Dating Revelation

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Dr. Bob, May 14, 2003.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Preterists must date the writing of the Book of Revelation prior to AD 70.

    Traditional dating of the Book has varied from AD 90-100, well after the fall of Jerusalem.

    Arguments for either will now be accepted, with only limited mocking of the other side allowed! :rolleyes:
     
  2. Tim

    Tim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2001
    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ken Gentry has a lot of good arguments for the earlier date. Could someone invite him into this thread?

    Tim
     
  3. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    If it was earlier than 70, why was the destruction of Jerusalem not indicated?
     
  4. go2church

    go2church
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,304
    Likes Received:
    6
    I choose the later date. And for the record not all who hold to a preterist-like view date the book early. The events that John (that could be another thread) wrote seem best to apply to Domitian. Also the destruction of Jerusalem didn't have to mentioned to be written earlier, this letter was to churches in Asia Minor that were concerned with the destruction of themselves and the Roman government. The next question would be, why would an event like the destruction of the temple not be mentioned? I don't know, I am just saying it didn't have to be mentioned.
     
  5. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2002
    Messages:
    3,348
    Likes Received:
    14
    If it was earlier than 70, why was the destruction of Jerusalem not indicated?

    Not sure what you mean, but Matthew 23,24 and 25 sure indicate the coming destruction. If it was written after 70 AD then it seems that it would be mentioned in Rev. as a past event.

    More later.
     
  6. KenH

    KenH
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2002
    Messages:
    32,485
    Likes Received:
    0
    As one who is not taking sides in this debate while realizing that the pre-70 A.D. date advocates are in the minority, here is some information I found at www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/r/revelation_earlydate.html. There is quite a bit here to chew on. [​IMG]

    Irenaeus' Quote (Used as Grounds for Late Date Theory)
    "We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the Revelation. For (‘he’ [John?] or ‘it’ [Revelation?]) was seen . . . towards the end of Domitian’s reign." (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5:30:3)


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Jay E. Adams (1966)
    "[the temple still standing in Revelation 11:1 is] unmistakable proof that Revelation was written before 70 A.D." (The Time is at Hand, p. 68).

    "The Revelation was written to a persecuted church about to face the most tremendous onslaught it had ever known. It would be absurd (not to say cruel) for John to write a letter to persons in such circumstances which not only ignores their difficulties, but reveals numerous details about events supposed to transpire hundreds of years in the future during a seven year tribulation period at the end of the church age." (The Time is at Hand, p. 49)

    "It is to remain unsealed because 'the time is at hand.' That is, its prophecies are about to be fulfilled. The events which it predicts do not pertain to the far distant future, but they are soon to happen. The message is for this generation, not for some future one." (The Time is at Hand, p. 51)


    Arethas
    (On Revelation 7:4)
    "When the Evangelist received these oracles, the destruction in which the Jews were involved was not yet inflicted by the Romans."


    David E. Aune (1977)
    “The keystone of Robinson’s enterprise is an argument from silence: none of the books of the New Testament refers, either implicitly or explicitly, to the catastrophic event of the fall of Jerusalem to the Roman legions under Titus in A.D.70. Had they written after that date, so the argument runs, they would surely have at least alluded to that crucial event.” (Review of Redating the New Testament, by John A.T. Robinson, “When Was the New Testament Written?” Christianity Today 21, April 15, 1977; p. 43)

    “On balance, the virtues far outweigh the faults. The book deserves wide circulation among students of the New Testament, since scholarly opinion (whether conservative or liberal) should regularly examine its assumptions and conclusions. In passing, it is perhaps important to note that Robinson makes elaborate use of the scholarship of Theodore Zahn, perhaps the most brilliant conservative New Testament scholar in the last century.. Let us hope that he will be heard.” (Review of Redating the New Testament, by John A.T. Robinson, “When Was the New Testament Written?” Christianity Today 21, April 15, 1977; p. 45)


    G.R. Beasley-Murray (1983)
    ”The traditional belief that Revelation was written near the close of the reign of the Emperor Domitian, about A.D.96, is likely to be right, thought it is not impossible that it was written in the confused period that immediately followed Nero’s death in A.D.68.” (“Preaching the Eschatological Texts,” in Biblical Preaching: An Expositor’s Treasury, ed.; Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, p. 356)




    David Chilton (1982)
    “John emphasizes his anticipation of the soon occurrences of his prophecy by strategic placement of these time references. He places his boldest time statements in both the introduction and conclusion to Revelation. It is remarkable that so many recent commentators have missed it literally coming and going! The statement of expectancy is found three times in the first chapter – twice in the first three verses: Revelation 1:1,3,19. The same idea is found four times in his concluding remarks: Revelation 22:6,7,12,20. It is as if John carefully bracketed the entire work to avoid any confusion.” (The Beast of Revelation; Tyler, TX; ICE, 1982; p. 21-22).

    “Think of it: If these words in these verses do not indicate that John expected the events to occur soon, what words could John have used to express such? How could he have said it more plainly?” (The Beast of Revelation; Tyler, TX; ICE, 1982; p. 24).


    Adam Clarke (1837)
    (On Revelation 1:7) "By this the Jewish People are most evidently intended, and therefore the whole verse may be understood as predicting the destruction of the Jews; and is a presumptive proof that the Apocalypse was written before the final overthrow of the Jewish state." (6:971.)


    Clement (150-215)
    "For the teaching of our Lord at His advent, beginning with Augustus and Tiberius, was completed in the middle of the times of Tiberius. And that of the apostles, embracing the ministry of Paul, end with Nero." (Miscellanies 7:17.)


    Conybeare and Howson (1870)
    "Concerning the Book of Revelation I will say nothing, except to invite attention to the arguments by which Doctor MacDonald endeavors to fix its date. The reasoning seems to me to be very well drawn out, which assigns the writing of this part of the Holy Scripture to a time intermediate between the Gospel and the Epistles of St. John." (Life and Writings of John, p. xxxiii, Introduction)


    James Burton Coffman (1984)
    “The epic work of John A.T. Robinson in Redating the New Testament is one of the most significant works this century with regard to the date of the New Testament, all of which he affirms to have been written before A.D.70, a conclusion which we believe to be correct.” (Commentary on John; Abilene, TX: ACU Press; p. 12)


    David Crews (1994)
    "The view accepted without much question by many Christians is that the Revelation was written in or around A.D.96, during the reign of the Caesar Domitian. This date of authorship would, of course, prevent the book from referring to the events of the Jewish War.. Simply put, the case for a late Domitian date hangs by a very slender thread. It is determined from a single statement by the Bishop of Lyons, named Irenaeus.. This statement is not an eyewitness testimony from Irenaeus, but is his recollection of what was said by an ever earlier man, Polycarp, who is supposed to have known John personally." [Prophecy Fulfilled - God's Perfect Church (Austin, TX: New Light Publishing, 1994), pp. 256,257]


    Dr. E. Earle Ellis (1980)
    “At the same time in some New Testament books the silence about the destruction of Jerusalem is very surprising; that is, in books where Jesus’ prophecy of the destruction appears (Matthew, Mark, Luke), where the critique of the temple or its transitory character is a major theme (Acts, Hebrews) and where God’s judgments on a disobedient Jewish nation are of particular interest to the writer (Acts, Jude). In these cases the absence of any illusion to the destruction would seem to be a fairly strong argument that such books were written before that event took place. The fall of Jerusalem is important in another respect. It marked not only the catastrophic destruction of a city but also the end of the Jewish world as it had been known.” (“Dating the New Testament”, New Testament Studies, 26; p. 488)


