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Homer Dewayne Shappley
Chapter 1, Part 5 of...
"Revelation: Its Ongoing Relevancy
for the study of Revelation
When was Revelation Written?
The format of Parts 1 to 4 is continued here.
C. When was Revelation written? My answer, after much study: In the year 95 CE or perhaps 96 CE (Common Era. Christian Age for Christians).
1. The principal reason for concluding that Revelation was written in the year 95 or 96 CE is the witness of Irenaeus, an erudite Christian author, and apologist who lived in the 2nd century. In his work “Against Heretics” Irenaeus wrote:
“The Revelation was seen not very long ago but almost in the time of our generation toward the end of Domitian’s reign.”
a) Domitian (/dəˈmɪʃən, -iən/; Latin: Domitianus; 24 October 51 – 18 September 96) was Roman emperor from 81 to 96. He was the son of Vespasian and the younger brother of Titus, his two predecessors on the throne, and
the last member of the Flavian dynasty.
“Domitian firmly believed in the traditional Roman religion, and personally saw to it that ancient
customs and morals were observed throughout his reign. The goddess he worshipped the most zealously, however, was Minerva. Not only did he keep a personal shrine dedicated to her in his bedroom, but she also regularly appeared on his coinage.
Domitian also revived the practice of the imperial cult…. Significantly, his first act as an Emperor was the deification of his brother Titus. Upon their deaths, his infant son, and niece, Julia Flavia, were likewise enrolled among the gods.
A bust of the Roman Emperor Domitian.
In 85, he nominated himself perpetual censor, the office that held the task of supervising Roman morals and conduct. He renewed the Lex Iulia de Adulteriis Coercendis, under which adultery was punishable by exile. From the list of jurors, he struck an equestrian who had divorced his wife and taken her back, while an ex-quaestor was expelled from the Senate for acting and dancing.
4th century writings by Eusebius maintain that Jews and Christians were heavily persecuted toward the end of Domitian's reign. The Book of Revelation and First Epistle of Clement are thought by some to have been written during this period, the latter making mention of ‘sudden and repeated misfortunes,’ which are assumed to refer to
persecutions under Domitian. Although Jews were heavily taxed, no contemporary authors give specific details of trials or executions based on religious offenses other than those within the Roman religion.” Excerpts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domitian
b) Irenaeus, born in about 140 CE, was a contemporary of Polycarp and affirmed he heard him preach.
“St. Irenaeus, (born c. 120/140, Asia Minor—died c. 200/203, probably Lyon; bishop of Lugdunum (Lyon), Apologist, and leading Christian theologian of the 2nd century. His work Adversus haereses (Against Heresies), written about 180, was a refutation of Gnosticism. In the course of his writings, Irenaeus advanced the development of an authoritative canon of Scriptures, the creed, and the authority of the episcopal office.” https://www.britannica.com/biography/Irenaeus
c) Polycarp, who died in 155 CE, was a contemporary of the apostle John for more than 24 years.
d) An important conclusion. Irenaeus had ample personal opportunities to obtain directly from Polycarp valid information about the apostle John, his Works in the Kingdom of God, and his writings.
e) Objection to the conclusion. It is alleged by some that the phrasing of Irenaeus in the original language is ambiguous, giving rise to a different interpretation, to wit: that the scroll itself of Revelation, supposedly in existence from before 67 CE, was seen in 95 or 96 CE, or that John himself was seen as a person alive on the earth.
f) Evaluation of the objection. The context of Irenaeus’ affirmation clearly indicates that he has reference to the visions of Revelation, and not to the scroll on which the visions were written.
Irenaeus writes: “The Revelation was seen.” “Was seen” harmonizes perfectly with the medium used by God to transmit the prophecies and visions of Revelation, that medium being scenarios that the apostle John SAW take place live, as videos with audio, before the very “eyes” of his mind, heart, and spirit.
Let us consider. In the New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised, of Revelation, the verb "see" appears 23 times. The past tense "saw" is used 46 times. "Have seen" and "was seen" occur one time each in the prophetical contexts of the book. In Revelation 1:19, Jesus Christ instructs John: “Now write what you have seen, what is, and what is to take place after this.” Using the same terminology, Irenaeus writes: “The Revelation was seen not very long ago…” Surely, these facts prove conclusively that Irenaeus had reference to the visions and prophecies of Revelation, and not merely to a scroll on which they were written, or to the apostle John himself.
g) I personally consider the expression “The Revelation was seen not very long ago but almost in the time of our generation” inexpugnable evidence that Revelation dates from 95 CE, and not from the decade of the 60s of the first century.
