45. Of course, many (if not most) of those who take this ‘late date’ view – are inadequately informed. For many of them are unaware of all of the above-mentioned internal and external evidences favouring an ‘early date’ (before 70 A.D.) for the writing of the book of Revelation.
46. Often lacking this awareness, such persons themselves favour an inscripturation date of about 96 A.D. Chiefly, they do so for the following three reasons (see sections 47 to 115 below) – all of which they regard as rather compelling.
47. First. Those objecting to an ‘early date’ for the inscripturation of the book of Revelation – do not feel that the septennium around Nero’s persecution of Christians can appropriately be called the “Great Tribulation.” They believe Nero’s bloodbath was confined to the city of Rome itself, and never became widespread enough (throughout the whole of the Roman Empire) to be called the “Great Tribulation.” Yet, precisely that is indisputably what the book of Revelation itself actually calls the persecution therein described!28
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48. Indeed, the entire septennial bloodshed launched by the tyrannical Pagan Roman Emperors Nero-Galba-Otho-Vitellius-Vespasian-Domitian-Titus in A.D. 63 to 70, was not confined to Rome itself. Instead, it spread throughout the whole of the Roman Empire – from Britain in the Far West, and even as far as Jerusalem itself and beyond in the East.
49. Now this “Great Tribulation” – says the book of Revelation – had already spread to Smyrna and Pergamos (even before the Apocalypse itself was being written). It would soon spread further afield, to Philadelphia. And it would then rage even throughout the entire Roman Empire. For it would – as Christ Himself had said in his own Epistle to the Church in Philadelphia – quickly descend “upon all the World.” Revelation 3:10.
50. Indeed, Jesus had also in Matthew chapters 23 and 24 rather earlier and very accurately predicted that the predicted persecution would – even during that very same “generation” – in fact become the greatest tribulation the World had ever seen (or ever would see). For together with natural disasters like earthquakes and pestilences, there were soon to be even unnatural disasters such as wars and conflagrations (during that septennium). Rivers of innocent blood flowed for seven years, throughout the Roman Empire. The Jews were almost annihilated in the Near East. Christian Apostles were persecuted and martyred. And even ordinary Christians were thrown to the lions in various places.29 See sections 173 and 180 to 272 below.
51. The historian Orosius (who flourished around 415 A.D.) relates the tragic story.30 After Nero had started to torture Christians to death in Rome itself, he next “ordered this throughout all provinces, with the same excruciating persecution.”
52. The earlier historian Sulpicius Severus (around 400 A.D.) also gives an account.31 He says that after Nero had destroyed Rome itself with fire, he promoted the cruel murdering of “many” Christians (throughout Italy) – and prohibited the remnant from practising their religion throughout the Empire.
53. Similarly, the great German theologian – Professor Dr. G.H.A. Ewald.32 He too, mindful of clues in the book of Revelation itself,33 affirms the extension of the Neronian persecution to Christians living well beyond the city of Rome and its environs.
54. Also the celebrated French authority on Ancient Church History, Ernest Renan, claims34 that “the atrocity commanded by Nero had to have these effects in the provinces, and stirred up a fresh growth of persecution.” So too does the great Swiss-American Church Historian Rev. Professor Dr. Philip Schaff. See sections 173 and 183f below.