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  • Which Is It? (Revelation Written Date)

    My Reformation Study Bible states the majority of scholars believe the book of Revelation was written under Domitian around 95AD. Yet I've read on the internet that the majority of scholars and the early church believe the book was written under Nero. Which is it?
    sigpic

  • #2
    i do think it is Nero

    Comment


    • #3
      95 ad.
      ----------------------------------------------
      When the plain sense of Scripture make sense, seek no other sense.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by BrckBrln
        My Reformation Study Bible states the majority of scholars believe the book of Revelation was written under Domitian around 95AD.
        Which goes to show, the full preterist theory is younger than the reformation.

        Reformation scholars have to be right with something.
        "Your name and renown
        is the desire of our hearts."
        (Isaiah 26:8)

        Comment


        • #5
          Well I have a question for the people who believe the book was written under Nero. Why wasn't John killed? Wasn't Peter and Paul killed under Nero but yet John was exiled? I read that exiling was what Domitian did.
          sigpic

          Comment


          • #6
            I just had a thought...Rev is addressed to....the churches that are in Asia.
            Why wasnt this letter addressed to the Church that started in Jerusalem?
            Maybe because it was written after the exile in AD 70?
            Just a thought.
            And those castles made of sand....fall into the sea......eventually

            Comment


            • #7
              You should have made this a poll.

              Sorry I couldn't resist, but my vote is 95AD.


              sigpic

              Comment


              • #8
                Not to be sarcastic or resentful but...

                Simply stating "95 AD has my vote" or "I do think it is Nero" doesn't really contribute to answering the question. Sure, you're given your opinion on which one you believe over the other, but that doesn't really put any effort into providing a true, solid answer.
                _______

