Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Revelation! - "Written To Us, About Us or For Us?" - Lesson 3 - Introduction Part 3 - Video and Lesson

Emperor Vespasian courtesy Wiki Commons, photo from 2007 by user.shanko

Complete Video Linked Below
1.  The date if the writing of Revelation is critical to the understanding of the times of it's writing.  Here is the EXTERNAL data:
  • John was writing about a persecution that remained in the F_____________ for the S_____________ churches of A_______, events that were to take place "S_________."
  • The persecution of Nero was local to R_________ and did not affect A_________.
  • The very first persecution of Christians in Asia took place late in the reign of Emperor D____________, 95 - 96.  Domitian was assassinated after demanding worship as a god and declaring himself perpetual "Roman Censor."  The office of Roman Censor was elected by an independent body.  The Roman Censor was then put in charge of 3 major tasks; 1) The C_____________ of the people, 2) To maintain P__________ M__________ and to 3) Oversee the F________________ of the empire.  According to the Roman historian Suetonius (69 - 122), Domitian demanded worship as dominus et deus, "M______________ and L__________."  He was the very first emperor to make such a demand.  Every prior Senate recognized emperors were D___________ after D_________ but none had demanded worship before. 
  • The "Emperor Cult" began during the reign of the first Senate recognized Ceasar, Augustus.  The center of the cult was in E____________ part of A_________, the same regions as the 7 churches.  Before Domitian worship of the reigning emperors was strictly voluntary but was demanded first under Domitian.
  • Revelation was written before the P_______________ but after N_________.  The most likely date for the writing is somewhere between 77 and 79 during the latter years of V_________________.   He began the siege of Jerusalem in 68.  He was called back to Rome after the suicide of Nero in December of 68.  His son Titus finished the destruction of Jerusalem in August, 70.  Between Nero and Vespasian, during most of 69, there were T________ pretenders to the throne that were never accepted as emperor outside of Rome.  They were Galba, Otho and Vitellius.  Vespasian reigned as emperor from 69 to 79 and was the first of the Flavian Dynasty.  He was followed in the emperorship by his two sons, T_________ and then D________________.  Titus reigned from 79 to 81 after contracting a fever and dying an untimely death.  Vespasian then reigned from 81 - 96.  The I______________ evidence contained in Revelation demands a V______________ reign date of writing.  The Flavian Dynasty ended with D_____________ as he was declared damnatio memoriae, "E______________ of M_______________."  This is why there is very little contemporary information concerning him.
2. INTERNAL evidence to the date of writing:
  • Revelation 17.9 - 11 -  "This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction." (ESV via
  • Rome was city built on S___________ hills.
  • John notes a series of E_____________ rulers, the last of which "goes to D____________" for he is the B_____________. 
  • Those who favor a Neroian date start the list with J____________ C_____________ but he was unlike all the succeeding Caesar's as he was an emperor in name only, the rest were institutionalized as such.  "IF" John wrote while Nero was alive, the message would have had N_______________ to do with the S_____________ C___________ of A__________.
  • The list as it "best" integrates" with what we know of the times:
  • 1) "The Five Fallen Kings" - a) A____________, b) T____________, c) C___________, d) C___________, e) N________.
  • 2) "The One That Is" - V_________________
  • 3) "The One That Will Come But For Only a Short Time" - T_____________
  • 4) "The Beast That Is To Come" - D_______________ 
3. Just why were Christians targeted for persecution?  Summers notes ten reasons in Worthy is the Lamb:
  1. After Nero, Christianity's legal status C________________, no longer considered a part of Judaism, a L__________ religion, its legal status became religio illicita, an I__________ R______________.  Why?  Jesus Christ was condemned and executed by Roman law and was therefore a C_______________.  Any persons following a criminal were also C______________ by D_______________.
  2. The state demanded P______________ status, Christianity gave it S____________ status at best.  Christians were seen as T______________ to the state.
  3. Christians were considered A______________.  Typically, emperors who persecuted Christianity attempted to reverse deteriorating morality, economic fortunes and external pressures by attempting to appease the "gods" as their "A___________" was seen as the cause of all this misery.  Since Christians rejected E______________ god except the ONE TRUE LIVING GOD, they were seen as A______________ and were to blame for E________________ wrong in society.
  4. Christianity was seen as a secretive society that met for self G_______________ and C____________________ meals.
  5. Christians were considered traitors because they refused to go to W__________.  One had to A_____________ the "gods" in the service, they were called upon to M____________ and P________________ in the name of the emperor and F___________ for the very government that persecuted their brothers and sisters,
  6. The church of Christ was made up principally of S_____________ and the lowest of the P____________________, naturally looked down upon by the affluent and educated.
  7. Since Christians refused to C_________________ they were seen as I_________________, something Roman cultural could not stand.
  8. Christians were seen as "Wild Fanatics" for their "Enthusiasm," quite opposite of the passive Roman culture.
  9. Christians angered the business community for they put quite a dent in the pagan S____________ economy.
  10. Christians refused to worship the E___________________!

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