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Thread: So when was John on the Isle of Patmos?

  1. #1

    So when was John on the Isle of Patmos?

    Revelation 1:9

    9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.


    10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,


    11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.


    So he was banished before 70AD?

  2. #2
    I got this from the ESV Study Bible

    "Date

    Irenaeus reports, on the basis of earlier sources, that “John received the Revelation almost in our own time, toward the end of the reign of Domitian” (Against Heresies 5.30.3). Since Domitian's reign ended in a.d. 96, most scholars date Revelation in the mid-90s. Some, however, have argued for a date during Nero's reign (a.d. 54–68) and before the fall of Jerusalem in 70, basing their conclusion in part on the belief that Revelation 11:1–2 is a predictive prophecy of the Roman siege and destruction of the earthly Jerusalem during the Jewish War. However, the conditions in the churches of chapters 2–3 and their cities favor a date around a.d. 95–96, and in Revelation “the holy city” does not seem to refer to the earthly Jerusalem (see note on 11:1–2). Assuming this later date, events relating to Nero's reign and Jerusalem's destruction, both of which would now have been in the past, are woven into John's visions as portents and prototypes of present pressures and coming traumas in the world's assault on Christ's church.

  3. #3
    According to Clement of Alexandria, John was one of the many people imprisoned by Domitian (emperor 81-96) who were freed by Trajan when he became emperor in 98.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ClayInHisHands View Post
    Revelation 1:9

    9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.


    10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,


    11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.


    So he was banished before 70AD?
    An interesting question . . .

    Perhaps the scriptures in your post give a clue: the seven Asia churches had to be functioning during John's banishment--since John was commanded by Jesus to send "the book" to them primarily.

    So, when were the seven Asian churches functioning?

    (PS I don't know the exact answer to this question:
    Quote Originally Posted by ClayInHisHands View Post
    So he was banished before 70AD?
    at all.)
    Grace and peace,

    Billy-brown 2


    I Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

  5. #5
    So would this have meant that he visted Patmos in the 60's to preach the Gospel and then later returned in the 90's due to exile?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ClayInHisHands View Post
    So would this have meant that he visted Patmos in the 60's to preach the Gospel and then later returned in the 90's due to exile?
    Well, I'm thinking out loud here, but notice this verse below:
    9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
    Why was John in exile on Patmos Island to begin with?

    Well, it seems to me that John was on the island in exile because he had already been preaching the Word of God--and someone(s) did not want John to give out the Word--thus, John was given the "tribulation" of exile and so on.

    And John was companion to the Asian churches in "tribulation" as well.

    Interesting . . .
    Grace and peace,

    Billy-brown 2


    I Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

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    Here's something that I recently began pondering. If This is the same John that was around when Christ died, how old would he have been around 30-33 AD? Let's say he was in his mid 20s or 30s at the time. This means that if John wrote the book of Revelation in the 90s AD, he would have been an old old man by that time, possibly 80..90 yrs old. With that in mind, is it likely that John would have written this at such an old age? I don't know, but the more I think about it, it seems more logical that John would have written the book closer to the time of Christ's death, than to that of his own death. Even if it were 20 or 30 yrs after Christ's death, this seems more probable than 5 or 10 yrs before his own death. From what I can tell, most scholars agree that John was around 100 when he died, and that he died sometime at the beginning of the 2nd century.


    Revelation 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.


    I don't know, but this to me paints a picure of someone who still has some life left in them, and not someone who will be dead from old age in a few yrs, that's assuming he wrote this in the 90s AD.

    But even if John wrote the Revelation prior to 70 AD, this doesn't automatically mean everything in the Revelation was fulfilled during that time, or that any of it was.

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    Quote Originally Posted by divaD View Post
    Here's something that I recently began pondering. If This is the same John that was around when Christ died, how old would he have been around 30-33 AD? Let's say he was in his mid 20s or 30s at the time. This means that if John wrote the book of Revelation in the 90s AD, he would have been an old old man by that time, possibly 80..90 yrs old. With that in mind, is it likely that John would have written this at such an old age? I don't know, but the more I think about it, it seems more logical that John would have written the book closer to the time of Christ's death, than to that of his own death. Even if it were 20 or 30 yrs after Christ's death, this seems more probable than 5 or 10 yrs before his own death. From what I can tell, most scholars agree that John was around 100 when he died, and that he died sometime at the beginning of the 2nd century.


    Revelation 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.


    I don't know, but this to me paints a picure of someone who still has some life left in them, and not someone who will be dead from old age in a few yrs, that's assuming he wrote this in the 90s AD.