                That said, I believe it was written before 70 AD, and for many reasons. Now, although I do believe that the entirety of the Revelation was fulfilled in the first-century, I won't elaborate on that, only my reasoning for why I believe it was written before 70 AD. I'll try to be short, if possible...
                1. The Revelation has between five and ten verses explicitly stating that the events being prophesied would happen "soon" or that their fulfillments were "near". Some of them explicitly state that some of the events being prophesied had already happened and that some were in the process of happening.
                2. The mark of the beast is primarily stated to be a name. It is also stated to be a number of the name, and that the number is the number of a man. Although everyone knows the infamous 666, very early copies of the Revelation state the number is 616. The name of "Nero Caesar" is the only name of significant value that can be turned into 666 and 616, using Hebrew gematria. The way John speaks of the mark of the beast as a number indicates that he believed his contemporaries could decipher the number's meaning. How could they have deciphered the number if the identity it referred to wouldn't exist for another two-thousand years? This points to the identity of 666/616 as being someone living contemporaneously with John, and Nero Caesar is the only person of value who was contemporary with John and whose name fit both numbers of 666 and 616.
                3. The book as a whole bears strong similarities to the eschatological prophecies made by Christ (especially in the gospel of Matthew). Revelation 1 contains a small bit of prose that alludes back to a prophecy of Christ found in Matthew 24. Matthew 24's context is explicitly found in its first few verses, in which the apostles ask Christ about the signs that would lead up to the destruction of the second temple of Jerusalem. The prophecy I'm referring to is when Christ says something to the extent of the people "mourning" because of the Coming of the Son of Man. John reiterates this in Revelation 1, setting the theme for the rest of the book. Since Matthew 24's prophecies were rooted in the apostle's question about the destruction of the second temple of Jerusalem, and immediately followed Christ's woes to the hypocrites and that their "house" would be left desolate (Matt. 23), it seems suffice to say that the "theme" John was setting in the short prose in Revelation 1 was the vengeance that Christ prophesied upon Jerusalem. Taking this in tandem with the previous two points I made, the only set of events that even remotely resembled Christ's prophecies of vengeance coming upon the hypocrites and that the second temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed was, well, when the second temple of Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD.
                4. In Revelation 11:8 we first see the phrase "the great city", and it is explicitly identified with Jerusalem ("where also our Lord was crucified"). Again, this is the first time we see the phrase "the great city". In the following chapters, we repeatedly see "the city" and "the great city" as being the subject of God's wrath. Multiple verses link "the great city" with "Babylon", and in chapter 17 we are directly told that "Babylon the Great" is "the great city." Also in chapter 17, Babylon the Great is identified as the entity that is responsible for the blood of the saints and the prophets; this passage also alludes back to a statement of Christ, found in Matthew 23, when Christ is speaking His "woes" upon the hypocritical Pharisees, and He claims that they are responsible for the blood of the righteous. Further, "Babylon the Great" is contrasted with "New Jerusalem", just as Paul contrasted "earthly Jerusalem" with "spiritual Jerusalem" (I think you can find this in Galatians - Paul was speaking of Hagar and Sarah in metaphor). And further, much of the phrasing about Babylon the Great committing adultery with the kings of the earth parallels Ezekiel 16, in which Jerusalem is called an harlot, committing adultery with the kings of the earth. (In fact, in Scripture, Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem are just about the only entities so consistently described in metaphor as harlots or adulterers.) And, again, if Jerusalem is considered to be "Babylon the Great", then the general chronology found in the Revelation almost directly parallels a parable found in Matthew 25. Revelation says Christ's servants are sent out to
                  into the world to evangelize, that Babylon the Great, called "the great city", was responsible for their deaths, that Babylon the Great is the culminated focus of judgment (particularly chapters 16-19), followed by the wedding feast. Matthew 25's parable (still spoken in the context of Matthew 24's prophesy of Jerusalem and the second temple's destruction) says that the King's Son's servants are sent out to invite people to a wedding feast, that the servants are killed, that the murderers are killed and "the city" burned, and followed by the wedding feast. A lot of the prophecies throughout the Revelation can be traced back to Christ's prophecies about Jerusalem and the second temple's destruction.
                5. In Revelation 11 (again), John prophesies about the Gentiles trampling "the holy city" (Jerusalem) for a specified period of 42 months. This alludes back to prophecy of Christ in Luke 21 (this is Luke's parallel chapter to Matthew 24), where Christ (who is, again, prophesying about the events leading up to the destruction of the second temple of Jerusalem) uses similar wording, that Jerusalem ("the holy city") would be "trampled" by the Gentiles for a specified period of time. Since Luke 21 was explicitly in context of the second temple's destruction, it seems likely then that John was prophesying the same thing, which took place in 70 AD.
                6. In Revelation 17 (again), we are told that the scarlet beast's seven heads represented both seven kings and seven hills. Considering that John was living (a) in the first-century, (b) in the Roman Empire, and (c) that Rome was known in the first-century as "the city of the seven hills" almost universally, it should go without saying that John must have been referring to Rome in some form another. Further, John is told that of the seven kings, the sixth king was in power at the time he was writing his prophecies. Since just about every piece of literature in the first few centuries AD started with Julius Caesar as the de facto first ruler of the Roman Empire (including both Roman historians as well as Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature), he should be our starting point, and as a result, we arrive at Nero Caesar as the sixth emperor of Rome. Again, John is told in chapter 17 that the sixth king was currently in power, and since Nero was the sixth king, this leaves little room that Nero was the sixth king who was currently in power. Nero died in June of 68 AD (obviously prior to 70 AD).

                These, along with a number of other points, convince me that the Revelation was written before 70 AD.
                To This Day

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by markedward View Post
                  Not to be sarcastic or resentful but...

