James Glasgow: The Apocalypse: Translated and Expounded (1872)

If Jesus came spiritually, invisibly, but personally and potentially, on the day of Pentecost, and judicially as King of Nations and Head of the Church, to judge Jerusalem and terminate the Jewish kingdom, all the intimations of His coming quickly are plain, easy, instructive, and accordant with the grammatical and scriptural use of language.

The Apocalypse: Translated and Expounded

By James Glasgow
Irish General Assembly’s Professor of Oriental Languages, late Fellow of the University of Bombay, and late Member of the Royal Asiatic Society, Bombay.



  • “The prophetic gift was to cease within the limit of the seventy weeks, which ended with the fall of the once holy but ultimately devoted city. There can therefore be no just ground for ascribing to any books of the New Testament canon a later date than a.d. 70 “
  • “Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy weeks presents an irrefragable proof that the whole of the New Testament, the Apocalypse included, must have been written before the fall of Jerusalem and the end of the Jewish kingdom.”

  • When did the seventy weeks end ? No date later than that of the fall of Jerusalem (a.d. 70) can with any truth or plausibility be supposed, for these weeks were “determined on the holy city.” But many say they ended earlier, — at the death of Christ. Against this, however, in the above, and some other particulars, there lie weighty objections, as Scaliger, Hales, and others have shown. Let us look at the objects which were to be accomplished before these weeks ran out. “

  • “Many of the visions and words of the prophets are still receiving fulfilment ; and not until the end of the gospel age is all prophecy fulfilled. Some were fulfilled at the death of Christ, some in the fall of the city and dispersion of the people, and some in the progressive influx of the Gentiles ; while many regarding Gentiles and outcast Jews are yet to pass into fulfilment.”

  • “If Jesus came spiritually, invisibly, but personally and potentially, on the day of Pentecost, and judicially as King of Nations and Head of the Church, to judge Jerusalem and terminate the Jewish kingdom, all the intimations of His coming quickly are plain, easy, instructive, and accordant with the grammatical and scriptural use of language. If otherwise, these terms ” quickly ” and ” at hand ” set all grammatical interpretation at defiance, and charge the apostles either with a grave error regarding the coming of Christ, or a painfully deceptive use of words, and that in a systematic manner. From this conclusion, sober uniform interpretation keeps us free.”


The Bibliotheca Sacra  (1873)
The Apocalypse Translated And Expounded. By James Glasgow. D.D., Irish General Assembly’s Professor of Oriental Languages, late Fellow of the University of Bombay, and late Member of the Royal Asiatic Society, Bombay. 8vo. pp.611. Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark; New York: Scribner, Welford, and Armstrong. 1872. Dr. Glasgow defines a symbol: “That which represents or suggests to the mind something else.” He insists on uniformity in the interpretation of a symbol. ” Get at its application in one place, and this will carry you through all places. And to find this application [in the New Testament] we must search for the origin of the symbol in the Old Testament” (p. 55). The symbols in the Apocalypse ” are settled and defined terms, each having its uniform meaning ” (p. 56). Dr. Glasgow regards this principle of interpretation as fundamental in explaining the Apocalypse, and is very confident in the results of the principle. Rejecting the views of the ” preterists ” (Stuart and others), and of the ” futurists” (De Burgh, Todd, and others), he contends that ” various intimations of a speedy coming of Christ were fulfilled in the beginning of the gospel age”; that Christ is now present with his church, the day of the Lord has already come; that Hades is the invisible state of man, which will continue until the second resurrection; that the first resurrection (Rev. xx. 5, 6) is spiritual, “the production of a spiritual nature by the Holy Spirit”; consequently that in this first resurrection not only martyrs, but all regenerated men have participated, or will participate. From such statements one might be led to conjecture that the author of this Commentary adopts the spiritual method of explaining the Apocalypse, and does not attempt to give particular and definite explanations of John’s symbolical language. But one finds, in other parts of the Commentary, that a horse is a symbol of a messenger from God, and in Rev. vi. 2 the white horse is the Christian ministry, and the bow which the rider carries is not the military bow, but the rainbow, “the type which first spoke peace to man”; that Rev. xvi. 8 (“And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea,” etc.) ” began to receive its accomplishment in A.d. 1529, when the Protestant princes and theologians presented their famous protest to the emperor ” ; that the outpouring of the fourth vial (Rev. xvi. 8) ” may be dated in general from about the rising of the Tridentine Council, in 1564,” etc., etc. In the exposition of Rev. xvi. 16, we read: ” Before the close of the seventh messenger’s outpouring we shall read of hail of astounding dimensions, indicating, as formerly expounded, war coming from a northerly direction, which may be exemplified in the federal war of the United States, and succeeded by the Prussian hostilities against Denmark, and afterwards against Austria.” Then we find allusions to the needle-guns, chassepots, and sniders, the ironclad ships, mittralleuses, the Franco- Prussian war, etc., etc. Dr. Glasgow’s theory of the Millennium is that of the magno-millennium, limited not to a thousand years, but extended to three hundred and sixty thousand. But how can the earth sustain the number of inhabitants who shall then, in the ordinary method of calculation, exist upon it ? Great changes may take place on the earth’s surface; more land may be made; mountains may be levelled (Matt. xvii. 20); the rate of the increase of population, or the longevity of the race may be diminished. We think that some discussions in this volume might have been wisely omitted; also many incidental expressions which are too crude. See, for example, pp. 65537552576. The author is doubtless a man of extensive reading, especially in Oriental literature.” (v.30)

British Quarterly Review
“The Apocalypse. Translated and Expounded by James Glasgow, D.D., Irish General Assembly, Professor of Oriental Languages. T. and T. Clark.

Dr. Glasgow’s apparatus criticus appears to be a limited one, but he writes with extraordinary confidence. It would be impossible in this place to explain the special points in which he differs from other interpreters who have at tempted to find groups of historic facts in the grand symbolism of the Apocalypse. Hero is a well-written volume of six hundred pages devoted to the elucidation of this marvellous and undoubtedly genuine production of the Apostle John. One of the most startling theses adopted by our author is, that almost every epistle of the New Testament contains quotations from the Apocalypse, and notably the Epistles to the Thessalonians. The date is thus thrown back to the departure of the Jews from Rome in the reign of Claudius, and he argues that neither the persecution by Xero nor that by Domitian will answer the references in the early Fathers to John’s ‘relegation.’ He opposes the doctrine of the prc-millennial advent, and holds that the sixth seal began from the crucifixion. He declares that the ‘ day-day ‘ principle of interpretation adopted by Moses Stuart, ‘ cannot possibly be true, because it is contrary to the structure of visional symbols, and is not true in fact, because it is nowhere laid down in Scripture!’ lie is very confident in his denial of what is commonly called the ‘ first resurrection,’ and maintains what we believe is correct—that it refers to the production of a spiritual nature by the Holy Ghost. Dr.Glasgow once published a conspectus of interpretations of the number of the Beast, and because a large percentage of these arithmetical charades represent some personage or title referrible to the power of the Papacy and the hierarchy, therefore he concludes that this is the solution of the mystery. Faussett, Faber, Elliott, Stuart, Barnes, and other English-American writers, are the chief exegetical authorities to whom he alludes.” (v.57-58 1873)

Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle
“The Apocalypse, Translated and Expounded bу James Glasgow, D.D. (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark.)  We hold that no man is called upon to expound the Apocalypse unless he has something to say which has never he said before, and unless he is tolerably certain that that something solves one or more of the problems it presents. Now Dr. Glasgow has much to say which no one has said before him. As a rule he adopt the scheme of interpretation followed by Mede, Bishop Newton, Elliott, and Barnes ; but he sometimes differs very widely from those interpreters. Whether, however, his new thoughts are new truths is a doubtful question, as will appear from an examination of certain theories we have selected for criticism.

1. The early date. Dr. Glasgow believes the Apocalypse was written AD. 51, and defends this position by pointing out traces of it in St. Paul’s Epistles and elsewhere. His reasoning seems to us often feeble. Passages having only the faintest similarity to one another, and simply echoing those thoughts which were the common property of the Church, are brought into juxta-position, and it is then assumed that there lies between them the relation of original and quotation.  “Thou art called a Jew,” Rom. ii. 17, is a reference to those who ” say they are Jews,” Rev. ii. 9. “Living with Christ,” Rom. vi. 8, is a concise reference to ” They lived and reigned with Christ,” Rev. xx. 4, 6. ” The wages of sin is death,” Rom. vi. 23, seems taken from John’s account of the second death, Rov. xxi. 8, &c., &c. Can anything more baseless be imagined ?

2. The year-day theory. This is almost taken for granted, and the author apparently has no patience with its opponents. Ho shows, what no one doubts, that “day” often means “time” or season,” and actually regards this circumstance as a strong point in favour of the conclusion he has arrived at. He does not seem to think the1 hypothesis worthy of serious discussion, that the numbers in this book may be symbols of spiritual realities, and not arithmetical enigmas.

3. The interpretation of particular symbols. Confining our attention to chap, vi.,—Dr. Glasgow tells us that the rider on the black horse is Paganism in Judea. The wheat and barley to be sold for a penny are poor suffering Christians. The oil and wine, which the rider may not hurt, are Christians of a higher stamp. Again, Death on the pale horse, followed by Hades, is the Platonic and Gnostic philosophy. In strange contrast to this wild spiritualizing, tho ” great hail” of Rev. xvi. 21 is explained of the enormous balls thrown by modern guns, and of the shot of the needle-gun, chassepot, and Snider rifle.

We cannot say that Dr. Glasgow has made the Apocalypse clearer to us by his exposition.” (ser.4:v.5: 1873)

London Quarterly Review
The Apocalypse Translated and Expounded. By James Glasgow, D.D., Irish General Assembly’s Professor of Oriental Languages; Late Fellow of the University of Bombay; and Late Member of the Royal Asiatic Society, Bombay. Edinburgh : T. and T. Clark. 1872.

Amidst the unnumbered expositions of the book of the Revelation, it is pleasing to find one in which the writer is bold enough not to introduce new principles of interpretation, but is content to accept those already enunciated ; and to claim for himself the credit solely of having striven consistently to apply those principles. Such is the one now before us. To those who have endeavoured to wade through any considerable number of solutions of these mysterious pages, it is refreshing to read:—” In the exposition now offered, the author has followed a few leading principles deduced from the Holy Scriptures, and taught in substance by various patristic and modern writers.” And yet we must check haste or impatience in the study of a sacred book, which, being given for our learning, must not be cast heedlessly aside because we fail immediately to make its dark words clear. It may be one purpose of the Spirit of Truth to engage the attention, to excite the interest, and to educate the mind of the Church, by calling upon it, age after age, to look into these depths. There is another realm of inquiry whose vast treasures have for ages engaged the labours and rewarded the toil of the diligent student; and those treasures are still but imperfectly exposed. But the vision of the seer has been quickened, and the possessions of men augmented. So within this realm must we still slowly and unweariedly strive to understand, gaining skill by the very difficulty of our task. Whatever of novelty may appear in the present exposition of the Apocalypse, the arthor claims to have arisen solely from the rigid uniformity with which he has adhered to the principles of interpretation which he has espoused.

We may indicate the character of the work by saying that Dr. ‘ Glasgow follows a large number of reputable interpreters, in acknowledging the ” year-day principle,” when interpreting ” the times and the seasons ;” and that he recognises the principle of ” chronologic continuative fulfilment of the Apocalyptic prophecies,” in company with the majority of recent writers. The spiritual nature of ” the first resurrection,” which, from the time of Augustine, has been discerned ; the interpretation of Scripture by Scripture, finding the key to the meaning of prophetic terms in a comparison of their several uses, and rigidly adhering to one only meaning for each symbol, together with tho principle enunciated by Dr. Wordsworth, and often Bo effectively illustrated by Hengstenberg and others, that ” the law and the prophets prepared imagery for the Apocalypse,” are canons of interpretation also acknowledged and applied by him.

Premising that ” as in all allegorical writing, the terms, though literal, symbolise ideal objects,” the rules of interpretation adopted are thus stated :—

” 1. Every object in a vision of the future is a sign of something future.

” 2. Such signs are uniform.

” 3. Their times are symbolical of future times.

“4. The future objects and their times are greater than the visional signs.

” 5. These signs in the apocalyptic visions are derived from those employed in the prophetic visions of the Old Testament.

” 6. Explanations are not symbolical, but literal or rhetorical. This applies to the words of interpreting angels, to oracles or messages without vision, and especially to the words of Jesus, who neither received nor needed visions.”

The expositions are based upon a new translation of the text, for which the most ancient codices and versions have been taken as authorities. Of the translation we may say that while, on the whole, it is to be approved, yet a rigid adherence to verbal correspondence has disfigured many passages long familiar to the English ear, without giving them any greater clearness. Occasionally the rendering is grotesque, and has no similarity to current forms of speech. To insert such words as ” khiliad,” ” zoa,” ” oikonmene,” ” khoinices,” ” chiliarchs,” is not to translate : such are not English words. The translation of each verse is followed by exegetical and explanatory comments, which are unencumbered by homiletical reflections.

The prolegomena extend to twenty-nine sections, and form a useful and instructive part of the book. Many topics of extreme importance are examined, and the results stated with clearness and precision.

The internal and patristic evidence for the Johannaean authorship, accumulated by Stuart, Elliott, Alford, and others, is concisely stated. John’s banishment is placed about A.d. 51; and the writing of tho Apocalypse is held to be prior to that of the apostolical epistles. That the date assigned by the early expositors is too late is now generally admitted; but to fix it at so early a period as’ between 51 and 54 requires stronger evidence than is adduced. The assertions in the following extract are too bold: ” And particularly we must keep in view the fact that many parts of the Apocalypse are the express words of Jesus Himself. Especially is this the case with the second and third chapters, containing His Epistles to the Seven Churches. Now, we cannot think of the Lord as quoting or referring to the words of His own disciples, as authorities or illustrations of His meaning. He referred to the Old Testament prophecies when reasoning with those who did not receive Him as Messiah. But to them the testimony of His disciples would have been as nothing. In every coincidence between words of Jesus in the Apocalypse and of Apostles in the Acts or Epistles, the former are, in the very nature of the case, the original; the latter, the citation or allusion.” The quotation of passages is interesting, and certainly would not be without weight if the principle above stated could be admitted. But it is insufficient as an argument. For, supposing the words of the Apocalypse to be quotations from the Epistles, there is nothing derogatory in the Master referring to words used by His servants: putting His signature of approval and confirmation upon words which, indeed, are His own. But it should be borne in mind that a mere coincidence in forms of expression is not remarkable, when the same events and conditions are under review. Though still assigning the book to a later period, we will not detract from the weight which attaches to the patristic evidence here adduced in favour of the earlier one. The question is of too grave importance to be decided by a single stroke of the pen.

An important and necessary distinction is made in the canon of interpretation which affirms that ” The things seen in a vision are symbols; the things heard are explanations of their meaning, if spoken by the interpreter.” And we very highly commend the rigour with which our author demands an unswerving adhesion to fixed principles in the explanation of symbolic images. The patient student of ” the Revelation of Jesus Christ” cannot too frequently remember that the symbols used in this precious book to set forth the glory of Him who goeth forth conquering and to conquer, ” are not launched out at random in prophetic vision ; they are carefully selected by the revealer.” And it will not a little aid him in his researches to observe that their prophetic import is stated by the interpreters of the visions. Dr. Glasgow is right in saying that there is a wondrous harmony in St. John’s use of symbols; a harmony which is largely helpful to us in our inquiries for their hidden meaning. While the origin of the symbols is to be traced to the Old Testament vision, complaint is justly raised against the abuse of these obvious rules.

A further principle urged, and to which we give our adhesion, is, that ” various intimations of a speedy coming of Christ were fulfilled in the beginning of the Gospel age.” The spiritual presence of our Lord with His Church, ” invisibly, but potentially and vitally, during the whole Gospel age,” few would doubt; and “if Jesus came spiritually, invisibly, but personally and potentially, on the day of Pentecost, and judicially as King of Nations and Head of the Church, to judge Jerusalem and terminate the Jewish kingdom, all the intimations of His coming quickly are plain, easy, instructive and accordant with the grammatical and scriptural use of language.” Yet even this fails to fill up the whole of the scriptural representation of the coming of Christ. The imagery of this book declares the fact and illustrates the manner of His coming, in all the exigencies of His Church, and in all ages of the world; and to him who will read and understand, it is a true revelation of the appearing of Jesus Christ.

This book, which is the riddle of the Church to-day, was designed for the comfort of the simple-minded believers of the first age ; any difficult and involved method of interpretation is therefore inadmissible ; for though there may be depths of meaning they fathomed not —not knowing the things which the Spirit of God, which was in John, did minister unto the successive ages of the Church even to the end—yet must they have found instruction and consolation in them. The uniformity and harmony aimed at by Dr. Glasgow has its warrant here.

We cannot follow Dr. Glasgow through his interpretation of the several symbols ; nor stay to point out wherein we agree, and where we feel compelled to differ from him, as in several places we do. This would carry us beyond our limits.

