An Exegetical Grammar of the Apocalypse
This life time work by Robert Hepburn of the original Greek of the Apocalypse is an ongoing project we expect to publish in the future. The work is a synopsis of the grammatical phenomenon found in the book of Revelation. All points of grammar are organized in an easy to access format. Over 700 references to Semitic idiom are cited and clearly demonstrated from the Hebrew and Greek Old Testaments. Below are sample comments from the book using Papyrus 47 of the Third Century.
The Hebrew cardinal for the multiplicative adverb
In Hebrew, the multiplicative adverb can be expressed by the cardinal number. This Hebraism occurs in the Septuagint, and in Rev: 9:12: Behold, a woe is coming twice more after these things!
Collocation of Genus and Species
In Hebrew, two substantives in apposition to one another in order to express genus and species can in certain combinations be in reverse order. This Hebraism occurs in RV 12:05: And she gave birth to a male, a son........
Interpretation of the antichrist cryptogram
The cryptogram in the Greek text of Revelation 13:18 is expressed as the number 666 in Papyrus 47, Codex Sinaiticus, and Codex Alexandrinus. In the Codex Ephraemi Syri Rescriptus the number is 616. This cryptogram is deciphered using the number values assigned to the Hebrew/Aramaic alphabet characters.
One of the Palestinian Aramaic texts found in Palestine is a contract of debt dated A.D. 56: Murabba'at IOU (A.D. 56) - Mur 18 ar. This contract begins with the date: "the year two of Neron Caesar". This form of Nero's name in Aramaic letters is derived from the Greek form with Nero ending with "n".
The Latin form of Nero's name does not include the "n".
Here are the number values used for the Hebrew/Aramaic alphabet characters:
The transliterated Greek form of Nero's name, "Neron Caesar", in the Palestinian Aramaic contract adds up to : 666. The Latin version "Nero Caesar" adds up to 616.
In the 17th chapter of the book of Revelation, an angel explains to the Apostle John the meaning of the vision that he has seen. This vision involves, a woman sitting on a beast with seven heads and ten horns, the Roman empire with the city of Rome on seven hills, and the first seven Roman Emperors. In verse 9, the angel tells John that the seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits, and that they are also seven kings. In verse 10, the angel tells John that five of these emperors have fallen (Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero). The angel dates the book of Revelation for us when he states that "one is" (the sixth emperor). The sixth emperor was Galba who reigned from A.D. 68-69. The angel was speaking at the end of Nero's reign and persecution of the Christians. The angel tells John that the seventh emperor's reign is only for a short time. Emperor Otho only reigned for a few months in A.D. 69.
In Rev 17:11, the angel tells John that the beast is an eighth king who will arise, who was one of the seven. The antichrist is one of the first seven Roman emperors who returns as an eighth in the future. Since the beast "was and is not...." it is one of the first five, since the sixth is now reigning. This eighth king is the future antichrist.
The Roman historian, Cornelius Tacitus, writing contemporaneous to the period, in his Histories, Book II, March-August A.D. 69, reports that Achaia and Asia Minor were terrified by reports that Nero was not really dead and was returning from the east to take vengeance. The book of Revelation was addressed to the seven churches of Asia. This historical report is witness that the book of Revelation was already being taught in Asia Minor by A.D. 69. No doubt distorted interpretations circulated amongst the secular people, giving rise to the various stories about Nero returning.
Nero, then, is the New Testament prototype of the coming antichrist. This can also be interpreted literally with Nero himself returning from the dead as antichrist. The Old Testament prototype of the antichrist is Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Daniel 11:21-45). He appeared for a while after Daniel was written prefiguring the events which are yet future as prophesied by Jesus (Matthew 24:15).
In A.D. 69, both the Christian and secular world of Asia Minor were on alert for the return of Emperor Nero to take vengeance on the world. Today, we experience the same danger in the coming antichrist. Let us stay on the alert for dictators, and pray for democracy and world peace.
May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you all.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. RV 22:20