John’s Revelation Unveiled – Part 1

Probably very soon after writing his three Epistles, the Apostle John inscripturated also the last book of the Bible.1 While himself in exile on the island of Patmos, he wrote the Book of Revelation to encourage persecuted Christians. For tribulation was even then being experienced in the Christian Congregations of Western Asia Minor, on what is now the Western Coast of modern Turkey. It was soon to spread throughout the Roman Empire.2

                                                           1 Rev. 1:5f. The Johannine authorship is attested to in Rev. 1:1,4,9 & 22:8. This is asserted also by Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and the Muratorian Canon. Mt. 27:56f & Mk. 15:40 & Jh. 19:25f, taken together, perhaps suggest that this author may even have been the half-cousin of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. 2 The Book of Revelation was possibly and perhaps even probably inscripturated about 65 and before 70 A.D. Rev. 1:4,9,11; 2:10; 3:10; 13:3f; 14:8,10f; 17:1,9-11,16-18; 18:2,8f; 20:4,9 & 21:10f. See too Rev. 1:9 etc. above, with Dan. 12:1 and Mt. 24:1-8,16,21,28 & Acts 18:2. It should be remembered that the early Church Historian Orosius records that Nero's A.D. 64f persecutions of Christians spread far beyond Rome. For other authorities in the Early Church even before Irenaeus (and most of the writers in the Early Church after him) assume an early (Neronic) date for the inscripturation of the Book of Revelation (cf. n. 4 below). A date of about 64-66 A.D. for the writing down of the Book of Revelation is suggested by various Introductions to Ancient Syrian translations, by Melito of Sardis (175 A.D.), by the Muratorian Canon (180), and by Tertullian (220). In the Early Church, it was only Irenaeus who perhaps assumed a late date of 95 A.D. for the writing down of the Book of Revelation. He stated it had been written during Domitian's persecutions of Christians  conceivably those during the nineties. Yet even Irenaeus  as distinct from Eusebius's later (mis?)interpretation of Irenaeus  may well have been referring to an earlier Domitianic persecution of Christians during the late sixties. See at our n. 4 below. Compare too F.N. Lee's manuscript Revelation & Jerusalem: Apocalypse Written Before 70 A.D. (Jesus Saves, Brisbane, Australia, unpub., 1983)  as approvingly cited by K.L. Gentry Jr.'s doctoral dissertation Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (Institute for Christian Economics, Tyler, Tx., 1989, pp. 35 & 58f & 103n.). Advocates of the Early-Church-in-general's earlier (Neronic) date for the Book of Revelation, include: Epiphanius, Andreas of Caesarea, Arethas of Caesarea, Theophylact, Annius, Caponsacchius, Hentenius, Salmeron, Alcazar, Grotius, Hammond, Wettstein, Harenberg, Herder, Hartwig, Guerike, Moses Stuart, Adam Clarke, Zuellig, Luecke, Bleek, Duesterdieck, Lightfoot, Westcott, Hort, Van Andel, A.S. Barnes, J.M. Ford, C. Vanderwaal, Leon Morris, J.A.T. Robinson, F.N. Lee, K.L. Gentry Jr., and D. Chilton. Significantly, the A.D. 400 Church Father Epiphanius gave a very early date to the Book of Revelation  based on Mt. 24:7 & Acts 11:28 & 18:2 cf. Rev. 6:2-8.