Let us reason objectively. Irenaeus was born between 120 and 140 CE. His principal literary works date from more or less 180 CE. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Irenaeus
When he says: “our generation,” he addresses the generation alive in the time when he composed his document, that is, to the people alive from approximately 120 to 200 CE.
Let us take due note: For the people alive in that timeframe of Irenaeus, the 6th decade of the first century was definitely not “almost in” their “time,” given that it transpired between 70 and 100 years, or more, before them.
In contrast, the year 95 CE would be closer to them by more or less 30 years than the 60s of the first century. “…almost in the time” of Irenaeus, the sense of the relative adverb “almost” being determined by the particular context in which it is found.
h) I think it is also worth observing that the clause “The Revelation was seen…” would hardly seem appropriate for identifying the scroll on which the book was written. Why not say something like: “Not very long ago, almost in our generation, the scroll of Revelation was seen.” But why would Irenaeus even make a statement like that? What would be the purpose? The implication would be: “I don’t have a copy of the book, but one was seen not so long ago, just a little before our generation.” However, obviously, he did have a copy of the book, for he wrote commentaries on portions of Revelation.
What Irenaeus has to say about Revelation
Some pertinent data.
Irenaeus was born between 120 and 140 CE. He died in 202 CE.
His principal literary work “Against Heresies” was written between 182 and 188 CE.
Data on his life and his commentaries on the book of Revelation are found in: “The Church Fathers of the Time before the First Nicene Council,” Volume 1, Pages 309-567. Published by: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. June 1975 edition.
Irenaeus wrote an extensive refutation of the heresies of his time in the above-mentioned work, including in it his interpretations of some prophecies of Revelation. They are cited in this study, not with the purpose of analyzing them carefully but rather to make it very clear that, for Irenaeus, the visions and prophecies received by the apostle John definitely were NOT FULFILLED before the year 70 CE.
Commentaries by Irenaeus on the book of Revelation
Irenaeus affirms that the “ten horns,” who “are ten kings,” of Revelation 17:12 had not yet come (Volume 1 of “The Church Fathers,” page 559), that the Roman Empire (at or near the zenith of its power during the lifetime of Irenaeus) would be divided by them, that the “ten horns-ten kings” would be the “last,” and that the “man of sin” would come seated on them. He said that the “ten horns-ten kings” were represented by the ten fingers of the
statue that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream and that Jesus Christ is the small stone that broke to pieces that statue, as revealed in Daniel 2. Volume 1 of “The Church Fathers,” pages 553-555
The opinion of Irenaeus regarding the “Antichrist” is that he would sit on a throne in the temple in Jerusalem and that his tyrannical reign would last three and a half years during which the saints of the Lord would be persecuted and overcome. Volume 1 of “The Church Fathers,” pages 553-554. He identifies him as the First Beast of Revelation 13.
By the clause “When the Antichrist comes…” (Volume 1 of “The Church Fathers,” page 557), Irenaeus very clearly indicates that, for him, the prophecies of Revelation had not been fulfilled when he wrote his commentaries on them late in the second century CE. Referring to the First Beast of Revelation, he again uses the terminology: “When he comes…,” further proof of the deduction just stated. Volume 1 of “The Church Fathers,” page 558.
Regarding the “ten horns-ten kings,” Irenaeus explains that it would be necessary to await their appearance. Volume 1 of “The Church Fathers,” page 559. It is, therefore, necessary to deduce that he projected their coming for a time future to the years 182 to 188 when he wrote these commentaries being cited. Decidedly, he did not at all believe that the prophecies of Revelation had been fulfilled in the decade of the 60s of the first century.
According to Irenaeus, “every kind of iniquity and deceit… every apostate power” would be concentrated in the beasts of Revelation that had not already come but would at a time future to the years when he was penning his commentaries. Volume 1 of “The Church Fathers,” page 558
Commenting on “the name of the beast or the number of its name,” he writes: “Also Lateinos has the numerical value of 666; it is a very probable solution, this being the name of the last kingdom of the four seen by Daniel. For, those who are presently governing are Latins,” his reference being to the Romans.