But we must not omit a reference to the interpretation of Ihe “times.” The principle is stated in the prolegomena, and appears in the interpretation of chap. viii. ver. 1, (” there was silence in heaven about the space of half-an-hour “) where we read : “A day, then, being in the vision relating to times and seasons the prophetic symbol of a year, an hour, the twenty-fourth part of a day, represents 15 days, and half-an-hour=7i days. But our Lord remained in the tomb less than 3 full days,—from about sunset on the evening of burial to sunrise on that of the resurrection,=about 2J- days. He met His disciples at intervals during 40 days, until His ascension. Deduct, then, 42^ days from 50 days—the time from the Passover to the Pentecost—there remain 7£ days, or the prophetic half-hour. During that interval what occurred ? The preaching of the good tidings did not begin, nor did persecution openly awake against the believers. Jesus had instructed His disciples not to enter on their public mission until the fulfilment of His promise of giving the Holy Spirit. They obeyed, and with an assembly of brethren spent the interval in prayer and supplication, but uttered none of the public and predicted voice, calling on Jews and Gentiles to repent and believe the Gospel. They were for that interval silent. As nothing answering to this silence can be found at any other time, we have in this half-hour a key to the interpretation of the symbolic days, and a proof that the opening of the seventh seal, and therefore of the other six, was completed at the Pentecostal time, from which their respective fulfilments flowed on ; and thus we escape the perplexity of conflicting theories of the seals, ingeniously fanciful, but not scriptural.”

Again, and particularly in the interpretation of chap, xx., 2, 3, the same principle is applied in the interpretation of the thousand years. We read :—” A day is a period, a year a revolution. By great days God’s works are measured, and by years the reigns of kings are reckoned. Isaiah predicts ‘ the acceptable year of the Lord,’ and our Lord quoted his words (Luke iv. 19), and declared that this acceptable year began with His ministry. Thus the apostle Peter refers to John’s period of the reign of Christ, or millennium, and identifies it, in point of duration, with the gospel ‘ day,’ which Jesus says Abraham rejoiced to see (John viii. 56), and of which Paul says, ‘ Now is the day of salvation. The standard of prophetic measurement, the unit of calculation in prophetic times and seasons is ‘ a day for a year,’ as in the 40 days of the spies, the 70 weeks, the days of tithing (Amos iv. 4), and a day consisting of a summer and a winter (Zech. xiv. 6—8). Thus the millennial years, like other prophetic years, and the 42 months, must be taken in days = 360,000 days, the symbol of so many human years : that is the true mil- lenium, the magno-millennium. Those who expound thus, mayjustly take the name of magno-millenarians. It is at this point a fair and suitable question, whether we ought to reckon by intercalated time, rather than by mere months of thirty days. The Jews did intercalate, so as to keep the passovers always to the same season. If so, the actual number would be 365,248. This would make a small difference in the great period, having to it the ratio of 5J- days to a year.”

Here we must entirely depart from Dr. Glasgow. The definite interpretation of 1,000 years as 1,000 years of days, and then the re-interpretation of these days into years, is too literal for the language of symbol. Accepting the definition which he has given : a day, a period, a year, a revolution, it would be more in harmony with the spirit and general style of this book to see in this a prolonged period, or many revolutions. This we are prepared to do; and so, while as far as Dr. Glasgow from accepting the thousand years as literally so many years, we, with him, look forward to a prolonged period of the reign of the saints on the earth. To us, however, it is indefinite. That ” one day is, with the Lord, as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,” is not an arithmetical formula; but an indication that He is not restrained and bound by the limitations of time. If the “year day” principle is to be literally applied, in all fairness, ” the acceptable year of the Lord,” must be limited to 365 years ; and what are wo to make of the ” day of salvation,” and the ” day of vengeance of our God.” It is the ruin of all symbolical interpretation to introduce any portion of the symbol as literal.

The calculations on the probable increase of the world’s population, and the capability of the earth to provide for the wants of so large a number of inhabitants as, at the present rate of increase, would be found on the earth is, to us, utterly beside the dignity of this book ; and one of several instances of what appear as weaknesses, if not littlenesses, in Dr. Glasgow’s treatment.

There are other interpretations which we cannot accept, but we forbear. We have indicated, by the extent of this notice, our estimate of Dr. Glasgow’s effort to lay down principles of interpretation consistent with the general structure of the symbolic language of Scripture, and of his fidelity in striving to apply them to the exposition of the sacred text. That we differ widely from him in some important particulars is no evidence of our want of appreciation of the usefulness or value of his labours.” (v.40 1873 Apr-Jul)












187 2.


In the Exposition now offered, the author has followed a few
leading principles deduced from the Holy Scriptures, and
taught in substance by various patristic and modern writers.
Thus the principle that in prophecies of ” the times and the
seasons,” ” days denote years,” is recognised or implied in
Scott’s, Henry’s, and Barnes’ Commentaries ; in Brown’s Bible
with Dr. H. Cooke’^ ]^otes ; and in the prophetic interpreta-
tions of the Eev. Joseph Mede, Sir I. Newton, Bishops Newton
and Waldegrave, Eevs. Dr. D. Brown, Dr. Fairbairn, Dr. Keith,
Dr. Boothroyd, Dr. Gumming, Dr. A. M’Leod, E. B. Elliott,
Jonathan Edwards, Pt. Culbertson, G. S. Faber, etc.

Another principle closely allied to this is thus propounded
by Fr. Turretine : ” Christ suggested to His servant those
things which were to happen even to the end of the age.” And
Calvin repudiates the opinion of those who sum up the king-
dom of Christ in 1000 (human) years, as an error branding
with contumely Christ and His kingdom. The principle of
chronological continuative fulfilment of the apocalyptic pro-
phecies is maintained by the great majority of eminent inter-
preters since the Eeformation.

The kindred principle of the spiritual nature of the first
resurrection is asserted by Augustine : ” All those who have
part in the first resurrection lived and reigned with Christ
1000 years, that is, in the present age. This is the first re-


surrection ; as Paul says, ‘ If ye then be risen with Christ,’ etc.
As the first death is in this life by sin, so the first resurrec-
tion is in this life by the remission of sin.” He also says,
” We shall take care to explain according to anagoge ” — or the
application of words of Scripture as symbols referring to future
events. In reference to the holy city, and the ^yitnesses, Jerome
says, ” These things must be understood in a spiritual sense ; ”
and he expresses his dissent from a premillennial interpretation,
by saying, ” Because of this opinion, some introduce 1000
years after the resurrection.”

The author, however, has not found a uniform adherence to
these principles among any class of interpreters ; and to this
cause he attributes much of the error that obscures the Apoca-

Another principle of paramount importance is thus expressed
by Justin Martyr : ” I do not choose to follow men or men’s
doctrines, but God, and the doctrines that are from Him.” On
this principle, the author accepts of Scripture alone as his
authority, and the comparison of its prophetic terms as a key
to their meaning.

Dr. Wordsworth states a maxim thus : ” The law and the
pro^jhets prepared imagery for the Apocalypse.” The Eev.
John Davidson, D.D., ” views the entire subject of the Apoca-
lypse as strongly marked by a system of chronological order.”
The Eev. E. B. Elliott also adopts the principle, that, ” from
the very beginning of the Apocalypse throughout, Jewish
emblems have been proved to be used of the Christian

In harmony witli these and other leading princii)les of
ancients and moderns, the author aims at nothing beyond
their uniform application ; and from such application of them
to every part of the Apocalypse, will result anything new he


may advance. While he does not affect to conceal his impres-
sion that he has thus been enabled to present new though
obvious views of various places in the book, by bringing
them into close comparison with the earlier Scriptures (re-
cognising the plenary inspiration of all Scripture)* and by
frequent historic illustrations of the fulfilment of each pro-
phecy in its time, he can honestly say, he has neither
sought novelty, nor made it a ground of preference.

The principles of sound interpretation may be concisely
presented thus, — premising that, as in all allegorical writing,
the terms, though literal, symbolize ideal objects :

1. Every object in a vision of the future is a sign of som.e-
thing future.

2. Such signs are uniform.

3. Their times are symbolical of future times.

4. The future objects and their times are greater than the
visional signs.

5. These signs in the apocalyptic visions are derived from
those employed in the prophetic visions of the Old Testament.

6. Explanations are not symbolical, but literal or rhetorical.
This applies to the words of interpreting angels, to oracles or
messages, without vision, and especially to the words of Jesus,
who neither received nor needed visions.

The author desires to avoid everything savouring of self-im-
portance ; but he may fairly say that, from his college days, he
has been a student of the prophetic Scriptures ; that he has ever
since been in communication with men of all shades of thought
on the subject of prophecy ; that, besides the many works cited
or noticed, he has read various others, presenting all types of
prophetic theory ; that, in his missionary life, he was provi-
dentially led to a more textual, enlarged, and independent
study of the whole subject than would have been possible for


him otherwise ; that, besides such training process, he had the
honour of being secretary of a Translation Committee, under
the auspices of the Bombay Branch Bible Society, and of co-
operating in a translation of the Old and N”ew Testament from
the originals into the Gujarati language ; that, while he was
thus employed, many translations, in various languages, were
constantly compared, much critical apparatus was used, and all
biblical terms carefully studied in conjunction or correspon-
dence with many learned friends ; and that these long-continued
exercises effectually placed him beyond reliance on interpre-
ters, however useful as helps, and led him to seek truth in the
harmonies of the Bible itself.

The men of the present generation are in a better position
than those of any previous age, for knowing the fulfilment of
prophecy. And certainly the events of the last few years
should stimulate to a fresh study of ” the signs of the times.”
The progress of events conformable to predictions adds greatly
to the cumulative evidence of Christianity ; and this will go
on until, imder great eJEfusion of the Holy Spirit, all infidelity
and false religion will be overborne, and rationalistic scepticism
will have no more footing. The events connected with the
fall of the mystic Babylon, and the evangelization of blinded
Mohammedans and Eomanists, of gross Hindus and apostate
Jews, will remove the vast obstructions which have hitherto
impeded Christian work; and the gospel ministry, with its
two arms of the school and the press, will carry the good
tidings everywhere. The Word of God will not be bound.

” Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this

In quoting Scripture, the author has kept in view the mode
in which our Lord and the apostles quoted — generally in the
words of the Seventy, or of the Hebrew expressed in Greek,


and always in tlie true meaning. His quotations generally,
but not slavishly, follow our standard versions ; and lie lias
uniformly based his expositions on a close translation of the
text, taking as principal authorities the most ancient codices
and versions — especially the Codex Sinaiticus ; the Codex
Alexandrinus ; the Syriac and Latin ; and the Editions of
Mill, Tischendorf, Alford, Tregelles, Theile, etc.

Without occasionally adducing the words of the original
languages of the Scriptures, it is impossible to treat such a
subject as this in any tolerable manner. Nor could the ques-
tions relating to the authorship of the Apocalypse and the
time of writing be satisfactorily discussed, without quoting
testimonies or opinions of the earliest Christian writers.
English readers are requested to give the author credit for
endeavouring to do this sparingly, — much more so than has
been done in elaborate works of Stuart, Elliott, and others.
And the meaning of quotations is also generally appended in
English. The same applies to occasional oriental words used
for phiLological illustration.

As he has not proposed to follow any master, but the in-
spired writers, he may be censured by the adherents of oppo-
site systems. Having deduced first principles from Scripture,
as he understands it, these he has attempted to elaborate ; and
if, in any exposition, he has failed in this respect, he will hold
such topic open for reconsideration. In quoting writers, he
has not intentionally indulged in either eulogy or censorious
strictures ; but has studied to put before the reader, frankly
and without evasion, what he believes the meaning of each
verse and word. To be treated in the same manner would be
but a reasonable expectation ; but that this is more than he
can anticipate, his acquaintance with the animus too often
found in prophetic interpretations leads him to fear. What-


ever bearing his interpretations may seem to have on pro-
phetical or ecclesiastical systems, he has always cherished, in
proportion as he has advanced in years, the most fraternal
feeling to Christ’s people, without any limit of church or party.
Without the formality of dedication, he begs to tender
hearty thanks to the learned theological friends who, after
perusing or hearing portions of his manuscript, at their own
selection, cordially recommended him to proceed with the pub-
lication ;^ and to many other friends for very gratifying corre-
spondence. He is conscious that many of his expositions,
especially of the Epistles to the Seven Churches, and of the
last two chapters, are too brief ; in fact, little more than heads
of exposition. Notwithstanding this, tlie work has quite out-
grown the limits he intended ; while he holds himself ready
to receive and consider friendly suggestions for supplementing
deficiencies ; and to all thoughtful and devout readers he
regards himself, like Paul, ” a servant for Jesus’ sake.”

‘ Names and testimonials were given in the Prospectus.




HIS lias been exhaustively established by Stuart,
EUiot, Alford, and others. Disposed at first simply
to refer to them, I now propose no more than to
present some of the facts and authorities in a more
concise form, with a slight notice of internal evidence.

I, The writer calls himself John,^ and a servant of Jesus
Christ, in the same manner as Paul,^ Peter,^ and Jude.’* In
his second and third Epistles, indeed, he does not introduce his
name : he is not there addressing churches, but individuals.
He calls himself the Elder, as does Peter ;^ and though he
does not apply to himself singly the word ” apostle,” he calls
himself a witness, in terms which none but one of the original
disciples could truly use : ” Who testified to the word of
God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, whatever he saw.” ^

II, He was visited in Patmos by the messengers of the
seven churches, as the elders of Ephesus on another occasion
visited PauV — a fact not recorded in the apostolic time of any
elder other than an apostle.

III, Ji.nd we find no mention of any other known and
recognised elder of the period bearing the name of John.
To suppose the book written by any such presbyter would
exclude it from the apostoHc period altogether ; but its marks
of an early apostolic origin are too clear to leave room for
such a hypothesis, as I shall show in Sect. iii.

1 Ch. i. 4, 9, xxii. 8. The Textus Receptus has the name also in ch. xxi. 2.

2 Rom. i. 1. 3 2 Pet. i. 1. * Jude 1.

5 1 Pet. V. 1. 6 Ch. i. 2. ^ Acts xx. 17.


IV. The peculiarity of the apocalyptic style has been
both cavilled at and exaggerated. But the legitimate infer-
ences from its decided Hebraistic cast are : that John was
deeply conversant with Hebrew, or Syriac, which was called
the Hebrew of the period ; and that, guided by inspiration, he
drew his imagery from the Hebrew Scriptures ; and that he
must have written the Apocalypse when comparatively young.
Accordingly, his Epistles and Gospel are admitted to have less
of the Hebrew idiom than his Apocalypse imiformly exhibits.
It would have been practically impossible for any man after
the apostles to have written such a document. In the whole
history of forgeries, nothing equal to it could be adduced, if
written after the death of John.

V. Various verbal coincidences have been pointed out by
Stuart and others between the Apocalypse and John’s admitted
writings, and many more may be added : as, ” the Word of
God ;” the repeated use of a\7)0i,vo<;, true, in both more fre-
quent than in any other parts of the New Testament ; the
recurrence of o vlkcov, he ivho overeomes, as in John xvi. 33 ;
the word apvtov, for lamh, used only in John’s Gospel and the
Apocalypse. He speaks of “all things that he saw,” ch,
i. 2, as in 1 John i. 2, ” That which we have seen,” etc. ;
he calls Christ the Faithful Witness, as ” witness” is frequent
in John’s Gospel and the first Epistle in reference to Christ.
He speaks of love, as Jesus does in the Gospel ; of washing
robes, as in John’s Gospel ; of Jesus washing the disciples.
Analogies of thought and words run thus : —

John xvi. 33: “Ye sliall have tribulation.” Eev. vii. 14: “Out of
great tribulation.”

John xiv. 19 : “I live.” Rev. i. 18 : “I am He that liveth.”

1 John iv. 1: “Try the spirits.” Rev. ii. 2: “Thou hast tried them
who call themselves apostles.”

2 John 9 : ” Deceivers,” etc. Rev. ii. 15: ” Nicolaitans.”

John iv. 32 : “Meat that ye know not of.” Rev. ii. 17 : ” The hidden

John i. 34 (and freq.) : ” Son of God.” Rev. ii. 18 : ” Son of God.”

John ii. 22: ” He knew what was in man.” Rev. ii. 23: ” Searcheth
the reins.”

John xiv. 3, 19, etc.: “I will come.” Rev. xxii. 22: “I come

1 John V. 5: ” Overcome the wicked.” Rev. ii. 7, etc. : “To him tliat


John X. 18: “I received of my Father.” Rev. ii. 2i: “I received of
my Father.”

John xiv. 21 : ” Keepeth my commandments.” Rev. xii. 17 : ” Which
keep the commandments.”

John ix. 6 : “He anointed the eyes.” Rev. ii. 18 : ” Anoint thine

John V. 22: “Honour the Son as the Father,” Rev. iii. 21: “Set
down with my Father in His throne.”

John xvi. 13 : ” Show things to come.” Rev. i. 19 : ” The things which
shall be hereafter.”

John i. 29 : ” The Lamb.” Rev. v. 6 (et multa) : “The Lamb,”

John iii. 35: “Given all things into His hand.” Rev. ii. 24: “As I
received of my Father.”

John xix. 11-22 : Of power given to Pilate and the high priest. Rev.
vi. 2 : Of power to the red horse.

John xvi. 2 : ” They that kill you.” Rev. vi. 9 : ” Slain for the word
of God.”

John vi. 27 : ” Him hath God sealed.” Rev. vii. 2 : ” The seal of the
living God.”

John i. 14 : “Dwelt among us.” Rev. xxi. : “He will tabernacle with

John vi. 35 : ” Shall never hunger.” Rev. vii. 16 : “They shall hunger
no more.”

John xxi. 16 : ” Feed my sheep.” Rev. vii. 17 : ” The Lamb shall feed

John vii. 37 : ” Living water.” Rev. xxii. 17 : ” Living water.”

John xii. 31 : ” The prince of this world.” Rev. ix. 11 : “A king of the
abyss — Abaddon.”

John xvii. 4 : ” I finished the work.” Rev. xi. 7 : ” TVhen they finish
their testimony.”

John iii. 29 : ” The bride.” Rev. xix. 10, xxi. 9 : ” The bride, the
Lamb’s wife.”

John xii. 31 : ” The prince of this world is cast out.” Rev. xii. 9 :
” The dragon was cast out — the devil.”

