Date of Award

1995

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, New Testament PhD

First Advisor

Jon K. Paulien

Second Advisor

Robert M. Johnston

Third Advisor

Richard M. Davidson

Abstract

The primary task of this study was to determine the background of the sealed βιβλίον of Rev 5 and its meaning and significance in its literary context.

The historical survey shows that the interpretation of the sealed βιβλίον has undergone significant modifications in the course of time. The earliest documented Patristic references to Rev 5:1-5 indicate that the early church interpreted the sealed βιβλίον most likely in the context of the exaltation of the resurrected Christ as the eschatological sovereign. From the third century on, however, numerous studies regarding the contents and meaning of the sealed βιβλίον have led to increasingly diverse opinions rather than consensus. In spite of nearly eighteen-hundred years of interpretative history, there is still an unanswered question pertaining to the role and meaning of the sealed βιβλίον in the context of the entire scene of Rev 5.

The philological and contextual analyses of the key terms and phrases occurring in Rev 5:1-5 and the investigation of the main motifs in Rev 4-5 indicate that the exaltation and enthronement of the resurrected Christ upon the throne of the universe at the right hand of the Father is the most likely way in which first-century readers could understand the scene of Rev 5. Such an understanding was in full agreement with the core of their faith and expectation for the fulfillment of the OT promises with regard to the coming of the Messiah, the king of the Davidic lineage.

Finally, this study indicates that the OT coronation ceremony, wherein the Covenant Book--namely the book of Deuteronomy--was presented to a newly enthroned Israelite king (cf. Deut 17:18-20; 1 Kgs 11:12) symbolizing his right to rule, renders the most satisfactory background of the scene of Rev 4-5 and the function and meaning of the sealed βιβλίον therein. The Covenant Book, which with the downfall of the Israelite monarchy and the termination of the David kingship became "sealed," is transferred to Christ, the true David king, to whom has been committed the lordship over the world. As the receiver, Christ imparts a part of the Father's revelation to the Church with the purpose of instructing his people regarding "what must soon take place."

Subject Area

Bible. Revelation 5--Criticism, interpretation, etc

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