What could the Book of Revelation possibly have in common with Jesus’ Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36)? This is a question I had before I heard a preacher speak of it, but I have to tell you, it makes a lot of sense. What the Transfiguration does for the Apocalypse is to place it in a context that demands that the book was written prior to the Jews’ war with Rome cir. 66-70 AD. The context of the Apocalypse is the Day of the Lord, or the Coming of Jesus. The context of the Transfiguration is the Day of the Lord, or the Lord’s parousia (G3952), according to Peter (2Peter 1:16-18)! Interestingly, I’ve never put Revelation 1:1 together with Matthew 17:1-8 and 2Peter 1:16-18, but you can see how they all fit together. They all speak of the Second Coming and, therefore, the Day of the Lord.
So, how would seeing the relationship of these three scriptures tell us when the Apocalypse was written? First let’s look at Peter’s confession. Peter tells his readers that he had made known to them the coming (parousia – G3952) of the Lord Jesus, saying that he and the other Apostles were “eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2Peter 1:16). In saying this he pointed to the time he heard the voice of God from heaven, while they were there on the holy mountain (2Peter 2:17-18). Obviously, Peter was referring to the Lord’s Transfiguration on the mountain that we read about in Matthew 17:1-8. So, according to Peter, when they saw Jesus shinning brighter than the sun, they were seeing the glorified Jesus at his parousia (coming – G3952).
Matthew’s narrative tells us that Jesus was transfigured before three of his Apostles, Peter, James and John (Matthew 17:1-2). At the same time they saw Moses and Elijah (signifying the Law and the Prophets) appear with Jesus. Not knowing what he was saying, Peter wanted to build three tabernacles, one for Jesus and the other two for Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:3-4), but, while he yet spoke, they all heard the Father speak out of heaven, saying “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him (Matthew 17:5). What is meant here is that they needed to hear Jesus, thus, indicating Christ is superior to the Law and the Prophets, and when the disciples looked up, Moses and Elijah had faded away, and Jesus was alone.
What happened? What did the vision mean? Peter tells us that the Transfiguration of Jesus was a vision of his Second Coming (his parousia – G3952) on the Day of the Lord (2Peter 1:16-18), and in this vision of the Day of the Lord, i.e. the Second Coming of Jesus, the Law and the Prophets fade away. In other words, the Old Covenant comes to an abrupt end at Jesus’ parousia. If the Old Covenant is no longer a valid contract between God and man, when did that covenant come to an end? It certainly couldn’t have ended at the cross, because it ends at the parousia of Jesus, according to Peter. The Old Covenant came to an end when the Temple was destroyed. With no Temple, the priests had no function. With no sacrifices, there was no valid covenant between the Jews and God. It was over! It all came to an end cir. 70 AD.
So, what does this mean as far as Revelation 1:1 is concerned and the rest of the Apocalypse? As I claimed in my previous study, the Greek word apokalupsis (G602) appears only once in the Apocalypse and that at Revelation 1:1. The problem is there really is no new revelation of Jesus in the book. It makes better sense to translate the word in Revelation 1:1 into coming or appearing as it is done in 1Corinthians 1:7 and 1Peter 1:7. The Apocalypse is all about Christ’s Coming or Appearing. It is about the Day of the Lord, just like the Transfiguration. So, if Moses and Elijah—i.e. the Law and the Prophets—fade away at the parousia of Jesus (his Second Coming on the Day of the Lord), then the Apocalypse must have been written prior to the Jews’ war with Rome, cir. 66-70 AD, because that is when the Old Covenant ended!