1 John ii. 13 : ” Ye have overcome the evil.” Rev. xii. 11 : ” They
overcame by their testimony.”

1 John V. 2 : ” That we keep His commandments.” Rev. xiv. 12 :
” That keep the commandments.”

John xii. 19 : “The world have gone after him.” Rev. xiii. 3 : “All
the world wondered after the beast.”

John viii. 12 : ” Who follows me.” Rev. xiv. 4 : ” Who follow the

John i. 47 : ” In whom is no guile.” Rev. xiv. 4 : “In whose mouth is
no guile.”

John V. 28 : ” The hour cometh.” Rev. xviii. 10 : ” In one hour has
judgment come.”

1 John V. 19 : ” The whole world.” Rev. xi. 15 : ” This world.”

John xix. 30 : ” It is finished.” Rev. x. 7 : ” The mystery finished.”


John V. 39 : ” Testify of me.” Eev. xix. 10 : ” The testimony of

John xiv. 6 : ” The way and the truth.” Rev. iii. 14 : ” The faithful

and true.”

1 John V. 12 : “He that hath the Son hath life.” Rev. xiii. 8 : ” The

book of life of the Lamb.”

John i. 14 : ” Dwelt among us.” Rev. xxi. 3 : ” God shall dwell with


John xi. 26 : ” Shall never die.” Rev. xxi. 4 : “No more death.”
John xii. 29 : ” A voice from heaven.” Rev. iv. 13 : “A great voice.”
1 John iii. 1 : ” AYe are sons of God.” Rev. xxi. 5 : “He shall be to

me a son.”

1 John iv. 18: ” He that feareth is not made perfect.” Rev. xxi. 8:

“The fearful.”

John viii. 44 : ” The devil is a liar.” Rev. xxi. 8 : ” All liars.”

John xvii. 24: “The glory I have given them.” Rev. xxi. 23: “The

glory of God illumined it.”

John XV. 26 : ” The Spirit that proceedeth from the Father.” Rev.

xxii. 1 : ” The river from the throne.”

John iv. 24 : ” They must worship Him in spirit.” Rev. xxii. 9 :

“”Worship God.”

John X. 7 : ” Enter in.” Rev. xxii. 14 : ” They may enter in.”

John iv. 29 : ” Come and see.” Rev. xxii. 17 : ” Come.”

John vii. 37 : ” Let him come and drink.” Rev. xxii. 17 : ” Let the

thirsty come.”

John xxi. 25: “If he tarry till I come.” Rev. iii. 11: “I come


yi. I miglit proceed ; but unquestionably the coincidences
in words, and still more in thoughts, between the Gospel of
John and the Apocalypse, different as their subjects are, per-
fectly harmonize with unity of authorship. The coincidences
are rarest just where we might expect them to be rare, — in
the visions, the imagery or prophetic technicality of which is
drawn from the Old Testament, and not intended for ordinary
or narrative style. It has been correctly said by Davison and
Alford, that writers, for the purpose of strengthening their
theories, have greatly exaggerated the difference of style be-
tween the two books.

VII. He introduces his own name in the introduction,
and in recording the circumstances of the opening vision ;
and also in tlie conclusion. This is not, as some rationalists
have cavillingly alleged, a mark of a spurious composition.
The omission of the name in the Gospel is in the manner of
^Matthew, Mark, and Luke, who do not name tliemselves as the


writers ; while in naming himself in the prophetic book he is
consistent : for Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and some of
the minor prophets, name themselves ; and that not merely in
the titles, which might have been appended by scribes, but
in the matter of their prophecies.

VIII. Nor does he simply give himself the name of John,
which any writer bearing that name might use. He says :
” John, the servant {SovXo’?) of Jesus Christ.” This is a mode
of introduction employed by Paul,-^ James,^ Peter,^ and Jude,’*
John does not name himself in his Epistles ; but in the first
he speaks of himself as having seen, and heard, and touched
the Lord Jesus ; and in the second and third he styles him-
self (irpea-^vTepo^) the elder. This shows that when “John
the presbyter ” is mentioned, there is no reason to suppose
that in each case any other is meant. Though Dionysius ol
Alexandria conjectures that John Mark or some other John
may be meant, he does not rest this on the word ” elder.”

IX. In the fragments of Papias given by Eusebius, John
the presbyter is mentioned ; but along with Andrew, Thomas,
Philip, Peter, and Matthew.^ There might have been many
presbyters of the name of John, but no other is associated
with the Apocalypse ; as there were in England other Bacons
besides the author of the Novum Organon, — as his father, and
the celebrated Eoger Bacon, — but this fact would not warrant
the ascription of that work to any of them. John, in the
Apocalypse, has not left a trace of being another than the

X. Justin (a.d. 140-160) bears unec[uivocal testimony:
” There was a certain man with us whose name was John,
one of the apostles of Christ, who prophesied by a revelation
{a-n-oKaXv^et), that those who believed in our Christ woidd
dwell a thousand years in Jerusalem, and thereafter the
general judgment would take place.” These words have often
been referred to as identifying Justin with the Chiliasts, or
pre-miHenarians. But this chiliasm of his is something widely
different from the modern doctrine, in support of which his
name is adduced ; for his millennium includes ” those who
believe in Christ,” and not a smaU section of them as the

1 Rom. i. 1. 2 jas. i. 1. 3 2 Pet. i. 1. * Jude 1.

5 Stuart, p. 292 ; and Ante-Nicene Christian Library, vol i. p. 442.


martyrs. It supposes tliem all to dwell in Jerusalem (which
must mean the spiritual Jerusalem) ; and it says nothing of
a visible presence of Christ in that Jerusalem, wliile it speaks
of a general judgment only after the millennium. Llicke en-
deavours to obviate this, by an argument that would neutralize
almost all ancient testimonies, — that we know not w^hat in-
quiries the author made. For instance, we may say of Ire-
nceus, on whose opinion the theory of the late date of the
Apocalypse is founded, that we know not what inquiries he
made about it, except that he listened to the tales of certain

XI. Melito, a contemporary of Justin, is said by Eusebius
to have written a book about the Apocalypse of John ; and
both Stuart and Alford argue truly, that if Eusebius had
thought any other John meant by Melito, he ^vould have made
it a ground of objection, as he was sceptical as to apostolic

XII. The same applies to testimonies from Theophilus of
Antioch (a.d. 169), and ApoUonius, near the end of the second
century, both cited by Eusebius.

XIII. Irenajus (192), in B. iv. 20, 11, employs the words,
” John the Lord’s disciple says in the Apocalypse,” which he
foUows by citing Eev. i. 12-16. So in iv. 30. 4 he speaks
of “those things which John the disciple of the Lord saw in
the Apocalypse.” To suppose any other than one of the dis-
ciples wdiom the Lord constituted apostles, is nothing better
than cavilling, which Stuart and Alford obviate.

XIV. Clemens Alexandrinus (200), in his Ti? o aQ)^o/x€vo<;
ttXouto?, xlii., speaks of ” not a myth, but a true oracle de-
livered by the Apostle John, who after the death of tlie sove-
reign was transferred from Patmos to Ephesus.”^ The John
here spoken of is expressly called by Clement ” an apostle,” and
said to have been in Patmos, which shows Clement’s opinion,
that he was the author of the Apocalypse ; and in other places
also he ascribes it to John.

XV. TertuUian (199-220) says, in his Treatise against
Marcion, iii. 14, “The Apostle John, in the Apocalypse, de-
scribes a sword which proceeded from the mouth of God.”
He also says, ” Ezekiel knew, and the Apostle John saw the

> Sec Sect, IV.


new Jerusalem.” The two-edged sword of Eev. i. 1 6 and the
vision of ch. xxi. and xxii. are by this father ascribed to the
Apostle John, not to any other, in after-time.

XVI. Hippolytus (200), in his Christ and Antichrist, 36,
speaking of ” John in the isle of Patmos,” says, ” Tell me,
blessed John and disciple of the Lord, what didst thou see
and hear concerning Babylon ?” It also appears from an in-
scription on a statue of Hippolytus at Eome, and from a testi-
mony of Jerome, that he wrote a book on the Gospel and
Apocalypse of John,” — implying the same author of both.

XVII. Both Stuart and Alford testify to the faithful care
exercised by Origen (233) respecting the books of the canon.
His admission of the Apocalypse into the canon shows that he
held it to be apostolic, and ascribed it to the Apostle John. He
says in his commentary on John : ” What shall be said of him
who leaned on the breast of Jesus ? He has left us one Gos-
pel, declaring he could compose so many that the world could
not contain them ; and he wrote also the Apocalypse.”

XVIII. Cyprian (250) calls the Apocalypse “divine scrip-
ture,” thus including it in the canon of inspiration.

XIX. Ephrem the Syrian, in the latter part of the fourth
century, repeatedly refers to the Apocalypse as scripture, using
the phrase, “as we have heard the apostle saying.” Hence
Alford concludes that a Syriac version of the Apocalypse existed
earlier than the time of Ephrem, — either the version now
known, or an earlier.

XX. Epiphanius (368), bishop of Cyprus, styled fcntaglottos
(the five-tongued) from his unusual linguistic knowledge, con-
tends against the Alogi (unreasonables), because they rejected
the Gospel and Apocalypse of John ; and he speaks of ” the
holy prophets and holy apostles, among whom the holy John,
by the Gospel, the Epistles, and the Apocalypse, communicated
of his holy gift.”

XXI. Ambrose (397) cites verses of Eev. xxi., attributing
them to ” John the evangelist,” author of the Gospel. And he
says of the Apocalypse : ” Non ab alio Joanne, sed ab illo qui
evangelium scripsit ” (” It is not written by another John, but
by him who wrote the Gospel “).^

XXII. Augustine repeatedly refers to ” what John the

1 Ambr. Sept. Visiones.


apostle says in the Apocalypse ; ” and ” in tlie Apocalypse of
the same John, whose is the Gospel.”

XXIII. In the works attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite,
but thought to be of the fourth or fifth century {Epist. x.), John
the evangelist, or beloved disciple, is identified with John who
was in Patmos : Ev IlaTfico j}v\aic7}<;, which the Latin translator
has rendered, ” in ergastulo Patmi,” in the luorhshop of Patmos.
He could not have thought John of a great age.

XXIV. However laudable the extended researches of the
modern writers referred to, and of others, I think this brief
notice sufficient. Nor can I think it essential to clearness of
evidence, to follow fathers and councils in times after the fourth

XXV. As to denials of the apostolic authorship, Tertullian^
speaks of Marcion the heretic as rejecting the Apocal}^se.
Against this father it is charged that he supported the cause of
Montanus, a heretic of the latter part of the second century,
who (like Mohammed some four centuries later) pretended to
be ” the Comforter ” (JJapaK\.r]To<;) promised by Christ,^ and
asserted the doctrine of a visible presence of Christ in the
millennium. As the Gospel of John contained the former
doctrine, and the Apocalypse the latter, so some of his oppo-
nents, with equal ignorance and dogmatism, rejected these
inspired books, and received the name of Alogi (AXoyoi),
rendered in the English version ” unreasonable ” and ” brute.”
The controversy was waged principally about Thyatira.^ The
Alogi, it would seem, could not have been numerous, but tliey
were joined by the Monarchians, who asserted mere humani-
tarianism. The truth lay between the extremes of Alogi and
Chiliasts. The former gave no reason for rejecting the Apoca-
lypse, excepting the perversion and secularization of its doctrine
by the Montanist pre-millenarians. To neither extreuie is
any respect due, both being devoid of evidence, and invented
merely for the support of pre-formed theories. The modern
pre-millenarians differ in endeavouring so to interpret Scrip-
ture as to make it speak their doctrine; and their interpretations
will be met and handled in detail, as we proceed ; and they
are charged with not starting from principles which can he
followed uniformly.

‘ Contra Marcion. – John xiv. 16. ‘ llagcnbacli’s Hist, of Doctr.




I. The following historic facts and dates may assist in
forming distinct ideas on this subject : —

a. The resurrection of Christ took place in A.D. 29. Hales
dates it 31; but this would suppose Clmst to have suffered in
His 3oth year. However 33 is the age almost uniformly
reckoned, which j^laces the crucifixion in 29 ; and this date
is assigned by Townsend and Greenfield. Men’s theoretic
opinions have strangely influenced their statements respecting
both the year and the day of the week. They have generally
assumed Friday as the day of the crucifixion according to the
Gospels; while some have fixed a.d. 33, others 32, 31, 30, or
29. Now, if the day of the paschal full moon was a particular
day of the week on one of these years, it could not be the same
day of the week on any other of these years.^

h. Various reliable authorities date the conversion of Paul not
more than four years subsequent, — in A.D. 33. Now he states
(Gal. i. 18, ii. 1) that three years after his conversion he went to
Jerusalem, and fourteen years afterwards a second time. The
first of these visits, therefore, was in 3 6 (before the conversion
of Cornelius, which is referred to 40), while all the disciples
remained in Judea ; and the second in 49 or 50, the year of the
council at Jerusalem.^ At this meeting all the surviving apostles
were probably present, though, besides Paul, Luke names only
Peter and James.

^ I have before me various calculations wliicli I made several years ago, and
some which I procured from some scientific friends. Sir I. Newton, Scaliger,
Petavius, and various others, enumerated by Hales, made calculations, most of
which, however, are vitiated by an endeavour to make the paschal full moon
fall on Friday in a given year, that year being different in almost each case.

2 See Olshausen’s Tables Introductory to Acts. Eusebius places the cruci-
fixion of Jesus and the conversion of Paul in the same year ; Usher and
Olshausen make a difference of two years ; Bengel of one ; Greenfield, Hales,
Home, and Townsend of four. This last avoids untenable extremes, and har-
monizes with other dates. Lactantius, Clinton, Greenfield, Townsend, etc.
date the crucifixion a.d. 29, — a date that may be regarded as settled.


c. It is also generally admitted that James’s martjTdom
and the death of Herod occurred in a.d. 43 or 44.^

II. John, forced to flee from Herod, who was jealous of
the family of David, would naturally betake himself to Eome,
to appeal, as Paul afterwards did, to Cnesar, who at that period
entertained no such jealousy. But after the death of Herod,
his son, Herod Agrippa ii., would be equally menacing to
John’s life. The apostle may have continued to preach in
Eome until the edict of Claudius, in a.d. 51.^ As only one
banishment of John is recorded or supposed, the banishment
must have included John, unless it w^ere shown, which cannot
be done, that he was not there. And the place must have
been Patmos, mentioned by John himself, whether his relega-
tion was expressly to it, or he went to it in common with
other Christians on expulsion from Eome. When Paul wrote
to the Eomans, a Christian church existed tliere ; but it is
altogether improbable that any apostle was resident or per-
mitted to reside in Eome at that time, — about six years after
the edict of Claudius. He salutes Priscilla and Aquila ; but
though they were in Eome and labouring faithfully, I cannot
believe that the church was planted in such a city as Eome
without any apostolic visit, though in secondary places other
ministers were successful in the formation of churches.

III. To resist this conclusion, requires a number of unsup-
ported assumptions, and contradicts, as we shall soon find,
reliable statements of some early fathers. Now if John went
to Patmos in A.D. 51, or even early in 54, the Apocalypse
might have been written within the period (50-54) during
which Lucius Domitius, who received the title of Xero, was
associated as C«Tsar with Claudius. In that case, the opinion
of Epiphanius, that the book was written in the reign of
Claudius, is in harmony with that expressed in the title of
the Syriac version, that it was written in the reign of Nero
Cccsar f while the meaning of the phrase used by Iren?eus —
” the Domitian reign,” or ” the reign of Domitian,” on wliich
so much stress has been laid, as if Irenoeus were inspired — is

1 Townsend, Hales, Greenfield, Fausett. * Acts xviii. 1 ; To%vnsend, etc.

3 This title Nero Caesar implies that it was during the lifetime of Claudius,
after which he became Augustus, “a title which coutinucd to bo reserved for
the monarch.”


a vexed question, whether it was the reign of Domitian or of
Domitius Nero, — in other words, whether hofieriavov is a noun
or a derivative adjective.

IV. This date will imply that the Apocalypse was written
earlier than the apostolic Epistles — the only ones referred by
most authorities nearly to the same time, being First and Second
Thessalonians and Galatians. This we shall illustrate by in-
ternal evidence in Sec. iii., and corroborate by early patristic
statements in Sec. IV. In the meantime, an attempt may be
made to bar all further inquiry, by alleging that the church at
Ephesus was planted by Paul or John ; that the former, in ad-
dressing the presbyters of Ephesus,^ anticipates a declension ;
and that the early date does not allow time for this declension
to creep in, as the charge of forsaking her first love in the
second chapter of the Apocalypse shows that she was doing.

V. This objection makes an assumption which cannot
be sustained by historic fact. For when Paul first visited
Ephesus,^ he found there Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos, yea
and twelve disciples of John the Baptist, all employed before
him in publishing the gospel at Ephesus. The latter may
have been there almost from the time of the Baptist’s death,
though labouring mainly among Jewish residents. Though
these twelve knew not of the pentecostal effusion of the Holy
Ghost, they knew the gospel and the doctrine of the Holy
Spirit, which John strongly and clearly preached.^ There was
more than ample time for the creeping in of a declension-, after
the novelty of the new religion had subsided, as might be
illustrated by historic examples.*

VI. As to the declension, its nature and time are both mis-
interpreted, as if it did not exist until after Paul’s departure
from Ephesus. But the contrary is evident. He says in ad-
dressing them,^ ” I ceased not (vovOercov) to warn you night
and day with tears.” The verb here rather means to rc2m-
mand or remonstrate, and points to the past rather than the

1 Acts XX. 17. 2 Acts xix. 1 ; Conybeare and Howson, i. 453.

3 Matt. iii. 11 ; John i. 29, iii. 31-36.

* Thus a great revival took place in Ireland in 1859 ; yet on my return from
India in 1864 I found devout Christians in various places bewailing the visible
signs of declension. So the famous Edwards, in New England, found declension
in a very few years succeeding revival.

