Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Concept "Power" in Revelation

Here's a project I've been working on for months. I've tried to catalog all the uses of the word or concept "power" in Revelation, then I want to offer commentary on each verse from the aspect of how it contributes to the motif "power." I don't know if I'll ever finish this project, but it's been fun so far. Lots of editing remains.

A Commentary on the Concept of Power in Revelation (Apocalypse) of John

Rev 2:26--And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power (ἐξουσίαν) over the nations:

Rev 4:11--Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power (δύναμιν): for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Rev 5:12--Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power (τὴν δύναμιν), and riches, and wisdom, and strength (ἰσχὺν), and honour, and glory, and blessing.

Rev 5:13--And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power (τὸ κράτος), [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Rev 6:4--And there went out another horse [that was] red: and [power] was given to him (ἐδόθη αὐτῷ) that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

Rev 6:8--And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them (καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς ἐξουσία) over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Rev 7:12--Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might (ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ ἰσχὺς), [be] unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Rev 9:3--And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power (καὶ ἐδόθη αὐταῖς ἐξουσία ὡς ἔχουσιν ἐξουσίαν οἱ σκορπίοι τῆς γῆς).

Rev 9:10--And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power [was] to hurt men five months (καὶ ἐν ταῖς οὐραῖς αὐτῶν ἡ ἐξουσία αὐτῶν ἀδικῆσαι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους μῆνας πέντε).

Rev 9:19--For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails (ἡ γὰρ ἐξουσία τῶν ἵππων ἐν τῷ στόματι αὐτῶν ἐστὶν καὶ ἐν ταῖς οὐραῖς αὐτῶν): for their tails [were] like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.

Rev 11:3--And I will give [power] unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. [The word "power" should be omitted in this verse]

Rev 11:6--These have power (ἔχουσιν τὴν ἐξουσίαν) to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters (καὶ ἐξουσίαν ἔχουσιν ἐπὶ τῶν ὑδάτων) to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

Rev 11:17--Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned (ὅτι εἴληφας τὴν δύναμίν σου τὴν μεγάλην καὶ ἐβασίλευσας).

Rev 12:10--And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ (ἡ σωτηρία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ ἡ ἐξουσία τοῦ χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ): for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Rev 13:2--And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as [the feet] of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

Rev 13:4--And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who [is] like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

Rev 13:5--And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty [and] two months.

Rev 13:7--And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

Rev 13:12--And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

Rev 13:14--And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

Rev 13:15--And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

Rev 14:18--And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.

Rev 15:8--And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

Rev 16:8--And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.

Rev 16:9--And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.

Rev 17:12--And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

Rev 17:13--These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

Rev. 18:1--And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

Rev. 19:1--And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:

See Rev. 19:6-7

Rev. 20:6--Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.


Duncan said...

"as the scorpions of the earth have power" - an interesting comparison but is it referring to a level of robustness or to the sting or to the claws?

Edgar Foster said...

In light of the immediate setting and discourse, my initial answer would be the sting or the ability to sting.

Duncan said...


You have probably covered all of this but I thought I should post just in case.

Others may find these interesting background.

I did.

Edgar Foster said...

Thanks, Duncan. The word dunamis also has an interesting use in Aristotle where it's juxtaposed with energeia.

Duncan said...


Thanks for recommending. Have found these so far:-

Will read later.

Duncan said...

Looking at :-

Might dunamis have a strong relationship to הַצּוְּר at Deut 32:4 and יָהּ at exodus 15:2 which some think may concretely mean constant?

I am intrigued as to why the NWT translates וְזִמְרָת as might instead of song/music/melody in 15:2? Something to do with plucking?

Duncan said...

Net bible notes on isaiah 26:4.

(Isa 26:4)
2 tc The Hebrew text has “for in Yah, the Lord, an everlasting rock.” Some have suggested that the phrase בְּיָהּ (beyah, “in Yah”) is the result of dittography. A scribe seeing כִּי יְהוָה (ki yÿhvah) in his original text would somehow have confused the letters and accidentally inserted בְּיָהּ between the words (bet and kaf [ב and כ] can be confused in later script phases). A number of English versions retain both divine names for emphasis (ESV, NIV, NKJV, NRSV, NLT). One of the Qumran texts (1QIsaa) confirms the MT reading as well.

The text could just be correct.

Edgar Foster said...

I don't think it is a stetch to see a connection between dunamis and the language of Deuteronomy 32:4; Exodus 15:2. Maimonides discusses the "rock" expression in his "Guide." The NEET Bible also supplies an explanation for Ex 15:2, which sheds light on why NWT made its translation decision in that verse. NET indicates that either rendering would work.

Duncan said...

Thanks for the reminder. I need to check the NET comments more often. Lxx takes another option σκεπαστής and makes me wonder if this little used term means neither of the standard options and is better suited to another meaning but as the commentary says, it seems a neat solution to use might or power. I also noticed that BBE says The Lord is my strength and my strong helper.

Duncan said...


The Lord is my strength and my praise,

Edgar Foster said...

"Thanksgiving and praise we bring before the Lord Most High, who is glorified above the glorious, and exalted above the exalted; who punisheth by His Word whomsoever glorifieth himself before Him" (Targum Exodus).

Duncan said...

Duncan said...

See note 33 for Samaritan option.

Edgar Foster said...

I've been taking a semi-break, but it's good to have the sources and quotes you provided. I should have also noted that the quote I last posted is from Targum Exodus 15:1.