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Notes on the Book of Revelation: Chapter 1, Part 3

Posted by lehunt on October 21, 2016

Larry Hunt Bible Commentary // St. John Receiving the Revelation

St. John Receiving the Revelation


Vs. 17-18: I think these verses mirror v. 8, perhaps not exactly (except in the first clause) but enough to suggest a parallel.[10] See notes on v. 6.

v. 8 “I am the alpha and the omega”        v. 17 “I am the first and the last”

v. 8 “who is”                                                   v. 18 “the living one”

v. 8 “and who was”                                       v. 18 “I was dead”

v. 8 “and who is to come”                            v. 18 “I am alive forever and ever”

v. 8 “the Almighty”                                       v. 18 “I have the keys of Death”

v. 18: When Christ says he has the keys of Death, I believe this is intended to be comforting, not threatening.  He is not saying, “Obey me or I will slay you,” but rather he is saying, “Take heart; I have made a way for the dead to escape from the land of the dead and enter into the Kingdom of Life.”

v. 20: Christ says John “saw” the vision.  I take this to mean that at the time John is talking to him here, the vision has passed.


2 Responses to “Notes on the Book of Revelation: Chapter 1, Part 3”

  1. I too have learned that textual “mirrors” like the one you identify here can spotlight an emphasis of the author. The mirroring can be more or less detailed.

    Sometimes, there may be some sonic stuff (i.e., how the original words sounded when reading aloud) going on, but probably not very often.

    Often, it’s word choice that provides a key. (E.g., in the first pair in your list, the “I am” [ἑγώ εἱμί | ego eimi] appears in both v8 and v17.
    That would be a verbal clue to a first-century reader, particularly one with Jewish background.

    Other times (e.g., “is to come” and “forever and ever”), the tie is more conceptual.

    Perhaps not incidentally, I noted in 1:8 that the Greek spells out “alpha” but uses the letter ω (omega). Then I noted that there is a textual variant in v8. A somewhat less-attested version appends “beginning and completion/end” for even more emphasis.

    Here, I think you’re definitely onto some kind of textual structuring and am marking this in my main Bible. Good stuff.

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