    Epiphanies (A. D. 315-403)
    States Revelation was written under "Claudius [Nero] Caesar." (Epiphanies, Heresies 51:12,)


    F.W. Farrar (1886)
    "there can be no reasonable doubt respecting the (early) date of the Apocalypse." (The Early Days of Christianity; NY, NY: A.L. Burt, 1884; p. 387)

    "We cannot accept a dubious expression of the Bishop of Lyons as adequate to set aside an overwhelming weight of evidence, alike external and internal, in proof of the fact that the Apocalypse was written, at the latest, soon after the death of Nero." (The Early Days of Christianity; NY, NY: A.L. Burt, 1884; p. 408)

    The reason why the early date and mainly contemporary explanation of the book is daily winning fresh adherents among unbiased thinkers of every Church and school, is partly because it rests on so simple and secure a basis, and partly because no other can compete with it. It is indeed the only system which is built on the plain and repeated statements and indications of the Seer himself and the corresponding events are so closely accordant with the symbols as to make it certain that this scheme of interpretation is the only one that can survive. (The Early Days of Christianity; NY, NY: A.L. Burt, 1884; p. 434)


    Joseph A. Fitzmeyer (1978)
    “I must admit that what Robinson writes about the Book of Revelation makes a great deal of sense. Here is a case where I might be incliuned in the future to admit a pre-seventy dating.” (Review of Redating the New Testament, by John. A.T. Robinson, “Two Views of New Testament Interpretation: Popular and Technical, Interpretation 32; 1978, p. 312)


    Ken Gentry (1989)
    "My confident conviction is that a solid case for a Neronic date for Revelation can be set forth from the available evidences, both internal and external. In fact, I would lean toward a date after the outbreak of the Neronic persecution in late A.D.64 and before the declaration of the Jewish war in early A.D.67. A date in either A.D.65 or early A.D.66 would seem most suitable." (Before Jerusalem Fell (Tyler, TX: ICE, 1989), 336.)

    “John emphasizes his anticipation of the soon occurrences of his prophecy by strategic placement of these time references. He places his boldest time statements in both the introduction and conclusion to Revelation. It is remarkable that so many recent commentators have missed it literally coming and going! The statement of expectancy is found three times in the first chapter – twice in the first three verses: Revelation 1:1,3,19. The same idea is found four times in his concluding remarks: Revelation 22:6,7,12,20. It is as if John carefully bracketed the entire work to avoid any confusion.” (The Beast of Revelation; Tyler, TX; ICE, 1982; p. 21-22).

    “Think of it: If these words in these verses do not indicate that John expected the events to occur soon, what words could John have used to express such? How could he have said it more plainly?” (The Beast of Revelation; Tyler, TX; ICE, 1982; p. 24).

    "It seems indisputably clear that the book of Revelation must be dated in the reign of Nero Caesar, and consequently before his death in June, A.D.68. He is the sixth king; the short-lived rule of the seventh king (Galba) "has not yet come." (Before Jerusalem Fell (Tyler, TX: ICE, 1989; 158.)


    Steve Gregg (1997)
    "Many scholars, including those supportive of a late date, have said that there is no historical proof that there was an empire-wide persecution of Christians even in Domitian's reign." (Revelation: Four Views, p.16)

    "Since the text is admittedly "uncertain" in many places, and the quotation in question is known only from a Latin translation of the original, we must not place too high a degree of certainty upon our preferred reading of the statement of Irenaeus." (Revelation: Four Views, p. 18)


    William Hurte (1884)
    "That John saw these visions in the reign of Nero, and that they were written by him during his banishment by that emperor, is confirmed by Theophylact, Andreas, Arethas, and others. We judge, therefore, that this book was written about A.D. 68, and this agrees with other facts of history.. There are also several statements in this book which can only be understood on the ground that the judgment upon Jerusalem was then future." (Catechetical Commentary: Edinburgh, Scotland, 1884)


    Irenaeus' Quote (Used as Grounds for Late Date Theory)
    "We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the Revelation. For ‘he’ [John?] or ‘it’ [Revelation?] was seen . . . towards the end of Domitian’s reign." (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5:30:3)


    Tim LaHaye (2002)
    Misread Rapture! - The Washington Times (1/24/02) "Mr. LaHaye calls the preterist interpretation "the most ridiculous view of eschatology I've ever heard. ... Historically, the fact is the church has always believed that the book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John in 95 A.D., 25 years after the destruction of Jerusalem. Consequently, it has to portray future events."


    Jamieson, Fausset and Brown (1871)
    "The following arguments favor an earlier date, namely, under Nero: (1) EUSEBIUS [Demonstration of the Gospel] unites in the same sentence John's banishment with the stoning of James and the beheading of Paul, which were under Nero. (2) CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA'S story of the robber reclaimed by John, after he had pursued, and with difficulty overtaken him, accords better with John then being a younger man than under Domitian, when he was one hundred years old. Arethas, in the sixth century, applies the sixth seal to the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), adding that the Apocalypse was written before that event. So the Syriac version states he was banished by Nero the Cæsar. Laodicea was overthrown by an earthquake (A.D. 60) but was immediately rebuilt, so that its being called "rich and increased with goods" is not incompatible with this book having been written under the Neronian persecution (A.D. 64). But the possible allusions to it in Heb 10:37; compare Re 1:4,8 4:8 22:12; Heb 11:10; compare Re 21:14; Heb 12:22,23; compare Re 14:1; Heb 8:1,2; compare Re 11:19 15:5 21:3; Heb 4:12; compare Re 1:16 2:12,16 19:13,15; Heb 4:9; compare Re 20:1-15; also 1Pe 1:7,13 4:13, with Re 1:1; 1Pe 2:9 with Re 5:10; 2Ti 4:8, with Re 2:26,27 3:21 11:18; Eph 6:12, with Re 12:7-12; Php 4:3, with Re 3:5 13:8,17:8 20:12,15; Col 1:18, with Re 1:5; 1Co 15:52, with Re 10:7 11:15-18, make a date before the destruction of Laodicea possible. Cerinthus is stated to have died before John; as then he borrowed much in his Pseudo-Apocalypse from John's, it is likely the latter was at an earlier date than Domitian's reign. See TILLOCH'S Introduction to Apocalypse. But the Pauline benediction (Re 1:4) implies it was written after Paul's death under Nero." (introduction to Revelation)


    George E. Ladd (1972)
    "The problem with this [Domitian date] theory is that there is no evidence that during the last decade of the first century there occurred any open and systematic persecution of the church ." (George E. Ladd, A Commentary on Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1972), p. 8.)


    James M. MacDonald (1870)
    "The question whether the Apocalypse was written at an early date or in the very closing period of the apostolic ministration has importance as bearing on the interpretation of the book. A true exposition depends, in no small degree, upon a knowledge of the existing condition of things at the time it was written ; i.e., of the true point in history occupied by the writer, and those whom he originally addressed... If the book were an epistle, like that to the Romans or Hebrews, it might be of contemporary little importance, in ascertaining its meaning, to be able to determine whether it was written at the commencement of the apostolic era or at its very close.