5 Acts XX. 31.


future. John’s disciples, though teaching gospel truth, had
fallen behind the standard of tlieir master, for he had testified
to the fulness of the gift of the Spirit ;^ yet they had failed
to comprehend the fact of it, and were little or not at all in-
formed of the Pentecostal effusion ; and while in the church
of Ephesus in the time of the Apocalypse, and of Paul’s visit
two or three years later, there were labour, patience, and
zeal for truth, there were shortcomings on the part of some,
which led Paul to exhort them with tears. There is not a
syllable tending to show a declension originating between
John’s sojourn in Patmos and Paul’s address to the elders at
Ephesus. The declension began earlier than either, and was
doubtless spreading from year to year.

Alford (vol. iv. p. 240) cites from Tacitus an account of
an earthquake which completely destroyed Laodicea in A.D.
62 ; and justly considers this fact as quite conflicting with
the wealth and external prosperity of the Laodiceans, when the
Lord addressed to them the seventh epistle : ” Thou sayest,
I am rich, and increased in goods ” (Eev. iii. 1 7). It plainly
follows, that the Apocalypse was not written in the latter
part of Nero’s reign. And it would be a marvellous circum-
stance if the city could have recovered such prosperity in
thirty-three years, as required by the late date. This may be
met by referring to an earlier destruction of Laodicea by earth-
quake, mentioned as having occurred in the reign of Tiberius,
— perhaps contemporaneously with that at the death of Christ,
in the eighteenth year of Tiberius, A.D. 29. From this date
to A.D. 51 was an interval of only twenty-two years. After
this earlier catastrophe, the city was repaired out of Tiberius’s
treasury ;^ while, after the latter, the people had to repair
it out of their own resources {inopriis opibiis). In this case,
it must have required a very much longer time to bring it up
to the prosperous state indicated. It seems thus very plain,
that the book must have been written before the earthquake
of A.D. 62. This may be compared with what has recently
occurred at Chicago. A large portion of that city (though,
judging from maps published, a minor portion of it) was a
few weeks ago consumed by a conflagration. It is speedily

‘ John iii. 34.

2 See Enc. Brit. ; Smith, Dk. of Geog. ; Iwp. Die. of Bib. ; Alford, etc.


rising from its aslies, because of great sums of money raised
not only in the United States, but in the cities of Britain and
Ireland, etc. ; and because of immense sums for which various
great insurance companies are responsible. Without such re-
sources, Chicago would still have been able, with the aid of
modern commerce and railways, to recover its status much
more rapidly than was possible for Laodicea after the second
earthquake, when left solely to its own impoverished people
who had escaped. These facts indicate very strongly that
neither the reign of Domitian, nor the latter part of that of
Domitius Claudius Nero, answers to the state of Laodicea at
the time of writing; while the period stated already (a.d.
51-54) accurately agrees with it.

VII. Nor is the early date open to any objection on the
supposition that the Neronian persecution did not extend to
the provinces. Even if that were shown, it would not apply
to the case. The persecution in question is the relegation of
the Christians by Claudius ; and these, when banished from
Eome, had no alternative but to go to distant places, and
wherever they went they would be treated as outlaws. It is
stated on the one hand by Guerike,^ that the persecution set
on foot by Nero did extend over the provinces, and on the
other by Waddington ^ and the Enc. Brit., that the persecution
raised by Domitian, to whose time the advocates of the late
date refer the Apocalypse, was less general, being directed
mainly against nobles and philosophers. The Claudian banish-
ment meets all the circumstances.

VIII. Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy weeks presents an
irrefragable proof that the whole of the New Testament, the
Apocalypse included, must have been written before the fall of
Jerusalem and the end of the Jewish kingdom. One predicted
event to be accomplished before these weeks expired, was ” to
seal up vision and prophet.”^ The verb here employed, “to
seal ” C^^Cj I’hdtmn), means to bring to a close {sigillare, com-
plcre, finire — Ges.). A document cannot be legally sealed
until it is complete. A book sealed cannot be read ; knowledge
sealed cannot be published. Even in the cognate Arabic the
same root ( Jc^, kJiatm, to conclude) has the same meaning, as

‘ Guer. Ch. Hist. 2 Wad. Ch. Hist. ^ Dan. ix. 24.


Mohammedans style Mohammed “the seal (the last) of the
prophets,” and accordingly acknowledge none after him.

IX. When did the seventy weeks end ? No date later than
that of the fall of Jerusalem (a.d. 70) can with any truth or
plausibility be supposed, for these weeks were ” determined on
the holy city.” ^ But many say they ended earlier, — at the death
of Christ. Against this, however, in the above, and some other
particulars, there lie weighty objections, as Scaliger, Hales, and
others have shown. Let us look at the objects which were to
be accomplished before these weeks ran out.

X. In Dan. ix. 24 we have an unbroken period of seventy
weeks, and in ix. 26 a collateral period, commencing seven
weeks or forty-nine years sooner, and accordingly broken into
three parts : 7 + 62-1-1 = 70. The seventy weeks in ix. 24
were determined thus :

1. ” On thy people and on the holy city!’ — No interpretation
can be true which makes this end with the death of Christ,
which it does not even mention. The Jewish people and
Jerusalem are its terminus ad quern.

2. ” To finish the transgression” (VK’sn n?3, to restrain the
transgression). — ^Wliatever is meant by the transgression, it was
to be restrained, coerced, or put a stop to before the end of the
seventy weeks. The noun here used is defined by Gesenius
and Fiirst, ” defection, rebellion, perfidy, covenant-breaking,”
etc. Now the special sin by which the Jews summed up their
guilt was rebellion against their true king, Messiah. This
was coerced only in the fall of the city and nation.

3. ” To make an end^ of sin” (niNJsn nnn). — The verb is the
same as in the sealing of vision and prophet, — to bring sins to
an end by atonement.

4. ” To make reconciliation for sin,” — to cover iniquity by
imputed righteousness.

5. ” To hring in everlasting righteousness” — by sanctification.

6. ” To seal vision andj^rophct ” {^”?}) PJn)^ — by bringing both
to an end. The vision whicli tlie pro])liut was wont to see Avas to
cease ; and the prophet himself, not the prophecy merely, was
to lose official status, and neither to receive vision, nor be entitled

1 Dan. ix. 24.

* Here some suppose tlie English version dilTers from the Hebrew text, and
follows the Keri, or marginal reading.


to wear the rough garment any more. Inspired prophecy and
prophet were to cease before the end of the seventy weeks.

7. ” To anoint or institute (Ob^o) the holy of holies’,’ — by
bringing down the New Jerusalem, the holy city, and the
spiritual temple. This also was to precede, and did precede,
the end of the seventy weeks ; for the new came not after the
old had ceased, but superseded it.

XI. The collateral and broken period of seventy weeks was
arranged into three periods of seven, sixty-two, and one week,
respectively ; thus :

a. The seven weeks may be dated from B.C. 461, when
Artaxerxes or Ahasuerus made those festivities which led to
his marriage with Esther, and the deliverance of the Jcavs
from massacre, — ending 412 B.C.

h. The completion of Nehemiah’s reform. The high priest
Eliashib had introduced corruptions in Nehemiah’s absence,
such as providing apartments in the temple for Tobiah, a
friend of Sanballat and the Samaritans. Eliasliib’s death is
referred to B.C. 413;^ after which Nehemiah expelled Tobiah,
and restrained the mixed marriages. This reform, then, may
be dated about a.d. 412.

c. Eeckoning from this date sixty-two weeks = 434 years,
we come to a.d. 2 2, at which time Jesus had completed twenty-
five years of age, — the age at or after which Levites entered
on official duty^ — the type of the Christian priesthood.

XII. One week more, completing these seventy, brings us to
A.D. 29, the year of the crucifixion of Jesus. Thus the latter
part of the prophecy was fulfilled : ” He shaU strengthen (“”’33 n)
covenant to many, viz. the believers (a.d. 2 2-2 9) ; and in
the midst of the week^ (that is, before its close) He shall
cause cessation of sacrifice and oblation.” Both of these
were maintained practically by the rebellious Jews while the
temple stood ; but both were equally abolished when the Lord
at His baptism was officially proclaimed Messiah, about the
middle of the week.

XIII. Xor ought we to evade the meaning of sealing vision

1 Prideaux, Neli. xiii. 4-28. ^ j^t^j^i. yiij. 9.3, 24.

3 i^n to divide into two parts equal or unequal (Ne’mn.). Thus, in Num. xii.,
” the half of his flesh ; ” 2 Sam. xviii. 3, ” if the half of us die ; ” Josh. xxii.
13, ” the half tribe of Manasseh.” Exact arithmetical halves are not meant.


and prophecy, by saying with some, that to seal means to
fulfil ; for the thing spoken of is not the fulfilment, but the
cessation of vision and prophecy. Many of the visions and
words of the prophets are still receiving fulfilment ; and not
until the end of the gospel age is all prophecy fulfilled.
Some were fulfilled at the death of Christ, some in the fall
of the city and dispersion of the people, and some in the pro-
gressive influx of the Gentiles ; while many regarding Gentiles
and outcast Jews are yet to pass into fulfilment.

XIV. Nor ought we to ignore the “vision and prophet”
which were in the apostolic time. They are certainly com-
prehended in Daniel’s words, referring as they do to the
opening events of the gospel age ; and they are clearer and
fuller than those of the previous age. Zechariah^ predicted
a second revealer (p^V ‘^”?^), almost in the same terms in which
Christ promised’^ inspiration and prophecy, through the Holy
Spirit shed on the apostles. This prophetic gift was to cease
within the limit of the seventy weeks, which ended with the fall
of the once holy but ultimately devoted city. There can there-
fore be no just ground for ascribing to any books of the New
Testament canon a later date than a.d. 70 ; and a different
opinion on the part of any of the fathers is an error. The
force of this is not obviated nor weakened by the fact that
John lived after this time. The question is not to what age
he attained, but how long were prophetic vision and the
inspiration of Scripture continued; and Daniel’s words limit
these to the term of the seventy weeks. “Within that time must
the Gospel of John be reckoned ; and the Apocalypse must be
earlier by a number of years, to aUow time for tlie intermediate
writing of the apostolic Epistles. This raises the question
already alluded to, and which we now proceed to consider.



I. By the subjoined table of the Gospels, Epistles, and
Apocalypse, with their dates, according to nine leading

‘ Zech. ix. 12. =* John xvi. 13.



autliorities, no Epistle is dated earlier than a.d. 51, excepting
James, to which Alford and Davidson conjecturally assign 45.
But its internal evidence, as adduced by Fausett, is conclusive


that it was written shortly before the destruction of Jeru-
salem and James’s martyrdom. All the other weighty autho-
rities agree in giving the earliest date to First Thessalonians
(except that Townsend places Galatians in the same year), and
generally the next place to Second Thessalonians, and the third
to Galatians. Three of them place Galatians in 51 to 5 3 ;
and the other six place it in 54 to 58. Townsend places
Titus in 53 ; but the others make it subsequent to First
Timothy, which it much resembles.

II. They thus agree that the two Epistles to Thessalonians
were written before the close of 54, and they are almost
agreed that no other Epistle can be dated earlier than 57.
They all agree in drawing such conclusions from internal
evidence. In handling their evidence, close attention must
be paid to coincidences and fragmentary citations, (for com-
plete, lengthened, and formal citations on any side cannot be
alleged,) and to the tracing of indirect indications of earlier
or later composition, — in fact, to see whether John would
appear to have read the Epistles, or the writers of the Epistles
to have read the Apocalypse.

III. The latter we shall find to be true ; and the evidence
of it, when fairly estimated, will require us to assign to the
Apocalypse a date from a.d. 51 to 54. This may be opposed
in limine by the opinion that John was relegated in a.d. 96.
The examination of the patristic passages cited in support of
this, will form the subject of the next section. Meanwhile, in
common with all writers on the order of the books of the
New Testament, let us trace some of the criteria found in the
books themselves.

IV. I premise tliat little can be inferred from the mere
occurrence of a word common to the inspired writings, as
faith, patience, love, testimony, etc., such words having been
common among the apostles from the days of the discipleship ;
yet the frequent occurrence of such words may exemplify the
harmony running througli the different books :

And that the mere statement of doctrines common to tlie
teaching of all the apostles, as that of redemption, the resiir-
rection of Christ, His coming or present kingdom, would not
determine the relative age of any of these books :

And that, as the Apocalypse is confessedly written in a


more Hebraistic style than any of the Epistles, we are to look
for coincidence of thought rather than of mere idiom.

Also, that as the Apocalypse employs the terms of pro-
phetic vision scenery, while the Epistles are didactic, we are
not to dismiss passages as making no allusion to others on
account of a mere change of imagery.

V. With few direct quotations, which the New Testament
writers do not usually make from one another, it is not suffi.-
cient to meet plain allusions, by saying they do not amount to
positive proofs ; for this may be met by asking for similar
proofs on the other side. Be it that the comparison of pas-
sages may in some or many cases furnish only probable evi-
dence, still no writer despises such evidence when he thinks
it on his own side : it may be corroborative and cumulative.
Of precisely such a nature is the evidence on which all writers
on the chronology of the New Testament have arranged its
books, — in which no dates are given.

VI. And particularly we must keep in view the fact that
many parts of the Apocalypse are the express words of Jesus
Himself Especially is this the case with the second and
third chapters, containing His epistles to the seven churches.
Now we cannot think of the Lord as quoting or referring to
the words of His own disciples, as authorities or illustrations
of His meaning. He referred to the Old Testament prophecies,
when reasoning with those who did not receive Him as Mes-
siah. But to them the testimony of His disciples would have
been as nothing. In every coincidence between words of
Jesus in the Apocalypse, and of apostles in the Acts or
Epistles, the former are, in the very nature of the case, the
original ; the latter, the citation or allusion.

VII. 1 TJuss. — The medium date is a.d. 53. Its coinci-
dences with the thoughts and imagery of the Apocalj^se are
not numerous.

In Eev. ii. 2, Jesus addressing the Ephesian church says,
” I know thy works, and labour, and patience.” Paul, in 1
Thess. i. 3, evidently quotes these words, with a little exposi-
tion : ” Remembering your work of faith, and labour of love,
and patience of hojDe.”

In 1 Thess. ii. 1 6 he describes the apostate Jews as ” fill-
ing up their sins alway,” which might readily have been


suggested by Eev. xxii. 11 : “He that is unjust, let him be
unjust still,” — said specially of the same class of characters.

In ii. 18 his allusion to Satan’s hindrance seems an allu-
sion to Eev. ii. 10: ” Satan will cast some of you into prison.”

In ii. 1 9 his allusion to believers as the minister’s crown
seems an exposition of Eev. iv. 1 0, in which the elders appear
with crowns.

In iii. 10 his “praying night and day” may naturally
have been taken from the four zoa of Eev. iv. 8, who rest not
day nor night, and both perhaps from Christ’s saying that
” men should always pray.”

In iv. 16 his description of “the Lord descending with
the trump of God ” seems an exposition of ” Christ’s voice as
of a trumpet” in Eev. i. 10, and of some particulars of the
judgment, visionally depicted in Eev. xx. 10-14.

In V. 2 his description of the Lord’s coming ” as a thief
in the night ” is a plain allusion to similar language in Eev.
iii. 3, xvi. 15, especially as Paul introduces his words with
” yourselves know accurately,” implying a reference to the
source of the phrase as well known.

VIII. We may safely say there is nothing in this Epistle
to indicate an earlier date than that of the Apocalypse. Such
coincidences as those above adduced have at least the appear-
ance of allusions to the Apocalypse ; and one or two of them
are partial quotations from it. This places the Apocalypse not
later than a.d. 52, the date assigned to First Thessalonians
by six of the tabulated authorities. This will be corroborated,
if with Olshausen we place the Epistle in 54. The same in-
ference may be drawn even from expressions which do not
amount to allusions occurring in the Epistles. Thus Paul
repeatedly speaks of the death of believers as sleep. Such
language is natural in relation to their bodies : but dead bodies
do not come into prophetic vision ; while in the Epistles the
soul, or psyche, is uniformly spoken of as active, and indeed
generally in the living man. I should antecedently have
expected no mention of sleep or of bodies appearing in the
apocalyptic visions before the final resurrection, but I sliould
antici])ate a conscious and active state of the soul. And
accordingly wo find no words for sleep in tlie Apocalypse ;
while the souls under the altar are employed in appealing to


God to justify their characters, and as living and reigning with

IX. 2 Tliess. (52-54). — The latter date seems best sup-
ported, for the reason assigned by Fausett and Conybeare of
the presence of Sylvanus at Corinth. If the Apocalypse were
found to contain allusions to Second Thessalonians, we should
be obliged to date it in or after a.d. 54. Even the most
violent straining of its meaning will fail to evolve any such
allusions. But we may with more reason start the converse
inquiry : Are any allusions to the Apocalypse found in Second
Thessalonians ?

In 2 Thess. i. 4, in speaking of ” their patience and faith in
all their persecutions,” Paul might perhaps use such a phrase
independently ; yet it is suggestively like an allusion to Eev.
xiv. 12:” Here is the patience of the saints who keep the
commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

In 2 Thess. i. 7 we read : ” When the Lord shall be re-
vealed ;” or, according to the original, ev rrj aTroKokv^et rov
Kvptov, in the apocahjjose of the Lord. Here the very noun
apocalypse is used ; and the passage is a most pointed allusion
to the introduction “of the book, and in particular to ch. xx.

In ch. ii. 9, ” everlasting destruction ” seems to allude to
Eev. xiv. 10.

