Saturday, June 10, 2017

Shedding light on John and Revelation

Let's consider a neglected line of evidence for the common authorship of John, 1 John, and Revelation

1. To begin with, light is a common motif in all three documents. Jn 1-12 has 16 figurative references to light, as well as two figurative references to day and night (Jn 9:4; 11:10). 1 Jn has 5 references to light. Rev 1:12-13,20 & 2:5 refer to lamplight while 21:23-24 & 22:6 refer to divine light. Although light is a frequent Scriptural metaphor, which other Bible writers use, the way it clusters in John, 1 John, and Revelation is striking. 

2. In addition, the connections are more specific:

i) As some scholars note, Gen 1:14 foreshadows the tabernacle. It uses the same word ("lights") for the Menorah (Exod 12:31-40). 

ii) Jn 1:1-5 is a studied allusion to the creation account. Not only does it identify Jesus as the Creator in Genesis, but, not coincidentally, it picks up on the contrast between light and darkness. 

iii) In Rev 1:12-13,20 Jesus carries a Menorah. 

iv) References to sun and moon, sunlight and night in Rev 21:23-25 & 22:5 evoke the creation account in Gen 1. That's reinforced by other Edenic imagery (tree of life, river of life). This is a new creation, or recreation, only divine light will take the place of sunlight, and the diurnal cycle will be abolished. 

3. Finally, some people with senile dementia suffer from sundown syndrome. At night they become restless and disoriented. Despite the advent of electrical lighting, humans remain earthlings, psychologically programmed to be responsive to sunlight and night. 

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