Intertextuality, Apocalypticism, and Covenant: The Rhetorical Force of the New Jerusalem in Rev 21:9-22:5

In: Horizons in Biblical Theology
Ryan D. Harker Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary 3003 Benham Ave., Elkhart, in 46517 USA

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The culminating text of the Christian canon, Rev 21-22, is a key text for the church’s articulation of its eschatological hope. This paper argues that in Rev 21:9-22:5 John draws on the prophetic theme of covenant renewal and the attendant conception of the identity and character of God’s covenant people to reinforce in a new context that same conception of the identity of God’s people, though reimagined in light of the life and resurrection of the Lamb. The author is making a claim on his audience’s identity as the locus of the fulfilment of the prophetic hope of covenant renewal. Using the tools of rhetorical analysis and intertextuality, I thus argue that the New Jerusalem image is not an articulation of the future dwelling place of God’s people; rather, the New Jerusalem image is a call to discipleship anchored in the prophetic hope of covenant renewal.

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