Testimony Of The Things That Must Soon Take Place (rev.1:1-2) – Dr. Eli Lizorkin-eyzenberg And Peter Shirokov

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Rev. 1:1-2

The work known to us as “Revelation of John” begins similarly to other Jewish apocalyptic writings:

Rev.1:1-2 set forth 1) what it is (a revelation of Jesus Christ), 2) why it was given (to show to his bond-servants the things which must soon take place), 3) how it was given (God sent it to be communicated it by His angel) and 4) who in fact was the primary recipient of this revelation (his bond-servant, John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw).

In order for you to see that the opening section of this book is a type of apocalyptic opening that is, if not typical, then fully acceptable for this Jewish literary genre (apocalyptic literature), we will briefly review a few relevant examples. In Enoch 1:1-2:

“The word of the blessing of Enoch, how he blessed the elect and the righteous, who were to exist in the time of trouble; rejecting all the wicked and ungodly. Enoch, a righteous man, who was with God, answered and spoke, while his eyes were open, and while he saw a holy vision in the heavens.

This the angels showed me. From them I heard all things, and understood what I saw; that which will not take place in this generation, but in a generation which is to succeed at a distant period, on account of the elect.”

We also read in 3 Baruch 1:1-8 (Apocalypse of Baruch):

Verily I Baruch was weeping in my mind and sorrowing on account of the people, and that Nebuchadnezzar the king was permitted by God to destroy His city… and behold as I was weeping and saying such things, I saw an angel of the Lord coming and saying to me: Understand, O man, greatly beloved, and trouble not thyself so greatly concerning the salvation of Jerusalem, for thus saith the Lord God, the Almighty. For He sent me before thee, to make known and to show to thee all (the things)… and the angel of the powers said to me, Come, and I will show thee the mysteries of God.

The above passages clearly establish that what we read in Revelation’s opening verses is in fact very similar to other Jewish apocalyptic accounts either authored during or traceable to roughly the same time period.

The Jewishness of the Book of Revelation is so obvious that a number of scholars who don’t see Jesus traditions as originally Jewish, erroneously concluded that the current form of the Book of Revelation is full of clustered Christian interpolations (mostly in Chap.1 and 22). They maintain that the original pre-Christian version had no distinctively Christian theological trademarks. Such charge of Christianization of the original Jewish Book of Revelation has been argued by these and other points as follows:

If one removes “the Christian material”, the text itself can be read just as smoothly, if not more smoothly (alleged Christian interpolations to the Jewish original are in bold type). So for example in Rev. 1:1-3 we read:

The revelation [of Jesus Christ,] which God gave [him] to show his servants what must soon take place; he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testified to the word of God and [to the testimony of Jesus Christ], even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near.

Although intriguing, we view the above exercise as futile and utterly subjective. We argue that some other portions of this and other sections could also be cut without causing many problems and with the same level of success. This in and of itself proves nothing. There are also other things to consider.

Please, let us illustrate. It has been observed that the Samaritan version of the Torah reads much more smoothly than the Jewish Torah. Jewish Torah is far more unpolished and at times inconsistent and convoluted in its presentation of events. But, if anything, the smoother reading argues for later editorial activity of the Samaritan scribes and not vice versa.

Our understanding in this case is, just because the text reads more smoothly once the explicitly “Christian” content is cut out, this is no indication of anything significant. To conclude more than that, is to overstate the evidence that is otherwise nothing more than a curious and intriguing possibility that has absolutely no evidence to back it up.

But there is another more central problem that we think plagues those who argue that the original Jewish Apocalypse (Book of Revelation) was Christianized by someone in the end of the first century or even later. In short, they fail to see that such phrases (designated by them in bold) as Jesus Christ and his “testimony” (among others) are first century Jewish names and concepts that only centuries later became alienated from their original Israelite connection. The argument for differentiation between Jewish and Christian material is therefore anachronistic and artificial.

What do you think? How to you respond to the above argumentation?

 

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Dr. Eli Lizorkin-EyzenbergTo secure your spot in our new course “The Jewish Background of New Testament” - CLICK HERE NOW

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  1. gustavo vargas angel

    Dear Sonia Ann Azzopardi:
    To you question: that is because they did not learn the lesson yet , that is all. Best for you.

  2. Sonia Ann Azzopardi

    Hello Brothers and Sisters,

    I have traced my family tree back to 12th Century Spanish Jews and find this highly interesting, however I just don’t get that if Christ came to give us freedom from religious practices that bind us like oxen to a plough, why most Jews and Christians still keep repeating the same mistakes?

    1. Prof. Peter Shirokov

      Dear Sonia. I am not sure I understand your question… Did Jesus come to free me from practices God commanded in Torah, from being Jewish? Can’t make sense of your question. NT teaches that Jesus came to free people from sin and death, not from religious practices. 🙂

      Glad everyone is enjoying the posts on Revelation. More is coming…

      1. Sonia Ann Azzopardi

        The Law you follow was fulfilled in Christ, only He could live a life according to Moses which was to hard/strict for humans to follow, thus even though u think u are pleasing God in fact you are making God even more angry! It is only when we have faith in God that we truly fulfil the law. U r slaves 2 a law that has been fulfilled Rd Gal 3:15-29

        1. Prof. Peter Shirokov

          On a personal note, I prefer to see myself a “slave to God” who happens to have laws that regulate our relationship. How is Gal 3 (written to non-Jews who were not subject to Torah, yet seeking to get circumcised) apply to Israel? Faith precedes Torah and there is no law without faith!