    "It is very obvious that if the book itself throws any distinct light on this subject, this internal evidence, especially in the absence of reliable historical testimony, ought to be decisive. Instead of appealing to tradition or to some doubtful passage in an ancient father, we interrogate the book itself, or we listen to what the Spirit saith that was in him who testified of these things. It will be found that no book of the New Testament more abounds in passages which clearly have respect to the time when it was written." (Life and Writings of John, p. 151-152)

    "So clear is the internal evidence in favor of the early date of the Apocalypse. And no evidence can be drawn from any part of the book favoring the later date so commonly assigned to it." (Life and Writings of John, p. 167)

    "And when we open the book itself, and find inscribed on its very pages evidence that at the time it was written Jewish enemies were still arrogant and active, and the city in which our Lord was crucified, and the temple and the altar in it were still standing, we need no date from early antiquity, not even from the hand of the author himself, to inform us that he wrote before the great historical event and prophetic epoch, the destruction of Jerusalem." (Life and Writings of John, p. 171-172)

    "There appear to have been but seven church in Asia... when the book was written. It is dedicated to these seven alone by the careful mention of them one by one by name, as if there were no others... The expression 'the seven churches' seems to imply that this constituted the whole number, and hence affords one of the most striking incidental proofs of an early date.. Those who contend for the later date, when there must have been a greater number of churches than the seven in the region designated by the apostle fail to give any sufficient reason for his mentioning no more. That they mystically or symbolically represented others is surely not such a reason." (ibid., p. 154)


    Jim McGuiggan
    ”Suppose Irenaeus said the Revelation was seen toward the end of the reign of Domitian. What is Irenaeus said it – does that make it infallibly correct? (The Book of Revelation, p. 184)


    Robert Mounce (1977)
    "the Cambridge trio (Westcott, Lightfoot, and Hort) were unanimous in assigning the Apocalypse to the reign of Nero or the years immediately following." And "such a threefold cord of scholarly opinion is not quickly broken" but that he (Swete) is "unable to see that the historical situation presupposed by the Apocalypse contradicts the testimony of Irenaeus which assigns the vision to the end of the reign of Domitian." Mounce seem to agree with Swete on this (p. 21).


    The Muratorian Canon (A.D. 170)
    "the blessed Apostle Paul, following the rule of his predecessor John, writes to no more than seven churches by name. "
    "John too, indeed, in the Apocalypse, although he writes to only seven churches, yet addresses all. " (ANF 5:603).


    Ovid Need, Jr. (2001)
    "I will say in opening that Revelation chapter eleven almost requires that the date of the book be pre 70 AD, for there the temple and altar are still standing, as well as the city where our Lord was crucified, v. 8. (International Bible Encyclopedia, s.v. Revelation, book of. 1917.)

    Admittedly, there are good arguments for both an early and a later date of the Revelation. However, I believe Biblical evidence requires an early date, before 70AD. As an introductory statement, let me mention that prophecy is from the time it is written, NOT FROM THE TIME IT IS READ.

    A pre 70 AD date would make the purpose of the Revelation the same as was Isaiah's prophecy -- that is, to see the faithful people of God through the extremely difficult times ahead as their then known world was going to be shaken to its very foundation by the judgment of God against Babylon. (Revelation: Date, Time and Purpose)


    Francis Nigel Lee
    It is difficult to see why the A.D. 130ff Irenaeus would have referred (as he did) to "ancient copies" (rather than simply to "copies") – tithe original autograph had itself been written on~ "towards the end of Domitian’s rule." . . . For then, the first "ancient copies" would and could only have been made after A.D. 96 — whereas Irenaeus implies that those ancient copies were made before that date! Moreover, even if the copies were made only after A.D. 96 – they could hardly have been called "ancient" by the time of Irenaeus (born 130 A.D.). Still less could such first copies then (at a date only after 96 A. D.) appropriately have been described by Irenaeus as "the most approved and ancient copies." Surely the compilation of many copies would thereafter require even further time. And the further determination of such of those approved and ancient copies as Irenaeus refers to as the "most approved and ancient copies" of the original, would need a further long time to take place. (Francis Nigel Lee, " Revelation and Jerusalem" (Brisbane, Australia by the author, 1985).


    J.W. Roberts (1972)
    “According to Robert Feuillet the nearest thing to a consensus that has been reached about the study of Revelation in this century is that the original author and readers understood the book to be speaking about events connected with and/or in the immediate future of the age in which it was written; i.e., it is to be interpreted from the preterist point of view.” (“The Meaning of the Eschatology in the Book of Revelation,” Restoration Quarterly 15: 96)


    J. A. T. Robinson (1976)
    "It is indeed generally agreed that this passage must bespeak a pre-70 situation. . . . There seems therefore no reason why the oracle should not have been uttered by a Christian prophet as the doom of the city drew nigh." (Redating the New Testament pp.. 240-242).

    "It was at this point that I began to ask myself just why any of the books of the New Testament needed to be put after the fall of Jerusalem in 70. As one began to look at them, and in particular the epistle to the Hebrews, Acts and the Apocalypse, was it not strange that this cataclysmic event was never once mentioned or apparently hinted at (as a past fact)? (Redating, p. 10).

    "One of the oddest facts about the New Testament is that what on any showing would appear to be the single most datable and climactic event of the period — the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 — is never once mentioned as a past fact. . . . [T]he silence is nevertheless as significant as the silence for Sherlock Holmes of the dog that did not bark". (Ibid., p. 13.)

    “If the Book of Revelation was written after the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, it seems strange that John would be silent about these cataclysmic events. Granted this is an argument from silence, but the silence is deafening.” (The Last Days According to Jesus, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998; p. 147)


    Philip Schaff (1877)
    "On two points I have changed my opinion -- the second Roman captivity of Paul (which I am disposed to admit in the interest of the Pastoral Epistles), and the date of the Apocalypse (which I now assign, with the majority of modern critics, to the year 68 or 69 instead of 95, as before)." (Vol. I, Preface to the Revised Edition, 1882 The History of the Christian Church, volume 1)

    "The early date [of Revelation] is now accepted by perhaps the majority of scholars." (Encyclopedia 3:2036.)

    "Tertullian’s legend of the Roman oil-martyrdom of John seems to point to Nero rather than to any other emperor, and was so understood by Jerome (Adv. Jovin. 1.26) (History 1:428.)

    "The destruction of Jerusalem would be a worthy theme for the genius of a Christian Homer. It has been called "the most soul-stirring of all ancient history." But there was no Jeremiah to sing the funeral dirge of the city of David and Solomon. The Apocalypse was already written, and had predicted that the heathen "shall tread the holy city under foot forty and two months." (p. 397-398)


    R.C. Sproul (1998)
    "If the book of Revelation was written after the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, it seems strange that John would be silent about these cataclysmic events. Granted this is an argument from silence, but the silence is deafening. Not only does Revelation not mention the temple's destruction as a past event, it frequently refers to the temple as still standing. This is seen clearly in Revelation 11 ...Gentry gives impressive evidence to support this conclusion." (Last Days, pp.147-149)


    A.H. Strong (1907)
    " Elliott's whole scheme [based on his "interpretation of `time and times and half a time' of Dan. 7:25, which according to the year-day theory means 1260 years..." p 1009, ed], however, is vitiated by the fact that he wrongly assumes the book of Revelation to have been written under Domitian (94 or 96), instead of under Nero (67 or 68). His terminus a quo is therefore incorrect, and his interpretation of chapters 5-9 is rendered very precarious. The year 1866, moreover, should have been the time of the end, and so the terminus ad quem seems to be clearly misunderstood--unless indeed the seventy-five supplementary years of Daniel are to be added to 1866. We regard the failure of this most ingenious scheme of Apocalyptic interpretation as a practical demonstration that a clear understanding of the meaning of the Prophecy is, before the event, impossible, and we are confirmed in this view by the utterly untenable nature of the theory of the millennium which is commonly held by so-called Second Adventists, a theory which we now proceed to examine. (Systematic Theology, A.H. Strong, ©1907, published 1912, The Griffith & Rowland Press, Boston, p 1010.)


