New TestamentWeek 28: The Revelation
BYU professor of religion Robert Millet:
Perhaps no book of scripture has led to more speculation, spawned more foolishness,and resulted in more spiritual imbalance than the Apocalypse, the Revelation of Johnthe Beloved.
b)Genre.i)Revelation seems bizarre and unusual to the modern reader. This is largely becauseit’s the only New Testament book of its kind.ii)
The title of the book comes from the first word in chapter 1, verse 1:αποκαλυψις (
), a noun meaning “revelation” in the sense of
) something that is hidden.(1)In
writing the author taken into heaven by an angelic guide andshown amazing (and sometimes frightening) things by means of symbolism thatreveal God’s plans and future events.(2)The Greek word has made its way into English as “apocalypse,” although with thesomewhat altered meaning of an ultimate, climactic battle between good and evil.iii)There were many other
written during this time period. It was a popularform of writing from the 4th century
. through the 2nd century
.(1)The second half of Daniel and the book of 1 Enoch are famous examples of OldTestament apocalypses. The Dead Sea Scrolls also contain apocalyptic writings.
(2)From the New Testament era there are apocalypses attributed to Peter
as well as a widely-used apocalyptic book called the Shepherd of Hermas.
(3)Modern scriptures also contain many apocalyptic visions. Prophets like Lehi
(1 Nephi 1), Nephi
(1 Nephi 11–14), Enoch (Moses 7), and Joseph Smith (D&C76) all had visions where they were shown heaven and/or future events.c)
Author.i)Although the author identifies himself as “John” (1:1, 4, 9; 21:2; 22:8), there is noindication within the book as to which John is meant.
Note that the title of the book is singular (“Revelation”), although it is commonly misspoken as a plural (“Revelations”).
Robert L. Millet, “Revelation of John Offers Recurring Lessons, Doctrinal Refrains and Hope,”
. Just this year (2011) Millett published a book entitled
Making Sense of the Book of Revelation
). The cover of this book hasan image of a wax seal, something that we will discuss beginning on page4.
One of the most famous apocalyptic writings among the Qumran texts is the so-called “Messianic Apocalypse” (4Q521).See
There are three apocalypses attributed to Peter, including one that was considered scripture by Clement of Alexandria(
) and a Gnostic text (
The 4th-century Apocalypse of Paul claims to contain details of Paul’s vision mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12:1–4(
). The Nag Hammadi texts alsoinclude a Gnostic apocalypse attributed to Paul (
The Shepherd of Hermas was written during the first half of the 2nd century, read by many Christians up through the 4thcentury, and regarded by some Christian churches as canonical scripture. It was eventually excluded from the canon because it was not written by an apostle. See:
© 2011, Mike Parkerhttp://bit.ly/ldsarcFor personal use only. Not a Church publication.