    But even if John wrote the Revelation prior to 70 AD, this doesn't automatically mean everything in the Revelation was fulfilled during that time, or that any of it was.

    Very interesting . . . (as usual for you, congrats . . .)

    Well, I am not one of those who speculate when Revelation was written per se (there are saints here that can do that better than I). About the only thing I can say is this: I don't know when Revelation was written.

    On the other hand, Rev. 1:9-11 can tell us some things, yes?

    Remember, Jesus commanded John to do some things while in exile on Patmos Island--and this was an imprisonment for John because of one "crime": he was proclaiming the Word of God against the wishes of someone(s).

    And so, a few questions come up in my mind:

    1) Who did not want John to preach the Word of God?

    2) Did John go to Patmos because he wanted to?

    3) Why did Jesus tell John to do the following when he got to the Island?
    Rev. 1:11b
    What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
    Grace and peace,

    Billy-brown 2


    I Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by -SEEKING- View Post
    Irenaeus reports, on the basis of earlier sources, that “John received the Revelation almost in our own time, toward the end of the reign of Domitian” (Against Heresies 5.30.3).
    Irenaeus didn't say that "John received the Revelation almost in our own time", he said that "it was seen almost in our own time". There is a major difference.

    The reason the statement by Irenaeus is considered "ambiguous" by linguistic experts is because they have noticed that (a) the text of Irenaeus' writings are preserved in corrupted copies to begin with, and (b) this particular passage appears to have been corrupted, because Irenaeus' writing mannerisms more readily match his descriptions of men, not things... hence, it wasn't "the revelation" that was seen in Domitian's reign, it was John himself. All it took for this corruption of the text to take place was the misspelling of the word for "him" into "it"; you know, a "scribal error" (which were common enough for this to be an entirely credible explanation). This makes far more sense with what Irenaeus was saying anyway: the Christians were wondering who 666 referred to, and Irenaeus said, "If we were meant to know, we could easily have asked John, who was last seen in Domitian's reign."
    We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him [John] who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For he [John] was seen no very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian's reign.
    Contextually, this translation makes far more sense: "If it were necessary that [the antichrist's name] should be distinctly revealed ... it would have been announced by him ... for he was seen ... towards the end of Domitian's reign".

    Also, Irenaeus himself explicitly refers to "ancient copies" of the Revelation. If Domitian's reign (80-96 AD) was "almost in our day" as Irenaeus said, it is only reasonable to conclude that the "ancient copies" existed before Domitian's reign (70-80 AD), which would mean that the original book that the "ancient copies" were based upon was even older than that (60-70 AD). Again, we wind up in the same time frame as the rest of the external evidence (along with the internal evidence) comes to.

    The internal testimony of the Revelation points toward the pre-70 AD authorship of the book, regarding the near-fulfillment of its prophecies, that John was taking part in the tribulation that was prophesied, and the identity of the sixth king/666/42 months of persecution with Nero Caesar. Likewise, several Christians writing before Irenaeus place John's exile to Patmos and/or the authorship of the book within the same time frame of Peter and Paul, which each happened in the 60s AD. Not to mention that several Christians writing before and after Irenaeus identified the book's prophecies with Nero's persecution of the Christians, and several of them explicitly place John's banishment to Patmos in the reign of Nero. And, in addition, the descriptions of Nero by various historians (pagan, Jewish, and Christian) are incredibly compatible with how the beast is described in the book.

    There is also the matter of the seven churches. John was told by Jesus to write to seven contemporary churches just on the coast in Asia. Jesus explicitly tells John to write to these seven churches about things that had already happened, were in the process of happening, and were about to happen. (The Greek word mello is used in Revelation 1.19. The word mello means "to be on the point of happening".) Throughout the seven letters, Jesus repeatedly tells these seven churches about a time of trial that was coming upon them in their near future. He tells them about a time of judgment in their near future. In one case, Jesus explicitly says "I am coming soon". Another example is in Revelation 13, where John tells these seven churches that, with wisdom, they can determine the meaning of the number 666. If the prophecies of the Revelation are about events over 2000 years in their future, how can any amount of "wisdom" used by first-century Christians ever determine the meaning of 666? John's exhortation that seven first-century churches could use "wisdom" to decipher the number 666 would be nothing more than a cruel mockery of their current persecution. The number 666, then, could only refer to a first-century man, not a man from the 21st-century (or beyond).

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by billy-brown 2 View Post
    1) Who did not want John to preach the Word of God?
    The emperor Domitian, a big persecutor of Christians. Domitian announced that he was "Lord and God," and wanted people to worship him, which Christians could not do.