    Moses Stuart (1845)
    "The testimony in respect to the matter before us is evidently successive and dependent, not coetaneous and independent. . (1:282. 81)

    "If now the number of the witnesses were the only thing which should control our judgment in relation to the question proposed, we must, so far as external evidence is concerned, yield the palm to those who fix upon the time of Domitian. But a careful examination of this matter shows, that the whole concatenation of witnesses in favour of this position hangs upon the testimony of Irenaeus, and their evidence is little more than a mere repetition of what he has said. Eusebius and Jerome most plainly depend on him; and others seem to have had in view his authority, or else that of Eusebius." (Ibid. 2:269..)

    "I say this, with full recognition of the weight and value of Irenaeus’s testimony, as to any matters of fact with which he was acquainted, or as to the common tradition of the churches. But in view of what Origen has said. . . , how can we well suppose, that the opinion of Irenaeus, as recorded in Cont. Haeres, V. 30 was formed in any other way, than by his own interpretation of Rev. 1:9. (1:281)

    "Now it strikes me, that Tertullian plainly means to class Peter, Paul, and John together, as having suffered at nearly the same time and under the same emperor. I concede that this is not a construction absolutely necessary; but I submit it to the candid, whether it is not the most probable." (1 :284n.)

    "It seems indisputably clear that the book of Revelation must be dated in the reign of Nero Caesar, and consequently before his death in June, A.D. 68. He is the sixth king; the short-lived rule of the seventh king (Galba) "has not yet come." (2:324)

    ”A majority of the older critics have been inclined to adopt the opinion of Irenaeus, viz., that it was written during the reign of Domitian, i.e., during the last part of the first century, or in A.D.95 or 96. Most of the recent commentators and critics have called this opinion in question, and placed the composition of the book at an earlier period, viz., before the destruction of Jerusalem.” (A Commentary on the Apocalypse, 2 vols; Andover, MD: Allen, Morrill, and Wardwell, 1845; p. 1:263)

    “The manner of the declaration here seems to decide, beyond all reasonable appeal, against a later period than about A.D.67 or 68, for the composition of the Apocalypse.” (A Commentary on the Apocalypse, 2 vols; Andover, MD: Allen, Morrill, and Wardwell, 1845; p. 2:326)


    Arthur Cushman McGiffert (1890)
    "internal evidence has driven most modern scholars to the conclusion that the Apocalypse must have been written before the destruction of Jerusalem, the banishment therefore taking place under Nero instead of Domitian." (Eusebius, Church History, Book III, ch.5. Eusebius notes, 148, footnote 1.)


    Milton Terry (1898)
    "the trend of modem criticism is unmistakably toward the adoption of the early date of the Apocalypse." (p. 241n.)

    "It is therefore not to be supposed that the language, or style of thought, or type of doctrine must needs resemble those of other production of the same author .. the difference of language is further accounted for by the supposition that the apocalypse was written by the apostle at an early period of his ministry, and the gospel and epistles some thirty or forty years later." (Biblical Apocalyptics, p. 255)

    "A fair weighing of the arguments thus far adduced shows that they all excepting the statement of Irenaeus, favor the early rather than later date. The facts appealed to indicate the times before rather than after the destruction of Jerusalem." (ibid.,258)

    Now, there is no contention that Galatians and Hebrews were written before the destruction of Jerusalem, and, to say the least, the most natural explanation of the allusions referred to is to suppose that the Apocalypse was already written, and that Paul and many others of his day were familiar with its contents. Writers who cite passages from the apostolic fathers to prove the priority of the gospel of John are the last persons in the world who should presume to dispute the obvious priority of the Apocalypse of John to Galatians and Hebrews. For in no case are the alleged quotations of Gospel more notable or striking than these allusions to the Apocalypse in the New Testament epistles." (ibid.,260)

    “The verb was seen is ambiguous and may be either it, referring to the Apocalypse, or he, referring to John himself.” (Biblical Hermeneutics, p. 238)


    Mutorian Canon (2nd C.)
    "“the blessed apostle Paul himself, following the manner of his predecessor John, wrote in like manner to seven churches expressly by name.”


    N.I.V. Study Bible (1923)
    "Revelation was written when Christians were entering a time of persecution. The two periods most often mentioned are the latter part of Nero's reign (A.D.54-68) and the latter part of Dominian's reign (81-96).


    Tertullian
    “Since, moreover, you are close upon Italy, you have Rome, from which there comes even into our own hands the very authority (of apostles themselves). How happy is its church, on which the apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood! where Peter endures a passion like his Lord’s; where Paul wins his crown in a death like John’s! where the Apostle John was first plunged, unhurt, into boiling oil, and thence remitted to his island-exile.”


    C. C. Torrey (1941)
    "There are indeed very obvious reasons why the Apocalypse should now seem to call for drastic alteration, for it cannot be made to fit the present scheme of New Testament dogma. If the Church in its beginnings was mainly Gentile and opposed to Judaism, this Book of Revelation can hardly be understood. It is very plainly a mixture of Jewish and Christian elements, and the hope of effecting a separation of the two naturally suggests itself It is, however, a perfectly futile dream, as the many attempts have abundantly shown. Every chapter in the book is both Jewish and Christian, and only by very arbitrary proceedings can signs of literary composition be formed. The trouble is not with the book, but with the prevailing theory of Christian origins.’ (Documents of the Primitive Church , p. 77.)


    C. Vanderwaal (1989)
    “We cannot accept all the arguments of J.A.T. Robinson in his book Redating the New Testament (London, 1976), but we agree with his conclusion that all the books of the New Testament were written before the year A.D.70.” (Cited in James E. Priest, “Contemporary Apocalyptic Scholarship and the Revelation,” in Johannie Studies: Essays in Honor of Frank Pack, ed. James E. Priest; Malibu, CA: Pepperdine University Press; p. 199, n. 75)

    “The book of Revelation presents a clear testimony to the churches in the first century. To be more specific, I am convinced that Revelation was written in the seventh decade of the first century – before the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70, which Jesus talked about in Matthew 24.” (Hal Lindsey and Bible Prophecy; St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada: Paideia Press, 1978; p. 12)


    B.F. Westcott (1825-1903)
    "The irregularities of style in the Apocalypse appear to be due not so much to ignorance of the language as to a free treatment of it, by one who used it as a foreign dialect. Nor is it difficult to see that in any case intercourse with a Greek-speaking people would in a short time naturally reduce the style of the author of the Apocalypse to that of the author of the Gospel. It is, however, very difficult to suppose that the language of the writer of the Gospel could pass at a later time in a Greek-speaking country into the language of the Apocalypse. . . .

