Friday, May 26, 2006

Daniel and Revelation 4-5

To properly understand the book of Revelation we must read it in light of the Old Testament. One of the main reasons people have such a hard time understanding the Apocalypse is that they fail to recognize the way the book's visions draw from Old Testament passages.

One example of the Apocalypse's use of the Old Testament is found in Revelation chapters 4 and 5. There are striking parallels between Daniel 7 and Revelation 4-5. G. K. Beale points out a few of them:
1. introductory vision phraseology (Dan. 7:9 [cf. Dan. 7:2, 6-7]; Rev. 4:1)
2. a throne(s) set in heaven (Dan. 7:9; Rev. 4:2, 9)
3. God sitting on a throne (Dan. 7:9; Rev. 4:2)
4. God’s appearance on the throne (Dan. 7:9; Rev. 4:3)
5. fire before the throne (Dan. 7:9-10; Rev. 4:5)
6. heavenly servants surrounding the throne (Dan. 7:10; Rev. 4:4; 6-10; 5:8, 11, 14)
7. the image of a sea (Dan. 7:2-3; Rev. 4:6).
8. book(s) before the throne (Dan. 7:10; Rev. 5:1ff)
9. the book(s) opened (Dan. 7:10; Rev. 5:2-5, 9)
10. a divine (messianic) figure approaching God’s throne to receive authority to reign forever over a kingdom (Dan. 7:13-14; Rev. 5:5-7, 9, 12-13)
11. the kingdom’s scope: “all peoples, nations, and tongues” (Dan. 7:14; Rev. 5:9)
12. the seer’s emotional distress on account of the vision (Dan 7:15; Rev. 5:4)
13. the seer’s reception of heavenly counsel concerning the vision from one of the heavenly servants (Dan. 7:16; Rev. 5:5)
14. the saints given divine authority to reign over a kingdom (Dan. 7:18, 22, 27; Rev. 5:10)
15. concluding mention of God’s eternal reign (Dan. 7:27; Rev. 5:13-14).[1]

In all of this, Christ is portrayed as the One who receives the kingdom and gives it to the saints in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy.

Part of the reason the book of Revelation is so confusing to people is that most people don't recognize the Old Testament passages the book draws upon.

[1] Adapted from G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmanns Publishing, Co., 1999), 314-15.

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