Saturday, November 7, 2015

Is the 'revelation OF or FROM Jesus Christ'? (Rev 1:1)

Does the Greek better support "revelation OF" or "revelation FROM" Jesus Christ?

BDAG supplies this usage (emphasis mine):
ⓑ of revelations of a particular kind, through visions, etc.: w. gen. of the author ἀ. Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ Gal 1:12; Rv 1:1 (w. ὀπτασία) ἀ. κυρίου 2 Cor 12:1. κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν because of a rev. Gal 2:2; MPol 22:3, Epil Mosq 5. κατὰ ἀ. ἐγνωρίσθη μοι τὸ μυστήριον the secret was made known to me by revelation Eph 3:3. Cp. 1 Cor 2:4 D; 14:6, 26; 2 Cor 12:7.—In the visions of Hermas the ἀ. are not only transcendent rev. for eye and ear, but also the interpretations given to such rev. The ἀ. is ὁλοτελής complete only when it is explained and understood v 3, 10, 9; 3, 13, 4a. W. ὁράματα 4, 1, 3. Cp. 3, 1, 2; 3, 3, 2; 3, 10, 6–9; 3, 12, 2; 3, 13, 4b; 5 ins.—MBuber, Ekstatische Konfessionen 1909.
Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 112). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

So an ἀποκάλυψις differs from a vision in that it doesn't just reach the eyes and ears but conveys information as it is explained and understood. This is not "the vision from Jesus Christ, that God gave him" but as you look at the context this is prophecy that they can act on:

Rev 1:1 This is the revelation of Jesus the Messiah, which God gave him to show his servantsthe things that must happen soon. He made it known by sending his messenger to his servant John, Rev 1:2 who testified about this message from God and the witness of Jesus the Messiah. Rev 1:3 How blessed is the one who reads aloud and those who hear the words of this prophecy and obey what is written in it, for the time is near!
Now one could make a good argument that it fails miserably at revealing information since it is so opaque but that is clearly what it is said to be intending to do.

So ἀποκάλυψις might better be translated "secret information" and when translated that way is more obviously not about Jesus but rather communicated through Jesus:

"Jesus Christ's secret information that God gave to him to show to his [God's] servants what will happen soon"...

or, probably better:

"The secret information from Jesus Christ that God gave to him to show to his [God's] servants what will happen soon"...

God gave Jesus information that he previously lacked.
As such, this introduction is a powerful refutation of the Trinity dogma since it unambiguously belies the notion that Jesus is omniscient. It connects seamlessly with other harmonious passages:
Mar_13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
Act_1:7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
Jesus confessed all along that everything he knows he learned from God:
Joh 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
So Jesus has learned secret information from God and relates it to God's servants so they will understand the times:
1Th 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 1Th 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
Apart from the secret information people are unaware of the imminent events described by God through Jesus:
1Th 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 1Th 5:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 1Th 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
But not included are the day and hour because that is information that only God has.
 Today I was reading Mounce's commentary on Revelation and he was addressing this passage:

Rev 14:14  And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
Rev 14:15  And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
Rev 14:16  And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

Mounce writes:

"A few commentators identify the reaper as an angel rather than Christ.They argue that it would be strange for the exalted Christ to be commanded by an angel (as he is in v. 15), and unlikely that he would not know that the end had arrived..."

The commentators in question obviously were Trinitarians that presumed that Jesus was omniscient and were uncomfortable that John so clearly depicts him as needing to receive information from God- an through a messenger no less. But once one does away with the foolish "Trinity" notion all makes perfect sense.

Who is speaking in Rev 1:7? The Angel sent in verse 1, John or Jesus?

There is an almost bizarre transmission pattern in the Revelation:
  • God reveals stuff to Jesus
  • Jesus reveals it to the seven archangels
  • the archangels reveal it to the angel messengers
  • the messenger angels communicate it to the angels of the various assemblies
  • the angels of the assemblies communicate it to the saints
  • John writes about things, sometimes autobiographically and sometimes interacting with them
  • and sometimes with the reader/listener
But I think the speaker appears to be John:
Rev 1:4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is 
and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,

Whose name is written on the twelfth foundation stone? Is it Judas Iscariot Or Matthias or Paul?

Revelation 21:14 says:
And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of
the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (NASB)

We pretty much know what the names of eleven of them are, 
but who's name is written on the 12th? Is it Judas Iscariot Or Matthias or Paul(as some claim)?

Matthias' name is the twelfth name on the foundations. He was numbered among the twelve apostles and took Judas' role in oversight (as treasurer):
Act 1:17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
Act 1:20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.
Act 1:26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
While Paul claimed to have received apostleship that was not inferior to the "Wordy Dozen" he was never numbered among them.
Joseph aka Barsabas will forever be the "fifth Beatle":
Act 1:23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. Act 1:24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, Act 1:25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. Act 1:26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

To what scriptures does Acts 10:43 refer?