    "Of the two books the Apocalypse is the earlier. It is less developed both in thought and style. The material imagery in which it is composed includes the idea of progress in interpretation. . . .

    "The Apocalypse is after the close of St. Paul’s work. It shows in its mode of dealing with Old Testament figures a close connexion with the Epistle to the Hebrews (2 Peter, Jude). And on the other hand it is before the destruction of Jerusalem." (Brooke Foss Westcott, The Gospel According to St. John (Grand Rapids: Baker, [1908] 1980), pp. clxxiv-clxxv.)


    H.A. Whittaker
    "In A.D. 66, the well supported early date for the writing of Revelation, Jerusalem also was a city which 'had a kingdom over the kings of the Land.' Indeed, not only was Jerusalem a city with special authority over the various tetrarchies adjoining Judaea, but also the temple had an amazing degree of authority over Jewish communities in all parts of the Roman empire." (Revelation, page 214).


    Herbert B. Workman (1906)
    "St. John’s banishment to Patmos was itself a result of the great persecution of Nero. Hard labour for life in the mines and quarries of certain islands, especially Sardinia, formed one of the commonest punishments for Christians. . . . He lived through the horrors of two great persecutions, and died quietly in extreme old age at Ephesus." (Persecution in the Early Church, pp. 18, 19).


    Robert Young (1885)
    "It was written in Patmos about A.D.68, whither John had been banished by Domitious Nero, as state in the title of the Syriac version of the book ; and with this concurs the express statement of Irenaeus in A.D.175, who says it happened in the reign of Domitianou -- ie., Domitious (Nero). Sulpicius, Orosius, etc., stupidly mistaking Domitianou for Domitianikos, supposed Irenaeus to refer to Domition, A.D. 95, and most succeeding writers have fallen into the same blunder. The internal testimony is wholly in favor of the earlier date." (Commentary on Revelation - Young's Analytical Concordance)


    The People's New Testament - On the Date of Revelation (1891)
    Great Defense of Late Date Theory

    HENRY COWLES ON THE DATE OF THE WRITING.

    This question involves some real difficulty, especially on its historic aide. Yet it has very considerable importance in its bearings upon the interpretation of the book, and therefore calls for a careful and candid examination.—On this question of date, critical opinions fall into two classes, one assigning it to the reign of Nero (about A. D. 64-68), and the other to the reign of Domitian (A. D. 95-96). It is well known that violent persecution raged at both these periods, and it is possible that John was banished to Patmos twice—i. e., by both Nero and Domitian, and that this fact occasioned the confused and discordant notices that appear in the early fathers in regard to the time of his banishment and the date of this book.

    In respect to date, I will speak,

    1. Of the internal evidence—that which appears in the book itself; and

    2. Of the external, as found in fragmentary notices by the Christian fathers.

    1. Internal. Under this head I adduce

    (1.) The fact that the culpable practices which appear in the seven churches (chaps. 2, 3) are those of the early and mid-apostolic ages—precisely those against which the churches of Asia were specially warned by the circular "epistle" of the first Christian council (Ac. 15), and which appear in Paul's first letter to the church at Corinth. Thus in Pergamos the practices indicated as "the doctrine of Balaam" were these two: eating things offered to idols and fornication (Rev. 2: 14). The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, appearing in both Pergamos and Ephesus, was very similar (2: 15); Precisely the, same practices appear in Thyatira, inculcated by one called "Jezebel" (2: 20). By a remarkable coincidence, the evils against which the first council at Jerusalem specially warned the churches were prominently these two (Acts 15: 20, 29). In Corinth the eating of things offered to idols was one of the live questions then pressing sharply upon the churches (1 Cor. 8). I need not say that fornication was a second special subject for rebuke and warning in that church.—Thus it appears that the great moral questions and immoral practices which pressed sorely upon the churches at the date of the Jerusalem council (A D. 50 or 52) and at the date of Paul's letters to Corinth (A. D. 57-58) were the very things condemned in the seven churches of Asia.—But it will be asked, Were not these evils rife in the age of Domitian? Possibly they were; but the latest N. T. books, viz., the gospel and the epistles of John, give no hint of it. Other historical records of that age are scanty; but so far as I know are silent on these points. It is intrinsically improbable that the questions in regard to eating meats offered to idols would have continued practically unsettled forty years (from A. D. 50 to A D. 90).—This argument amounts in my view only to a strong probability—not to a demonstration.

    (2.) The churches of Asia were suffering severely from pernicious teachers claiming to be Jews. In Ephesus were some who said they were apostles but were not (2: 2); in Smyrna the troublers said they were Jews, but were more "the synagogue of Satan" (2: 9); in Philadelphia were the same class precisely (3: 9); while the personage called Jezebel (2: 20), claiming to be a prophetess, was probably a Jewess also.—Thus the troublers of the seven churches at the date of this book were remarkably well defined—either actually being Jews, or at least claiming to be.—Now let it be also considered that the first council was called (A D. 50 or 51) to counteract the mischiefs of Judaizing teachers. The letters of Paul to the Galatians (A. D. 56) and to the Colossians (A. D. 62) disclose the presence and mischiefs of the same set of men. These were churches of Asia, adjacent to the seven to whom John wrote. Paul's first letter to Timothy (1: 3, 4, 7), written A. D. 65, alludes to men causing trouble in Ephesus and puts upon them two Jewish marks—"given to endless genealogies;" and "desiring to be teachers of the law." Indeed the early apostolic age was constantly annoyed by this class of men.—Thus we see the most entire coincidence between the case of: the seven churches as it appears in these letters, and the case of other churches of Asia in the years A. D. 50-66.

    Here too (as before) the question must be met: Did not this annoyance from Jewish and Judaizing teachers continue down to the age of Domitian?—I answer, All existing historical evidence is strongly against it. The later books of the New Testament give not the least allusion to such teachers. While the earliest heresies that annoyed the Christian churches came from Judaism; the next in order—the second generation of them—sprang from contact with Pagan philosophies and science, "falsely so called"—to which it is generally conceded some of the latest writers of the New Testament allude.—What history thus testifies, the nature of the case strongly sustains. The fall of Jerusalem and the utter destruction of the temple naturally struck Judaism down. More than one million of Jews perished in that fearful fall; the rest were scattered far abroad. The hope of bringing the Gentile converts into Jewish ritualism was forever blasted; the power and prestige of this Judaizing element fell, never to rise. Hence the inference seems irresistible that the seducers in the seven churches when John wrote must have been of the age of Nero and not of the age of Domitian. Of course the book was written in the former age and not in the latter.—It may not be amiss to suggest that we have here another special element in the retributions upon the Jews of which chapters 4-11 speak, since, they are before us not only as the first and most malign persecutors of the infant Christian church, but also as its first, most persistent, most annoying and dangerous seducers.

