Some affinity between Revelation 9 and 4Q300 (also 1QMysteries)

English: Stained Glass depiction of Revelation...

English: Stained Glass depiction of Revelation 3:20 “Jesus at the Door.” Window attributed to the Quaker City Glass Company of Philadelphia, 1912. Installed in St. Matthew’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, I don’t want to really get into this at the moment, but if you look at Revelation 9, you will see something very similar to the DSS fragment below. See this brief paper by Torleif Elgvin, especially the part where he mentions Flusser’s arguments on 1Q27 and how it influenced the Rosh Hashanah liturgy.

My goal is not to suggest John used 1Q27, but to show the use of ‘smoke’ in both, as (as it appears to me) something similar… like an ancient liturgy.

Frag. 1 col. I (= 4Q299 1; 4Q300 3)

1 […] all […]
2 […] mysteries of sin
3 [… all] their wisd[om]. And they do not know the mystery of existence, nor understand ancient matters. And they do not
4 know what is going to happen to them; and they will not save their souls from the mystery of existence.
5 And this will be for you the sign /that this is going to happen./ When those born of sin are locked up, evil will disappear before justice as [da]rkness disappears before
6 light. As smoke vanishes, and n[o] longer exists, so will evil vanish for ever. And justice will be revealed like the sun which regulates
7 the world. And all those who curb the wonderful mysteries will no longer exist. And knowledge will pervade the world, and there will ne[ver] be folly there.
8 This word will undoubtedly happen, the prediction is truthful. And by this he will show you that it is irrevocable: Do not all
9 nations loathe sin? And yet, it is about by the hands of all of them. Does not praise of truth come from the mouth of all nations?
10 And yet, is there perhaps one lip or one tongue which persists with it? What people would wish to be oppressed by another more powerful than itself? Who
11 would wish to be sinfully looted of its wealth? And yet, which is the people not to oppress its neighbour? Where is the people which has not
12 looted [another] of its wea[lth? …] … and the exits […]1

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  1. Florentino Garcı́a Martı́nez and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar, “The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (translations)” (Leiden: Brill, 1997–1998), 67–69.

Post By Joel Watts (10,058 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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4 thoughts on Some affinity between Revelation 9 and 4Q300 (also 1QMysteries)

  1. Personally, I don’t get it. More like a coincidence, like a common oral expression, going up in smoke. No crazy locust, or anything else related to Rev 9. Only ref I can find on Rev and DSS is Rev 21, and New Jerusalem Scrolls (ie the size of New Jerusalem). Except, as could be expected, everything is exaggerated in Rev. Size 12000 stadia cubed, versus 100stadia north to south, and 140 stadia east to west in DSS. In this case the DSS’s make more sense, with dimensions geographically as x and y; not x, y, and z. More proof John had some crazy mushrooms.

    • I don’t think John was crazy whatsoever. He knew exactly what he was doing – and everything is precise. For instance, the 1400 miles (or the length given in stadia) is the distance thought (at the time) to be between Rome and Jerusalem.

      What we see here is the notion of smoke, sinners, and locked up.

      We cannot read Revelation as it has been read for 1800 or so years. We have to seek to read it as it was written.

  2. Cubed, so a little over 7 million feet above the surface of the earth, or the same below the earth. Must be where the locust hang out. Edgar Rice Burroughs would be proud to know John. Anyway, seriously, just pulling your leg. Just remember, I voted for your website.

    • ha, thanks!

      I think we if take the message of John, what we see is something akin to a political ploy. God’s Kingdom will be so massive it will expel the kingdom of evil (i.e., Rome)

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