Why wouldn’t the lamb be a Christian symbol too–Jesus was announced “Behold the Lamb of God” when he began His ministry.
Why wouldn’t the Spirit speak to the 7 churches or 7-fold church? saying, if anyone has ears, let him hear.
Jesus cautioned with some of His parables, if anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. [There is more to be understood here than just on the surface.]
Moses prophecied of the Christ, the Prophet who would be raised up “like me” from among your people, counseling, Listen to Him. The voice from heavenly Glory, at Jesus’ baptism and at the Mount of Transfiguration, said of the Beloved Son, “Listen to Him.”
The Jewish traditions of the rabbis had reference to parables and allegories (in the best sense of the word), in sermonizing, didn’t they? (You would know far better than I, so please correct me if I have misstated things.)
And some Psalms use or refer to parables or riddles or “dark” sayings that you have to think over. Isaiah speaks of those who listening do not hear, and God says to Ezekiel in 2: 5: As for them, whether they listen or not—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them.
I have gone into too much detail here, but it seems to me that there are links of Apocalypse (ch.1 through at least ch.5) with ideas and expressions and symbols from the gospels, that are in turn informed by the earlier Hebrew literature. The early Christians, even before they were so named, were Jews worshipping in synagogues.
Wouldn’t they partake of the judaic traditions and thought patterns?
Wouldn’t they imbibe some of the apocalyptic fervor around them?
Perhaps I am painting with too broad a brush, here: and there may be an abrupt transition from the first three chapters of the Apcalypse to the rest of the text; yet there are seven churches, as there are seven seals, seven trumpets, seven plagues, so that is not discordant. I know that it doesn’t prove a connection either, since seven was favorite Jewish number; but at least it doesn’t fly in the face of the passages of Revelation following.
Why shouldn’t there be apocalyptic literature among the early Christians? (besides Matthew 24 and Luke 21–and maybe II Peter and Jude). It seems to me reasonable that that tradition would continue, just as there were prophets (and even women prophets) in the early Christian communities. Perhaps Christian writings on a parallel track to the Jewish apocalyptic literature?(with which the connections are quite striking and convincing of a relationship).
And parables, allegories, and symbolism can be just the thing to convey a cryptic, politically risky message. I think of black American folktales, folklore, and spirituals.
Again, I know that I have approached the subject in a broad way, and not totally scientifically, or textually critical; but wouldn’t my concerns stated above have merit?
Thank you, Bart, for sharing your profound background in these realms with us.