Posted By MSH on August 28, 2010
Pardon me for the brief transgression. Came across an article you’ll all be interested in today. It’s called “Measuring the Temple of God: Revelation 11:1-2 and the Destruction of Jerusalem.” Has obvious implications not only for the dating of the book of Revelation but eschatology in general–and for both issues, the article’s stance adds sort of a twist to the two traditional options. Here is one introductory paragraph:
A first point that needs to be discussed has to do with the nature of the temple that is mentioned. Is it located in heaven or is it the earthly temple of Jerusalem? Or should it perhaps be understood as a symbol for the people of God? This last possibility is sometimes adopted by interpreters, but is unable to explain the precise function of the altar, the worshipers and the holy city. Regularly, all of these are taken as metaphors of the people of God, but this does not adequately explain the abundance of images. In addition, one wonders whether a symbolic interpretation does justice to the very concrete and historical language of our text. A heavenly location is also problematic, because the evident threat that the nations pose for (part of) the temple is difficult to envisage if the temple is in heaven. Furthermore, the passages that precede and follow Rev 11.1–2 take place on earth and there is no indication of a change of scenery. It therefore seems probable that the temple of Revelation 11 is located on earth. The present paper will demonstrate that our textual unit can indeed be cogently interpreted from this vantage point. It should be noted at this point that the argument that Rev 11.1–2 cannot refer to the destruction of the earthly temple and city in 70 ce because these did not exist anymore by then (assuming that John wrote around 95 ce) is short-sighted. The author of Revelation nowhere simply reports events; he consistently seeks to interpret them. There is no reason why John could not have written a theological interpretation in 95 ce of what happened in 70 ce.
Would enjoy seeing your thoughts.