In ch. i. 1 0, ” glorified in or by His saints.” Does he
not allude to Eev. vii. 12:” Blessing and glory,” etc., ” be unto
our God?”

In ch. ii. 3 the prediction of ” the man of sin, the son of
perdition,” seems more than a mere allusion to Eev. xiii. 1 1 to
the end, describing the vision of the second monster, of which
Paul speaks in reiterated definite terms as a well-known pro-
phetic object; and he uses the significantly technical word
a7roKa\v(f)9T]cr£Tai, shall be revealed, as if appropriating the
noun in Eev. i. 1. His terming him “the son of perdition”
(aTTcokeLo) appropriates the term in Eev. xvii. 11: “He shaU
go into perdition” {aircakeia).

In ch. ii. 6, “he opposeth and exalteth himself above all
that is called God.” This seems a close imitation of Eev. xiii.
6 : “He opened his mouth in blasphemy against God.”

In ch. ii. 8, “the Lord will destroy,” etc., seems but a concise
reference to the destruction of Babylon predicted in Eev. xviii.


In ch. ii, 9, ” power and signs and lying wonders,” a con-
cise re-statement of Eev. xiii. 11, etc. : “The second monster
deceiveth, … by false miracles.”

Without requiring further citations, how is it possible to
resist the conclusion, that Paul had read Rev. xii. xiii. xvii.
and xviii. before giving this condensed view of what is there
so largely developed ? His language has the appearance of a
summary of a larger detail, and the air of a didactic account
of pictorial or vision scenes. The writer of the vision could
not have employed Paul’s epistolary didactic style ; but Paul
does precisely what we might expect from one making use of
a well-known vision scene, — as an author might embody in
two or three sentences a summary of Bunyan’s Vanity Fair.
This Epistle, then, furnishes a distinct independent collateral
proof of a date of the Apocalypse much earlier than Irenteus
is supposed by some to assign to it, and such as cannot be
counterbalanced by any opinion of a man writing a century or
a century and a half after the time.

X. It is not necessary to go over all the Epistles with equal
minuteness, as some of them are on mere doctrinal subjects,
and therefore involving less of the nature of internal evidence.
As to Gal. (54-57), the argument applies with increased force
to it ; which is derived from Second Thessalonians, to which it
is subsequent in time, according to the preponderance of the
authorities. But the allusions in it are not so marked as in
Second Thessalonians, because it bore on a particular topic, —
the controversy with the Judaizers. Various passages in it,
however, are most obvious, on the supposition that Paul, when
he wrote them, had seen the Apocalypse. Thus Paul’s open-
ing address. Gal. i. 1-3, may have been suggested by Ptev. i. 4 ;
Gal. i. 8 by Rev. xxii. 18, 19; Gal. ii. 9 by Rev. iii. 12;
Gal. iv. 26 by Rev. xxi. 2 ; Gal. v. 21 by Rev. xxii. 8, 15.

XI. 1 Cor. (5 7). — I have marked pretty numerous instances,
which, though not separately amounting to decisive proof,
present much cumulative evidence of allusions to the Apo-
calypse. Thus 1 Cor. i. 6, 7 may have been suggested by
Rev. L 2, vi. 9 ; 1 Cor. ii. 10 by Rev. i. 1 ; 1 Cor. iii. 10 by
Rev. xxi. 14 ; 1 Cor. vi. 2 by Rev. ii. 26. The words of this
last reference are words of Jesus Himself (in His epistle to the
church of Thyatira), and cannot therefore be a quotation from


His apostle ; while Paul’s words are introduced by ” Do ye
not know,” implying that the fact he is about to adduce is
already familiar : ” The saints judge the world ; ” as if a
preacher in a sermon were to say, ” Don’t you know,” and
then repeat some familiar words of Scripture. So 1 Cor. vi.
9 by Eev. xxi. 9 ; 1 Cor. xiii. 1 2 by Eev. xxii. 4 ; 1 Cor.
xiv. 16 by Eev. v. 14. In 1 Cor. xiv. 32, “the spirits of
the prophets ” seems quoted from Eev. xxii. 6.

XII. And when Paul in 1 Cor. xv. 26 says, “The last
enemy that shall be destroyed is death,” there is a plain
reference to the casting of death and Hades into the lake of
fire, in Eev. xx. 14 — the more especially as John connects
” death and Hades ; ” and Paul says, ” death — Hades,”
etc. (1 Cor. XV. 55).

In 1 Cor. XV. 28, “subduing aU things to Himself,” an
allusion to Eev. xix. 11: “In righteousness He doth . . . make
war,” and to the binding of the dragon (ch. xx. 2).

1 Cor. XV. 52: The word (aaXTriy^) ” trumpet ” is used
once by Jesus (Matt. xxiv. 31), from whom John often
borrows it, the Lord Himself having used it as a standard Old
Testament term ; and Paul here speaks of ” the last trump,”
in evident allusion to the seventh and last trump of the Apo-
calypse. It is an apocalyptic word, adopted four times by
Paul, and not occurring in the Epistles of other apostles.

1 Cor. XV, 5 7, ” victory through Christ,” suggested by
Eev. xii. 11:” They overcame by the blood of the Lamb.”

XIII. In the whole of this fifteenth chapter, as in 1 Thess.
iv., Paul speaks of the resurrection of the saints, in evident
allusion to the first resurrection of Eev. xx. 6, and the
visions of the regenerate saints in Eev. vii. and xxi. ; in
other words, Paul follows up John’s view of the first resurrec-
tion by an analogous account of the second. But many have
been prevented from seeing this, by false views respecting the
first resurrection and the millennium. There is no room for
any rational doubt, that when Paul wrote the fifteenth
chapter of First Corinthians, he was weU aware of John’s
apocalyptic visions.

XIV. 2 Cor. (58) — i. 22 : “Who hath sealed us,” a verbal
allusion to the sealing of the saints seen, in 1 Bev. vii. 3.

2 Cor. ii. 11: “Satan’s devices,” allusion to Eev. ii. 24:


” The depths of Satan ; ” iv. 4-6 : ” The dispelling of the
blindness caused by Satan,” a doctrinal application of the
binding of the dragon actuated by Satan, as seen in the
vision, Eev. xx. 1, 2.

2 Cor. V. 17: ” The new creature or creation ” (/crio-i?) is
based on the vision of the new creation, Eev. xxi. 5 : “I
make all things new.”

2 Cor. vi. 16, 17: ” God hath said, I will dwell in them, and
walk in them ; and I will be their God, and they shall be my
people.” This is a quotation ; and though the words of part
of it are found in Exodus and Leviticus, yet the full form of
words is found in Eev. xxi. 3, uttered by a great voice from the
heaven, — the voice of God in our nature. John, reading the
vision, uses the 3d pers. ; while Paul, citing God’s promises,
gives the 1st. So in the next verse Paul says, “Come out of
her, my people, and be ye separate, saith the Lord Almighty;”
thus quoting the meaning and almost the words of Eev. xviii.
4 : ” Come out of her, my people, that ye partake not,” etc.

2 Cor. xi. 13: Paul’s notice of “false apostles” is an evi-
dent allusion to the fuller description in Eev. ii. 2, etc., of
those ” who say they are Jews, but are only the s}Tiagogue of

2 Cor. xii. 3 : Paul’s being ” caught up to the third heaven ”
implies an acquaintance with John’s vision in Eev. xii. 5, of
” the man-child caught up to God and His throne.”

Thus this Epistle also contains internal evidence that Paul,
when writing it, knew the letter of the Apocalypse ; and it
greatly swells the cumulati\’e evidence of the early date of
John’s visions.

XV. Rom. (58). — This Epistle is especially theological, and
therefore affords few occasions for alluding to John’s visions.
And accordingly we find in it less of direct internal evidence.
In this respect it may be compared with the Epistle to the
Galatians. Yet in vain should we search for any allusion to
it in the Apocalypse ; while we find in it various allusions to
apocalyptic phrases. Thus Eom.. ii. 7, ” Patient continuance
in well-doing,” seems an allusion to Eev. ii. 10: ” Ee thou
faithful unto death.”

Eom. ii. 11: ” Thou art called a Jew,” a reference to those
in Eev. ii. 9 who ” say they are Jews,”


Eom. vi. 8 : ” Living witli Christ/’ a concise reference to
Eev. XX. 4, 6 : ” They lived and reigned with Christ.”

Eom. vi. 23: ” The wages of sin is death.” This seems
taken from John’s account of the second death in Eev. xxi. 8.

Eom. vii. 4 : Paul illustrates marriage by a doctrinal allu-
sion to the vision of the marriage of the Lamb in Eev.
xix. 5, 9.

Eom. viii. 22: “The groaning of the creation” seems an
allusion to the allegoric travailing woman in Eev. xii. 2. So
in Gal. iv. 19.

Eom. xi. 12, 25 : ” The fulness of the Gentiles,” an allusion
to the kingdoms of the world become Christ’s (Eev. xi. 15).

Eom. xii. 1 : Paul exhorts believers in terms that seem
borrowed from John’s account of the Christian priesthood
(Eev. i. 5, V. 9, etc.).

Eom. xiii. 12:” The day is at hand ” is one of the apos-
tolic allusions to Eev. xxii. 20 : “I come quickly.”

Eom. xiv. 1 : An allusion to the ” great white throne ”
(Eev. XX. 14).

Eom. xvi. 20 : ” The God of peace shall bruise Satan,” an
allusion to ” the casting out of the devil and Satan ” (Eev.
xii. 9).

The concluding doxology, and those of the Epistles gene-
rally, have ‘a common origin in those of the Apocalypse, where
they have their place and connection, in the visions of the
celestial employments.

XVI. Thus the thoughts in Eomans often spring out of.
those of the Apocalypse ; yet the phraseology is in so far
different as to imply the fact that John, writing of visions,
employs the vision style, and is more frequent in the use of
Hebraistic Greek, while the style of Paul is more didactic,
and indicates more of intercourse with the Gentiles. This
Epistle, then, augments the cumulative evidence of the earlier
origin of the Apocalypse.

XVII. James (61 or 62). — This Epistle is very variously
elated, — from 45 (Alford) to 68 (Fausett). Eor the former no
positive evidence is offered, but only an endeavour to obviate
arguments for the latest date, derived from allusions to
passages in Eomans, — as the doctrine of justification, the
example of Abraham, and the state of the church. This


effects no more than to express the possibility that James
might have written these things without having read Paul
But the probability is quite different. Fausett, with more
reason, places the Epistle much later, though perliaps a little
too near the martyrdom of James. He thinks, with apparent
reason, that it irritated the Jews, and led to the martyrdom
of James. The introduction to the Epistle — ” James, to the
twelve tribes scattered ” — would indeed be unpalatable, and
so would almost the whole of the fifth chapter, rebuking them
for their vices, and warning them of the judgment speedily
coming on them, by Him whom they had crucified. All this
might stir them to come to Jerusalem at the feast, full of
rancour, and might excite those residing in Jerusalem. But
time was requisite for the writing, dispersion, and perusal of
copies, before the ebullition of rage wliich burst on the aposUe,
and resulted in his violent death, though his preaching may
have previously been producing the same effect. Therefore the
medium date above specified is best supported by facts. This
was shortly before the Jewish war, usually dated in A.D. 65.
But strong premonitions of war evolved in 63. James might
therefore, as in ch. iv. 1, speak of ” wars and fightings ” as
impending, and not as implying mere polemics, since he says,
” Ye kiU and fight.” And he was near enough to the cata-
strophe coming on Jerusalem, to write the warning : ” The
coming of the Lord draweth nigh ; ” ” the Judge standeth
before the door.” According to Theodoret, his martyrdom is
referred to in Heb. xiii. 7 : ” Eemember them,” etc., “consider-
ing the end of their conversation ” (conduct).

XVIII. If, then, the Apocalypse was written earlier than
62, there could be in it no allusion to any part of the Epistle
of James ; nor does any such allusion occur. There are,
however, in James passages which seem very like allusions to
or implications of portions of the Apocalypse. Thus James
(i. 1) addresses the twelve tribes, as does Paul in Acts xxvi 7.
Both apostles seem to have alluded to the historical account
of the vision of the twelve tribes in Ptcv. vii., where they are
described and named.

James’s allusion to the wars of the Jews would seem an
allusion to the great sword in the hand of the Jewish rider on
tlic red liorse (Kev. vi. 4).


His exhortation to “resist the devil” (iv. 7) seems an
allusion to Eev. xii, 9, in which ” the devil and his angels
are cast out.” James nowhere else uses the word devil, but
in iii. 15 he uses the word demoniac.

His warning to the rich men of the twelve tribes to howl
and weep, sounds exceedingly like an allusion to the awful
scene of the great and mighty Jews (Eev. vi. 17) calling on
the rocks and mountains to hide them.

His saying (v. 8), ” The coming of the Lord draweth nigh,”
is naturally referable to the similar oracle so repeatedly
recurring in the Apocalypse. In the latter it is woven in the
narrative, while in James it is isolated, as an illustrative cita-
tion. The same may be said of James v. 9 and Eev. iii. 20.

Once more : in James v. 1 3 believers are exhorted to
sing, which seems to allude to the song of Moses and of the
Lamb in Eev. xv. 3.

Thus, though James has not expressly quoted the Apoca-
lypse, the internal evidence found in it is all on one side,
and that the side of the earlier date of the Apocalypse.

XIX. Ephcsians, Pliilippians, Colossians, and Fhilcmon
were written about the same time (61 to 63). I find in the
Apocalypse no trace of allusions to any of these Epistles ; but
various verses and clauses in them are most easily understood,
by supposing Paul to have had in view passages of the
epistles to the seven churches (words of Jesus Himself), and
of John’s pictorial visions.

XX. Thus compare Eph. i. 1 3 with Eev. vii. 2 ; Eph. i.
3, 20 with Eev. xxi. 14, 21-27; Eph. ii. 2 with Eev. ix. 1;
Eph. iii. 10 with Eev. v. 9-14; Eph. v. 27 with Eev. xxi.
9, etc. ; Eph. vi. 11 with Eev. ii. 24, xii. 9, etc. :

Phil. ii. 10 with Eev. v. 14; Phil. ii. 30 with Eev. xii.
11 ; Phil. iii. 2 with Eev. ii. 9, iii. 9, xxii. 15; Phil. iii.
18, 19 with Eev. xix. 20, xx. 9, 10, etc.; Phil. iv. 3 with
Eev. iii. 5, xiii. 8, xvii. 8, xx. 11; Phil. iv. 5 with Eev.
xxii. 7, 20 ; Phil. iv. 20 with Eev. i. 6 :

Col. ill with Eev. iv. 12 ; Col. i. 12 with Eev. xxi. 23-
25; Col. i. 16 with Eev. v. 13, 14; Col. i. 18 with Eev.
xxii. 6, 9; Col. iii. 3 with Eev. ii. 17; Col. iii. 16 with
Eev. iii. 5, 9, xiv. 3 ; Col. iv. 3 with Eev. iii. 20 :

PhUem. 5 with Eev. ii. 2, etc. But this Epistle is so


brief and so personal, that allusions to visions of public
events Avere not to* be expected.

The whole internal evidence of these Epistles harmonizes
only with the fact of their having been preceded by the

XX. 1 Timothy is dated A.D. 67. — 1 Tim. i. 10 seems
suggested by Eev, xxi. 8. 1 Tim. iii. 1 5, ” The pillar and
gi’ound,” etc., in allusion to Eev. iii. 12: “A pillar in the
temple of God.” 1 Tim. iv. 3 : ” The Spirit speaks ex-
pressly ” (pT/TO)?). This alludes to Eev. ii. 7, etc. : ” What
the Spirit says to the churches ; ” and in the prediction that
follows, Paul seems to give concisely the substance of Eev.
xiii. 11 to the end.

1 Tim. iv. 6, comp. with Eev. iii. 1 ; 1 Tim. v. 22 with
Eev. xviii. 4; 1 Tim. vi. 13 with Eev. xxi. 6 ; “1 Tim. xvi. 5
with Eev. xvii. 14.

XXI. 2 Timothy is dated A.D. 68. — 2 Tim. i. 8 seems sug-
gested by Eev. i. 9.

2 Tim. i. 1 0, ” Christ has abolished death,” by Eev. iL 1 1 :
” He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death ;”
also Eev. xx. 6.

2 Tim. iii. 1-5 seems an explanatory summary of Eev. xiii.
and xvii., and the visions there written of the rise of the two
monsters and the harlot.

2 Tim. iv. 1 : ” The appearing and the kingdom ” refer to
several apocalyptic visions.

XXII. Titus is dated a.d. 67. — Tit. i. 10 : ” Yain talkers,”—
an allusion to the Xicolaitanes of Eev. ii. 6. Tit. ii. 13: ” The
glorious appearing” (e7ri(f)av€ia) — what but the coming down
of Jesus so repeatedly beheld in the apocalyptic visions ?

XXIII. Such examples swell the amount of cumulative
evidence of an acquaintance with the Apocalypse on the part
of Paul, and consequently of the early date of the Apocalypse.
If not in each instance decisive, and if such similarities of
thought and style may occasionally be independent of one an-
other, yet the probability lies all on one side ; the frequency is
a fact to be accounted for ; and in the visions the thoughts and
images occu]iy a place as integral parts of the things seen and
heard ; while in the Epistles they have all the appearance of
an ingrafted connection, as quotations or references. There


would be no success in attempting to discover in the Apoca-
lypse any reference to these Epistles.

XXIV. Hebrews, variously dated (a.d. 62 to 84), may he
attributed to 63 with three of the authorities. — Its references
to the Apocalypse are more numerous than those of most
Epistles, and seem quite patent, though not literal quotations.

Heb. i. 3 : ” Sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on
high.” How like to Eev. iii. 21 : ” Set down with my Father
on His throne,” — where the words are Christ’s, who could not
be supposed to borrow those of Paul.

