Johann Christoph Harenberg
Professor at Brunswick
Erklarung der Offenbarung Johannis: Es entwickelt sich zugleich die Frage, wo wir jetzt in der Zeit der Anzeigen solcher Offenbarung leben; Braunschw. 1759
“The Jews of Asia had at Jerusalem separate schools and synagogues. The ground on which these stood, was named Asia. The number of schools upon that ground was seven ; and these bore, respectively, the names which appear in the inscriptions to the seven epistles ; like the English schools at Rome, in the 8th century, which bore the names of the Heptarchy.” (Erklarung, p. 67)
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
“The same Abauzit wrote another treatise which belongs to this place (Essai sur 1’Apocalypse, 1730), in which he tries to show that the book was written under Nero, and is in its prophecy only a development of the sayings of Christ about the fall of Jerusalem; that all refers to the destruction of this Jewish capital and the Roman-Jewish war (ch. xxi. and xxii.); to the more extensive spread of the Christian Church after that catastrophe.
Similar is the interpretation of Wetstein (De Interpretatione libri Apocalypseos) in his New Testament, II. 889 and following; 1752), who refers the main contents to the Romish-Jewish war and the contemporary civil war in Italy, but understands the thousand years (ch. xx.) as the fifty years after the death of Domitian until the insurrection of the Jews under Bar Cochba, and takes the heavenly Jerusalem as a type of the great spread and rest of the Christian Church after the complete subjection of the Jews.
Further, Johann Christoph Harenberg’s (Professor at Brunswick, died 1774) Erklarung der Offenbarung Johannis: Es entwickelt sich zugleich die Frage, wo wir jetzt in der Zeit der Anzeigen solcher Offenbarung leben; Braunschw. 1759, 4), which refers all to Jerusalem as far as ch. xviii., understanding Babylon as that city; but the following chapters he refers to the development of the Christian Church till the last day. ” (pp. 56-57)
Johann Peter Lange
“VII. Historico-Critical and Rationalistic Period. Fundamental Tone or Key-note: Predominant Volatilizing of Apocalyptic Eschatology ; especially the Prophecy of the Millennial Kingdom ; amid a constantly gaining confounding of such Prophecy with Chiliasm.
The motive or inciting cause of the period which we are at present examining—a motive whose sketching by Lucke is not distinguished for clearness—was, negatively, that system of criticism which maintained that the Apocalypse consisted of purely supernatural predictions of Church History and church-historical numbers ; and which applied such exegesis to the support of chiliastic extravagances. Positively, it was the felt need of a firm historical and psychological basis for the prophetic glimpses of futurity. The errors of this new critical bent were the issue, in part, of the delight which was occasioned by the novel historical stand-point— historical, it was believed, for the first time in a true sense. For the rest, these errors proceeded from doubt as to the Spirit of Prophecy, as to the authenticity of the Apocalypse, as to the demonic forms of the kingdom of darkness, and as to the reality of Biblical Eschatology.
According to Lucke, Abauzit of Geneva inaugurated this tendency in his Essai sur l’ Apocalypse. “The Revelation, written probably under Nero, is nothing—according to its own profession—but une extension de la prophetic du Sauveur sur la ruine de l’ Etat Judaique.” The German Wetstein was guilty of a curtailing and stinting of the Apocalypse, similar to that attempted by the French Swiss. According to Wetstein, Gog and Magog made their appearance in the rebellion instigated by Barcochba. Harenberg took sides with Abauzit, submitting, however, that the last four chapters of the Apocalypse are eschatological. He believed the Book to have been originally written in Hebrew. Semler thought that the true original spirit of the Apocalypse was Jewish chiliastic fanaticism.
On the common basis of a one-sided criticism, Herder formed an antithesis to Semler in this question as in other and more general respects. The contrast is exhibited in his work entitled: Maran-atha, das buch von der Zukunft des Herrn, des Neuen Testaments Siegel. [Maran-atha; the Book of the Coming of the Lord: the Seal of the New Testament.] The historical perspective of this book is, like that of Abauzit, barren and contracted in the extreme: it consists of Jerusalem and the Jewish war. The formal treatment of the Apocalyptic theme, on the contrary, is enthusiastic, full of idealization, and appreciation of the figurative language of the Orient (see Lucke’s commendation). Herder called the Apocalypse : “A picture-book, setting forth the rise, the visible existence, and the future of Christ’s Kingdom in figures and similitudes of His first Coming, to terrify and to console.” Hartwig, though the disciple of Herder, abandoned the Oriental view for the Greek, holding, with Paraeus, that the Apocalypse was a drama. This dramatical view was subsequently fully carried out by Eichhorn. Others, taking a more general, poetical view of the Apocalypse, made metrical versions of it; of these the chief were those of Schreiber and Munter, and one by a follower of Bengel, Ludwig von Pfeil.
The interpretation already advanced by many, according to which the Apocalypse depicted the downfall of Judaism and heathenism, and the tranquility and glory of the Kingdom of Christ, re-appeared in the writings of Herrenschneider (Tentamen Apocalypseos). Johannsen, in his Offenbarung Johannes, set forth a similar view. Thoroughly novel and original, at variance both with the ancient Church-historical and the modern synchrono-historical view, is the book which appeared under the title of Briefe uber die Offenbarung Johannis. Ein Buch fur die Starken, die schwach heissen, Leipzig, 1784. [Letters on the Revelation of John. A Book for the Strong, who are called Weak]. “The [anonymous] author interprets all specials as generals, relative to the laws, arrangements and developments of nature and of the human life in general; amid, and according to, which laws, arrangements, and developments, God’s Kingdom on earth shall one day be perfected.” Kleuker maintained once more the eschatological signification of the Revelation (Ueber Ursprung und Zweck, etc. [On the Origin and Design, etc.]). On the other hand, Lucke mentions as followers of the bent of Herder and Eichhorn, Lange, Von Hagen, Lindemann Matthai, Von Heinrichs (p. 1055).” (A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures pp. 68-69)
What do YOU think ?