          1. Sonia Ann Azzopardi

            Your forgetting that there is no Jew there is no Gentle, look if Christ couldn’t get through to you lot sure I won’t either, though I will pray for you to see the light even though you and shackled with an obsolete law. Do you really think you can rebuild the temple again without God’s say so. Last post as falling on still deaf ears and blind eye

        2. Cathy Arvin

          Sonia, read Matt. 5:17 and on from there. Tell me how I did not come to abolish the law translates for you. No where does it say that he came to do away with G-d’s law that would make Him a false prophet. He is the living incarnet Torah, he didn’t come to do away with Himself. Don’t be lawless, it doesn’t work out for those who are.

          1. Cathy Arvin

            Sonia you are right there is no Jew or Greek (Gentile) all in Messiah are a part of Israel – G-d’s Israel. Sin is transgression of the Torah (LAW). We obey G-d’s law because we Love Him and said “IF YOU LOVE ME KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS!” It is not done to be saved, it is done because we are saved……through grace! the only way one can be saved.

          2. Catrina Crawford

            His focus was on his own capabilities. When I focus on quitting smoking instead of His Grace, I smoke even more bc looking at it makes me think more about it. Have u ever accidentally glued something in the wrong place & when u tried to fix it the whole project got totally messed up? That’s what we do by focusing on the Law rather than His Grace <3

          3. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

            Friends, I will be only approving comments that have to do with the themes of the articles :-). If you chose to to continue the conversation about other topics you are encouraged to do so off line via private emails. Thank you so much for your understanding. Dr. Eli

          4. Sonia Ann Azzopardi

            If u think u are saved keeping 633 laws the good for u, I am saved because I follow Christ & His teachings not Moses, I love God & I love my neighbour, I don’t follow laws or rules as Christ does not chain me, His burden is light, even Moses couldn’t keep the Law, He didn’t trust God with all his heart n failed to get into the promised land! Peace

          5. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

            Dear Sonia and friends, I humbly ask and encourage all parties involved in this and other forum discussions to keep discussions ONLY to the themes of the article. This is the request I make as administrator of this forum I will not be in the future approving all the comments that come to the blog that have nothing to do with the content of the post itself. Any one is free however to exchange emails and to continue these conversations offline. Thank you for your understandings. Dr. Eli

    2. Brad Thompson

      There are two types of religious practices. The first and true type is from God and the second is from man. I believe that God has implemented religious practice to help people keep focused on God. It seems that sin occurs when people take their eyes off God, or move their attention away from God to things of this world; lust, pride, ambition, etc

    3. Brad Thompson

      The problem arises when our religious practices move away from God’s implemented religious practices. This can happen both in Judaism and Christianity. When Moses went up to the Mountain to receive God’s teachings, the mixed multitude sinned against God. Exodus. However God has a higher goodness than man can understand fully.

      1. Prof. Peter Shirokov

        Brad, religious practices are not the problem in my opinion. Sin corrupts all things, even the good things. If the core problem is dealt with, external matters or ritual and internal matters of their meaning can be restored to proper standing. Did Jesus come to deal with sin?

        1. Brad Thompson

          Yes Sir – Teacher.. I agree with you that sin is the ultimate problem. Sin seems to permeate everything and is within all organizations; both secular and religious – since these organizations are made up of people. This was what I was trying to convey.

        2. Brad Thompson

          Jesus did come to deal with the penalty for sin once and for all. However, we are still responsible for the good or evil choices we make. I’m great full God has made a way for me to deal with my sin, however, I still have a work to do – which is repentance from my bad choices. We are ultimately responsible for our choices.

        3. Brad Thompson

          I thought what Sonya was making a point about western religious practices as a person would see in Western Catholic churches or perhaps in Greek or Russian Orthodoxy. There are many good things associated with these churches, but there are questionable practices such as confessing sins to the Priest or Father or Bishop or Pope; said with respect.

    4. Brad Thompson

      God has mercy on the sinner before they sin. God has mercy on the sinner after they sin and has repented. He is slow to demonstrate His anger by inflicting punishment, waiting instead for the sinner to repent. He abounds also in truth, faithfully rewarding those who obey Him. God’s Way is not the easiest way, but it’s the right way.

  3. gustavo vargas angel

    Dear Fred: Absolutelly ok with you, about a progressive revelation on Jesus, and about Torah, I think it was wrote to do better people, believers in the ONLY ONE GOD, THE FATHER. Best regards.

  4. gustavo vargas angel

    To Fred Aguelo:
    Read Gal. 5: 1-18 there is your answer. Best for you

    1. Fred Aguelo

      Dear Gustavo,

      Please take my words in context. We are all saved by grace. But the Torah was given to create, sustain & prosper man. Two systems, one given thru Moshe & the other given thru Yeshua. The Yorah was never meant to save man but to lead man to Yeshua. Again we see a progressive revelation. Yeshua didn’t come to abolish Torah.
      Fred

  5. Paul Cyrus

    Thank you so much for your reply.

    Peace
    Paul CY

  6. Paul Cyrus

    I would love to view your teaching of this book. Is there any way I can learn this book from you on line or DVD

    Thanks
    Paul

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      It has not been written yet. We’ve just began. Sign up for updates on this site and you will get these in email as we move through the book.

  7. Paul Cyrus

    I have known for a long time this letter of the unveiling is to the Hebrews. It is full of Isa and Deut .ZEch quotes.

  8. Cathy Arvin

    Zec 14:12 Now this will be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth.
    What else would that description be but a nuclear bomb?

  9. Cathy Arvin

    Working with thematic connections you can look at words and fraises as well as ideas and find them in other locations in scripture. Plagues for instance are not just deceases. So when you look at plagues being discussed, you can even think Nuclear bomb. Zec :14:12

  10. Kat

    Yes, but people who have been left speechless often learn how to recognize others with similar experiences by studying their words intently 🙂

    1. Prof. Peter Shirokov

      That is the goal, friend…