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. Catrina Crawford

    But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. …O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God…

  2. Catrina Crawford

    “Wherefore my brethren, you also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit to death. But now we are..

  3. Catrina Crawford

    Actions show the Spirit of the enemy. This is his meaning from what I can tell when he says not all Jews are Jews <3 <3 <3

  4. Catrina Crawford

    Against the ways of the world that we have brought into the body. I can feel John’s passion for his people which were Jews, because I feel that for Christians today. I also feel his rebuke to his own people for their lack of understanding the love command bc I have felt it my whole life from many who claim to be the hands & feet of Jesus, but their

  5. Catrina Crawford

    As a practicing Christian I can very much relate to John’s Jewishness bc as I get so frustrated with fellow members of the Church, which is us, (self-included), for misrepresenting our Lord that some may even think I am against the Church. But it’s actually the opposite. I love the Church, which I am a member of its body, which is why I speak out a

  6. Catrina Crawford

    Creation is priceless & yet cost our God nothing; we cost Him everything, so how much are we worth to Him? Heard that recently and made me really look at what He has done for His Love for us <3 <3 <3

  7. Prof. Peter Shirokov

    Mat 5:17-20 paints a picture that Torah and Prophets are permanent! Rewards and kingdom status are based on faithfulness to the commandments per Jesus. “fulfill” cannot mean anything negative as in end, cancel, abolish or do away with. “destroy” is a negative verb with this meaning and “fulfill” is in direct opposition, thus has to be positive.

    1. Catrina Crawford

      From my understanding through reading His Word & prayer, especially recently, I do not know me, but He does, and He says we are ALL sinners saved by Grace…Grace cannot be earned or it would not be grace; it is a FREE gift to us that came at a huge price for Him, the only One that could fulfill the Law perfectly. Jesus says He came not to abolish

      1. Catrina Crawford

        But to fulfill it. He also says that we cannot re wove our inheritance until He does first…our inheritance is the Holy Spirit, which I take as like the Seed broken to grow( like in Ezekiel 17 I think). The more we know Him, the more we come into ourselves bc He is in us, and us in Him, and He & the Father are One; therefore, it is ONLY through Hi

        1. Catrina Crawford

          His fulfillment of the Law; His finished work on the Cross, that we are ABLE to fulfill the requirements of the command, which He says is LOVE as He has loved us & laid down His Life for us. Hence, we die to fleshly selves, and He lives in us making us His Righteousness <3 <3 <3

  8. Prof. Peter Shirokov

    I still do not understand Sonya’s logic. Jesus fulfilled the law, so no one else has to follow it now? Translation: Jesus drove the speed limit and never got a fine, so now everyone can disregard the traffic laws? 🙂 NT leads me to believe that Jesus did not come to cancel the law but to show how it should be followed, by his own example.

  9. gustavo vargas angel

    Prof. Shirokov:
    Sometimes I came to think who Jesus came to make us free from religious ties, showing us the right way to come to G-d, unchaining us from rites(many times very heavy to follow),uses as i.e.: purification before incoming the temple,the scapegoat,the lamb,etc., Do am I wrong about? I mean among others. Best for you

  10. Kat

    I have always been under separation of church and state, so I am wondering what the differences are between “religious practices” and what I see in the Torah as a government? What did they see as the differences?

    1. Fred Aguelo

      Dear Kat,

      GOD created the nation of Israel out of nothing not politics. The reason why you can’t see a separation between church & state is because there’s none. GOD rules the affairs of men even though man tries to keep Him out if it. Man is suppose to rule under the guidance if GOD as mandated in Genesis.


      1. Kat

        Thank you Fred,
        Thy Kingdom come!

      2. Catrina Crawford

        I believe we do see a separation between church & state when Israel wanted an earthly king instead of recognizing their heavenly King if kings. God told them through Samuel what would come of that relationship…which is from what I can tell much of the conflict we still have today. We want His blessings and all that entails but we struggle in trus