Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, New Testament PhD

First Advisor

Jon Paulien

Second Advisor

P. Richard Choi

Third Advisor

Roy Gane

Abstract

Problem

This dissertation investigates the first century Greco-Roman cultural backgrounds and the literary context of the motif of the image of the beast in Rev 13:14, 15, in order to answer the problem of the author’s intended meaning of the image of the beast to his first century Greco-Roman readers.

Method

There are six steps necessary to accomplish the task of this dissertation. These steps are taken in the form of the exegetical studies which are done in six chapters, respectively. Following the introductory chapter, the second chapter is a brief history of the historical interpretations of the image of the beast in Rev 13:14, 15, starting with the interpretations from scholars of the first three centuries and continuing on to the present. This historical survey in Chapter 2 demonstrates that an in depth exegetical study of the image of the beast is much needed. Chapters 3-6 were an attempt to make up for this deficiency by providing an exegetical study of the image of the beast motif in its original cultural and literary context of the book of Revelation. Chapter 3 is a study of the image-of-the-beast motif within its immediate context of Revelation 13. Chapters 4-6 provide a study of the image-of-the-beast motif in the latter half of Revelation, i.e., Revelation 14-20, with Chapters 4-5 studying the image-of-the-beast motif in the chapters (Revelation 14-16, 19, and 20) in which this term occurs, and Chapter 6 studying this motif in the chapters (Revelation 17, 18) in which this term is absent.

Conclusion

As I have come to see it, the narrative of Rev 13:14, 15 depicts the attempt of an unholy trinity to counteract God’s goal for the plan of salvation, i.e., the restoration of Imago Dei in human beings in the last days by creating the image of the beast on Earth. The image of the beast is an end time entity, comprised of a community of people who reflect the character of the dragon, and has the three-fold religious-economic-political power to impose false worship on Earth. The image of the beast is best identified with the end time Babylon the Great of chapters 17-18.

Subject Area

Bible. Revelation--Criticism, interpretation, etc.--Image of the beast, Beast of the Apocalypse

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