    (3.) The seventh chapter of the Apocalypse presents a scene in which four mighty angels are holding in suspense the fearful elements of retributive vengeance until another angel might place the seal of God upon the foreheads of his faithful servants. The central idea and also in the main its costume seem to be taken from Ezek. 8 and 9: "Go through the midst of the city and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and cry for all its abominations:" this done, let the others go through the city and smite, only come not near any man who bears the mark! Here in the scenes of this apocalyptic vision, John first hears the number of the sealed—"one hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel;" and indeed definitely twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes. That these represent the Christian converts gathered from the lineal Jews is made doubly certain by the counterpart of this first sealing, viz., the view of "a great multitude which no man could number of all nations and kindreds and people and tongues;" that is, Gentile converts of every land and tribe, seen before the throne already clothed in white, ascribing their salvation to God and the Lamb. So much the gospel had then achieved already. The scathing judgments that were about to smite the Jewish world and in due time the Gentile, would find so many garnered in safety, housed in their eternal home before the storm should burst.—Now the definite point of my argument is that this sealing of Jewish converts, considered as a prophecy, appears to be precisely coincident with that of Jesus Christ in his prediction of the fall of Jerusalem and of the previous gathering of his elect, as given in Mat 24: 31 and Mark 13: 27. The personal preaching of Jesus and the earliest mission labors of his disciples turned first to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mat. 10: 5, 6, 13). Forty years God waited and wrought patiently to gather in those lost ones. Jesus prophetically represents this gathering as to be done within the life-time of that generation (Mat. 24: 34 and Mark 13: 30), i. e., to be finished before Jerusalem should fall. The sealing and rescuing of the elect Jews in Rev. 7 bears every trace of being the same great fact. Hence its location in time shortly preceded the fall of that city, and if the fulfillment precedes that fall, so and much more must the prophecy itself.

    (4.) In the same general line of thought and of argument we have a remarkable coincidence between our Lord's prediction (Luke 21: 24), "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles;" and of the temple (Mat 24: 2), "There shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down;" and the prediction through the Revelator John (Rev. 11: 2), "The court that is outside the temple leave out, for it is given unto the Gentiles, and the holy city shall they tread underfoot forty-two months." Both these predictions concur: (a) that Jerusalem was a doomed city; (b) that it should be trodden down by unhallowed Gentile feet [the Roman armies]; and (c) that even the presence of the holy temple within it should not shield it from this desolation. My argument as to the date of the Apocalypse turns on the strong presumption that this passage (Rev. 11: 2) synchronizes with Christ's prediction of the fall of Jerusalem, and therefore proves that at the date of its writing, the city had not yet fallen.—Very strong to the same point is the statement in the same context (v. 13): "And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell"—which certainly assumes that the whole city had not previously fallen, but was standing. The date of its actual fall is well known, viz., A. D. 70. This prophecy was written, therefore, shortly before this fall.

    (5.) The account given of the murder of the "two witnesses," naming the very place where their dead bodies lay exposed and insulted (Rev. 11: 8)—"in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our [their] Lord was crucified," puts the finger of prophecy precisely upon Jerusalem, and obviously conceives of it as standing at the time of this vision, and indeed at the time when the murder of the two witnesses took place. This, taken in connection with the points made from chap. 7 and from chap. 11: 2, would certainly seem to fix the date of these events and of course the date of the book which predicts them, before the destruction of Jerusalem.

    (6.) Rev. 17 is professedly an explanation of the more prominent symbols in the seven chapters (13-19), inasmuch as the angel said (v. 7), "I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, who hath the seven heads and ten horns." In this explanation the woman is shown to be "that great city" (Rome) "which reigneth over the kings of the earth" (v. 18), and which "sat on seven hills" [mountains]. Specially to our purpose it is said, "There are seven kings (v. 10) of whom five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come." Here the one that is, placed in a series with certain preceding ones fallen, and another following, "not yet come," must beyond all reasonable question be the king then on the throne of Rome when this book was written. It is safe to affirm that John could not have given the date of his writing more precisely and conclusively than he has done here unless he had given the very name of Nero. But there were obvious reasons why it was not prudent to give his actual name. He meant however to describe him so that his readers need be in no doubt.—Now since the question of date is narrowed down to a choice between the reigns of Nero and of Domitian, it only remains to say that this dynasty of Roman kings [emperors] began unquestionably with Julius Caesar, after whom we count Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, making the five who had fallen, and reach Nero, the sixth, of whom the, angel then said, "One is." Galba followed "to continue but a short space" (v. 10)—according to history, but seven months. The symbol and the angel's count had no occasion to carry the list of kings further. If carried on however and all counted in, Domitian would have been the twelfth. Of course the present tense of the book—the date of the vision—was not under Domitian, but was under Nero. But beyond all question in proof that Nero was the one head of the beast then in power when John wrote is the fact that he is absolutely identified by "the number of his name" (13: 18). See my notes on the passage.

    (7.) There are at least two books in the New Testament (the Epistle to the Hebrews and 2 Peter) which are thought to contain allusions to the Apocalypse. If this shall appear, it will follow that the Apocalypse was in existence when these books were written. Let us then examine a single passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews (12: 22, 23).—On the point of motives to a holy life, the writer is contrasting the case of the Hebrews. before Mt. Sinai with the case of the Hebrew Christians of his own day before the corresponding Mt. Zion. He says (v. 18), "Ye are not come unto that merely material, tangible mount [Sinai]...... but ye are come unto [a spiritual] Mt Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem"—[in Rev. 21: 2, "The holy city, New, Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven"]:—"And to an innumerable company of angels," [the reader may see them in Rev. 5: 11, 12, and 7: 11, 12]; "to the general assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven" [see the writing of their names in the book of life, Rev. 21: 27, and 13: 8, and 20: 12] "and to God the Judge of all" [Rev. 20: 11, 12] "and to the spirits of just men made perfect" [who stand before us remarkably throughout: this book of Revelation, e. g., 5: 8-10, and 6: 9-11, and 7: 13-17, and 15: 2-4, and 21 and 22]. It seems to me highly probable, not to say, almost certain, that the writer to the Hebrews had in his eye these salient points of the book of Revelation. These points are in his book for precisely the purpose which the writer to the Hebrews had before him, viz.: as constituting that magnificent and most impressive array of motives which under the gospel were brought to bear upon the Christian life, as compared with the corresponding motives arrayed before the ancient Hebrew people even in those most impressive scenes at Mt. Sinai.—In his 2d Epistle (3: 10, 13) Peter makes two points which the reader will notice: (1) that "the heavens shall pass away" and "the earth be burnt up;" (2) that "we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness." John has it (Rev. 20: 11) "The earth and the heavens fled away;" and (21: 1) "I saw a new heaven and a new earth, and the first heaven and the first earth were passed, away." The righteous only dwelt there (21: 27; and 22 14). Here then we have both the fact of the passing away of this present earth and heavens, and the promise of the new. With a high degree of probability Peter; had the Revelation of John before him and adopted its descriptive terms. But Peter fell a martyr under Nero's persecution, and therefore wrote this epistle before Nero's death. The date of the Epistle to the Hebrews is not known precisely, but no critics within my knowledge have placed it so late as the reign of Domitian.

