It is nearly universally accepted in Christianity that the first four chapters of the book of Revelation were addressed to their named recipients, the seven churches in Asia Minor. Most also affirm that they were fulfilled in the first century. What happens next, in many interpretations, however, is funny. Many traditions say that the book suddenly – and without warning – shifts topics and historical settings.
One popular view today is that this shift happens after the fourth chapter. A historical partial-preterist view says that the letter shifts its topic and audience after the 20th chapter. In each case, however, the shift is arbitrarily assigned based upon what the interpreter feels has not been fulfilled yet. HOWEVER, there is no indication from the text that a shift in audience or time of fulfillment is EVER to be made. It is important to realize that this is a modern call imposed upon the text, not something arising from the text itself.
But what does Scripture say? The letter of Revelation itself says nothing about a shift in audience or subject matter. It says nothing about a delay in timing or a change in intended audience. EVER. Revelation is one letter, one message, written to seven churches in Asia Minor – from beginning to end. Chopping the letter up is an arbitrary idea forced onto the text. It is the result of a misunderstanding about when or why it was written and how it was fulfilled to its original audience. Once we see WHEN and WHY Revelation was written, much of the mystery of it’s content is solved.
The first point to consider about Revelation is WHEN it was written. This may sound like an academic concern, but it is actually quite relevant. This is because if Revelation was not written before 70AD, then it was likely not warning its audience about the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. And if Revelation was written before 70AD, then it likely was a letter to real people who were about to go through the terrible holocaust of 70AD.
After a comparative examination of the evidence, I think you’ll agree that the case for the early date wins. Not only will the internal and external piles of –largely unknown today- evidence surprised you, but his early date explanation puts the message of Revelation in the same vein as other messages that God gave people in similar situations.
Here is how one scholar put it.
“A pre 70 AD date would make the purpose of the Revelation the same as was Isaiah’s prophecy — that is, to see the faithful people of God through the extremely difficult times ahead as THEIR then known WORLD was going to be shaken to its very foundation by the judgment of God against Babylon. (Ovid Need Jr, Revelation: Date, Time and Purpose, 2001.)
Revelation is introduced as something that “must” – not might – but which “MUST” soon take place. The events in the letter would be fulfilled “soon”, “shortly” and they were “at hand”. A plain reading of the time statements are KEY to understanding the meaning and nature of the whole message. There is really no textual reason to discount the time statements and their relevance to the original readers of the letters. The only reason to do this is if you are trying to make the text fit your particular doctrine.
Eleven Imminent Time references in the book of Revelation:
tachos & en tachei mean “quickly, all at once, without delay.”
Revelation 1:1 – “…things which must shortly take place”
Revelation 2:16 – “Repent, or else I will come to you quickly”
Revelation 3:11 – “Behold, I come quickly!”
Revelation 22:6 – “…things which must shortly take place.”
Revelation 22:7 – “Behold, I am coming quickly!”
Revelation 22:12 – “Behold, I am coming quickly.”
Revelation 22:20 – “Surely I am coming quickly.”
εγγυς, engus means “at hand, near”
Revelation 1:3 – “The time is near.”
Revelation 22:10 – “The time is at hand.”
μελλει, mello, mellei means “about to, on the point or verge of”
Revelation 1:19 – “Write … the things that are about to take place.”
Revelation 3:10 – “… the hour of trial … is about to come upon the whole world.”
Revelation says no less than six times at the beginning of the letter, and five times at the end of the letter, that ALL of its contents are to surely take place “SOON”. At the end of the letter, none other than Jesus Himself confirms that He is coming SOON – to THEM!
This timing perfectly aligns with Jesus’ parallel teachings in his landmark Olivet Discourse by Matthew, Mark and Luke about how Jerusalem would be destroyed before the end of his generation. The Gospel of John is mysteriously without an Olivet Discourse. By the time John writes his Revelation of Jesus Christ, the time frame of the Generation Promise was almost up. What you might consider is that Revelation IS John’s Olivet Discourse. And that this is why they match in content and timing.
