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“thousand years" of Christ's reign with His saints which was to take place before the end of the world. The feeling of distrust was strengthened by observing what a marked difference there was in the language and style of the Revelation as compared with the other works ascribed to John; and a considerable amount of controversy took place on the subject. Ultimately, however, the objections were overruled, and the book obtained general acceptance in the Church.
In modern times the controversy has been renewed ; and objectors are still disposed to insist, as of old, on the internal marks of a different authorship from that of the fourth Gospel. In particular, it is pointed out that, whereas the Gospel is written in good Greek, the Revelation is full of grammatical mistakes and eccentricities; so that while there is scarcely anything in the former to show that the writer was other than a Greek, the latter would give us the impression of its having been written by a person who first thought in Hebrew and had afterwards to turn his thoughts into a language with which he was imperfectly acquainted.
To meet this objection the following considerations may be adduced :
(1) The difference in the nature and contents of the two books; the one being mainly narrative or colloquial, the other being formed on the model of the Old Testament prophets.
(2) The possible effect on the apostle of many years' residence in Ephesus (if we accept the earlier date assigned to the Apocalypse) in the way of improving his knowledge of Greek.
(3) The unfavourable circumstances under which he appears to have written the Apocalypse, as an exile in Patmos; and the possible employment of a skilled Greek amanuensis in the composition of his Gospel.3 i Chap. xx.
be the work of the apostle, while re2 The Tübingen school, however, jecting the Fourth Gospel. have generally admitted Revelation to 3 "Every new investigation diminishes
On the other hand, amid all the diversity between the two books both in ideas and in language, there are not wanting some important features of resemblance, betokening an identity of authorship.
(1) The name “Lamb” is only applied to the Saviour in the Fourth Gospel and in the Revelation, although it is indirectly referred to in i Peter and the Book of Acts. In like manner the name “Word” is only applied to the Saviour in the Gospel of John, in the First Epistle of John, and in the Revelation.2
the amount and significance of the difference on the one hand, and on the other renders it more and more clear that its explanation is to be sought in the different requirements of the wellmarked types of composition and the divergent mental condition of the writer. The evangelist, dealing freely with his material, takes pains to write better Greek than was customary with him ; the seer is overwhelmed with the visions crowding upon him, and finds no other speech fit for their expression than that of the old prophets, and therefore rightly yields himself to a prophetic, antique, Ezekiel-like Hebraizing form of speech”. (Ebrard). Schaff-Herzog Encyclopædia. i John i. 29;
Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world !" 36: “And he looked upon Jesus as he walked, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God!" Rev. v. 6-13, &c. : "And I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth. And he came, and he taketh it out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and madest them to be unto our God a
kingdom and priests; and they reign upon the earth. And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands ; saying with a great voice, Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every created thing which is in the heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and on the sea, and all things that are in them, heard I saying, Unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, be the blessing, and the honour, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever"; cf. 1 Pet. i. 18, 19: “knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; but with precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, even the blood of Christ”; Acts viii. 32, 35: “Now the place of the scripture which he was reading was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, So he openeth not his mouth : . . . And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this scripture, preached unto him Jesus.”.
2 John i. 1, &c. : “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God”; 1 John i. I: “That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld, and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life" ; Rev. xix. 13: “And he is arrayed in a garment sprinkled with blood : and his name is called The Word of God."
(2) Some of John's favourite expressions, such as, “ he that overcometh," "witness" (noun or verb), "keep (my) word,” are of frequent occurrence in the Revelation.
(3) In an expression in the first chapter of Revelation we seem to have an echo of the passage in the Fourth Gospel where alone the piercing of our Lord with the spear is recorded, and where there is the same quotation of Zechariah's prophecy—in the same unusual form.1
(4) The Greek word meaning "true” or “real,” in opposition to what is false or spurious, occurs nine times in St. John's Gospel, four times in i John, and ten times in the Revelation; but only five times in all the rest of the New Testament.
(5) The Revelation, like the fourth Gospel, recognises our Lord's pre-eminence and His title to divine honours.3
1 Rev. i. 7: “Behold, he cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they which pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn over him. Even so, Amen”; John xix. 34-37: “howbeit one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and straightway there came out blood and water. And he that hath seen hath borne witness, and his witness is true : and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye also may believe. For these things came to pass, that the scripture might be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced”; Zech. xii. 10: “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."
