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The Sea That is No More

Rev 21:1 and the Function of Sea Imagery in the Apocalypse of John

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image of Novum Testamentum

The enigmatic phrase in Rev 21:1, “the sea is no more”, has yet to be adequately explained or related cogently to the rest of the book. In this article I categorise the multiple roles in which αλασσα appears in Rev 4-20 and address the potential implications of each use of sea imagery for explaining its absence from John's vision of the new heaven and earth. Along the way, the various theories that have been proposed by other interpreters are assessed; this is followed by a brief consideration of the potential relevance of several parallels that have been suggested. On the basis of these investigations and an analysis of the context of Rev 21-22, it is proposed that the difficult phrase in 21:1c is best explained in terms of the use of a new-creation typology that serves to highlight the way in which this new creation differs from that described in Gen 1.

Affiliations: 1: Cambridge


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