                  Simply stating "95 AD has my vote" or "I do think it is Nero" doesn't really contribute to answering the question. Sure, you're given your opinion on which one you believe over the other, but that doesn't really put any effort into providing a true, solid answer.
                  _______

                  That said, I believe it was written before 70 AD, and for many reasons. Now, although I do believe that the entirety of the Revelation was fulfilled in the first-century, I won't elaborate on that, only my reasoning for why I believe it was written before 70 AD. I'll try to be short, if possible...
                  1. The Revelation has between five and ten verses explicitly stating that the events being prophesied would happen "soon" or that their fulfillments were "near". Some of them explicitly state that some of the events being prophesied had already happened and that some were in the process of happening.
                  2. The mark of the beast is primarily stated to be a name. It is also stated to be a number of the name, and that the number is the number of a man. Although everyone knows the infamous 666, very early copies of the Revelation state the number is 616. The name of "Nero Caesar" is the only name of significant value that can be turned into 666 and 616, using Hebrew gematria. The way John speaks of the mark of the beast as a number indicates that he believed his contemporaries could decipher the number's meaning. How could they have deciphered the number if the identity it referred to wouldn't exist for another two-thousand years? This points to the identity of 666/616 as being someone living contemporaneously with John, and Nero Caesar is the only person of value who was contemporary with John and whose name fit both numbers of 666 and 616.
                  3. The book as a whole bears strong similarities to the eschatological prophecies made by Christ (especially in the gospel of Matthew). Revelation 1 contains a small bit of prose that alludes back to a prophecy of Christ found in Matthew 24. Matthew 24's context is explicitly found in its first few verses, in which the apostles ask Christ about the signs that would lead up to the destruction of the second temple of Jerusalem. The prophecy I'm referring to is when Christ says something to the extent of the people "mourning" because of the Coming of the Son of Man. John reiterates this in Revelation 1, setting the theme for the rest of the book. Since Matthew 24's prophecies were rooted in the apostle's question about the destruction of the second temple of Jerusalem, and immediately followed Christ's woes to the hypocrites and that their "house" would be left desolate (Matt. 23), it seems suffice to say that the "theme" John was setting in the short prose in Revelation 1 was the vengeance that Christ prophesied upon Jerusalem. Taking this in tandem with the previous two points I made, the only set of events that even remotely resembled Christ's prophecies of vengeance coming upon the hypocrites and that the second temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed was, well, when the second temple of Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD.
                  4. In Revelation 11:8 we first see the phrase "the great city", and it is explicitly identified with Jerusalem ("where also our Lord was crucified"). Again, this is the first time we see the phrase "the great city". In the following chapters, we repeatedly see "the city" and "the great city" as being the subject of God's wrath. Multiple verses link "the great city" with "Babylon", and in chapter 17 we are directly told that "Babylon the Great" is "the great city." Also in chapter 17, Babylon the Great is identified as the entity that is responsible for the blood of the saints and the prophets; this passage also alludes back to a statement of Christ, found in Matthew 23, when Christ is speaking His "woes" upon the hypocritical Pharisees, and He claims that they are responsible for the blood of the righteous. Further, "Babylon the Great" is contrasted with "New Jerusalem", just as Paul contrasted "earthly Jerusalem" with "spiritual Jerusalem" (I think you can find this in Galatians - Paul was speaking of Hagar and Sarah in metaphor). And further, much of the phrasing about Babylon the Great committing adultery with the kings of the earth parallels Ezekiel 16, in which Jerusalem is called an harlot, committing adultery with the kings of the earth. (In fact, in Scripture, Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem are just about the only entities so consistently described in metaphor as harlots or adulterers.) And, again, if Jerusalem is considered to be "Babylon the Great", then the general chronology found in the Revelation almost directly parallels a parable found in Matthew 25. Revelation says Christ's servants are sent out to
                    into the world to evangelize, that Babylon the Great, called "the great city", was responsible for their deaths, that Babylon the Great is the culminated focus of judgment (particularly chapters 16-19), followed by the wedding feast. Matthew 25's parable (still spoken in the context of Matthew 24's prophesy of Jerusalem and the second temple's destruction) says that the King's Son's servants are sent out to invite people to a wedding feast, that the servants are killed, that the murderers are killed and "the city" burned, and followed by the wedding feast. A lot of the prophecies throughout the Revelation can be traced back to Christ's prophecies about Jerusalem and the second temple's destruction.
                  5. In Revelation 11 (again), John prophesies about the Gentiles trampling "the holy city" (Jerusalem) for a specified period of 42 months. This alludes back to prophecy of Christ in Luke 21 (this is Luke's parallel chapter to Matthew 24), where Christ (who is, again, prophesying about the events leading up to the destruction of the second temple of Jerusalem) uses similar wording, that Jerusalem ("the holy city") would be "trampled" by the Gentiles for a specified period of time. Since Luke 21 was explicitly in context of the second temple's destruction, it seems likely then that John was prophesying the same thing, which took place in 70 AD.
                  6. In Revelation 17 (again), we are told that the scarlet beast's seven heads represented both seven kings and seven hills. Considering that John was living (a) in the first-century, (b) in the Roman Empire, and (c) that Rome was known in the first-century as "the city of the seven hills" almost universally, it should go without saying that John must have been referring to Rome in some form another. Further, John is told that of the seven kings, the sixth king was in power at the time he was writing his prophecies. Since just about every piece of literature in the first few centuries AD started with Julius Caesar as the de facto first ruler of the Roman Empire (including both Roman historians as well as Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature), he should be our starting point, and as a result, we arrive at Nero Caesar as the sixth emperor of Rome. Again, John is told in chapter 17 that the sixth king was currently in power, and since Nero was the sixth king, this leaves little room that Nero was the sixth king who was currently in power. Nero died in June of 68 AD (obviously prior to 70 AD).