He suggests as “meritorious” the name “Titan,” the letters of which as spelled in Greek have the numerical value of 666. He adds: “There is a very strong probability that the Antichrist which is to come is called Titan. Nevertheless, we will not risk making any positive pronouncement on this matter.” Volume 1 of “The Church Fathers,” page 559
2. Despite Irenaeus’ testimony, some commentators insist that Revelation was written BEFORE 70 CE. They present the following arguments.
a) Argument 1. For the year 95 CE, the apostle John would have been 90 years old, perhaps more. It is deduced that he would have been too old, and, consequently, too physically weak to receive the extensive, complicated visions and prophecies of Revelation.
Reply to this argument:
(1) Whoever would make such an argument effectively calls into question God’s power to keep the apostle John strong in body, mind, and spirit as long as he wanted to, in accordance with the purposes he had for him with respect to works in the spiritual Kingdom.
As a matter of fact, this very subject came up when Jesus Christ appeared to his disciples for the third time after his resurrection while they walked on the beach of the Sea of Galilee. Conversing Jesus with Peter, he made known to him “the kind of death by which he would glorify God.” When “Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them,” that is, John, “he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’” John 21: 20-22. Keep John alive until the Second Coming of Christ? Not impossible for God! Of course, the real sense of Jesus’ hyperbole is, paraphrasing: “If I want to keep John alive for many long years, even to a very advanced age, I have the authority and power to do it.” Evidence that he did just that is presented as follows.
(2) The Christian historian Eusebius of Cesarea (269 – 339 CE) notes, in his work “Ecclesiastical History,” that, when the persecuting Roman emperor Domitian died in 96 CE, the apostle John left the island of Patmos and went to live in Ephesus, where he remained several more years occupied in the Lord’s work.
Section XX, 9 of “Ecclesiastical History,” by Eusebius. “So then, according to our ancient tradition, the apostle John, coming out of exile on the island, went over to live in Ephesus.”
Section XXIII of “Ecclesiastical History.”
“1. For that time [from 96 to the reign of Trajan: 98 – 117 CE], the apostle and evangelist John, the one that Jesus loved, was still seen in Asia, and continued there, taking care of the church after his return from exile on the island once Domitian had died.
2. There would be enough witnesses to guarantee that John was still alive then, both trustworthy and renowned for their orthodoxy in the church. I have reference to Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria.
3. The first, at some point in the second book Against Heresies [2.33], writes the following: ‘And all the elders of Asia that maintain contact with John, the disciple of the Lord, bear witness that John transmitted it, for he remained with them to the times of Trajan.’
4. Book 4 of the same work also explains it thus: ‘But also, including, the church of Ephesus, Paul having established it, is a true witness of the traditions of the apostles to the effect that John remained in it even to the times of Trajan. [3.3]
5. On the other hand, Clement indicates the same time, and adds a story, indispensable for those who like to hear beautiful things that are beneficial, entitled: ‘Who Is the Rich One Who Is Saved?’ So then, take it and read what is found written there.” The reference is to a story of what the apostle John did in a city near Ephesus to save a young man. The story was recorded by Clement of Alexandria and may be found in the writings by Clement in the ten-volume set of documents by the church fathers.
(3) In the context of longevity and long years of service in the church of Christ, Simon, the son of Cleopas (Luke 24:18), equals or even surpasses the apostle John. Simon was martyred when he was 120 years old! Eusebius of Cesarea relates the following about Simon.
Section XXXII of “Ecclesiastical History.”
“1. A tradition maintains that, in the time of the emperor whose reign we are studying [that of Trajan: 98 – 117 CE], a new persecution arose, after Nero and Domitian, in certain parts and cities because of the rebellions of the people. In this one, we have found out that Simon, the son of Cleopas [Lucas 24:28], who was, as we have already indicated, the second to be constituted bishop of the church in Jerusalem, was martyred.
2. To this is witness that Hegesippus whom we have already cited on various occasions. He adds that clearly in that same time, Simon suffered an accusation and was tortured for many days by many different methods until, to the consternation of the judge himself and those with him, he underwent a death similar to that of the Passion of the Lord.
