Revelation as Theopoetic Vision?
Introduction and Approaches to the Apocalypse

1. Authorship: 1:1, 4, 9; 22:8

2. Date

In Search of the "Seven Kings" of Revelation 17:8-10

 Counting from One to Seven

Years in Power

Roman Emperors

 1        49-44 BCE  Julius Caesar, dictator

period of civil wars
 2 1      27 BCE - 14 CE  Augustus (= Octavian; considered 1st Roman emperor)
 3 2      14-37  Tiberius
 4 3 1    37-41 Caligula (Gaius; as first blatant enemy of God?)
 5 4 2    41-54  Claudius
 6 5 3 1  54-68 Nero (as first to persecute Christians?)
 7     2  68-69 Galba period of civil war
 8  4  3  69  Otho
 9    4  69 Vitellius
 10 6 5 5  69-79 Vespasian
 11  7  6  6  79-81  Titus
 12    7 7  81-96 Domitian
 13    96-98 Nerva
 14 98-117 Trajan
 15  117-138 Hadrian

Evidence for Popular Belief in a Returning Nero

 Sibylline Oracles 5.28 [date: between 80 and 132]
"One who has fifty as an initial will be commander, a terrible snake, breathing out grievous war, who one day will lay hands on his own family and slay them, and throw everything into confusion, athlete, charioteer, murderer, one who dares ten thousand things. He will also cut the mountain between two seas and defile it with gore. But even when he disappears he will be destructive. Then he will return declaring himself equal to God. But he will prove that he is not.

 Suetonius, Nero, 57 [early 2nd century]
"Nero died at the age of 31, on the anniversary of Octavia's murder. In the widespread general rejoicing, citizens ran throught the streets wearing caps of liberty. But there were people who used to lay spring and summer flowers on his grave for a long time, and had statues made of him. . .; they even continued to circulate edicts pretending he was still alive and would soon return to confound his enemies. . . . In fact, twenty years later, when I was a young man, a mysterious individual came forward claiming to be Nero; and so magical was the sound of his name in the Parthians' ears that they supported him to the best of their ability, and only handed him over with great reluctance."

Ascension of Isaiah 4:2-4 [date: near the end of 1st century]
"And after it has been brought to completion, Beliar will descend, the great angel, the king of this world, which he has ruled ever since it existed. He will descend from his firmament in the form of a man, a king of iniquity, a murderer of his mother--this is the king of this world--and will persecute the plant which the twelve apostles of the Beloved will have planted; some of the twelve will be given into his hand. This angel, Beliar, will come in the form of that king, and with him will come all the powers of this world, and they will obey him in every wish. . . .

3. Characteristics

Types of Symbolism in Revelation
 Edenic  2:7; 22:1-2 (cf. Gen 2:8-17; 3:22-24)  
 Cosmic  6:12-14  
 Angelic  7:1-3; 12:7-9  
 Danielic  13:1-6 (cf. Dan.7:2-8)  
 Numerical  7:2-5; 13:11-12,16-18  
 Unreal  8:12; 10:10; 12:4,14; 17:9  

4. Approaches to Revelation