scholars. Supplements to Novum Testamentum ; v.
Leiden ; Boston : Brill, Library of Second Temple studies. London : Bloomsbury Publishing, Supplements to Vetus Testamentum ; v. Berlin : De Gruyter, Fathers of the church ; v. Washington, D. Journal for the study of the Old Testament. Supplement series ; First edition. JPS Bible commentary.