    Quote Originally Posted by billy-brown 2 View Post
    2) Did John go to Patmos because he wanted to?
    No, he seems to have been sent to a prison colony there by Domitian (as a political prisoner) and freed, along with many others, by the emperor Trajan (or by Nerva, who reigned briefly between Domitian and Trajan). According to tradition, John was a slave in a salt mine there.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Radagast View Post
    The emperor Domitian, a big persecutor of Christians. Domitian announced that he was "Lord and God," and wanted people to worship him, which Christians could not do.
    Where did you find that info about Domitian being a big persecutor of Christians? and announcedthat he was "Lord and God" and to worship him?

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    Appears to me that if he was banished to Patmos by Domitian (emperor 81-96) and he wrote revelation on Patmos then it must have a date between 81-96 or is my logic wrong?
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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Radagast View Post
    The emperor Domitian, a big persecutor of Christians.
    There is no contemporary evidence that Domitian ever persecuted Christians. This is chalked up to "Christian legend", not historical fact.

    Domitian announced that he was "Lord and God," and wanted people to worship him, which Christians could not do.
    This was typical of all of the emperors in the first-century. Julius Caesar was deified after his death, but beginning with Augustus Caesar, each emperor was declared to be a god while they ruled. Domitian was in no way unique for claiming to be "Lord and God".

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    Foxes book of mayrters (sp) speaks about John and many others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post
    Irenaeus didn't say that "John received the Revelation almost in our own time", he said that "it was seen almost in our own time". There is a major difference.

    The reason the statement by Irenaeus is considered "ambiguous" by linguistic experts is because they have noticed that (a) the text of Irenaeus' writings are preserved in corrupted copies to begin with, and (b) this particular passage appears to have been corrupted, because Irenaeus' writing mannerisms more readily match his descriptions of men, not things... hence, it wasn't "the revelation" that was seen in Domitian's reign, it was John himself. All it took for this corruption of the text to take place was the misspelling of the word for "him" into "it"; you know, a "scribal error" (which were common enough for this to be an entirely credible explanation). This makes far more sense with what Irenaeus was saying anyway: the Christians were wondering who 666 referred to, and Irenaeus said, "If we were meant to know, we could easily have asked John, who was last seen in Domitian's reign."

    Contextually, this translation makes far more sense: "If it were necessary that [the antichrist's name] should be distinctly revealed ... it would have been announced by him ... for he was seen ... towards the end of Domitian's reign".

    Also, Irenaeus himself explicitly refers to "ancient copies" of the Revelation. If Domitian's reign (80-96 AD) was "almost in our day" as Irenaeus said, it is only reasonable to conclude that the "ancient copies" existed before Domitian's reign (70-80 AD), which would mean that the original book that the "ancient copies" were based upon was even older than that (60-70 AD). Again, we wind up in the same time frame as the rest of the external evidence (along with the internal evidence) comes to.

    The internal testimony of the Revelation points toward the pre-70 AD authorship of the book, regarding the near-fulfillment of its prophecies, that John was taking part in the tribulation that was prophesied, and the identity of the sixth king/666/42 months of persecution with Nero Caesar. Likewise, several Christians writing before Irenaeus place John's exile to Patmos and/or the authorship of the book within the same time frame of Peter and Paul, which each happened in the 60s AD. Not to mention that several Christians writing before and after Irenaeus identified the book's prophecies with Nero's persecution of the Christians, and several of them explicitly place John's banishment to Patmos in the reign of Nero. And, in addition, the descriptions of Nero by various historians (pagan, Jewish, and Christian) are incredibly compatible with how the beast is described in the book.

    There is also the matter of the seven churches. John was told by Jesus to write to seven contemporary churches just on the coast in Asia. Jesus explicitly tells John to write to these seven churches about things that had already happened, were in the process of happening, and were about to happen. (The Greek word mello is used in Revelation 1.19. The word mello means "to be on the point of happening".) Throughout the seven letters, Jesus repeatedly tells these seven churches about a time of trial that was coming upon them in their near future. He tells them about a time of judgment in their near future. In one case, Jesus explicitly says "I am coming soon". Another example is in Revelation 13, where John tells these seven churches that, with wisdom, they can determine the meaning of the number 666. If the prophecies of the Revelation are about events over 2000 years in their future, how can any amount of "wisdom" used by first-century Christians ever determine the meaning of 666? John's exhortation that seven first-century churches could use "wisdom" to decipher the number 666 would be nothing more than a cruel mockery of their current persecution. The number 666, then, could only refer to a first-century man, not a man from the 21st-century (or beyond).

    Hi Mark
    edward,

    Can you give some references for these other early writers?

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