Heb. i. 4 : ” Better than the angels ;” and ver. 14 : ” Are
they not all ministering spirits ? ” — a reference to Eev. v. 1 0,
in which all the angels stand v^aiting to serve. Paul speaks
of this as a fact already revealed.

Heb. ii. 10: ” Of whom and by whom are all things.”
Paul uses these words as a parenthetical insertion ; and they
closely resemble Rev. iv. 11: ” For Thy pleasure they are and
were created.”

Heb. iv. 12: “■ The word of God,” a title said by some to
be exclusively used by John to designate Christ. John re-
peatedly uses it in the Apocalypse, especially in xix. 13 :
” His name is called the Word of God.” Erom this Paul
seems to have adopted it, attributing, as he does life, know-
ledge, personality, to ” the Word.”

Heb. vii. 26 : “A high priest, holy, harmless, undefiled;”
and ix. 24 : ” To appear in the presence of God for us.” These
seem to be references to Eev. viii. 3 : ” Another angel came
and stood at the altar ; and there was given to him much in-
cense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints.”

Heb. X. 2 6 : ” The fearful looking for of judgment,” a re-
ference to the judgment of the sixth seal, which was impending
over the Jews.

Heb. x. 37: “A little while, and He that shall come will
come,” a premonition drawn from Christ’s apocalyptic words:
” I come quickly.”

Heb. xi. 40 : ” That they ” (martyrs and other saints of the
ancient age) ” without us should not be perfect ; ” evidently
referring to Eev. vi. 11: ” That they ” (the martyrs of the old
economy) ” should rest, until their brethren, that should be killed
as they were, should be fulfilled.” This application is over-


looked in consequence of %\Tong interpretation of the fifth

Heb. xii. 1 : ” A cloud of witnesses,” suggested by Eev.
vii. 9 : ” A multitude that no man could number.”

Heb. xii. 7 : ” Whom the Lord loves He chastens,” refer-
ring to Rev. iii. 19: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.”
These are Christ’s own words in the 1st pers., and form a
natural source of the apostle’s words.

Heb. xii. 22-25 : “Ye are come to Mount Zion,” — an ob-
vious reference to John’s vision of the Lamb with the 144,000
on Mount Zion, and all the details of the vision, in Eev. xiv.

Heb. xii. 27:” Tlie removing of those things that are
shaken.” Here Paul as obviously refers to Eev. xxi. 1, ” The
old heaven and earth passed away,” as to Haggai ii. 6. He
seems to refer to both.

Heb. xiii. 8 : ” Jesus Christ the same yesterday, to-day,
and for ever,” an exposition of Christ’s words (Eev. i. 4) in
the 1st pers. : “I am the beginning and the ending;” which
words being Christ’s, are original.

Heb. xiii. 15: ” The sacrifice of praise,” expository of Eev.
V. 9 : ” Thou hast made us to our God a kingdom of priests.”

XXV. These and various other passages in the Epistle to
the Hebrews are most plain and significant, on the supposition
that they allude to the respective places in the Apocalypse ;
while it could not with any plausibility be said that anything
in the Apocalypse refers to the Epistle to the Hebrews.

XXVI. 1 Peter is dated a.d. 64.

1 Pet. i. 1 seems an allusion to Jesus’ address to the
churches of Asia.

1 Pet. i. 1 1 : ” The Spirit of Christ which was in them,”
an allusion to Eev. xLx. 11:” The testimony of Jesus is the
spirit of prophecy.”

1 Pet. i. 12:” Which things the angels desire to look
into.” There seems an allusion to the angels in the circle of
the throne (Rev. v. 11).

1 Pet. i. 19 : He uses the title Lamb (a/ii/ov), employed by
no other apostle save John, — in the Apocalypse apvLov} and
in the Gospel aixvo<;.

‘ A diminutive of a-ffny, used by Jcaus : ” Lambs among wolves.”


1 Pet. ii. 5, 9 : “A holy priesthood,” a reference to Eev.
V. 9 : ” Kings and priests.”

1 Pet. iv. 7 : ” The end of all things is at hand,” an evi-
dent allusion to Eev. xxi. 1,2: ” Old things are passed away.”

1 Pet. iv. 17, 18: ” Where shall the ungodly and the
sinner appear ? ” These words plainly allude to the judgment
of the sixth seal, when impenitent Jews call on the rocks and
mountains to hide them.

Without adducing some allusions from ch. v., I hesitate
not to conclude that this Epistle also has much internal evi-
dence of having been written after the Apocalypse.

XXVIL 2 Peter, a.d. 65.

2 Pet. i. 1 : Like John, he calls himself a servant of Jesus

2 Pet. i. 16: “We were eye-witnesses of His majesty.”
Here he seems to remind his readers that, like John, though
without naming him, he too had a vision of the Lord, viz. on
the mount of transfiguration.

2 Pet. i. 19:” The more sure word of prophecy ; until the
day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” What did
Peter mean by ” the more sure word of prophecy ? ” Beyond
all rational doubt, he means the Apocalypse. The English
version has obscured this by making it indefinite : ” a word
of prophecy.” But the text has the article rov, with the
general consent of codices ; and Boothroyd, Macknight, Shep-
pard, Young, and Fausett have rendered it ” the prophetic
word.” The versions of Ostevald and De Sacy have the
article. Thus Peter refers not to fragmentary prophetic
words, but to the prophetic book of the New Testament.

2 Pet. ii. 1 : ” False prophets and false teachers.” The
whole of this chapter seems an expository description suggested
by John’s visions of the monster, and the harlot deceiving
the nations by false miracles and jugglery ((f)apfxaK€ia).

2 Pet. iii. 2 : ” The words predicted by the holy prophets.
and apostles,” including this chapter, which is throughout prin-
cipally a recapitulation of what Isaiah, Joel, etc. had foretold
of the day of the Lord, and the new heavens and new land,
and of what Paul and John had written in the New Testa-
ment — the former repeatedly foretelling the day of the Lord ;
and the latter, in Eev. xxi. 1-27, recording a vision of the


new heaven and new earth, in which dwelleth righteousness.
As this chapter was evidently written by one who had read
the prophets, it quite as much, nay more, bespeaks one who
had read the Apocalypse. In the eighth verse he refers to John’s
thousand years, and identifies them with the gospel day.

XXVII. JucU may be placed, with most of the authori-
ties, a little after Second Peter, a part of the second chapter
of which it practically cites. Verse 9, though alluding to
Satan’s accusation in Zech. iii. against the high priest Joshua,
the representative of the Mosaic institute,^ must also have a
reference to Rev. xii. 9, where John saw Michael warring
against the dragon.

Verse 11:” The error of Balaam ” is evidently mentioned
after the example of Christ in Eev. ii. 14.

Ver. 13:” Blackness of darkness,” an evident allusion to
the vapour and smoke beheld by John in Eev. viii. 10 and ix. 1.

Ver. 2 3 seems an allusion to the necessity of white and clean
garments, so repeatedly beheld in the apocalyptic visions.

The glorious presence and the doxology at the close seem
also to refer to the visions of the court and company of Christ
in the fourth and other chapters of the Apocalypse.

XXIX. Hic Epistles of John. Their dates are surrounded
with doubt and uncertainty, as may be seen from the table,
ranging from a.d. 65 to about A.D. 97. The latter date
cannot be correct. The principal indications of time which
they contain are the allusions to the heretics or antichrists,
and spirits denying that Jesus had come in the flesh. For
these there is no need to search only after the destruction
of Jerusalem ; for we know that all the unbelieving Jews
asserted from the first, as their posterity still do, that Messiah
had not yet come ; and we know from the earliest fathers
(presently to be cited), that Simon, recorded in the eighth
chapter of Acts, went to Home and gained great celebrity
there as a heresiarch. Patristic writers speak of his con-
fronting Peter ; and there is much reason to believe that it
was he who procured the relegation of John and the Christians
generally in A.D. 51, and afterwards the death of Peter and
Paul. Besides, we know from the Epistle to the Galatians

‘ ” The body of Moses” is an expression analogous to ” corpus poetarum,”
” corpus kijuin,” etc.


(54-57), that when it was written, Paul had been much
opposed by the heretics. And John (1 John ii. 18) makes
the multiplicity of such men and tenets an evidence of ” the
last time,” — a phrase applied by the apostles to the closely
impending destruction of Jerusalem. In this the apostles
only reiterated the prediction of Christ, that previous to that
national disaster there would come false Christs and false
prophets. The first Epistle of John evidently belongs to a
date earlier than the fall of Jerusalem. It is argued, very
inconclusively, that John must have been very aged, because
he calls the believers children. Had Jesus remained on earth,
His human age at the destruction of Jerusalem would have
been seventy-four. John, a little younger, may have been
seventy or more ; and at such an age, especially when the
other apostles were dead, he might most appropriately address
believers ” my children.”

So, in the second and third Epistles, regarded as having
been written near the same time, he familiarly calls himseK
” the elder.”

XXX. Now it would be a hopeless task to search in the
Apocalypse for any reference to these Epistles. And, on the
other hand, they are not so abundant as some other Epistles
in references to the Apocalypse. The prophetic symbolism is
wanting ; yet the phraseology reads as that of John, and
seems to allude to a fuller development of the same thoughts.
In this respect the following passages may be compared : —
1 John ii. 11 with Eev. iii. 17 ; ii. 14 with Eev. ii. 7 ; ii. 16
with Eev. xviii. 11-17; ii. 18 with Eev. i. 4, ii. 2; ii. 20
with Eev. iv. 8 ; ii. 22 with Eev. iii. 9 ; ii. 28 with Eev. i. 7 ;
iii. 1 with Eev. xxi. 7 ; iii. 8 with Eev. xx. 2 ; iii. 1 6 with
Eev. V. 9 ; iv. 1 with Eev. ii. 2, xv. 15 ; iv. 3 with Eev. xiii.
1, 11, etc. ; V. 4 with Eev. ii. 7 ; v. 6 with Eev. i. 5 ; v. 20
with Eev. x. 1, xxi. 1, etc. ; v. 21 with Eev. ix. 20, etc. ;

2 John 3 with Eev. i. 3 ; 7 with Eev. xii. 9 ; 11 with
Eev. xviii. 4 ;

3 John 9 with Eev. ii. 13, etc.

XXXI. I have thus adduced examples from all the apostolic
Epistles, and found many instances, some of certain, and others
of highly probable, reference to the Apocalypse; and no
examples of the reverse. It is of smaU avail to reply that in



some of these the apostles might independently have used
words and phrases similar to those of the Apocalypse. To
answer the purpose of an objection, it would be necessary to
be able to say this not of some, but all of them. I admit
that some of the examples adduced may be doubtful. But I
have shown a considerable number of substantial quotations
from the Apocalypse ; and definite terms used in tlie Epistles
as if they had been employed before ; and declarations that
the Spirit speaketh, the full detail of the oracle being found
in the Apocalypse ; and the doctrinal statement of what John
had pictorially presented in visions ; the employment of titles
and terms of which John undoubtedly presents the first
apostolic use ; and the occurrence of admonitions which Jesus,
in the epistles to the seven churches, employed in the first
person : these, and many other cumulative facts, leave no
shade of doubt that tbe Apocalypse preceded the Epistles in

XXXII. It follows that the Apocalypse was %vritten at
some time from 51 to 54; that the visions, and perhaps the
writing, began then, though both may have extended over that
interval, or longer. I believe we should err if we did not
allow a considerable period of months or years at intervals
for the witnessing of these sublime visions, and for carefully
recording them in the studied symbolic style of the book — a
style at once the product of thought, and the result of plenary
inspiration. If Isaiah’s, Jeremiah’s, Ezekiel’s, and Daniel’s
visions were respectively extended over the reigns of several
monarchs, it is reasonable to believe that the weakness of
humanity was allowed lengthened intervals of resuscitation
between intense intellectual activities, such as made Daniel
prostrate, and laid John down as dead, and left an infirmity
in the corporeal nature of Paul.

XXXIII. To complete my investigation, might require a
like scrutiny of the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of
John ; for if the Apocalypse was written at the period indi-
cated, it preceded the Acts. To the Gospel of John some
assign the latest date of any part of the New Testament, but
its dates are very variously given ; Greenfield fixing it to a,d.
67, Alford to 70 or more, and some to near the end of the
first century. WhUe there is nothing in the Apocalypse ap-


parently referring to this Gospel, there are expressions in the
Gospel implying that Jerusalem was yet undemolished.

XXXIV. As to Acts, suffice it that Paul’s address to the
elders of Ephesus indicates throughout an acquaintance with
various parts of the Apocalypse, — especially with the epistle
of Jesus to the church of Ephesus : as his allusions to the
hostility of the Jews, the testifying, the going bound in the
Spirit, the not counting his life dear, the bishops or elders
whom John calls messengers, the purchase with Christ’s blood,
the entry of ” wolves, and men speaking perverse things,” the
warnings and exhortations to repentance, faith, and patience.

XXXV. Without surveying the whole Gospel of John
here, I shall confine myself to a glance at its commencement
and close.

John i. 1 : ” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word
was with God, and the Word was God.” This lays down the
doctrine of the deity of the Logos ; but instead of defining the
name, it employs it as one already known and familiar. To
find its origin in the New Testament we must go to Eev. i. 3,
” who” (the messenger) “testified to the Word of God,” — not the
words of Scripture, as some gratuitously interpret, for the next
words, ” the testimony of Jesus Christ,” show that ” the word
of God ” has a personal meaning ; otherwise, ” the word of
God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ,” would be a palpable
tautology. The name is also found and defined in Eev. xix.
13:” His name {K€K\r]To) has been called the Word of God.”
Where ? In ch. i. 3, already referred to.

John xxi. 24: “This is the disciple who testifies (o fxap-
rvpcov) these things, and wrote (jpaylra<;, an aorist participle)
these things.” ” The aorist,” says Kuhner,^ ” expresses past
time separate from the present of the speaker ;” and the aorist
of the verb here employed is most appropriate to John, as
describing by word-painting the visional scenes, while the
previous participle ” witnessing ” is equally appropriate to him
in his Gospel. But this makes the depicting of the visions
a past, and the Gospel testimony a present act. Testimony is
either verbal or written. It may be objected that John in
Eev. i. 2 applies to himself the verb in the aorist (efiaprvpTja-e),
” he testified,” in reference to the Apocalypse, on which he is

‘ 6r. Gram.


entering. But this cannot be admitted ; for 09 efiaprvprjae,
“who” (or he) “testified,” must be referred not to John as the
antecedent of 09, but to the messenger who interpreted the
visions : ” He sent and signified by His messenger to His
servant John, who ” (which messenger) ” bare witness to,” etc.
This is proved by ch. xxii. 16: “I Jesus have sent mine
angel (messenger) to testify imto you these things.”

XXXVI. And no words could more appropriately conclude
Scripture than the assurance in the last words of John’s
Gospel, that ” if all were written, even the world could not
contain the books that would be written.” John outlived the
other apostles ; and his Gospel forms the latest portion of
Scripture. And as men are perpetually allowing their fancies
to overstep facts, there has been a tendency to assume that
all his writings were of a late date ; while others, with more of
truth, have regarded the Apocalypse as indicating the style of
a young man. My opinion has at least the merit of being
between extremes. If he wrote his visions in a.d. 51, he
could not have been much less or more than fifty years of
age, — not a mere youth, and not the broken-down man of
almost a century.

XXXVII. If the same line of inquiry be pursued regarding
the other three Gospels, the conclusion will be nothing dif-
ferent. Matthew is variously dated, from A.D, 37 (Alford
and Townsend) to 52 ; Mark, from 48 to 66 ; Luke, from 50
to 63. Matthew, then, may be regarded as earlier than the
Apocalypse. The lowest of the dates assigned to Mark and
Luke would place the one three years, and the other one
year, before the relegation by Claudius. With so small and
doubtful a difference of time, nothing but plain and un-
equivocal allusions would be to the point ; and it is almost
superfluous to add, such can scarcely be said to exist. The
Lord’s birth, parables, miracles, death, and resurrection are
the leading topics of the Gospels ; and these are so unique,
and so unlike the apocalyptic visions, that references were
hardly to be anticipated. Some terms and images in Matthew
seem to be the source (in common with the Old Testament)
of some that have been used as prophetic signs in the visions
of John. Thus :

Matt. vii. 15:” Beware of false prophets ; ” Mark xiii. 2 2 :


” False prophets shall arise.” These original words of Jesus
may have given origin to John’s apocalyptic term : ” the false

Matt, xiii, 3 : The ” harvest ” may have been the origin of
the symbolic reaping in Eev. xiv. 1 6. But John, doubtless,
derived them not from Matthew, but from the lips of Jesus.
This applies to the following, and all Jesus’ words cited in
the Gospels.

Matt. xix. 28 and xxv. 31, ” The Son of man shall sit on
the throne of His glory,” may have suggested the image of
the “great white throne” (Eev. xx. 14).

Matt, xxiii. 37, “0 Jerusalem, which killest the prophets,”
may have originated the words in Eev. xi. 8 : ” Jerusalem,
where also our Lord was crucified.”

Matt. xxiv. 14, “The gospel preached in all the world,”
may be alluded to in Eev. xiv. 6 : ” The everlasting gospel to
preach to them that dwell on the earth.”

Matt. xxiv. 29 and Mark xiii. 24, in common with Old
Testament language — the sun and moon darkened, etc, — may
have furnished similar terms in the Apocalypse.

Mark xiv. 62, “Ye shall see the Son of man sitting on
the right hand of the power,” may be compared with Eev. v.
15:” Him that sitteth on the throne, and the Lamb.”