                  These, along with a number of other points, convince me that the Revelation was written before 70 AD.
                  I figured you'd be here at some point. What is the external evidence for an early date though? Do you know?
                  sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by markedward View Post
                    Not to be sarcastic or resentful but...

                    Simply stating "95 AD has my vote" or "I do think it is Nero" doesn't really contribute to answering the question. Sure, you're given your opinion on which one you believe over the other, but that doesn't really put any effort into providing a true, solid answer.
                    _______

                    That said, I believe it was written before 70 AD, and for many reasons. Now, although I do believe that the entirety of the Revelation was fulfilled in the first-century, I won't elaborate on that, only my reasoning for why I believe it was written before 70 AD. I'll try to be short, if possible...
                    1. The Revelation has between five and ten verses explicitly stating that the events being prophesied would happen "soon" or that their fulfillments were "near". Some of them explicitly state that some of the events being prophesied had already happened and that some were in the process of happening.
                    2. The mark of the beast is primarily stated to be a name. It is also stated to be a number of the name, and that the number is the number of a man. Although everyone knows the infamous 666, very early copies of the Revelation state the number is 616. The name of "Nero Caesar" is the only name of significant value that can be turned into 666 and 616, using Hebrew gematria. The way John speaks of the mark of the beast as a number indicates that he believed his contemporaries could decipher the number's meaning. How could they have deciphered the number if the identity it referred to wouldn't exist for another two-thousand years? This points to the identity of 666/616 as being someone living contemporaneously with John, and Nero Caesar is the only person of value who was contemporary with John and whose name fit both numbers of 666 and 616.
                    3. The book as a whole bears strong similarities to the eschatological prophecies made by Christ (especially in the gospel of Matthew). Revelation 1 contains a small bit of prose that alludes back to a prophecy of Christ found in Matthew 24. Matthew 24's context is explicitly found in its first few verses, in which the apostles ask Christ about the signs that would lead up to the destruction of the second temple of Jerusalem. The prophecy I'm referring to is when Christ says something to the extent of the people "mourning" because of the Coming of the Son of Man. John reiterates this in Revelation 1, setting the theme for the rest of the book. Since Matthew 24's prophecies were rooted in the apostle's question about the destruction of the second temple of Jerusalem, and immediately followed Christ's woes to the hypocrites and that their "house" would be left desolate (Matt. 23), it seems suffice to say that the "theme" John was setting in the short prose in Revelation 1 was the vengeance that Christ prophesied upon Jerusalem. Taking this in tandem with the previous two points I made, the only set of events that even remotely resembled Christ's prophecies of vengeance coming upon the hypocrites and that the second temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed was, well, when the second temple of Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD.