What more could John and Jesus possibly say to communicate when this prophecy was to be fulfilled? They said it over eleven times in many different ways. It was stated at the beginning and at the very end of the letter. It might behoove us to at least consider that John & Jesus… were right. Instead, we’ve canonized the idea that they were all wrong…because we didn’t get what we were hoping for. But perhaps, just perhaps, Revelation’s fulfillment gave us what we desperately needed – and not what our material appetite wanted. Maybe it is our traditional doctrine of doubt that has made this letter more complex and enigmatic than it needs to be.
Berkof says that no one in church history has undertaken a thorough study of eschatology. It’s been a patch-job. Augustine didn’t understand it. The early church was fighting the Trinitarian wars. The Reformers were fighting the salvation wars, thus, Calvin and Luther wrote a commentary on every book of the Bible but Revelation. Luther didn’t even think Revelation should be in the Bible!
Eschatology is the last unexamined frontier in theology. We have seen plenty of examples of what hasn’t worked in eschatology. This has resulted in countless false prophets, false prophecies, and millions of people hurt and even dead because of their messages. Christianity has been made a mockery of because of its faulty eschatology more than any other aspect of its theology. If you hadn’t noticed this, just read the testimonies of people who have turned from the faith, and become skeptics and atheists. They are usually most disillusioned with an eschatology that doesn’t make sense to them, and that doesn’t make sense as coming from a supposedly loving God.
Maybe it is our generation that is going to finally rethink “last things”. Afterall, if you ask a Preterist, it is all about time!
A look at when Revelation was written.
- What evidence is there for a pre-70 date for the book of Revelation?
- Nearly EVERY major Bible COMMENTARY PRIOR TO 1850, Lightfoot, Hammond, T. Newton, Nisbett, Wesley, Gill, Scott, Clarke, Doddridge, et al. espoused a PRETERIST interpretation of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21) and an EARLY DATE for the writing of Revelation. It wasn’t until the late 1800s, when futurist perspective took hold of American Christians, that a switch in extra- Biblical literature changed to hold a later date of writing for arevelation and a future perspective for most of its fulfillment instead of the past.
- Though the Late Date, circa 96 AD, is the most common view today, it wasn’t that way a century ago. The late 96 AD date is a recent trend in scholarship and it rests on shaky ground. Many scholars in going back to the early date, circa 66AD. A lot of influential English, German and American scholars in the 1800’s and early 1900’s believed quite strongly that the book was written (and mostly or completely fulfilled) before A.D. 70.
- There are a growing number of contemporary American theologians who believe and teach the early date as well (Max King, Jay Adams, Foy Wallace, Jr.; Franklin Camp; etc.). Good sources about this are: Before Jerusalem Fell by Dr Kenneth Gentry, Milton S. Terry’s Biblical Hermeneutics and J. S. Russell’s The Parousia.
- There is a lot of INTERNAL EVIDENCE in Revelation for an early date. Some of the passages in Revelation which point clearly to a date before A.D. 70 are Rev. 11:1, 2; 11:8 and 18:24.Rev. 11:1, 2 seems to indicate that the Temple in Jerusalem was still standing when the book was written. John is told to measure the Temple, so in order to measure it, it must still be there. It wouldn’t make much sense otherwise. Revelation does not mention its cataclysmic destruction. It does not seem likely that the angel would tell John to measure a Temple that had just been destroyed.Rev. 11:8 indicates that “The Great City” was Jerusalem (“where also their Lord was crucified”). Jerusalem was also quite often compared “mystically” to Sodom and Egypt, by the Prophets, by Jesus, and by John as well. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. (Rev. 11:8) And, the statements in Rev. 18:24 seem to identify the Great City even more clearly. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.When this verse is compared to Luke 13:33ff, it is obvious that Jerusalem is the Great City under discussion here. It wouldn’t fit Rome or any other city. There is so much internal as well as external evidence for a pre-70 date. I also highly recommend reading Ken Gentry’s new book, Before Jerusalem Fell, for additional evidence of the pre-70 date. (by E.S.)
