Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Revelation (Ch 1-5)

The book presents itself from the outset as part of the Canon, primarily written to be read in the liturgy (1:3). tabernacle imagery is used in the opening Doxology (1:4-5), and the Church is declared to be constituted as the new Kingdom of priests, as Israel had been at Sinai (1:6). the theme of the book, stated in 1:7, is Christ's coming in the Glory-Cloud; then, almost immediately, St John uses three words that almost always occur in connection with covenant-making activity: Spirit, Day, and Voice (1:10). The following vision of Christ as the glorious High Priest (1:12-20) combines many images from the Old Testament - the Cloud, the Day of the LORD, the Angel of the LORD, the Creator and universal sovereign, the Son of Man/Second Adam, the Conqueror of the nations, the Possessor of the Church - all of which are concerned with the prophecies of the coming of the New Covenant. The vision is followed by Christ' own message to the churches, styled as a recounting of the history of the Covenant (Chapters 2-3). Then, in Chapter 4, St John sees the Throne, supported by the Cherubim and surrounded by the royal priesthood, all singing God's praises to the accompaniment of Sinai-like lightening and voices and thunder. We should not be surprised to find this magnificent array of covenant-making imagery culminating in the vision of a testament/treaty document, written on front and back, in the hand of Him who sits on the Throne. The Book is nothing less than the Testament of the resurrected and ascended Christ: the New Covenant...

....But the coming of the New Covenant implies the passing away of the Old Covenant, and the judgement of apostate Israel....

...As St. John sees the opening of the New Covenant, therefore, he will also see the curses of the Old Covenant fulfilled on the apostate Covenant people.
(p167-169, Chilton The Days of Vengeance)

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