The New York Times reported that a series of minor tremors have somewhat unnerved the Israelites with one minister warning that in the event of an earthquake 7,000 people could die. I quickly looked up the book of Revelation where in 11:13, it is written, "And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; 7,000 people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven." As I write, this morning brought the news of another above 7 Richter scale earthquake in Japan, the third major earthquake in the past fortnight, north of Mindanao in the Philippines, and also in Papua New Guinea. The frequency of earthquakes above 7 Richter scale has increased significantly in the past decade, especially since the major earthquake in north Sumatra and resulting Tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people. I submitted my revised dissertation for publication with T & T Clark just days after the 26th Dec 2004's earthquake and I wrote in the Preface: "The disaster [Sumatra earthquake & tsunami] happened close to home and it reminded me that the book of Revelation speaks much about earthquakes...". As Jesus said in Luke 21:11, "And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. Great signs from heaven and fearful sights. The day before I conducted an end-time seminar in Sabah (16th Feb 2013), a meteorite fell in the north of Russia and injured hundreds. Are we seeing the signs spoken by Jesus and John of Revelation? If you are interested in the study of end-time prophecy, I shall be offering an elective on the book of Revelation, focusing on the events of the last 3 and a half years before the dawn of the kingdom of God on earth by looking at the middle chapters of Rev 11:1-14:5. Although I have taught Revelation twice before, but for first time I shall be using my book as textbook and prospective students are advised to get hold of a copy (Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Eisenbrauns) and read the first couple of chapters in advance of class starting on 7th January 2014 (every Tuesday at 8:30 to 11:20am until 29th April). The course description is given below:
This course will examine the events of the last three-and-a half years according to John in the book of Revelation. The focus will be on the middle chapters (Rev 11:1-14:5) where the temporal period of three-and-a half years is mentioned 5 times (11:2-3; 12:6, 14; 13:5) in 3 different ways, namely, 1,260 days, 42 months and a time, times and half a time. It will discuss John’s vision of the holy city and the Temple as the loci of eschatological prophecies in this final period. This study will pay special attention to various characters that John portrays as the main protagonists in these last days, especially the two witnesses of Rev 11 and the two Beasts of Rev 13. A brief survey of Jewish apocalyptic thought in Second Temple period to the time of John’s Revelation in the first century CE will serve as introduction to John’s apocalyptic thought in Revelation. John’s creative and innovative use of the Old Testament in Revelation will be critically examined and highlighted. This course will utilize Hebraic rhetorical methods or rhetorical criticism to analyze the structure and composition of the middle section of John’s Revelation. It seeks to establish that the text of Rev 11:1-14:5 is marked by several key words and motifs with the figure of 3 ½ as the temporal and literary marker that unites seemingly disparate episodes and characters into one literary whole.
1) Siew, Tony, The War between the Two Beasts and the Two Witnesses: A Chiastic Reading of Revelation 11:1-14:5 (LSNT 283; London & New York: T & T Clark, 2005).
1) Book Review (1,500 words; 30%): Murphy, Frederick J., Apocalypticism in the Bible and Its World (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012). Due Date: 7th Feb 2014.
2) Main Essay (3,500 words; 70%): Due Date: 2nd May 2014.