62 SCHOLARS FOR THE EARLY DATE OF REVELATION
Greg Bahnsen (1984)
“When we combine the names (of the pre-20th century advocates of the early dating of the Apocalypse of John) with the yet outstanding stature of Schaff, Terry, Lightfoot, Westcott, and Hort, we can feel the severity of Beckwith’s understatement when, in 1919, he described the Neronian dating for Revelation as “a view held by many down to recent times.” By many indeed!
It has been described as “the ruling view” of critics,” by “the majority of modern critics,” by “most modern scholars,” and by “the whole force of modern criticism.” The weight of scholarship placed behind the Neronian option for the dating of Revelation has been staggering. In our own day it has gained the support of such worthies as C.C. Torrey, J.A.T. Robinson, and F.F. Bruce and has been popularized by Jay Adams. In 1956 Torrey could write about the number 666, “It is now the accepted conclusion that the beast is the emperor Nero.” (Historical Setting for the Dating of Revelation)
• Jay E. Adams, The Time Is at Hand (Philipsburg: 1966).
• D.E. Aune, Revelation 1—5 (WBC, 52A; Nashville: 1997) ; Revelation 6—16 (WBC, 52B; Nashville: 1998a) ; Revelation 17—22 (WBC, 52C; Nashville: 1998b).
• Greg L. Bahnsen, Victory in Jesus: The Bright Hope of Postmillennialism (1999).
• Joseph R. Balyeat, Babylon – The Great City of Revelation (1991).
• Arthur Stapylton Barnes, Christianity at Rome in the Apostolic Age (Westport: 1938), pp. 159ff.
• R. Bauckham, The Climax of Prophecy: Studies on the Book of Revelation (Edinburgh: 1993).
• W. Bauer, W.F. Arndt and F.W. Gingrich, A Greek—English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (1979).
• Ulrich R. Beeson, The Revelation (1956 PDF).
• Albert A. Bell, Jr., “The Date of John’s Apocalypse. The Evidence of Some Roman Historians Reconsidered,” New Testament Studies 25 (1979): 93-102
• Charles Bigg, The Origins of Christianity, ed. by T. B. Strong (Oxford: 1909), pp. 30,48.
• F.F. Bruce, New Testament History (Garden City: 1969), p.411.
• Rudolf Bultmann (1976).
• R. Carré, `Othon et Vitellius, deux nouveaux Néron?’, in J.-M. Croisille, R. Martin and Y. Perrin (eds.), Neronia V. Néron: histoire et légende (Collection Latomus, 247; Brussels: 1999): 152-81.
• David Chilton, Paradise Restored (Tyler, TX: 1985); and The Days of Vengeance (Ft. Worth, TX: 1987).
• William Newton Clarke, An Outline of Christian Theology (New York: 1903).
• Adela Yarbro Collins, The Combat Myth in the Book of Revelation (Harvard Theological Review; Harvard Dissertations in Religion, 9; (Missoula: 1976) ; Crisis and Catharsis: The Power of the Apocalypse (Philadelphia: 1984).
• W. Gary Crampton, Biblical Hermeneutics (1986), p. 42.
• Berry Stewart Crebs, The Seventh Angel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1938).
• Gary DeMar, End Times Fiction ; Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church
• George Edmundson, The Church in Rome in the First Century (London: 1913 PDF).
• George P. Fisher, The Beginnings of Christianity, with a View to the State of the Roman World at the Birth of Christ (New York: 1916), pp. 534ff.
• J. Massyngberde Ford, Revelation. Anchor Bible (Garden City, NY: 1975).
• S.J. Friesen, Twice Neokoros: Ephesus, Asia and the Cult of the Flavian Imperial Family (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World, 116; Leiden: 1993) ; Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John: Reading Revelation in the Ruins (New York: 2001) ; `Satan’s Throne, Imperial Cults and the Social Settings of Revelation’, JSNT 27 (2005): 351-73.