    2. It remains to speak of the external evidence—that of the early Christian fathers. This is far from being uniform, clear and direct. Unfortunately the earliest fathers (Barnabas, Clement of Rome, Papias, Polycarp and Justin Martyr)—the very men whose testimony would have been most valuable—fail us altogether. They either omitted all allusion to this point as being well enough understood without their testimony, or what they wrote has perished. The earliest of the fathers whose testimony has been relied on is Irenaeus, who wrote his book "Against Heresies," A. D. 175-180. His youth was spent in Asia Minor, but all his manhood and Christian work lay in Ancient Gaul [France]. From the dim light that reaches us it would seem that his statements as they were understood shaped the opinions of Eusebius and Jerome on this question, and that they naturally controlled the views of subsequent authors. Hence it becomes important to examine carefully what Irenaeus said—the more so because it is at least supposable (I think even probable) that his testimony as to the date of the Apocalypse has been misunderstood.—The only passage appealed to as giving his testimony occurs in some remarks upon "the number of the, beast" (Rev. 13: 18), which stand in our received text 666. The original Greek is this.*

    * "HmeiV oun ouk apokinouneuomen peri ton onomaioV tou Anticrios apofainomenoi bebaiwtiwV, ei gar edei anafanon tw nun kaiow khouitesqai to onama, di ekeinou an erreqh tou kai thn Apokalujn ewpakotoV. Oude gar pro pollou cronou ewpaqh, alla scedon epi ths hmeteraV geneas, proV tw telei ths Dometianou apchV."

    It may be translated thus:—"Therefore we do not imperil [the churches] by announcing the name of the Antichrist plainly, for if it were safe and wise at the present time to proclaim his name, it would have been done by him who saw the visions of the Apocalypse, for it is not a very long time since he was still to be seen, but almost in our own age, near the close of the reign of Domitian." This passage has been generally understood to say that the vision of the Apocalypse was seen in the age of Domitian, and it seems to have been the standard authority for that opinion with the Christian authors of the third and fourth centuries and onward. His testimony turns on the single point whether in the last clause it is he (John) who was still seen among the churches in the age of Domitian, or it (the vision) which was then first seen. The logic of the passage, the course of thought, should be mainly relied on to decide this question.—I understand the logic of Irenaeus thus:—Obviously it was not prudent to give Nero's name during his life. But John lived down to the time of Domitian when Nero was thirty years dead. So far forth therefore the circumstances had materially changed. Now, says Irenaeus, if the necessity for divulging the real name of Nero is so great and the danger from doing it so small that we ought to have the name brought out now, then the same was true in the time of Domitian, and John would have disclosed the name himself. He did not do it, for though Nero was dead, yet Rome still lived, a persecuting power. The danger from Nero's personal vengeance was long since passed away, but other Neros might arise on the same Roman throne; therefore John remained silent: so let us. Hence the logic of the passage requires that the thing seen in the last clause of this passage should be John yet living in his extreme old age, and not the vision itself. The supposition that it was the vision nullifies the argument of the passage.—Or thus: The argument assumes that it would have been dangerous and therefore unwise to give Nero's name openly during his life; also, that John lived a long time after Nero's death, so that if it were proper to give Nero's name when Irenaeus wrote, it was equally so in the last years of John, and he would have given the name to the churches then himself.—Origen seems to take the same view of the case, and perhaps the same view of this passage from Irenaeus when he says, "The king of the Romans as tradition teaches condemned John to the Isle of Patmos for his testimony to the word of truth; and John taught many things about his testimony, yet did not say who condemned him in all that he has written in his Apocalypse."*

    * See Stuart's Apocalypse, vol. l, p. 271.

    —Several fathers of the third century and the fourth speak of John's writing this book in connection with his banishment to Patmos, which they locate in Domitian's reign. Yet some of them are not explicit as between Nero and Domitian. Clement of Alexandria says John was banished by "the tyrant"—a name appropriate enough to either, yet in usage applied less to Domitian and more to Nero.

    A very ancient Latin fragment [quoted in Stuart's Apocalypse, 1: 266] comes down to us, probably of the second century, saying, "Paul, following the order of his own predecessor John, wrote in the same way to only seven churches by name." This assumes that John wrote the Apocalypse before Paul wrote the last of his seven letters to as many churches by name. The latest date of Paul's seven was about A. D. 64. He died under Nero's persecution.—Eusebius [bishop of Cesarea, A. D. 314-340] in his history (book 3; chap. 18, and bk. 5: 8) speaks of John as being banished to Patmos and of seeing his visions there in the reign of DOMITIAN, but quotes Irenaeus (the very passage above cited) as his specific authority. Did he not misunderstand Irenaeus?—He also refers to a current tradition to the same effect, which however may have grown out of mistaking the sense of Irenaeus.—Jerome [born A. D. 331; died A. D. 420] held the same opinion, apparently on the authority of Irenaeus as above and of Eusebius.—Victorinus of Petavio [died A. D. 303] in a Latin commentary on the Apocalypse, says that "John saw this vision while in Patmos, condemned to the mines by Domitian Caesar."—Many others of a later age might be cited to the same purport, witnessing however only to a current tradition which so far as appears may have come from the language of Irenaeus, under a misunderstanding of his meaning.

    On the other hand the Syriac translation of the Apocalypse has this superscription: "The Revelation which was made by God to John the Evangelist in the Island of Patmos to which he was banished by Nero the Emperor.'' Most of the Syriac New Testament (known as the "Peshito"), i. e., all the unquestioned books, are supposed to have been translated late in the first century or very early in the second; but the Syriac version of the Apocalypse is not so old. Yet Ephraim the Syrian of Nisibis [died A. D. 378] wrote commentaries on nearly the whole Bible; often appeals to the Apocalypse; but wrote only in Syriac and probably was unacquainted with Greek and therefore must have had this book in the Syrian tongue. This superscription seems to testify, to a current tradition in Syria at least as far back as his day, assuming the date of the book to the age of Nero.—Of later witnesses, Andreas of Cappadocia [flourished about A. D. 500], in a commentary on this book, favors the Neronian date. Arethas also, his successor [about A. D. 540], yet more decisively. He assumes the book to have been written before the destruction of Jerusalem, for he explains chapters 6 and 7 as predictions of that event.—Plainly then the traditions of the early ages and the testimony of the fathers were not all in favor of the Domitian date.—Some incidental circumstances strongly favor the earlier date; e. g., the account given in much detail by Eusebius [Ec. His. 3: 23], who quotes Clement to the effect that John after his return from this banishment in Patmos, mounted his horse and pushed away into the fastnesses of the mountains to reach a robber chief who had apostatized from the Christian faith. But Jerome represents John in the last years of his life (i. e., at the time of Domitian's persecution) as being so weak and infirm that he was carried by other hands with difficulty to his church-meetings to say in tremulous tones: "My little children, love one another."—These traditions of the aged apostle, compared with each other and with the probabilities of the case, seem to forbid us to assign the date of the Apocalypse to the reign of Domitian.

    The conclusion to which I am brought after much investigation is that the historic testimony for the Domitian date is largely founded on a misconception of the passage from Irenaeus, and as a whole is by no means so harmonious, so ancient, and so decisive, as to overrule and set aside the strong internal evidence for the earlier date. I am compelled to accept the age of Nero as the true date of this writing.
     
  7. Tim

    Tim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2001
    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    0
    Impressive work, Ken H.!

    I especially noted Lahaye's quote, saying in essence that the church has always believed a later date, any other view is ridiculous. Guess he didn't check the facts first.

    So yes, dispensationalists, this is a legitimate debate. Thanks for doing the heavy work for us poor persecuted preterist-types.

    Tim
     
  8. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2002
    Messages:
    3,348
    Likes Received:
    14
    The late date view comes exclusively from external evidence based on a statement made by Irenaeus (A.D. 120-202). Irenaeus is the only source for this late dating of Revelation; all other sources are based on him. There are other early writers whose statements indicate that John wrote Revelation much earlier. Our safest course, therefore, is to study the Revelation itself to see what internal evidence it presents regarding the date of its writing.