Luke ix. 54, ” Consume them as Elias did,” may be com-
pared with Eev. xi. 5 : ” Fire proceedeth out of their mouth,”

Luke xvii. 37, “There will the eagles be gathered,” may
be compared with Eev. xix. 17:” Saying to all the birds.

Luke xxi. 26, ” The powers of heaven shall be shaken,” is
at least coincident with Eev. vi. 13: “The stars fell like a
fig-tree shaken,” etc.

On the whole, I see nothing in Mark and Luke to indicate
an earlier date than the Apocalypse, though I am disposed to
accord with the earliest date — 48 and 50. I find not, even
in Matthew, traces as clear of an earlier origin than the
Apocalypse, as in John, the Acts, and the Epistles of an origin
subsequent to the Apocalypse.

This whole internal evidence must be weighed collaterally
with statements now to be adduced from early fathers, — as


Caius, Irenseus, Origen, Clemens, Tertullian, Hippolytus,
Epiphanius, etc.



I. Though the earliest fathers are comparatively silent on
the subject, yet some of them distinctly ascribe the earlier
date to the Apocalypse ; while the opinion of a later date
depends on the statements of later patristic writers, with the
exception of two or three words of Irenseus, the meaning of
which is disputed.

Thus Caius says, ” Paul followed his predecessor John in
writing seven epistles to seven churches.”^ There is some
uncertainty respecting Caius or Gains, from the fact that only
fragments are preserved ; but the names in these indicate
him as about contemporary with Irenteus, near the end of
the second century. His words are express in making at
least chapters ii. and iii. of the Apocalypse precede the
Pauline Epistles. Even were we to suppose the rest of the
Apocalypse later, the Patmos sojourn and the seven epistles
to the seven churches of Asia must, according to Caius, have
been earlier than even Paul’s earliest Epistle (First Thessa-
lonians), and therefore as early as a.d. 51.

II. Clement of Alexandria, in words abeady cited in
English,^ says, Akovov /mvOov, ov fivOov, aXka ovra Xojov irepi
Icoavvov rov wTTocnokov irapaSeSofievov Kac fivq/Mrj 7re(pv\ay/jLevov.
Eireihrj <; dXTjOeta^ \opaKaTO<; ; ovSe yap irpo ttoWov ‘)(^povov eapadr), aWa
cr^eSoy eirc rrj’i rj/xerepa^ yev6a<; toj reXet tt;? Aofxeriavov
apxv^’^. In these words there are at least three points of

1 Dr. KiUen’s Old Cath. Ch. p. 6. f * Adv. H(zr. B. v. ch. xxxiii.

3 Ante-Nic. Path. i. 441. j * Adv. ffcer. Pref. 3.

‘ Adv. Hcer. B, v. ch. xxxiii. ^ Iren. adv. Hcer. B. v. ch. xxx.


ambiguity, or rather grammatical questions, without the settle-
ment of which it is impossible to elicit from them evidence
of early or late date. What, in the opinion of Irenteus, was
seen ? and when was it seen ?

The first rests on the verb ewpaOr}, ” was seen.” Elliot and
others assume that the apocalypse was seen. Here the word
” apocalypse,” if not the name of the book, is the vision ; and
” the apocalypse was seen ” would only mean ” the unveiling
was seen.” The word is defined by Schleusner and Dunbar,
” patcf actio, manifcstatio, revelation, explanation,” each express-
ing not the object, but the act. Stuart concedes too much by
inserting the word aTro/caXin/rt? in brackets, and ‘other words,
without which he saw, as a Greek scholar, that the quotation
would not bear the alleged meaning — that ecopaOrj means ” the
visions were seen.” He states truly that the Latin translator
made ” beast ” the nominative to the verb. The learned
Wetstein makes ” John ” the nominative : John was seen,
equivalent to ” was alive.” And Irenaeus uses apocalypse as
the name of the book. This must be considered in the
light of Greek usage, — specially that of Iremeus himself,
as patristic usage varies. Origeu, a superior Greek scholar to
Irenteus,^ in the passage already cited, presents a different
usage, connecting airoKoXv^L’i not with eccpaOrj, but reOew-
pr}Kevai. In the Apocalypse itself the word does not mean
the vision, but rather the act or fact of showing it. It occurs
ten times in reference to persons, especially Christ, and eight
times in reference to mystery, knowledge, etc.

IX. ‘Opaui, the verb which Irenaeus employs, occurs in the
New Testament fifty-eight times, but not once in the sense of
seeing. Seeing an act is a solecism into which Iremeus might
readily fall. Still the question is not the correctness of his
language ; but wliat did he mean ? In idiom and meaning it
is intelligible and correct to speak of seeing a vision, but not
of seeing an apocalypse — as an unveiling. But we could
correctly speak of seeing the person to whom it was made, or
the written record of it. There is surely nothing outH or
inconsistent, or very unusual, in saying of a public or cele-
brated person he was seen as late as a given year, after which
he disappeared from public view. As Irenajus does not supply
1 Book iv. 20, 11-iv. 30, 4.


the nominative, apocalypse is only taken so by alleged oram-
matical propriety. He does not say that the object seen was
seen by John ; and the words, to be fairly interpreted, must
be taken in their connection. They are the conclusion of a
chapter on the number 666. This, he argues, must be the
true number in preference to 616, not only for a rather
cabalistic reason, that the three digits might be expected to
be the same, but for the better reason, that ” the most ancient
copies,” apyoLLOi avriypacfiot, contained it, and were witnessed
by elders who had seen John, — the most noted and the earliest
of these being evidently Polycarp. He concludes in a hesitat-
ing expression, that ” if it had been expedient that the name
should be proclaimed (Krjpv^eaOat), it would have been told
{eppeOrj) by him who saw the apocalypse,” — referring, it would
seem, not to John, but to Polycarp, who as a disciple of John
must have seen his original Apocalypse in his possession, in
distinction from the ” copies ” which the other elders referred
to had seen, but which to Irenseus had become ” ancient,” —
implying that they had been in writing many years ; and
much more the original autograph, seen by the witness, who
might have heard the meaning of the number from John him-
self. This harmonizes all the facts, and agrees with the usage
of Irenseus in other places, using the word ” apocalypse ” to
mean the writing or book recording both the visions and the

X. Chrysostom uses the word in the same way : ‘Opa
Bapva^av (“see Barnabas”) ; and also in quoting John i. 18.

Irenseus himself, in the beginning of the same chapter, has
used the same verb in the very way alleged by Wetstein of
the seeing of John. He there speaks €Ketva>v tcov Kar o-\^lv
rov Icoavvrjv itopaKarwv, ” of those who had seen John per-

Eusebius ^ has quoted and indorsed these very words. That
Irenajus meant that John then received the visions cannot be
established. His words imply that a man referred to saw

^ Thus in B. iv. cap. xxi. 3, “Joannes in Apocalypsi ait “—John in the Apo-
calypse says. The reference is to the opening vision of Christ, in which John
did not speak. The verb ” says ” refers to his written record. So B. iv. cap. xi.
“Joannes in Apocalypsi inquit.”

2 Hist. Ecd. ch. vii.


the Apocalypse itself near the end of the reign or government
(ap’^rf) of Doniitius or Domitian, whichever it was, but says
nothing as to the time of writing, or the relegation to Patmos.
If the latter emperor was meant, John was near a hundred
years of age before the end of his reign. Now the writing
of the Apocalypse indicates nothing of old age. The age of
about fifty would harmonize all facts, pointing nearly to the
time already indicated.

XI. The following remarks merit consideration •} — ” It will
be observed that in the original the word icopaOr) has no
nominative expressed. If Iwavvrj^ is to be understood, it
follows that the authority (opinion) of this father cannot be
adduced in support of the later date. That John was seen —
that is, was alive — near the time in question, does not prove
that the book was written then;” (and still less that the
visions were seen then, which must have preceded the writing,
and may have preceded it for years. The different visions
and the writing of them may have occupied years, and may
have proceeded at intervals.) ” When we consider how much
would be thought of the mere fact of seeing this most aged
apostle, of being an eye-witness of one who had seen the
Lord, there seems to be a natural solution of the difftculty (if
it be a difficulty) of the expression, especially in connection
with the fact that, in the beginning of the same chapter,
Irenaeus, beyond all doubt, applies the same verb to John
himself His words are : €KeLvcov rcov kut onjnv rov Icoavvrju
ecopuKaTov. It appears to have been Eusebius, who flourished
in the fourth century, who first expressly asserted tliat John
was an exile in Patmos during the reign of Domitian. But
Eusebius does not ascribe the Eevelation to John the Apostle,
for he expressly says it is likely the Eevelation was seen by
John the elder.

“It is stated on the authority of Jerome (380), that the
Apostle John in a.d. 96 was so weak and infirm, that he was
with great difficulty carried to church. That so aged a man,
weighed down with the infirmities of a hundred years, residing
too at a great distance from Pome, should have been banished
to Patmos (nearer Pome), and that there at a stiU later period

‘ Key to the Eevelation, by the Rev. James Macdouald, rrinceton.

lEEX^rS, ETC. 47

lie should liave written the Eevelation, appears, to say the least,
highly improbable, if not clearly absurd.”

The author then proceeds to prove that the Apocalypse was
written before the Epistles of Paul, James, Peter, Jude, and
tlie Gospel of John. What, then, becomes of the opinion of
Eusebius, Pseudo-Dionysius, and other later fathers, who rest
on their interpretation of Irenaeus’s ambiguous words, without
any historic authority ?

XII. The second question regarding the words of Irenseus —
the time when — arises from the phrase irpo^ rto reXet T779 Jo/xe-
Tiavov ap-)(ri<;. Is Ao/xeriavov a noun or an adjective ? The
advocates of the late date assume the former. If a noun, it
ought, as Guerike shows and Stuart admits, to have the article
Tov, though this is not a rule without exception ; and this in-
volves another ambiguity in these magic words of Irenseus.
Kuhner^ says: “Proper names take the article when they
have been mentioned before, or if it is intended to designate
them as well known and distinguished.” The latter case jus-
tifies the German writer in affirming that Aofieriavov, if a noun,
should have the article ; that is, if Irenaeus wrote Greek accu-
rately — an attainment in which he was confessedly deficient.

XIII. It is replied that the word, as an adjective, is less
usual. But that it was so used, is exemplified by the foUow-
ing words of Epiphanius,^ who was celebrated as a linguist :
Ttre? fiev > ^o* t’*® most obvious word for the sole reign of an emperor.
Wc might have expected fianXnct, wliilo «/;;%;» wouUl well apply to the govern-
ment of Do7iiitius as a Caesar under Claudius, who adopted him. But Irenaeus’s
use of words is sometimes too lax to give a secure foundation for a philological
argument. Dunbar does not define af^n “reign,” and only in a secondary ap-
plication ” a government. ”


has come down to us only in an ancient Latin version, with the
exception of the greater part of the first book, which has been
preserved in the original Greek through means of copious quota-
tions made by Hippolytus and Epiphanius.” Now the words
under consideration occur only in the fifth book. Thus the
Greeli of it merely rests on the authority of Eusebius, to
whom, however, we may give credit for genuine citation.

XV. Tertullian (born about a.d. 150) writes thus/ apostro-
phizing the church in Eome : ” Felix ecclesia ubi Petrus pas-
sioni dominiccB adcequatur; ubiPaulus Joannis exitu coronatur;
ubi apostolus Joannes in insulam relegatur” — ” Happy church
where Peter was assimilated to the Lord’s passion ; where Paul
was crowned with the exit of John ; where John the apostle
. . . was relegated to an island.” These words are not doubt-
ful in the main point, like those of Irenaeus ; for they associate
John’s relegation with the deaths of Peter and Paul, which all
admit to have been in the reign of Nero,— not that any two
of these cases of persecution must have happened in the same
year. But the words imply no great interval such as forty or
more years. John’s relegation must have occurred earliest, —
before the persecution to death by Ptoman emperors had begun,
as it did under Nero.

XVI. Epiphanius (born in the beginning of the fourth cen-
tury) states “^ that ” John was relegated to Patmos, Claudius
being Csesar;” and he ascribes to John both the Apocalypse
and the Gospel, and says that he wrote his Gospel, fxera rrjv
avTou aTTO tt}’; JJarfiov eiravohov ttjv ein KXavBiov yevo/jbevrjv
Kaicrapo’i — ” on his return from Patmos under Claudius Caesar.”
Here this father has not received just treatment at the hands
of modern interpreters of the Apocalypse. His opinion is in-
validated on account of its lateness, while much deference is
paid to Eusebius, though only a little earlier, and accused of
heterodoxy, and drawing from Irenseus. The drift of what has
been said of Epiphanius on this matter is, that he must be
wrong because he differs from Irenajus in the passage of the
latter, so ambiguous and so vexed, and also because he was, as
Stuart says, ” sometimes uncritical.” But while Irenoeus is
admitted to have been deficient in Greek, and often most inju-

1 Tertull. Works (in Patrol.) v. ii. col. 49, B.

2 Epip. Works, vol. i. sect. 433, p. 910, Patrol. Gr.



dicious, as shown by his vine in the latter days with 10,000
branches, etc., already cited, and his absurd composition of the
number 666, Epiphanius was celebrated for his learning, and
because of his linguistic attainments honourably called Pcnta-
glottos (the five-tongued). Besides, he was bishop of Cyprus (an
island almost in the vicinity of Patmos), which give him much
better means of knowing the accounts preserved among the
people than IrenaBus, who lived many years in France, where
Greek was not vernacular, and comparatively little known.

XVII. Eusebius (died about 340) rests on Irenfeus, and
cites from him the very words in question.^ He quotes with
apparent approbation from Dionysius of Alexandria:^ Ov firjv
paStct)? avvOe/x’Tjv rov etvai rov airoardXov rov viov Ze^eSaiov
TOP aSeX^ov Iukcc^ov, ov to evajyeXiou to kutu Icoavvijv
eiri’ye’ypaf^fjLevov kul rj eiriaToXri r) KaOoXtKT]. TeKixaipojxaL <; CKaTepcov Kut Tov Tcov Xoycov ecBov^ fir) top
avTov €Lvai — ” I cannot easily admit that he was the apostle
the son of Zebedee and brother of James, by whom were
written the Gospel of John and the Catholic Epistle. I con-
clude, indeed, from the manner of each, and the form of words,
that he was not the same.” In this, Eusebius indorses the
hypothesis that John the author of the Apocalypse was pro-
bably a different person from John the apostle. Eusebius also
calls Nero ” first of the autocrats in opposition to piety,” —
7rj0&)TO9 avTOKpoTopoiv T7]^ €vae^ia^ TToXefiLo^ (ch. xxv.) ; and
in i. 17 he says that Domitian made himself successor of
Neronian hostility to God, and that he the second stirred up
persecution, not calling nor counting it another and second

XVIII. When it is said that Epiphanius drew his date
from Acts xviii. 2, we reply, it is more evident that Irenajus
drew his merely from liev. i. 9, thougli he added to it his
doubtful allusion to an emperor’s name of whom John says
nothing ; while there is no doubt about the name of Claudius
given by Epi})hanius, unless he may have used it of Domitius
Nero, on whom Claudius conferred his own name, — whence he
became Claudius Domitius Nero. If this was Epiphanius’s
meaning, it makes no practical difference, as it would only fix
the date to the time of Nero ; in which case it might still be

‘ Eus. Hist. Eccl. ch. xviii. * Ch. xxv. and xxix.


within the limit of the four years (50 to 54) during which
Claudius and Claudius Domitius. Nero were joint emperors.

XIX. It is assumed that these years were too early for the
fact of the relegation of Christians. As this point requires
very distinct elucidation, I shall present the facts, though at
the expense of a little reiteration of some particulars formerly

(1.) Eelegation, and on an extensive scale, did take place
under Claudius ; for in Acts xviii. 2 this fact is expressly
stated. But it is alleged to have been only of unbelieving
Jews : ” He commanded all Jews to depart from Eome.” By
what authority is this restricted to infidel Jews ? None ; it is
an arbitrary assumption, and cannot be established. Claudius,
like the governor Gallio, seems to have had no appreciation
of the difference. This distinction is contrary to Suetonius,
who says this relegation took place ” Christo impidsore ; ” that
is, Christ being the mover. And we learn from Josephus^ that
the Emperor Claudius was very favourable to the Jews, and
published an edict in their favour, and he is silent as to any
banishment of Jews from Eome ; which shows that he spoke
merely of people of the Jewish nation, while the author of the
Acts treated of the believing portion of them. How can the
conclusion be evaded, that the Jews whom Claudius banished
were not Hebrews simply, but Hebrew Christians, called Jews
in Eome from tlieir nation, and who were regarded with sus-
picion on the ground that the apostles were accused of turning
the world upside down ?