• A.J.P. Garrow, Revelation (New Testament Readings; London: 1997).
• Kenneth L. Gentry, Before Jerusalem Fell, An Exegetical and Historical Argument for a Pre-A.D. 70 Composition, (1989)
• Robert McQueen Grant, A Historical Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Harper & Row, 1963), p. 237.
• Samuel G. Green, A Handbook of Church History from the Apostolic Era to the Dawn of the Reformation (London: 1904), p. 64.
• I. Head, `Mark as a Roman Document from the Year 69: Testing Martin Hengel’s Thesis’, JRH 28 (2004): 240-59.
• Bernard W. Henderson, The Life and Principate of the Emperor Nero (London: Methuen, 1903).
• M. Hengel, Studies in the Gospel of Mark ( Philadelphia: 1985).
• David Hill, New Testament Prophecy (Atlanta: John Knox, 1979), pp. 218-219.
• B. Kowalski, Die Rezeption des Propheten Ezechiel in der O fenbarung des Johannes (Stuttgarter Biblische Beiträge, 52; Stuttgart: Verlag Katholisches Bibelwerk, 2004).
• P. Lampe, From Paul to Valentinus: Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries (transl. and ed. M. Steinhauser and M.D. Johnson; London: 2003).
• Francis Nigel Lee, Revelation and Jerusalem (Brisbane: 1985)
• Peter J. Leithart, The Promise of His Appearing (2004 PDF)
• J.W. Marshall, Parables of War: Reading John’s Jewish Apocalypse (Studies in Christianity and Judaism, 10; Waterloo, Ont.: 2001) ; `Who’s on the Throne? Revelation in the Long Year’, in R.S. Boustan and A.Y. Reed (eds.), Heavenly Realms and Earthly Realities in Late Antique Religions (Cambridge: 2004): 123-41.
• A. D. Momigliano, Cambridge Ancient History (1934).
• Charles Herbert Morgan, et. al., Studies in the Apostolic Church (New York: 1902), pp. 210ff.
• C. F. D. Moule, The Birth of the New Testament, 3rd ed. (New York: 1982), p. 174.56
• Robert L. Pierce, The Rapture Cult (Signal Mtn., TN: 1986)
• T. Randell, “Revelation” in H. D. M. Spence &Joseph S. Exell, eds., The Pulpit Cornmentary, vol. 22 (Grand Rapids: 1950).
• James J. L. Ratton, The Apocalypse of St. John (London: 1912).
• J. W. Roberts, The Revelation to John (Austin, TX: Sweet, 1974).
• John A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament (Philadelphia: 1976).
• G. Rojas-Flores, `The Book of Revelation and the First Years of Nero’s Reign ‘, Bib 85 (2004): 375-92.
• C. Rowland, The Open Heaven: A Study of Apocalyptic in Judaism and Early Christianity (New York: 1982).
• W. Sanday (1908). Introduction to the New Testament.
• J. J. Scott, The Apocalypse, or Revelation of S. John the Divine (London: 1909).
• Edward Gordon Selwyn, The Christian Prophets and the Apocalypse (Cambridge: 1900); and The Authorship of the Apocalypse (1900).
• T.B. Slater, `Dating the Apocalypse to John’, Bib 84 (2003): 252-58.
• D. Moody Smith, “A Review of John A. T. Robinson’s Redating the New Testament,” Duke Diviniep School Review 42 (1977): 193-205.
• A.G. Soeting, Auditieve aspecten van het boek Openbaring van Johannes (PhD thesis, University of Amsterdam; 2001).
• Charles Cutler Torrey, Documents of the Primitive Church, (ch. 5); and The Apocalypse of John (New Haven: Yale, 1958).
• Cornelis Vanderwaal, Hal Lindsey and Biblical Prophecy (Ontario: 1978); and Search the Scriptures, vol. 10 (1979).
