Where is the cross in the Book of Revelation?

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7 thoughts on “Where is the cross in the Book of Revelation?”

  1. Yes, as you well tease out, the Cross or the impact of the Cross is ubiquitous in Rev like in Paul.

    Though maybe the coming eschaton dominated the picture so much that he did not focus on it specifically as much as he might have done. If Christ’s victory began on the cross and extended till the second coming, the 40 years could be seen as one event, and it would make more sense to focus on the soon-coming climax of that event rather than on its inauguration.

    • I beg to semi-differ. He has Ezekiel-like fourfold identity for the main characters in the book. For whatever reason (I would hazard that it may have been a means of justifying a Hengel-like close identity between Johns Apostle and Elder/author, together with allowing the venerated former to be one of the future 24 Elders as well as the contemporary martyr who has, as all fervently expected, witnessed the promised coming of the Son of Man after all). Four is a number far larger than one, and there is no reason why the main characters should keep on having precisely four identities unless that is planned. Moreover, this is (being a numerical matter) appreciably more falsifiable than most issues, as a 3 or a 5 would scupper it. So – the great city also has four identities. People when they first read Rev see the great city as Rome/Babylon – ch17 makes that fairly clear. They then see 11.8 and wonder what to do with it. What I think they should do with it is the same that they do with the 2 witnesses therein, who seem now to be Christian martyrs (Peter & Paul, d. winter/spring ?Purim 68 on Nero’s return to the capital), now to be the fulfilment of the expected comings of Moses and Elijah, now to be identified with Joshua and Zerubbabel, and now to refer to the High Priests whose bodies were left in the street in 67/68. These are irreconcilable and incommensurable identities, but not for one whose entire system was built round fourfold identity.

      • (The scene shifts para by para from Rome to Jerusalem and back – showing the spiritual inseparability of the deaths of the 2 Jewish and 2 Christian supreme leaders contemporaneously. Had this happened today, a newspaper article would doubtless have drawn parallels too.)

      • Thanks Chris…but I don’t really understand why you would take the two witnesses as being two specific individuals, when Revelation is replete with corporate figures, like the woman in Rev 12, the beasts = imperial powers, and the harlot Babylon herself.

        I don’t suppose you think of these as individuals, so why the two witnesses?

        • I think Rev. has individual figures too, as well as corporate. Even the ones cited are in reality the same number as they are in Rev.: the daughter of Zion (Jerusalem, Israel) is one Scriptural figure, the imperial ‘mon’archy is one (at any one time, tho’ with multiple ‘heads’ of government successively), Roma is one city.

          2 can’t be symbolic for any other number (e.g. 2 being symbolic for 16).

          Particularly when John guards jealously the significances of different numbers. I even heard of a writer that wrote a work with 144,000 words, but that may be apocryphal (the rumour, not the work itself).

          Rev. is an excited work, and one gets more excited about real events than about generalised spiritual assertions.

          The section in question (woes) seems to have an unusual preponderance of the likelier contemporary references.

          The details like unburial are also too specific. They are not the sort of things that have general spiritual significance.

          And why would the very event in history that corresponds best to the unburial – and in a Jewish context too, and quite likely from a priestly writer – happen to fit squarely one of the most popular datings (68-70), in conjunction with other things from that date that also fit like Nero Redivivus?

          Those are my 7 reasons.


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