[Hegesippus the Nazarene: c. 110 – c. 180 CE. A Jewish convert to Christianity, he wrote against the heresies of the Gnostics and of Marcion. His works are entirely lost, except for eight passages on church history quoted by Eusebius.]
The elderly apostle John on the island of Patmos records the prophecies and visions of Revelation in 95 CE.
3. But there is nothing like listening to the author himself who recounts textually what follows: ‘For this, clearly, some heretics accuse Simon, son of Cleopas, because he is a descendent of David and a Christian, and in this way, he suffers martyrdom when he was 120 years old, in the times of the emperor Trajan and the governor Atticus.’
4. Hegesippus says that, when an investigation was made regarding the true tribe of the Jews, his accusers were also apprehended because they belonged to it.
Making a few calculations, it may be said that Simon saw in person the Lord and listened to him, taking as proof his long life and the reference in the gospels to Cleopas who was, as we have demonstrated, his father.
5. This same writer says that other descendants of one of those called the brothers of the Lord, namely Judas, also lived on into the reign of Trajan after giving witness to their faith in Christ in the age of Domitian, as we have already related. He writes as follows:
6. ‘So then, they come up and are placed at the head of all the church for being martyrs and of the family of the Lord. And after there had been a profound peace for the church, they even remained to the time of the emperor Trajan, until the son of the uncle of the Lord, who before we called Simon, son of Cleopas, was denounced and accused in the same way by the sects. Under the Governor Atticus, he also gave witness during many days for the same cause while he was tortured, in such a way that all were extremely amazed, including the governor, at how he resisted, as he was already 120 years old. At last, they ordered that he be crucified.”
(4) Polycarp, one of the bishops of the church in Smyrna, was active to an advanced age. Born in 69 or 70 CE, he died in 155 CE, suffering martyrdom when he refused to deny Christ. He was 86 years old. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycarp
(5) In modern times, not a few Christians have been able to continue very active in different spiritual ministries of the Kingdom of God even to a very advanced age. Among them are those who write articles and books based on their long years of study, prayer, meditation, observation, and experience.
b) Argument 2 against the year 95 CE as the date for when Revelation was written.
It is observed that there is no allusion whatsoever in the book of Revelation to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, “the most important event, in religious terms, in two thousand years,” an opinion of Burton Coffman in his “Commentary on Revelation,” Introduction. Page 5. It is concluded that the book of Revelation was written before that event.
Analysis of the argument
(1) In the first place, during the Common Era, or Christian Age for Christians, certainly, events more important than the destruction of Jerusalem have occurred.
For example, the persecutions suffered by the true church at the hands of the Romans before the conversion of the emperor Constantine the Great. The horrible persecutions unleashed by that emperor himself against the hundreds of thousands of Christians who did not accept the dictates of the Nicene Council he himself convoked and ruled over. The birth and development of the Two-horned Beast of Revelation 13, presented in 2 Thessalonians 2 as “the rebellion” headed by “the lawless one.” The fiery persecutions, religious wars, tortures, and mass murders of “Babylon the great, mother of whores and of earth’s abominations,” that is, of the Roman Catholic “mother church.” The appearance and works of the “ten horns-ten kings.” The initiation and development of the Millennium, etc. In the context of their impact across the centuries of this Common Era on the true church, all these events are unquestionably more important than the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE.
Now, of course, it would seem to be self-evident that the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, and again in 132-135 CE, had much greater importance for the unconverted Jews than for the true church of the Lord.
(2) Additionally, and of basic importance, is the following: If indeed Revelation had been written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, it would be altogether logical that highly detailed prophecies on that coming catastrophic event be revealed in the book, and that they be easily identifiable even to the casual reader or hearer of the text. Since there are no such simple, obvious prophecies of that kind in the book, it is to be deduced that, indubitably, the visions and prophecies of Revelation were received AFTER that event.