• J.W. Van Henten, `Nero Redivivus Demolished: The Coherence of the Nero Traditions in the Sibylline Oracles’, JSP 21 (2000): 3-17.
• G.H. Van Kooten, ‘The Year of the Four Emperors and the Revelation of John’ (PDF): The `pro-Neronian’ Emperors Otho and Vitellius, and the Images and Colossus of Nero in Rome’ (Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Vol. 30, No. 2, 205-248 (2007) ; 2005 `”Wrath Will Drip in the Plains of Macedonia”: Expectations of Nero’s Return in the Egyptian Sibylline Oracles (Book 5), 2 Thessalonians, and Ancient Historical Writings’, in A. Hilhorst and G.H. van Kooten (eds.), The Wisdom of Egypt: Jewish, Early Christian, and Gnostic Essays in Honour of Gerard P. Luttikhuizen (Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity, 59; Leiden: E.J. Brill): 177-215.
• Arthur Weigall, Nero: Emperor of Rome (London: Thornton Butter-worth, 1930).
• Bernhard Weiss, A Commentary on the New Testament, trans. G. H. Schodde (NY: 1906), vol. 4.
• A.N. Wilson, Paul: The Mind of the Apostle (1977), p. 11
• J. Christian Wilson, `The Problem of the Domitianic Date of Revelation ‘, NTS 39 (1993): 587-605.
• M. Wilson, `The Early Christians in Ephesus and the Date of Revelation, Again’, Neot 39 ( 2005): 163-93.
• Herbert B. Workman, Persecution in the Early Church (London: 1906).
122 SCHOLARS FOR THE EARLY DATE OF REVELATION
PRIOR TO THE 20TH CENTURY
Greg Bahnsen (1984)
“A partial list of scholars who have supported the early date for Revelation, gleaned unsystematically from my reading, would include the following 18th and 19th writers not already mentioned just above: John Lightfoot, Harenbert, Hartwig, Michaelis, Tholuck, Clarke, Bishop Newton, James MacDonald, Gieseler, Tilloch, Bause, Zullig, Swegler, De Wette, Lucke, Bohmer, Hilgenfeld, Mommsen, Ewald, Neander, Volkmar, Renan, Credner, Kernkel, B. Weiss, Reuss, Thiersch, Bunsen, Stier, Auberlen, Maurice, Niermeyer, Desprez, Aube, Keim, De Pressence, Cowles, Scholten, Beck, Dusterdiek, Simcox, S. Davidson, Beyschlag, Salmon, Hausrath. Continuing on into the 20th century we could list Plummer, Selwyn, J.V. Bartlet, C.A. Scott, Erbes, Edmundson, Henderson, and others.
If one’s reading has been limited pretty much to the present and immediately preceding generations of writers on Revelation, then the foregoing names may be somewhat unfamiliar to him, but they were not unrecognized in previous eras. When we combine these names with the yet outstanding stature of Schaff, Terry, Lightfoot, Westcott, and Hort. (Historical Setting for the Dating of Revelation)
• Firmin Abauzit, Essai sur l’Apocalypse (Geneva: 1725) ; An Historical Discourse on the Apocalypse (1730)
• Luis de Alcasar, Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi (Antwerp: 1614).
• Karl August Auberlen. Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation of St. John in Their Mutual Relation (1856 PDF)
• B. Aubé
• James Vernon Bartlet, The Apostolic Age: Its Life, Doctrine, Worship, and Polity (Edinburgh: 1899), pp. 388ff. (AD75)
• Ferdinand Christian Baur, Church History of the First Three Centuries (Tubingen: 1863).
• Leonhard Bertholdt, Htitorisch-kritische Einleitung in die sammtlichen kanonishen u. apocryphischen Schriften des A. und N. Testaments, vol. 4 (1812 -1819).
• Willibald Beyschlag, New Testament Theology, trans. Neil Buchanan (Edinburgh: 1895).
• Friedrich Bleek, Vorlesungen und die Apocalypse (Berlin: 1859); and An Introduction to th New Testament, 2nd cd., trans. William Urwick (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1870); and Lectures on the Apocalypse, ed. Hossbach (1862).