XX. The Eomish historian understood by Jews the He-
brews, without regard to believing or not believing in Christ ;
in fact, regarding Christ as a prophet or leader of them all,
and the differences among them as sectarial matters, in which
Eomans had no interest. But Luke himself, in various
places of the Acts, uses the Avord Jew in the same manner, not
dreaming that a man ceased to be a Hebrew, lost his nation-
ality, by being a believer. Thus in Acts xvi. 20 the people
of Philippi said of Paul and Silas, ” These men, being Jews,
do exceedingly trouble our city.” So in Acts xix. 34, ” The
people of Ephesus knew that he (Paul) was a Jew ; ” Acts xiv.
1, ” A great multitude of the Jews and also of the Greeks

‘ See Sect. ii. ^ Ant. xix. v. 3.


believed;” Acts xxi. 20, “Myriads of Jews there are who
believe ; ” Acts xxi, 39 and xxii. 3, Paul says, ” I am a man
who am a Jew ; ” and in xxvi. 4, ” My manner of life know
all the Jews ; ” — the believers, equally with the unbelievers,
knew it. Even in the very verse in question (xviii. 2),
Aquila, an eminent believer, is called ” a Jew.” ^

XXI. But a decisive fact to be noted here is, that the rele-
gation comprehended Aquila and his wife Priscilla, who, from
Acts xviii. 26, appear to have proceeded from Eome to
Ephesus, as they instructed Apollos there ; and doubtless were
instruments in planting a church there, though the disciples
of John the Baptist had preceded them perhaps for many years,
— almost from the time of John. Have we, then, any reason
to connect the Apostle John with this relegation ? In answer,
let us consider that —

XXII. (2.) We read in Acts xii. 2 that ” Herod slew James
the brother of John” (a.d. 44). Why was he singled out
among the apostles? On the same principle on which at a
later period some of the same family were summoned before
Adrian, because it was alleged that, being of David’s line, they
must be disloyal to the Eoman power. On the same principle,
Herod, who was not of David’s line, was jealous of them, as
the first Herod had been of the infant Jesus. Peter, not of
the same family, was imprisoned. But why was not John as
weU as James slain ? Had he been found, he would evidently
have shared his brother’s fate. This, however, was Jewish per-
secution ; for the Eoman emperor had not yet distinguished
Christians from other Jews. We have an example in the
Eoman governor Gallio,^ who said the discussion between
Paul and the Pharisees was merely a question of Jewish law.
The natural explanation of John’s case is, that he must have
fled quite out of Herod’s, dominion. And whither would he
betake himself? To Eome, undoubtedly, that he miglit appeal
i’or justice, as we find Paul a few years later appealing to
Caisar. And we have found Origen, Tertullian, etc. speaking
of John’s presence in Eome, a few years after the time in

‘ In other hooks of tlic New Testament we might refer to Itom. ii. 9, 1 Cor.
xii. 13, Gal. ii. 15, Kev. ii. 9, etc., where we read of men wlio “say tliey are
Jews, and arc not,” showing that the name properly belongs to believers.

* Acts xviii. 14, 15.


question. He may have returned after the death of

XXIII. (3.) A third fact we learn partly from the Acts
of the Apostles, and partly from some of the earlier fathers.
There is no reason to doubt that, after the apostasy and rejec-
tion of Simon, as recorded in the eighth chapter of Acts, he
went to Piome, and there became a great heresiarch, and the
main originator of the Gnostic system, which long afterwards
ramified to a vast extent. ” He gave out that he was some
great one” (Acts viii. 9, 10), “to whom all the people gave
heed, saying, This man is the great power of God.” This
Hindoos would call an avatar — a descent of God in incarnate
form. This he did in Samaria, and doubtless on a greater
scale in Rome. Both by mental power and deceptive influence,
he fascinated the minds, not of the vulgar multitude alone,
but of the great and wealthy. We are not to give credence
to the wild tradition of a flying match between him and Peter.
But the tradition, stripped of accretions, has a substratum of
fact, — that he lived in Eome, and was successful there as an
arch-impostor. It appears on good authority that he gained
a high place in the favour of the Emperor Claudius. Thus
Irenoeus testifies {Patrol. Iren. sect. 99, col. 671), by evidence
as good as that respecting ” the Domitian reign,” that Claudius
erected a statue to this very Simon Magus.

Now John, on his appearing and preaching in Eome, could
not escape his hostility; and this must have taken away
the prospect of obtaining redress from Claudius. This state
of matters must have continued some seven years, until it
culminated in the decree of Claudius banishing the Chris-
tians, as Jews, about a.d. 5 1 — three years before Nero became
sole emperor, and, according to Townsend, a little before the
date of First Thessalonians. We learn also from the notes
(variorum) to Irenseus, that this Simon afterwards instigated
Nero to put Peter to death.

XXIV. Thus we learn the occasion and the time of John’s
relegation to Patmos. It was within the reign of Claudius,
the first of the name, as Epiphanius represents. It was also
in the time of the second who bore the name of Claudius,
viz. Nero ; while for four years he was associated with the
formej, according to the superscription of the Syriac version


of the Apocalypse. And it was in the Domitian reign ; for
we have seen that Nero’s family name was Domitius, and
Suetonius testifies that he was buried in the tomb of the
Domitii. This places the visions of John early in Nero’s
reign, while the two Newtons, Stuart, etc. place it nearer the
close of that reign, or very soon after it, and before the fall of
Jerusalem. The early date has a great preponderance of evi-
dence in its favour.

XXV. The only plausible objection from the declension in
the church of Ephesus has been abeady disposed of.^ It is
sometimes assumed without evidence, that the Neronian per-
secution was limited to Eome. But historians are far from
agreed in this. Thus G.uerike^ speaks of it as extending over
the provinces. Nor could it have been limited to Eome, con-
sidering the hostility that was everywhere manifested against
Christianity. The writer now referred to, and Waddington,^
and the Enc. Brit, agree in representing the persecution by
Domitian as directed principally against nobles and philosophers,
and therefore less general than the Neronian ; while the first
of the Eoman persecutions, the Claudian, consisting in relega-
tion from Eome, was of the kind resulting in the appearance
of John in Patmos. Had it been persecution to death, he
would doubtless have suffered martyrdom, as Peter and Paul
a few years later.



A symbol is defined, ” Tliat wliich represents or suggests to
the mind something else” {Chamh. Die, Webster).

To say that the terms are merely literal, is, as Jerome says,
to judaize. To say that some of them are literal, is open to
the same objection. To interpret literally or figuratively at
pleasure, or as may suit a man’s previous theory, is as dan-
gerous as it is absurd. Our fancy of what may or may not
be literal is no rule of sound interpretation. As long as men

1 Sect. II. paras, iv. and v. * Gucr. Ch. Hist. ^ Wad. Ch. Hist.


proceed thus, tliey shall fail in convincing others, and have
no light leading them to true prophetic fulfilment. But while
I here use the common word ” literal,” to indicate, in the
popular way, the radical difference between two modes of
interpretation, it must be used with discrimination. A pro-
position or prophetic statement is often literal, but not of
symbolic application, as Christ’s prediction of the destruction
of Jerusalem. But in more numerous cases the terms are both
literal and symbolic. This, though perhaps paradoxical, is plain.
If the water in baptism were not literal water, we could not
intelligibly call it a sign. If the bread and wine in the
communion were not bread and wine, they could not be ” sen-
sible signs of Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant.”
If Bunyan’s city, hill, vale, etc. did not mean city, hill, vale,
etc., there could have been no allegory, but a mere story of a
terrestrial journey. If the word goat in one vision of Daniel
did not mean goat, then the man Gabriel could not have
explained it, as he did, to denote the King of Greece — Alex-
ander. The term must denote what the representing object
is ; and the figurative application, or more truly the symbolic,
is the explanation to the effect that it represents, symboKzes,
or stands for such an object or fact. The second proposition
of the section implies, that as objects or persons are shown
as depicted in a vision, so an authorized and qualified mes-
senger from God is present, and explains the things or facts
represented, which is really the prophecy. One of the sera-
phim or glorious ones did this to Isaiah in the opening vision ;
the man with a measuring implement, to Ezekiel ; the angel
that talked with liim, to Zechariah ; Christ Himself, and after-
wards commissioned angels, to John.

These symbols are not launched out at random in prophetic
vision ; they are carefully selected by the revealer, and their
prophetic import stated by the explainers of the visions. Of
John, whose work is in view, I may say there is a wondrous
harmony in his use of symbols. And we destroy this har-
mony, if we take a symbol to mean one thing here and another
there. Get at its application in one place, and this will carry
you through all places. And to find this application, we must
search for the origin of the symbol in the Old Testament.
This will always prove successful, and make conjured-up


difficulties vanish, and prophecies otherwise mystical stand
out plain.

This has been admitted by many of the clearest thinkers
on prophetical subjects. Thus Davison says ^ that ” the
holy Jesus is Lord of the prophets (so Eev. xxii. 6) ; that
they spoke by His Spirit, and all tliat they spoke was but in
subserviency to Him ; that the first dispensation and all its
evidences are subservient to His ; — that prophecy was all
directed to one general design; foreshadowed in types the
Christian doctrine ; in the time of David revealed the gospel
kingdom ; in the time of the later prophets it indicated the
changes of the Mosaic covenant ; — that Jesus and His religion
are the one principal object of prophecy.” Waldegrave^ writes
thus : ” If the pentateuchal types are vocal only when illu-
mined by the rising of the New Testament Sun, why should
this principle be abandoned when we come to the prophets ?
It is not proved that we have here quitted metaphor and
allegory ; we have only exchanged symbols acted for symbols
WTitten. The key of prophecy and type alike is in the hand
of Jesus and the apostles.” Wordsworth^ lays down the
axiom, that ” the law and the prophets prepared imagery for
the Apocalypse.” Thus also Elliott:* “The temple scenery,
with Christ’s own exjDlauation of its most notable article (the
candlestick), was precisely that which might best prepare the
evangelist for the similar application to the Christian church
of similar symbols, borrowed from the old Jewish tabernacle
or temple. In the same way, the emblem of the seven stars,
with His explanation, would prepare John to interpret the
symbol of stars (should it appear in the subsequent visions)
of ecclesiastic rulers, where ecclesiastic things are concerned.”
So the author of the article ” Eevelation,” in the Im}-). Bib.
Did., says, ” All interpretation of language, whether verbal or
symbolic, must proceed on fixed principles.”

Such views imply tliat Old Testament symbols are syste-
matically introduced in tlie Apocalypse, and also that they
have a fixed and uniform meaning ; and that we are not at
liberty to interpret them in any random mode. They are
settled and defined terms, each having its uniform meaning.

» Warhurton, Led. pp. 86348340. – New Test. Mil. pp. 2728.

‘ Oh the Ajioc. * Ilor. Apoc. i. 94.


” The Eevelation must be viewed and interpreted in connection
with its roots in Old Testament prophecy. Another means of
arriving at an understanding of these visions, is to compare
similar passages carefully with one another.”^ The learned
Gataker,^ as an instance of this, identifies the four apocalyptic
zoa with those of Ezekiel. The Eev. David M’Kee^ appro-
priately says, ” Looking lightly on the book of Eevelation is

undervaluing the whole testimony of inspiration If

John’s rapt visions in Patmos are only enigmas that cannot
be construed, the whole Christian history is suspicious.”

But do we find this sustained by the usage of Jesus and
the apostles ? Uniformly : they make no exceptions. As the
Levitical types are explained uniformly, so are the prophetical or
visional. Ezekiel’s four living ones, the New Jerusalem, the
land, the sun and moon, the living waters, etc., are invariably
applied in a uniform allegorical sense. The apostolic believers —
even those who were Hebrews and citizens of Jerusalem be-
fore their conversion — “have come^to the heavenly Jerusalem.”
Isaiah^ predicts “an acceptable time;” and Paul, citing him,
says, ” Now is the accepted time.” ^ If any prophecies of the
Old Testament pointed solely to facts that terminated before
the incarnation, these have nought to do with New Testament
prophecies. From the time of their fulfilment they stand as
historic facts. But with New Testament prophecies expressed
in Old Testament terms (and all the Apocalypse consists of
such), the New Testament usage of the visional terms is the
key to the meaning of the Old.

The neglect of this principle makes the meaning of the
prophetical terms merely conjectural, and leaves each quasi-
interpreter to adapt the sense to his hypothesis. But if we
only adopt the uniform principle, and adhere to it, we shall
find fancied difficulties easy, since these belong not to the
text, but to fickle modes of interpretation.

The substance of the primary truth laid down in this
section may be expressed in separate axioms thus :

(a.) The things seen are symbols or representatives of greater
things to come.

1 Imp. Bib. Diet. 2 Gatakeri Opera, p. 324.

3 Attempt to Bead the Book of Rev. “* rr^otriXn^-vaa.n. Heb. xii. 22.

s Isa. xlix. 8. 6 2 Cor. vi. 2.


(b.) Such STjmhols are VMiform in import.

(c.) Their times arc symbolical of future and greater times.

(d.) They are furnished to John by Christ from the Old
Testament — thus giving unity to the projjhetic systems
of both.

(e.) Tlie things heard are generally explanations to be ex-
plained according to the ordinary laius of didactical
and rhetorical language, literally or figuratively, but
not allcgoriccdly.

To sucli first principles every sound interpreter of the
Apocalypse will adhere. The jarring systems of exposition of
this book which unhappily exist, originate either in erroneous
first principles, or in the practice of expounding at random,
without axioms or uniform rules.

To the principles now laid down I purpose to adhere,
as the Spirit of God may grant the light for which I pray,
from and through Jesus Christ my ” Morning Star.” And if
in any place I be found to fail of expounding according to
these principles, I request the enlightened reader to impute it
to oversight, and endeavour to apply them for evolving a true

An apparent exception — apparent to minds preoccupied —
may occur. It may be said a symbol means sometimes one
thing and sometimes another; as, “the lion of the tribe of
Judah,” and ” the roaring lion seeking to devour.” But a
mistake lurks here : the former is a symbol ; but the latter
occurs not in a vision at all, but in a didactic epistle, and
therefore comes under the head of common rhetoric : besides,
” the roaring lion ” and ” the lion of the tribe of Judah ”
are compound terms, and quite different. So of the word
” serpent,” and some few others.

In limine, it sliould be understood that, whether symbolical
or rhetorical, the language must be explained grammatically;
Imt after the rules of syntax, must supervene in the one case
those of symbol, and in the other those of ordinary figura-
tive language. As an example, take these two sentences —
Rev. V. 6 : ” In the midst of the throne stood a Lamb ;” and
Matt. iii. 12 : ” “Whose fan is in His hand.” Both sentences
are construed syntactically; but in the former the Lamb is
a symbol presented to John’s view, in the latter the fan is


merely a metaphor ; for the Baptist, when he used it, was not
describing a vision ; nor are any prophetic visions referred to

The circumstances in which the visions were shown must
be considered. These are expressed by the word eKaraac^,
ecstasy, rendered trance in our English version, — a state in which
the whole mind is so taken up as to be quite insensible to ex-
ternal things. Sometimes the disease called catalepsy — a state
of nervous prostration — has been mistaken for the ecstasy of
visions. This is a radical mistake : the vision ecstasy was not
unconsciousness, but the reverse, — a state of the highest con-
sciousness — of so intimate relation to the spiritual as to make
the material be for the time forgotten. This arose from the
presence of God manifested, and His influence felt, and the
overpowering interest in the scenes depicted and the oracles

The Apocalypse commences with announcing itself as a
record of things shown to John, accompanied with oral explana-
tions. There are thus things heard as well as seen, — audiences
as well as visions, — though the latter preponderate.^



These are expressed principally by the words €771^9 and Taj(v
in the Eevelation, and eyyc^oo in the Gospels and Epistles. I
shall exhibit a few examples : —

Matt. iii. 2, iv. 1 7, x. 7 : ” The kingdom of heaven is at

Matt. xxvi. 45 : ” The hour is at hand ” — rjyyiKev.

Mark i. 1 5 ; Luke x. 9, 11 : ” The kingdom of God is at hand.”

Mark xiv. 42 : “He that betray eth me is at hand.”

Luke xvi. 8 : ” The time draweth near.”

Luke xvi. 20:” The desolation thereof ” (of Jerusalem) ” is

Kom. xiii. 12:” The day is at hand ” — rj’yyiKev.

Heb. X. 25: “Ye see the day approaching ” — €y<; avrov).”
I am aware I shall be met by the authority of editors who
have put a period after the word ©eo?, God (ver. 4). But, in
reply, two facts must be considered : (1.) That the ancient
codices have no points ; and consequently that the placing of
points merely indicates the editor’s opinion, by which we are
not bound, as he was not inspired. But may not the editor’s
opinion be as good as mine ? Yes, if there be determining
reasons on his side. But I claim a reason in the additional
fact: (2.) That the ordinary punctuation makes verses 3 and 4
not a complete sentence, though separated from verse 5 by a
full stop. Accordingly, our English translators thought it
necessary to insert the whole clause — ” that day shall not

1 The Coming of Christ, by David MuUan, B.A., Dublin.


come ” — with a verb in the future indicative, in order to
make a sentence. But this is no less than ” handling the
word of God deceitfully,” or at least unfairly, Jerome’s Latin,
as given by Tregelles, contains no such clause ; and his words
do not make a sentence. Nor does it seem possible to con-
strue the words as a sentence and intelligibly, unless as I
have done, by including verse 5 — the words of it forming the
apodosis, or concluding clause of the sentence.

These words, then, of Paul, literally presented, do not say,
as they are commonly quoted to prove, that the day of Christ
is not present. They say it is so ; and they direct the
believers not to be alarmed on that account. Nor does the
word ” first” imply the rise of the apostasy before the parousia
of Christ, but the lawlessness and the lawless one, and before
” the manifestation of the presence.” One leading error has
been, to make the apostasy and the lawlessness identical —
an assumption without any foundation. The apostasy was
Gnosticism, begun by Simon Magus, but developed several
centuries after his career ; and the lawlessness and lawless one
were afterwards developed in Popery and Mohammedanism.
Paul in the passage says, before these developments had yet
begun, he had spoken of them anticipatively. Thus the pas-
sage, instead of denying, asserts the presence of Christ in the
opening of the gospel age, while Paul was writing.

If Jesus came spiritually, invisibly, but personally and
potentially, on the day of Pentecost, and judicially as King
of Nations and Head of the Church, to judge Jerusalem and
terminate the Jewish kingdom, all the intimations of His
coming quickly are plain, easy, instructive, and accordant with
the grammatical and scriptural use of language. If otherwise,
these terms ” quickly ” and ” at hand ” set all grammatical
interpretation at defiance, and charge the apostles either with
a grave error regarding the coming of Christ, or a painfully
deceptive use of words, and that in a systematic manner.
From this conclusion, sober uniform interpretation keeps us

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