Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Biblical Eschatology: contributing to the discussion
Here's an interpretation that I favor given the context of 'lightning' elsewhere in the NT.
According to Biblical Eschatology by Jonathan Menn, 'lightning' as used in both the OT and NT conveys the idea of divine judgment, retribution, and warfare. The Hebrew word brq refers to the theophanic (manifestation of God to people) presence of Yahweh.
W. Sibley Towner says "Lightning as a feature of the end of the age is almost the only use made of the imagery in the NT (see Matt. 24:27; Luke 17:24 and esp. Rev. 4:5; 8:5; 11:19; 16:18), although the association with theophany is also reutilized (Matt. 28:3)."
Jonathan Menn in his book Biblical Eschatology goes on to say "Rev. 8:5; 11:19; 16:18 are particularly important in that the context there is judgment that accompanies the parousia. Lightning as judgment is also used when Jesus speaks of Satan's fall in Luke 10:18."
Menn continues, "Finally, lightning as judgment is indicated by the fact that lightning is associated with, if not identical to, "fire from heaven" which always indicates God's judgment: either his judgment on his enemies, or his presence among his people and acceptance of their sacrifices. Thus in the OT the eschatological judgment of the "day of the Lord" is described in terms of fire. Likewise, in the NT the judgment that accompanies the parousia is described in terms of fire."
I'm happy to see that, slowly by slowly, the book is getting exposure and is contributing to the ongoing discussion of biblical eschatology.