2 ålnouvbs. Rev. iii. 7: "he that is true"; 14: “the faithful and true witness" ; vi. 10: “O Master, the holy and true”; XV, 3: "righteous and true are thy ways ; xvi. 7:
" true and righteous are thy judgements”; xix. 9: "these are true words of God”; 11: “ called Faithful and True"; xxi. 5 and xxii, 6: “ these words are faithful and true."
3 i. 5, 8, 17, 18: “and from Jesus
Christ, who is the faithful witness, the
(6) A still stronger feature of resemblance may be seen in the similarity of the representations which the two books give of the Saviour's triumph as resulting from successive conflicts marked by apparent and temporary defeat. In these conflicts the Gentiles, centred in “ Babylon," take the place held by the unbelieving Jews in the Gospel; and the “disciples of the earlier days are represented by the Church, or “the bride” (of Christ).
It has been objected that the Revelation, unlike the other writings of John, gives the name of its avowed author. But this is sufficiently accounted for by the prophetical character of the book. It was the practice of the prophets of the Old Testament, although not of the historians, to mention their names in their writings.
2. The Readers. It was evidently meant for the Church at large—represented by “the seven Churches which are in Asia.” 2
3. Date and Place of Composition. From one of the opening verses we learn that the revelation was made to John when he “was in the isle that is called Patmos" (in the Ægean Sea), "for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus,” and it would appear to have been committed to writing in the island imme
2 i. 4:
12, 13: “Behold, I come quickly; and
“ The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to shew unto his servants, even the things which must shortly come to pass : and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John"; ver. 4: “John to the seven churches which are in Asia"; ver. 9: “I John, your brother and partaker with you in the tribulation and kingdom and patience which are in Jesus, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus”; xxii. 8: “And I
John am he that heard and saw these things.”
“ JOHN to the seven churches which are in Asia"; ver. II:“What thou seest, write in a book, and send it to the seven churches; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamum, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea." “The scene lies wholly in the Eastern Provinces and especially in Asia among the seven churches ; for Rome is on the extreme horizon, and is conceived only as the distant metropolis where the martyrs are sent to suffer the death decreed against them."-Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire, p. 295.
diately after it was received.1 As to the date of the apostle's banishment to Patmos, Irenæus expressly mentions that the vision was seen almost within his own generation at the end of the reign of Domitian (Emperor 81-96 A.D.). There is nothing in any earlier writer to throw discredit on this statement; and there are several things in the book itself which seem to point to a late date of composition, e.g., the important and intimate relation in which John appears to stand to the principal Churches of Asia Minor, the signs of marked spiritual declension in several of these Churches, the use of the expression “the Lord's day" instead of the earlier “first day of the week,” and of the phrase “synagogue of Satan” which would scarcely have been employed by a Christian writer previous to the destruction of Jerusalem.2 At the same time, there are some observations
by writers later than Irenæus that favour an earlier date. Tertullian tells us that at Rome the Apostle John was plunged in burning oil without sustaining any injury, and that he was afterwards banished to an island. It is in connection with the martyrdom of Peter and Paul that he makes the remark, which suggests the close of
iii. 1, 2:
“What thou seest, write in a book, and send it to the seven churches ” ; x. 4: " And when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write : and I heard a voice from heaven saying, Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not”; xiv. 13: “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth : yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours ; for their works follow with them”; xix. 9: “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are bidden to the marriage supper of the Lamb"; xxi. 5: “And he that sitteth on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he saith, Write : for these words are faithful and true.”
2 ii. 4, 5 (Ephesus): “ But I have this against thee, that' thou didst leave thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else
I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent";
“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars : know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and thou art dead. Be thou watchful, and stablish the things that remain, which were ready to die : for I have found no works of thine fulfilled before my God”;
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day (εν τη κυριακή ημέρα)”; ii. 9 (Smyrna): " I know thy tribulation, and thy poverty (but thou art rich), and the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan”; jii. 9 (Philadelphia): “ Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of them which say they are Jews, and they are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.”