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Quick Crash Course on Revelation (April 18-24, 2021)

Quick crash course on Revelation

1. When was Revelation written?
2. When would Revelation be fulfilled?
3. Was it fulfilled when John said it would be?

1. When was Revelation written?

There are three major positions held among churches of Christ: before AD 70, in the mid 70s, and near the end of the first century (90s). consensus is typically the late date, but there has been some fluctuation among the church throughout the years.

The date of the book can be determined in two major ways: (1) external evidence and (2) internal evidence. You could also use a combination of the two (who were the kings, what city had the hills, etc.). External evidence depends upon historical citations and quotes from the church fathers. Internal evidence relies on what the Book of Revelation says. For the sake of time, I’ll look at the internal evidence in section 3.

2. When would Revelation be fulfilled?

Regardless what you think about the dating of the book or the nature of the prophecies it contains, there is no doubt that the author and the audience of the book would have expected the things within it to be fulfilled soon.

Revelation 1:1, 3, 2:10, and 22:6, 7, 10, 12, and 20 all indicate that the contents of the book would be fulfilled shortly after the book was written. Regardless of what date you believe to be correct, it is awfully difficult to fit 1900+ years into the expectations of the original audience.

For example, notice that after the millennium of Revelation 20, there is a judgement scene in which those in attendance are judged by their deeds (12, 13). Chapter 22 says that Jesus would come quickly to judge every man according to their deeds (12). Of course, this is something Jesus promised to do before His disciples would die (Matthew 16:27-28).

So, when was Revelation written and what is it talking about?

3. Was it fulfilled when John said it would be?

Revelation repeats the same events from different perspectives. If you were to go through and count, you would find multiple days of the Lord (Chapter 6, 11, 14, etc.) All of them have to do with the judgement of this city called Babylon.

Figure out who Babylon is, and you have the date and subject matter of Revelation.
Babylon, we are told, is the city guilty of the blood of the prophets, apostles, and saints.

Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.

Revelation 18:20

And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.

Revelation 18:24

Jesus only charges one city with these crimes:

Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!

Matthew 23:32–38

Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day; for it cannot be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem.

Luke 13:33

If Babylon is Jerusalem (which I think is clear from Revelation 11:8) then its fall marks the fulfillment of all the events of Revelation. Which means the book was written sometime before the fall of Jerusalem.

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