Acts 10:43:
"To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." (ESV)
Here Peter, as recorded by Luke, indicates that “all the prophets” have testified that the Messiah is to bring forgiveness of sins. What prophetic text(s) is he referring to?
Unless Peter is referring to contemporary prophets such as himself (he uses the present indicative) then his assertion that "To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name" is patently false. I will not try to prove a negative but there is no such assertion anywhere in the OT, let alone in "all the prophets".

The father's gifts to his wayward son.

What is the significance of the robe, ring & sandals in Luke 15:22?
‘But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. — NIVUK
This story contrasts the experience of the faithful Jewish son to the repentant Jewish son though it has wider application to other situations.

First it should be noted that the NT is not as bleak about the Jews as are the Calvinists. That is, when Jesus came to his own many did not receive him but some did:

John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

There were faithful Jews that had resisted those who had tried to lure them away from the "fold" of the the Torah:

John 10:8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

So the "prodigal" story is addressed to these faithful Jews. These are referred to as "virgins" in Revelation because they went from being faithful to Yehovah as his sheep through the lousy undershepherds to being entrusted to the care of Jesus, the good shepherd:

Rev_14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

John 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest [entrusted] them me [to care for]; and they have kept thy word.

The wayward son stands in for all of the lost sheep of Israel. Jesus explains that while God cares for the 99 faithful sheep he has a special and urgent concern for his wayward sheep:

Luk 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? Luk 15:5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. Luk 15:6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. Luk 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

It is this story and that of the lost piece of silver that introduce the story of the wayward son.

Now, while Jesus describes the special joy over the rescue of the lost sheep he does not suggest that for the sheep, being lost and found again is better than staying faithful to begin with.

First of all, the father of the wayward son is not said to be a king so there is no reason to consider the ring to endue the son with royal authority. In fact, the only way the father would be conferring his own authority on his son is if he put his own signet ring on him but instead he tells his servants to put a ring (not "the" ring). And note that the elder brother does not mention anything about the robe, ring or sandals but only the lavish steak feast. Surely if the wayward son were given the father's authority over the elder brother he'd be a lot more miffed about that. That would violate the elder's presumed status. The poor lived from day to day but people of means had their wealth in stashes or purses (usually a Gucci but possibly a knockoff) and a modest amount of wealth could be molded into jewelry to be made both portable and admired. So the robe, shoes and ring were nice gifts but not true wealth. This is because the wealth had already been spent in "riotous living" (sounds like a lot of fun)! The sandals may have served to distinguish him from a servant though it is likely that he would have been servant to this elder son since he had no property or means. The "best robe" may have been a loaner. I don't think it was necessarily a gift since they had it on hand, presumably for special guests?

When the faithful son saw the son receiving the father's love and attention he felt unappreciated and could not bring himself to join in on the celebration. He felt that his loyalty was unrewarded and he felt slighted.

But the father puts it in perspective:
  • the faithful son still had his inheritance but the wayward son had none:
Luke 15:31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
  • the faithful son enjoyed unbroken and continuing union with his father:
Luke 15:31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
  • the father relates to the elder son the reason he celebrates his younger brother this night 
  • is not because of his wrong behavior but because of his restoration:
Luke 15:32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead,

and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

The most common interpretations of the story misread each of these central points. They read it as if the wayward son not only didn't incur loss but actually increased in wealth and status due to "grace". They vilify the elder son as being second class, if loved and in fellowship with the father at all. And they make the celebration to be evidence that this loss and return was preferable to faithfulness.

So to answer the question, the gifts did not confer royalty but were appropriate gifts as tokens of love because a wonderful reconciliation had occurred.

Why would the disciples have rebuked people for bringing infants to Jesus?

Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. (ESV)

Why would the disciples have rebuked people for bringing the infants to Jesus?

If I had to guess I would guess that the disciples probably rebuked the women who presented their babies to Jesus to be touched by him because diapers had not yet been invented. Ugh.
However, why guess when you can speculate?
It turns out that they were in "enemy territory":
Luk 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
Not just on the fringes but in the heart of godless lands.
So why would Jesus bless their babies? Jewish babies yes, but heathen babies? As Calvinists call them, "Vipers In Diapers"!
This is parallel to:
Joh_4:9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
Would Jonathon Edwards be caught dead blessing a "nigger child"? Or would Oral Roberts be caught blessing a "Muslim baby"?
So after Peter witnessed this amazing gesture of ignoring contemporary Jewish norms he went home and wrote that beloved song:

How is the Law changed in Hebrews 7:12?

It would be unthinkable to a Jew that the Torah would be modified because a priest was unqualified under its statutes:
Gal 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
The point of Hebrew 7:12 is that since Jesus was not a Levite the jurisdiction was different. The concept of "jurisdiction" works like this:
If you travel through Spain you are subject to the laws of Spain. When you arrive in France you are under the laws of France. This does not mean that laws of Spain are modified but that a different law is applicable.