Jerusalem, Rome, Revelation – John’s Apocalypse Written Before 70 A.D.

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divine prophecies that God’s Spirit-filled Christian people will finally succeed in conquering the World for Jesus.   Revelation 11:11-15; 12:11; 17:14f.

Yet the predictions of the Apocalypse are certain to keep on being fulfilled – right on down to the very end of World History!   God’s righteous wrath will keep on going forth – judging, and in order to judge.  Rev. 16:1,7.   And Christ’s merciful Gospel will also keep on going forth – conquering, and in order to conquer!   Revelation 6:2.

Humanity today faces either progressive evangelization – or progressive destruction. Revelation 14:6-10.   Ultimately, the kingdom of this World shall become that of our God and of His Christ.   Revelation 11:15.  

For all nations shall come and worship the Lord.   Revelation 15:4.   And then – the very kings or chief political leaders of all the World, shall bring all the glory and the honour of their nations to Jesus Christ their Lord.   Revelation 21:24-26.

    (Rev. Prof. Dr.) Francis Nigel Lee (LL.B., M.A., M.Soc., Ph.D., Th.D.)            Department of Systematic Theology                  Queensland Presbyterian Theological Seminary                        Emmanuel College at the University of Queensland                                AUSTRALIA 1985 (updated in 2003, after retirement)

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1.   The human Author of the last book of the Bible – written under the infallible guidance of God the Holy Spirit1 – was “John.”   This apparently means ‘John the Apostle’ – an eye-witness of Christ’s Own resurrection.   Revelation 1:2,5,18f.      

2.   Internally, John’s authorship is attested by the book of Revelation itself.2 And externally, John’s authorship (and indeed even the Apostle John’s authorship) seems to be upheld by many of the early Church Fathers. Such would include: Justin Martyr, Melito of Sardis, Theophilus, Irenaeus, the Old Latin translation, the Muratorian Canon (= Caius?), Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Hippolytus, Origen, Methodius, Pamphylius, Athanasius, Gregory Nyssa, Jerome, Augustine, Theodoret, Basil, Gennadius, and many others.3

3.   The book of Revelation itself makes it clear that God in Christ (through His Spirit) is Himself the Primary Author4 of that document.   However, under that Triune God, the Apostle John is the sole ‘secondary author’ – and therefore the (one and only) human author of the book of Revelation.   Indeed, most scholars have never even questioned the Apostle John’s authorship of the last book of the Bible.

4.   The approximate date of John’s oral reception of this ‘revelation’  from Jesus Christ  and apparently also of John’s inscripturation of the book5 – was probably around 69 A.D.  After that time, John reputedly lived on until about 100 A.D.

5.   The book of Revelation itself seems to suggest an inscripturation date after Nero’s A.D. 64 burning of Rome6 (yet probably before the subsequent burning of Jerusalem by the Romans in the middle of 70 A.D.).7   So too do the early ‘Introductions’  to the Syriac and Old Latin translations of that book.

6.   The A.D. 140 Papias and the A.D. 150 Justin Martyr, while seeming to assert the Johannine authorship of the book of Revelation, unfortunately say nothing at all about the date of its composition.   However, an inscripturation date of approximately 69 A.D. for the Apocalypse is certainly suggested by the 165 A.D. Melito of Sardis, as well as by the 170 A.D. Muratorian Canon (of Caius?).   See sections 18 to 32 below.

7.   Now the 185 A.D. Irenaeus (see sections 64 to 167 below) does not give any inscripturation date for the Johannine Apocalypse.   The 200 A.D. Tertullian, however (see section 282 below), clearly seems to favour an early date of A.D. 64-69 for John’s Revelation.

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