The book of Revelation is the consummation of Christian Apocalyptic Theology of the New Testament, which derives from Jewish Apocalyptic Theology as seen in the Old Testament, and Jewish Apocalyptic Theology as it continued in the Intertestamental period, which is why we have seen so many parallels to both Old Testament writings and intertestamental writings in the first half of Revelation. As we take a look at New Testament Apocalyptic Theology, this relationship should become abundantly clear.
The earthly ministry of Jesus affirms most of the understanding of the Jewish tradition, so let’s take a brief look at some of these points:
First, New Testament writers share the Jewish belief in both an earthly and heavenly realm; the natural and the supernatural. They also share the old Jewish belief that there is a force behind the evil done in the earthly realm. They asserted that the spiritual forces of evil lie behind the wickedness of men, and the plight of nations, providing false worldviews to entire civilizations, that live and act in opposition to God. Paul sums this up:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Second, New Testament writers hold the view that the present world is dominated by Satan, because of Adam’s rebellion. Again, Paul makes this point:
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
Romans 5:12, 15-17
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
These points have clear and obvious connections to Genesis 1-5. Obviously, when we are told that God created everything, and that it was “good” and then He created Man, and that was “very good” there was only the will of God at work. Soon after, that changes when the “serpent” enters the picture and entices the humans into rebellion. This is where that “other” kingdom begins. God and Man, once in perfect harmony are separated, Man has no further contact with the “tree of Life” and nature, now corrupted, takes its course and death enters the world.
As the Old Testament continues, God begins the process of redemption, relationships begin, more is revealed to men by God while the problems associated with sin continue, but in later generations, God begins to reveal through his prophets that a change is coming that will put an end to the corruption both of Man and the rest of Creation, and that change will take place when the Messiah comes onto the scene… and that is where we will pick up next time.