There is at least one commentator who disagrees with the above conclusion, and he has written a large volume to try and prove that major prophecies of Revelation were fulfilled in the years leading up to the 70 CE catastrophic fall of Jerusalem. We now present his thesis as Argument 3.
c) Argument 3. Foy E. Wallace, Jr., (deceased) in his commentary “The Book of Revelation,” affirmed that Revelation was written “early in the reign of Nero and before the destruction of Jerusalem.” The Book of Revelation. Noble Patterson Publisher-Distributor, PO. Box 7410, Ft. Worth, TX 76111, 1966. Page 29
He held that the prophecies of Revelation are on “the overthrow of apostate Jerusalem, the oblite-ration of the Jewish theocracy with the demolition of its temple, the calamitous fall of Judaism and the catastrophic end of the state of Israel.”
He proposed that the triumph of the church over its persecutors “is symbolized by means of the triumphant scenes of a resurrection and enthronement, both figurative; and that… the visions of the Book of Revelation were fulfilled in the experiences of the churches of that period, Revelation not covering the time beyond the Roman persecutions against the church.” Page 27
(1) Notwithstanding the assertion of the commentator Wallace to the effect that any other interpretation would be forced, doing violence to the language of the book (Page 30), we find his own in true conflict with historical realities, as also, extremely limited the applications he makes of the prophecies and visions of Revelation, for he confines the fulfillment of the majority to a few years of the sixth decade of the first century, limiting all to the time of the Roman Empire previous to the conversion of emperor Constantine the Great.
(a) For example, referring to the prophecy of Revelation 13:7, Foy Wallace wrote that Satan worked by means of the Roman emperors, in particular, Nero, to overcome the saints through “the destruction of Jerusalem, the holy city, and the holy temple.” Pages 292-293. Really? Did Nero overcome the Christians in those times of the sixth decade of the first century CE? Absolutely not! Yes, he killed some, but only a very small number in Rome itself, compared to the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Jews and Gentiles who had become Christians by that time throughout the vast Roman Empire. The church as a whole, far from being overcome by the mad emperor Nero, continued to grow at a phenomenal pace!
Did the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE result in the defeat of the Christians of those times? Certainly NOT! The ones who were overcome were the unbelieving Jews, and NOT, by any stretch of rhetoric or conjectures, the Christians, the true church, throughout the world of the first century.
(b) The commentator Foy Wallace says that the “earth” (Revelation 13:1) is "the people of Palestine" (Page 295), and that the Two-horned Second Beast is "the persecuting governors of Palestine" (Page 296), offering a little, enigmatic explanation on the "image" of that Beast, which does not harmonize with the description given in Revelation 13.
I ask: In the sixth decade of the first century CE…
Did the Roman governors of Palestine order the Jews to make an image of the emperor? Revelation 13:14
Did they command the Jews to kill the Christians who refused to worship the Roman emperor? Revelation 13:15
Did they intervene in such a way as to control absolutely all commerce in Palestine, putting a mark on all Jews and Christians who refused to worship the Roman emperor? Revelation 13:16-18
When? How? What is the evidence?
(c) Writing about the "mother of whores," Foy Wallace asserted that Jerusalem of the first century is the only city that fits the symbolic descriptions in Revelation 17, adding that that city was “Babylon the great, mother of whores and of earth’s abominations,” and that the “earth” of the prophecy is limited only to Judea and Palestine, no more. Pages 364-365
Esteemed reader, in this our own commentary on Revelation, we present, without any intention to be dogmatic or present perfect explanations, an interpretation much more in accord with historical facts, amply demonstrating that, not earthly Jerusalem nor earthly Rome, but “spiritual” Rome, so very corrupt in doctrine and morals, plays the role of the “mother of whores” infinitely better and on an enormously larger stage than the earthly Jerusalem of the first century.
(2) Now, here is a powerful fact to weigh seriously when considering the thesis expounded by the commentator Foy Wallace, to wit: The detailed prophecies in the Bible on the destruction of Jerusalem are found in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17:20-37, and Luke 21; not in the book of Revelation. It is in these texts of the gospels, for example, specifically in Matthew 24:15-23, that the Christians of the first century who lived in the city of Jerusalem, in the Roman provinces of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, found divine prophecies and warnings about the impending devastation to be brought on the people of Israel by the Romans, and having that information, could escape to the east of the river Jordan.
“So when you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place, as was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.”