• Alexander Brown (1878)
• Heinrich Bohmer, Die Offenbarung Johannis (Breslau: 1866).
• Wilhelm Bousset, Revelation of John (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck, 1896).
• Brown, Ordo Saeclorum, p. 679. 50
• Christian Karl Josias Bunsen.
• Cambridge Concise Bible Dictionay, editor, The Holy Bible (Cambridge), p. 127.
• Camp, Franklin.
• Newcombe Cappe
• W. Boyd Carpenter, The Revelation of St. John, in vol. 8 of Charles Ellicott, cd., Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, rep. n.d.).
• S. Cheetham, A History of the Christian Church (London: 1894) , pp. 24ff.
• Adam Clarke, Clarke’s Commentay on the Whole Bible.
• Henry Cowles, The Revelation of St. John (New York: 1871).
• Karl August Credner, Einleitung in da Neuen Testaments (1836).
• Alpheus Crosby
• R.W. Dale (1878)
• Samuel Davidson, The Doctrine af the Last Things (1882); “The Book of Revelation” in John Kitto, Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature (New York: 1855); An Introduction to th Study of the New Testament ( 1851 ); Sacred Hermeneutics (Edinburgh: 1843).
• Gary DeMar, “Last Days Madness”
• Edmund De Pressense, The Early Years of Christianity, trans. Annie Harwood (New York: 1879), p. 441.
• P. S. Desprez, The Apocalypse Fulfilled, 2nd ed. (London: 1855).
• W. M. L. De Wette
• Johann Gottfried Eichhorn, Kure Erklamng hr Offmbarung (Leipzig: 1848).
• Dollinger, Dr.
• Friedrich Dusterdieck, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Revelation of John, 3rd ed., trans. Henry E. Jacobs (New York: 1886)
• K. A. Eckhardt, Der Id da Johannes (Berlin: 1961 ).
• Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, pp. 141ff.
• Johann Gottfried Eichhorn, Commentaries in Apocalypse (Gottingen: 1791).
• Erbes, Die Oflenbawzg 0s Johannis (1891).
• G. H. A. Ewald, Commentaries in Apocalypse (Gottingen: 1828).
• Frederic W. Farrar, The Early Days of Christianity (New York: 1884).
• Grenville O. Field, Opened Seals – Open Gates (1895).
• Hermann Gebhardt, The Doctrine of the Apocalypse, trans. John Jefferson (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1878).
• Gentry, Kenneth L., Jr.
• J.C.L. Giesler (1820)
• James Glasgow, The Apocalypse: Translated and Expounded (Edinburgh: 1872).
• James Comper Gray, in Gray and Adams’ Bible Commentary, vol. V
• Hugo Grotius, Annotations in Apocalypse (Paris: 1644).
• Heinrich Ernst Ferdinand Guenke, Introduction to the New Testament (1843); and Manual of Church History, trans. W. G. T. Shedd (Boston: 1874), p. 68.
• Henry Melville Gwatkin, Early Church History to A.D. 313, vol. 1, p. 81.
• Hamilton, James.
• Henry Hammond, Paraphrase and Annotation upon the N. T (London: 1653).
• Ernest Hampden Cook
• Harbuig (1780).
• Hardouin (1741)
• Johann Christoph Harenberg, Erkiarung ( 1759).
• Friedrich Gotthold Hartwig, Apologie Der Apocalypse Wider Falschen Tadel Und Falscha (Frieberg: 1783).
• Karl August von Hase, A History of the Christian Church, 7th cd., trans. Charles E. Blumenthal and Conway P. Wing (New York: 1878), p. 33. 54
• Adolph Hausrath.
• Hawk, Ray.
• B. W. Henderson, Life and Principate of Nero, 439 f.
• Hentenius. [secondary source]
• Johann Gottfrieded von Herder, Das Buch von der Zukunft des Herrn, des Neuen Testaments Siegal (Rigs: 1779).