    The text of Revelation provides a self-witness for the date it was written.
    Revelation 11:1-2 (NKJV) Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, "Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. 2 "But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.

    These verses refers to a temple standing in a city called the `holy city'. Based upon Old Testament Scripture, we can surmise that a Christian Jew such as John would have had the historical Jerusalem in mind when he spoke of the holy city.
    This reference to the temple must be the historical structure for three reasons. First of all, it was located in Jerusalem.
    Secondly, according to Revelation 11:2 it was to be under attack for 42 months. Nero commissioned Flavian Vespasian, a Roman general, to engage Israel in war in February AD 67. He actually entered the Promised Land and engaged in battle that spring so that the Jewish war with Rome lasted from spring AD 67 until the temple fell in August AD 70, forty-two months later. Luke 21:20 contains Jesus' prophecy regarding the destruction of the temple: "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near." The time from Revelation 11 fits with what history tells us of the Jewish war. Finally, the structure of Revelation 11:1&2 parallels Jesus' statement in His Olivet discourse found in Luke 21:20-24. In Luke 21:5-7 the disciples point to the temple and ask about its future. Jesus tells them it will soon be destroyed, stone by stone. In Luke 21:24 He speaks in terms which are echoed in Revelation 11:2. These two passages speak of the same event, the destruction of Jerusalem.

    When was Revelation written? Is the late date view or the early date view correct? We know from historical and archaeological evidence that the temple was destroyed in August of 70 AD. If this temple was still standing when John wrote, he must have written before 70 AD.

    Revelation 17 is the second major piece of internal evidence for the early date view of Revelation. In Revelation 17 a vision of the seven-headed beast is recorded. This vision offers clear evidence that Revelation was recorded before the death of Nero Caesar. We know that Nero committed suicide on June 9, 68AD.
    Revelation 17:1-6 (NKJV) Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 "with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication." 3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
    Revelation 17:9 (NKJV) "Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.
    Verses 1, 3, and 6 of Revelation describe a vision and verse nine gives us clues to the meaning of the vision. Almost all scholars recognize that the seven mountains of Revelation 17:9 represent the seven hills of Rome. John points out that the wise one will understand; the recipients of this letter lived under the rule of Rome which was universally distinguished by its seven hills. How could the recipients of this letter who lived in the seven historical churches of Asia minor under Roman imperial rule understand anything else by this geological reference?
    Revelation 17:10 (NKJV) "There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time.
    Revelation 17:10 says that the seven heads also represent a political situation: "There are also seven kings." Revelation 17:10 shows how the seven heads also correspond to the line of the Caesars. "Five have fallen", (past tense): The first five Caesars were Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius. "One is", (present tense): Nero, the sixth Caesar, was on the throne as John was writing the Revelation. Nero reigned from October 54 AD until June 68 AD, when he committed suicide because his empire was in civil war. "And the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time," (Future tense): Galba, the seventh Caesar, reigned for less than 7 months (June, 68 AD to January, 69 AD).
    In Revelation 17:7 the angel says, "Don't wonder--I'll show you what it means"; in verses nine and ten the vision is explained. The seven heads refer to a historical place, Rome, and the political scene, Nero's reign. Revelation must have been written before Nero committed suicide in 68 AD. The internal evidence points clearly to the early date view.
     
  9. KenH

    KenH
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2002
    Messages:
    32,485
    Likes Received:
    0
    Very interesting post, Grasshopper. I bought Before Jerusalem Fell last year. I guess it's time to pull it off the book shelf and get started, as the first place to start in lining up one's eschatological viewpoint is when was the main book that people use in debate written. [​IMG]
     
  10. Tim

    Tim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2001
    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    0
    Grasshopper,

    I think dispensationalists must interpret Rev. 11 references to the temple figuratively.

    Tim
     
  11. KenH

    KenH
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2002
    Messages:
    32,485
    Likes Received:
    0
    What? :confused: I thought the dispensationalists say the book is literal. You know:
    locusts = helicopter gunships, etc. [​IMG]
     
  12. Tim

    Tim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2001
    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    0
    KenH,
    I politely left that part off. Dr. Bob requested only limited mocking here, remember? So bite your tongue!

    Tim
     
  13. KenH

    KenH
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2002
    Messages:
    32,485
    Likes Received:
    0
    I only listed one item. :D
     
  14. Dan Todd

    Dan Todd
    Expand Collapse
    Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2003
    Messages:
    14,452
    Likes Received:
    0
    From the MacArthur Study Bible:

    "Revelation was written in the last decade of the first century (ca. A.D. 94-96), near the end of Emperor Domitian's reign (A.D. 81-96). Although some date it during Nero's reign (A.D. 54-68), their arguments are unconvincing and conflict with the view of the early church. Writing in the second century, Irenaeus declared that Revelation had been written toward the end of Domitian's reign. Later writers, such as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Victorinus (who wrote one of the earliest commentaries on Revelation), Eusebius, and Jerome affirm the Domitian date.

    "The spiritual decline of the 7 churches (chaps. 2,3) also argues for the later date. Those churches were strong and spiritually healthy in the mid-60s, when Paul last ministered in Asia Minor. The brief time between Paul's ministry there and the end of Nero's reign was too short for such a decline to have occurred. The longer time gap also explains the rise of the heretical sect known as the Nicolaitans (2:6, 15), who are not mentioned in Paul's letters, not even to one or more of these same churches (Ephesians). Finally, dating Revelation during Nero's reign does not allow time for John's ministry in Asia Minor to reach the point at which the authorities would have felt the need to exile him."

    MacArthur on Rev. 11:1 - " the temple of God. Refers to the holy of Holies and the Holy Place, not the entire temple complex (cf.v.2). A rebuilt temple will exist during the time of the Tribulation (Dan 9::27; 12:11; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4)"
     
  15. C.S. Murphy

    C.S. Murphy
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Messages:
    2,302
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not taking sides!!! I suppose if you did that you would have posted a longer message :confused:
    Murph
     
  16. C.S. Murphy

    C.S. Murphy
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Messages:
    2,302
    Likes Received:
    0
    It saddens me that some who refuse to accept the literal teaching of scripture spend so much time searching extra biblical resources in order to support their views.
    Murph
     
  17. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Messages:
    44,448
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree Murph. What happened to, "The Bible is my final authority."?

    BTW: Is there a limit on the size of a post? :eek:

    Blessings,
    Sue
     
  18. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2002
    Messages:
    3,348
    Likes Received:
    14
    It saddens me that some who refuse to accept the literal teaching of scripture spend so much time searching extra biblical resources in order to support their views.

    I agree, when Jesus said He was returning quickly why can't people just accept it? When He says the time is near, why can't they just take it literally? Why can't "soon" mean soon?
     
  19. C.S. Murphy

    C.S. Murphy
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Messages:
    2,302
    Likes Received:
    0
    It does the Bible doesn't lie, what's your point?
    :confused:
    Murph
     
  20. Tim

    Tim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2001
    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think the point there is that "soon" is not 2000 years after the statement was made. We preterists types take some things literaly which dispensationalists do not, you take some things literally which we do not. The main difference being that we admit it and you do not.

    In Christ,

    Tim
     

Share This Page

Loading...