Revelation and the Bible by Ben Witherington


The Book of Revelation is the only book we have of apocalyptic prophecy.  We have snippets of apocalyptic prophecy in some of the Gospels, for example, in Mark and the sort-of Olivet Discourse in Mark 13. We certainly have apocalyptic prophecy in text like 2Thess 2, 1Thess 4 and 1Thess 5.

I would not see Revelation in terms of content, as something radically different than what Jesus or Paul said or the author of Hebrews said about the end of the things that we know, but the genre of literature is different.  It’s a different type of literature even though the substance about discussing about the end.  I mean they are all in agreement: Jesus is coming back.  They’re all in agreement:  there’s going to be a final judgment. And they’re all in agreement there’s going to a Resurrection when Jesus comes back, and that seems to be pretty common. The major distinction between Revelation and what comes in the Gospels or in Paul’s letters is literary genre, it’s not so much content.

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Ben Witherington

Ben Witherington
Professor, Asbury Theological Seminary

Ben Witherington is Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and is on the doctoral faculty at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He has presented seminars for churches, colleges, and biblical meetings not only in the United States but around the world. Recent works include Invitation to the New Testament (Oxford University Press, 2013) and A Week in the Life of Corinth (InterVarsity, 2012). He is the general editor of the New Cambridge Bible Commentary Series.

A category or type, often of literary work.

Of or related to the written word, especially that which is considered literature; literary criticism is a interpretative method that has been adapted to biblical analysis.

An inspired message related by a prophet; also, the process whereby a prophet relates inspired messages to others.

Mark 13

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2Thess 2

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1Thess 4

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1Thess 5

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