                    4. In Revelation 11:8 we first see the phrase "the great city", and it is explicitly identified with Jerusalem ("where also our Lord was crucified"). Again, this is the first time we see the phrase "the great city". In the following chapters, we repeatedly see "the city" and "the great city" as being the subject of God's wrath. Multiple verses link "the great city" with "Babylon", and in chapter 17 we are directly told that "Babylon the Great" is "the great city." Also in chapter 17, Babylon the Great is identified as the entity that is responsible for the blood of the saints and the prophets; this passage also alludes back to a statement of Christ, found in Matthew 23, when Christ is speaking His "woes" upon the hypocritical Pharisees, and He claims that they are responsible for the blood of the righteous. Further, "Babylon the Great" is contrasted with "New Jerusalem", just as Paul contrasted "earthly Jerusalem" with "spiritual Jerusalem" (I think you can find this in Galatians - Paul was speaking of Hagar and Sarah in metaphor). And further, much of the phrasing about Babylon the Great committing adultery with the kings of the earth parallels Ezekiel 16, in which Jerusalem is called an harlot, committing adultery with the kings of the earth. (In fact, in Scripture, Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem are just about the only entities so consistently described in metaphor as harlots or adulterers.) And, again, if Jerusalem is considered to be "Babylon the Great", then the general chronology found in the Revelation almost directly parallels a parable found in Matthew 25. Revelation says Christ's servants are sent out to
                      into the world to evangelize, that Babylon the Great, called "the great city", was responsible for their deaths, that Babylon the Great is the culminated focus of judgment (particularly chapters 16-19), followed by the wedding feast. Matthew 25's parable (still spoken in the context of Matthew 24's prophesy of Jerusalem and the second temple's destruction) says that the King's Son's servants are sent out to invite people to a wedding feast, that the servants are killed, that the murderers are killed and "the city" burned, and followed by the wedding feast. A lot of the prophecies throughout the Revelation can be traced back to Christ's prophecies about Jerusalem and the second temple's destruction.
                    5. In Revelation 11 (again), John prophesies about the Gentiles trampling "the holy city" (Jerusalem) for a specified period of 42 months. This alludes back to prophecy of Christ in Luke 21 (this is Luke's parallel chapter to Matthew 24), where Christ (who is, again, prophesying about the events leading up to the destruction of the second temple of Jerusalem) uses similar wording, that Jerusalem ("the holy city") would be "trampled" by the Gentiles for a specified period of time. Since Luke 21 was explicitly in context of the second temple's destruction, it seems likely then that John was prophesying the same thing, which took place in 70 AD.
                    6. In Revelation 17 (again), we are told that the scarlet beast's seven heads represented both seven kings and seven hills. Considering that John was living (a) in the first-century, (b) in the Roman Empire, and (c) that Rome was known in the first-century as "the city of the seven hills" almost universally, it should go without saying that John must have been referring to Rome in some form another. Further, John is told that of the seven kings, the sixth king was in power at the time he was writing his prophecies. Since just about every piece of literature in the first few centuries AD started with Julius Caesar as the de facto first ruler of the Roman Empire (including both Roman historians as well as Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature), he should be our starting point, and as a result, we arrive at Nero Caesar as the sixth emperor of Rome. Again, John is told in chapter 17 that the sixth king was currently in power, and since Nero was the sixth king, this leaves little room that Nero was the sixth king who was currently in power. Nero died in June of 68 AD (obviously prior to 70 AD).
                    These, along with a number of other points, convince me that the Revelation was written before 70 AD.


                    mark

                    the question was: Which is it?

