Three factors are difficult to treat in isolation:
the uniqueness of the style of writing;
the question of authorship;
and acceptance into the canon.
Here we look at the last of these factors.
Montanus appealed to the book to support of some of his teachings,
especially an extravagant view of the Millennial Kingdom.
Reaction of the Early Church
In rejecting Montanism, the Church began to emphasize the purely
and a denial of the
aspects of God's blessings.
Rise of Allegorism
The tendency to reinterpret the material in spiritual terms
was strengthened by the rise of allegorical interpretation.
Rejection by Eastern Church
Dionysius the Great
Dionysius the Great, bishop of Alexandria, opposed the chiliastic views of
Nepos, a bishop in Egypt. He concluded from linguistic aspects of the
text that John was not the author of Revelation.
Doubts in the Eastern Church
Dionysius' rejection of apostolic authorship led to doubts for years to
come in the Eastern Church regarding the
inspiration of Revelation.
Eastern Church Recognizes Canonicity
Included in the list of canonical texts in Third Council
of Carthage (A.D. 397). Not fully accepted by Eastern Church
until Third Council of Constantinople (A.D. 680).
Attitude of Reformers: One of Disdain
Luther in 1522: " My mind cannot use itself to the Book, and to me the fact that
Christ is neither taught nor recognized in it
is good and sufficient cause for my low estimation. "
Acceptance by Western Church
Direct Knowledge of Author
The seven churches of Asia, part of the Western Church,
were direct recipients of the book.
Church Fathers who accepted Revelation
Included Papias (bishop of Hierapolis); Justin Martyr; Irenaeus (bishop of
Lyon); Theophilus (bishop of Antioch in Syria); Tertullian; and Clement of
Significance of Acceptance by Western Church
Among these Church Fathers were men who had very close links to the time
and place of writing: Papias in
Hierapolis ; Justin Martyr in
Accepted as Canonical
Recognized in Festal letter of Athanasius in 367. Listed in canon of New Testament
Scriptures by the Damasine Council (382) and the Council of Carthage (397).
Canonicity is Accepted
The canonicity is no longer questioned, and its
intensive allusions to the Old Testament have become more widely
Disagreement over Interpretation not Canonicity
The area of disagreement concerning
The Book of Revelation
is not over whether it is authoritative,
but how it should be
Variety of Views
Depending upon which elements of the book are seen as most determinative in
outlining the material, widely different results are obtained.
Sequential or Recapitulation?
Are the seals, trumpets, and bowls
? Or do similarities between
some of the passages imply a description of different details
concerning the same event
Recapitulation of Events
Evidence Favors Sequential Events
Evidence for Sequential Events
Seven seals are followed by seven trumpets which are
then followed by seven bowls.
Similarities between judgments are overshadowed by distinct differences.
No parallel alignment between the 1st, 5th, and 7th judgements of the
("and I saw")
indicate sequential movement.
Each set of judgments is more intense and destructive than the previous
The seventh trumpet is linked to the seven bowls.
144,000 sealed after
are protected from demonic plague of
(sixth seal must precede fifth trumpet).
We will follow the structural outline shown in the
For additional information on this topic, see the commentary.