John’s Revelation Unveiled – Part 1

                                                           3 In support of the view that the Book of Revelation was written before 70 A.D., compare Rev. 11:1f with Lk. 17:20-29f,37 & 21:6-24. Cf. too n. 2. 4 Cf. perhaps Rev. 2:10,13 & 3:10. The Book of Revelation was probably inscripturated about 65, and very likely indeed before 70 A.D. In the absence of the no-longer-extant original fragments of Papias, the earliest real claim of a late date for the Book of Revelation was made by the not-always-careful Early Church Historian Eusebius (325 A.D.). In this regard, he uncritically represents a statement in Irenaeus and ignores the other sources mentioned in n. 2 above. In an extant reference (Against Heresies V:30:3), the 185 A.D. Irenaeus expressed himself somewhat obscurely so as to have become the first extant Early Church Father now often alleged to have proposed a late date (of 95 A.D.) for the Book of Revelation. Yet Irenaeus does not mention any such date, but only claims that "the apocalyptic vision…was seen…toward the end of Domitian's reign"  viz. "by him who beheld" it (namely John). Very significantly, Irenaeus does not claim he received this 'information'  as he often says in respect of other matters  from the 'ancients'! A fortiori, especially in the light of Irenaeus's known errors in several other areas  such as his statements that the pillar of salt which had been Lot's wife, (still) menstruates; that Adam was a child at the time of his creation; and that Jesus appeared to be more than fifty years of age (ib. III:22:4 & IV:31:3 & IV:33:9 & IV:38:3 & IV:38:8)  his possibly attributing a late date to the Book of Revelation (in the teeth of clearly-earlier dates given by other Early Church Fathers as described in n. 2)  needs to be evaluated very critically. The widely-held but poorly-grounded view that Irenaeus gave specifically a late date (only in the mid-nineties) for the inscripturation of the Book of Revelation, needs to be re-examined. Indeed, precisely the A.D. 325 Eusebius (Church History III:17-20)  himself noted to be an uncritical collator rather than a careful researcher  is really the one who assumed that Irenaeus 'must' have been attributing a late date to the inscripturation of the Book of Revelation. A similar late date for the inscripturation of the Book of Revelation was attributed by later scholars who uncritically followed Eusebius's (mis)reading of Irenaeus. Such later scholars include: A Lapide, Vitringa, Hengstenberg, Swete, Zahn, Feine-Behm, and R.H. Charles, etc. Interestingly, these later scholars all acknowledge their dependence exclusively on Eusebius's (mis)representation of the above passage in Irenaeus and/or on similar post-Eusebian representations traceable back to Eusebius's own (mis)representation of Irenaeus. Hengstenberg, however, does at least concede the possibility of an early date in his book The Revelation (Mack, Cherry Hill N.J., 1972 rep., I, p. 416 & n.). For to John in Rev. 11:13, "the temple at Jerusalem can be nothing else than a den of robbers…. At what period did the temple more deserve this name than shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem, to which the composition of the Apocalypse is transferred by those who understand by the temple in chapter eleven the temple at Jerusalem?" Hengstenberg then observes further: "The crisis [of Calvary] by that time [just before 70 A.D.] was quite past. The nobler elements had long ago been absorbed by the Christian Church. The Synagogue of Satan retained only the scum."

Revelation 1 December 1 


Either way, however, it is quite clear that the whole book was written by the Apostle John during the latter half of the first century A.D. It was written about things which even then would "shortly" start coming to pass  things that were then "at hand."

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