                    The question was not: Please explain with significant detail why you believe when and during whos rein was this book written.

                    bennie

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BrckBrln View Post
                      My Reformation Study Bible states the majority of scholars believe the book of Revelation was written under Domitian around 95AD. Yet I've read on the internet that the majority of scholars and the early church believe the book was written under Nero. Which is it?
                      BrckBrln,

                      This is an interesting topic. When one steps away from an emotional response attached to either view, and just examines the evidence, there is much info both ways to consider.

                      Here are two previous threads in ETC that have discussed this topic, and presented much info on this topic you are interested in.

                      Hope you find them beneficial.



                      Debate tonight on the date of the writing of Revelation
                      (thread started 12/10/2007)

                      The date of the book of Revelation
                      (thread started 05/25/2008)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        What is the external evidence for an early date though? Do you know?
                        The first thread David Taylor provided above includes a post he contributed to the thread (suspiciously edited today?). He points to three first/second century Christian writers who indicate that the Revelation was written pre-70 AD.

                        Originally posted by bennie View Post
                        mark

                        the question was: Which is it?

                        The question was not: Please explain with significant detail why you believe when and during whos rein was this book written.

                        bennie
                        Oh. Sorry. Forgive me for answering the question with reason rather than simply blurting them out. Do you think it was foolish of me to use Scripture to explain my view, or are we supposed to state our beliefs and not provide any evidence for it?
                        To This Day

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by markedward View Post
                          The first thread David Taylor provided above includes a post he contributed to the thread (suspiciously edited today?). He points to three first/second century Christian writers who indicate that the Revelation was written pre-70 AD.
                          I have another question if you don't mind. I always read by the proponents of the early date that the ECF's who believed in a late date take that directly from Irenaeus and his supposed vague statement. Is that true?
                          sigpic

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm not a huge expert on the Irenaeus statement, but it is true.

                            Literally every early Christian writing that claimed John wrote the Revelation during the rule of Domitian relied upon Irenaeus' statement.

                            Irenaeus' statement itself is pointed out by linguistic experts as "ambiguous". Certain individuals who have heavily studied his writings point out certain mannerisms in the text (including the possibility that the text seems to have been corrupted to some extent).

                            First, part of the phrasing of Irenaeus' claim "it was seen not long ago" (or whatever it goes as) uses certain words that Irenaeus only ever used to describe people rather than things (such as visions). A careful study of Paul's epistles shows his tendencies to use such-and-such word in such-and-such case. Likewise with Irenaeus. And people have pointed out that whatever this word is, Irenaeus consistently uses it elsewhere to describe people (such as John), not things (such as the vision). (Sorry, I don't remember off the top of my head - if you like, I do own a book that presents this argument well. I can type it up and email it to you.)

                            Second, Irenaeus does specifically refer to "ancient" copies of the Revelation. First notice his usage of the word copies. He's not speaking of the original document; the Revelation has already been around long enough that there are multiple copies being spread around. But also note the word ancient. They're not just copies, they're ancient copies. So if his copies are newer, probably relying upon older copies, then relying upon ancient copies, how old could the original be?

                            Third, the context of the statement in question makes the most sense when referring to John as the one who "was seen not long ago". Let me find the full statement...

                            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 who beheld the apocalyptic vision.

                            For [it] was seen not very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian's reign.
                            If the "it" refers to the visions... well, how is that going to help them identify the antichrist? If the "it" refers to the book, again, how's that going to help? But if the "it" refers to John (more on this in a second), the text reads more logically: if he was seen not very long ago, then it could thus "have been announced by him". The vision had already been given and it codified the beast, so they can't appeal to the vision itself as helping them identify Domitian. Likewise with the actual book. But with John, the sentence just seems to flow better: he was seen not long ago during Domitian's reign, so he could have been asked to announce who the antichrist was. But, what is pointed out, again, is that the text (not just this passage, but Irenaeus' work as a whole) may have been corrupted (according to these linguistic guys). The word for "it" is one single letter away from the word for "he" in the original language, and the characters look similar. Someone could have mistaken the "he" for "it" when they read or copied it, leading to the interpretation that "it" is the vision rather than "he" is John.