“And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” Matthew 24:15-16, 22
d) Argument 4. Appealing to Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, it is affirmed that, according to the seven letters sent to the seven churches of Asia, the unbelieving Jews continued to persecute Christians in the timeframe for the writing of Revelation, and it is also affirmed that this kind of persecution was not carried out by the unbelieving Jews after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE. On the basis of these affirmations, it is deduced that Revelation was written before the fall of Jerusalem.
This argument examined.
(1) Reading very attentively those seven letters, we ask: What is the evidence in Revelation of an alleged persecution by the Jews against the seven churches?
Is it perhaps what Revelation 2:9 says? “I know your affliction and your poverty, even though you are rich. I know the slander on the part of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”
Or Revelation 3:9? “I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but are lying—I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you.”
In both texts, we observe that “those who say that they are Jews… ARE NOT, but are lying.” Rather they “are a synagogue of Satan.” With the additional statement: “I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you.”
(2) The reality is that unbelieving Jews did not disappear from the face of the earth after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. On the contrary, there was such a tremendous resurgence of them after that catastrophic defeat that, in the year 131 CE, they were able to organize a military force of hundreds of thousands and attack the Roman military with such ferocity that the Roman generals had to quickly bring legions from other parts of the Empire to Palestine in order to avoid defeat.
In light of these historical facts, certainly it may be reasonably supposed that unbelieving Jews in the Roman Empire between the years 70 and 135 CE would continue their opposition wherever they could not only to Rome but also to the Christians, for they would not have all of sudden become friends and defenders of the Christians as a consequence of their defeat in 70 CE.
3. To all of the foregoing, I add the following considerations.
a) Supposing that the apostle John wrote Revelation before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE and that Jerusalem was “Babylon the great, the mother of whores,” why, it may be respectfully asked, in the name of common sense, would Jesus Christ send seven letters to seven churches in the Roman province of ASIA (now Turkey), but no letter whatsoever to the very large congregation in Jerusalem, which had thousands of members (Acts 21:2), and none to all the other churches of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee? As the crow flies, it is 614 miles (990 kilometers) from Patmos-Ephesus to Jerusalem. If the conditions and events prophesied in Revelation were to be fulfilled principally in
Jerusalem, with severe repercussions throughout Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, why not reveal the content of Revelation to an apostle in that area and direct letters to key congregations there?
b) Supposing that John wrote Revelation on the island of Patmos during the decade of the sixties of the first century, how much time would it have taken to laboriously record, hand written, the extensive text on scrolls, make copies, and send them to Jerusalem? Also, to all the territory from Galilee, down through Samaria, and to the extreme south of Judea, so that the many, many churches of all that area might study the book, interpret it correctly, and take timely measures to avoid becoming themselves victims of the Roman armies that ravaged the whole of Israel for about seven years? However, that did not even need to take place because, as already noted, the Christians were forewarned about what was going to happen to Jerusalem by the prophecies made by Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry.
c) Now, here is yet another consideration of no small importance: In the letters written by the apostle Paul during the first years of the sixth decade of the first century, there is no evidence whatsoever that he had knowledge of the existence of the book of Revelation. In those years, the apostle Peter also wrote two letters included in the New Testament, not indicating in either one that he knew about the book of Revelation. Peter refers to the writings of Paul, noting that “some things in them” are “hard to understand,” (2 Peter 3:14-16) but makes no reference to any writing of the apostle John. What would he have said about Revelation if, indeed, he had had a copy to scrutinize? Both apostles were martyred during the reign of Nero, more or less in the years from 64 to 67 CE.
While not conclusive evidence that Revelation was not written during the 60s of the first century before the Roman general Vespasian and his armies laid siege to Jerusalem in 67 CE, one could not help but wonder why Paul and Peter would not reference such a powerfully portentous document if it existed before their martyrdom. According to ancient traditions, both Paul and Peter were jailed and martyred in Rome. Though there was no Internet or WhatsApp in those days to make almost instantly available to the entire brotherhood a document like Revelation, it is also true that the circulation of such documents in the times of the first century to key cities could be accomplished in a matter of a few days to two or three weeks, facilitated by a web of paved roads constructed by the Romans.
Text and document composition by Homer Dewayne Shappley
CATEGORY Revelation: Its Ongoing Relevancy and Fulfillment. 21st Century commentary.
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