                            It was only a later writer (Eusebius, I think), who referred back to Irenaeus when claiming that John wrote the Revelation during Domitian's reign, and it spread from there.

                            On, on a final note, early-date people also try to discredit Irenaeus' in regards to his date-keeping in general. He was born in 135 AD - and thus writing a few decades after that - yet regards Domitian's rule in the 90's AD as being "almost in [his] day". It is also pointed out that he misinterpreted one of the gospels as claiming Christ was nearing 50 years of age when the general consensus is that the gospels support Him as being not much older than 33-35 at His crucifixion.
                            To This Day

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by markedward View Post
                              I'm not a huge expert on the Irenaeus statement, but it is true.

                              Literally every early Christian writing that claimed John wrote the Revelation during the rule of Domitian relied upon Irenaeus' statement.

                              Irenaeus' statement itself is pointed out by linguistic experts as "ambiguous". Certain individuals who have heavily studied his writings point out certain mannerisms in the text (including the possibility that the text seems to have been corrupted to some extent).

                              First, part of the phrasing of Irenaeus' claim "it was seen not long ago" (or whatever it goes as) uses certain words that Irenaeus only ever used to describe people rather than things (such as visions). A careful study of Paul's epistles shows his tendencies to use such-and-such word in such-and-such case. Likewise with Irenaeus. And people have pointed out that whatever this word is, Irenaeus consistently uses it elsewhere to describe people (such as John), not things (such as the vision). (Sorry, I don't remember off the top of my head - if you like, I do own a book that presents this argument well. I can type it up and email it to you.)

                              Second, Irenaeus does specifically refer to "ancient" copies of the Revelation. First notice his usage of the word copies. He's not speaking of the original document; the Revelation has already been around long enough that there are multiple copies being spread around. But also note the word ancient. They're not just copies, they're ancient copies. So if his copies are newer, probably relying upon older copies, then relying upon ancient copies, how old could the original be?

                              Third, the context of the statement in question makes the most sense when referring to John as the one who "was seen not long ago". Let me find the full statement...

                              If the "it" refers to the visions... well, how is that going to help them identify the antichrist? If the "it" refers to the book, again, how's that going to help? But if the "it" refers to John (more on this in a second), the text reads more logically: if he was seen not very long ago, then it could thus "have been announced by him". The vision had already been given and it codified the beast, so they can't appeal to the vision itself as helping them identify Domitian. Likewise with the actual book. But with John, the sentence just seems to flow better: he was seen not long ago during Domitian's reign, so he could have been asked to announce who the antichrist was. But, what is pointed out, again, is that the text (not just this passage, but Irenaeus' work as a whole) may have been corrupted (according to these linguistic guys). The word for "it" is one single letter away from the word for "he" in the original language, and the characters look similar. Someone could have mistaken the "he" for "it" when they read or copied it, leading to the interpretation that "it" is the vision rather than "he" is John.

                              It was only a later writer (Eusebius, I think), who referred back to Irenaeus when claiming that John wrote the Revelation during Domitian's reign, and it spread from there.

                              On, on a final note, early-date people also try to discredit Irenaeus' in regards to his date-keeping in general. He was born in 135 AD - and thus writing a few decades after that - yet regards Domitian's rule in the 90's AD as being "almost in [his] day". It is also pointed out that he misinterpreted one of the gospels as claiming Christ was nearing 50 years of age when the general consensus is that the gospels support Him as being not much older than 33-35 at His crucifixion.
                              I admit, all of this is compelling but, if true, then why is it that the majority of scholars believe in a late date (I'm taking this from the Reformation Study Bible and the ESV Study Bible)? I know the majority doesn't make it right but still.
                              sigpic

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