• J. S. Herrenschneider, Tentamen Apocalypseos illustrandae (Strassburg: 1786).
• Adolphus Hilgenfeld, Einleitung in das Neun Testaments (1875).
• Heinrich Julius Holtzmann, Die Offenbarrung des Johannis, in Bunsen’s Bibekoerk (Freiburg: 1891).
• F. J. A. Hort, The Apocalypse of St. John: 1-111, (London: Macmillan, 1908); and Judaistic Christianity (London: Macmillan, 1894).
• John Leonhard Hug, Introduction to the New Testament, trans. David Fosdick, Jr. (Andover: Gould and Newman, 1836).
• William Hurte, A Catechetical Commentay on the New Testament (St. Louis: John Burns, 1889), pp. 502ff.55
• A. Immer, Hermeneutics of the New Testament, trans. A. H. Newman (Andover: Draper, 1890).
• Theodor Keim, Rom und das Christenthum.
• Theodor Koppe, History of Jesus of Nazareth, 2nd cd., trans. Arthur Ransom (London: William and Norgate, 1883).
• Max Krenkel, Der Apostel Johannes (Leipzig: 1871).
• Johann Heinrich Kurtz, Church History, 9th cd., trans. John McPherson (3 vols. in 1) (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1888), pp. 41ff.
• Victor Lechler, The Apostolic and Post-Apostolic Times: Their Diversity and Union Life and Doctrine, 3rd cd., vol. 2, trans. A. J. K. Davidson, (Edinburgh: 1886), pp. 166ff.
• John Lightfoot (1658)
• Joseph B. Lightfoot, Biblical Essays (London: 1893).
• Gottfried Christian Friedrich Lücke, Versuch einer vollstandigen Einleitung in die Offenbarung Johannis, (Bonn: 1852).
• Christoph Ernst Luthardt, Die Offenbarung Johannis (Leipzig: 1861).
• James M. Macdonald, The Life and Writings of St. John (London: 1877).
• Frederick Denisen Maurice, Lectures on the Apocalypse, 2nd ed. (London: 1885).
• John David Michaelis, Introduction to the New Testament, vol. 4; and Sacred Books the New Testament.
• Charles Pettit M’Ilvaine, The Evidences of Christianity (Philadelphia: 1861).
• Theodor Mommsen, Roman History, vol. 5.
• John Augustus Wilhelm Neander, The History of the Planting and Training of the Christian Church by the Apostles, trans. J. E. Ryland (Philadelphia: James M. Campbell, 1844), pp. 223ff.
• Sir Isaac Newton, Observation Upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John (London: 1732).
• Bishop Thomas Newton, Dissertation on the Prophecies (London: 1832).
• A. Niermeyer, Over de echteid der Johanneisch Schriften (Haag: 1852).
• Professor Nehemiah A. Nisbett
• Alfred Plummer (1891).
• Dean Plumptere (1877)
• Edward Hayes Plumtree, A Popular Exposition of the Epistles to the Seven Churches of Asia, 2nd ed. (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1879).
• Ernest Renan, L’Antechrist (Paris: 1871).
• Eduard Wilhelm Eugen Reuss, History of the Sacred Scriptures of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T. &T. Clark, 1884).
• Jean Reville, Reu. d. d. Mondes (Oct., 1863 and Dec., 1873).
• Edward Robinson, Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 3 (1843), pp. 532ff.
• J. Stuart Russell, The Parousia (1878).
• Salmon, G. Introduction to the New Testament.
• Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 3rd cd., vol. 1: Apostolic Christianity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,  1950), p. 834.
• Johann Friedrich Schleusner.
• J. H. Scholten, de Apostel Johannis in Klein Azie (Leiden: 1871).
• Albert Schwegler, Da Nachapostol Zeitalter (1846).
• Henry C. Sheldon, The Early Church, vol. 1 of History of the Christian Church (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1894), pp. 112ff.
• William Henry Simcox, The Revelation of St. John Divine. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1893).
• Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Sermons and Essays on the Apostolic Age (3rd ed: Oxford and London: 1874), pp. 234ff.
• J.A. Stephenson (1838)
• Rudolf Ewald Stier (1869).
• Augustus H. Strong, Systematic Theology (Old Tappan: 1907, p. 1010).
• Moses Stuart, Commentary on the Apocalypse, 2 vols. (Andover: 1845).
• Milton S. Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics, p. 467.
• Thiersch, Die Kirche im apostolischm Zeitalter.
• Friedrich August Gottreu Tholuck, Commentary on the Gospel of John (1827).
• Tillich, Introduction to the New Testament.
• Gustav Volkmar, Conmentur zur 0fienbarung (Zurich: 1862).
• Foy E. Wallace, Jr., The Book of Revelation (Nashville: by the author, 1966) .
• Israel P Warren (1878)
• Bernhard Weiss, Die Johannes-Apokalypse. Textkritische Untersuchungen und Textherstellung (Leipsig, 1891).
• Brooke Foss Westcott, The Gospel According to St. John (Grand Rapids: 1882).
• J. J. Wetstein, New Testament Graecum, vol. 2 (Amsterdam: 1752).
• Karl Wieseler, Zur Auslegung und Kritik der Apok. Literatur (Gottingen: 1839).
• Charles Wordsworth, The New Testament, vol. 2 (London: 1864).
• Robert Young, Commentary on the Book of Revelation (1885)
• C. F. J. Zullig, Die Ofienbamng Johannis erklarten (Stuttgart: 1852).
EARLY CHURCH ADVOCATES FOR THE EARLY DATE OF REVELATION
“For there were many, yea, a countless multitude from among the Jews, who believed in Christ : as even they testify, who said to St Paul on his arrival at Jerusalem : Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe. (Acts xxi. 20.) And He who gave this revelation to the Evangelist, declares, that these men shall not share the destruction inflicted by the Romans. For the ruin brought by the Romans had not yet fallen upon the Jews, when this Evangelist received these prophecies : and he did not receive them at Jerusalem, but in Ionia near Ephesus. For after the suffering of the Lord he remained only fourteen years at Jerusalem, during which time the tabernacle of the mother of the Lord, which had conceived this Divine offspring, was preserved in this temporal life, after the suffering and resurrection of her incorruptible Son. For he continued with her as with a mother committed to him by the Lord. For after her death it is reported that he no longer chose to remain in Judaea, but passed over to Ephesus, where, as we have said, this present Apocalypse also was composed ; which is a revelation of future things, inasmuch as forty years after the ascension of the Lord this tribulation came upon the Jews.”
Clement of Alexandria (150-215)
“For the teaching of our Lord at His advent, beginning with Augustus and Tiberius, was completed in the middle of the times of Tiberius. And that of the apostles, embracing the ministry of Paul, end with Nero.” (Miscellanies 7:17.)
Epiphanies (A. D. 315-403)
States Revelation was written under “Claudius [Nero] Caesar.” (Epiphanies, Heresies 51:12,)
Irenaeus’ Quote (Used as Grounds for Late Date Theory)
“We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the Revelation. For ‘he’ [John?] or ‘it’ [Revelation?] was seen . . . towards the end of Domitian’s reign.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5:30:3)
Muratorian Canon (A.D. 170)
“the blessed Apostle Paul, following the rule of his predecessor John, writes to no more than seven churches by name. ”
“John too, indeed, in the Apocalypse, although he writes to only seven churches, yet addresses all. ” (ANF 5:603).
“Since, moreover, you are close upon Italy, you have Rome, from which there comes even into our own hands the very authority (of apostles themselves). How happy is its church, on which the apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood! where Peter endures a passion like his Lord’s; where Paul wins his crown in a death like John’s! where the Apostle John was first plunged, unhurt, into boiling oil, and thence remitted to his island-exile.”
OTHER SCHOLARS FOR THE EARLY DATE OF REVELATION
N.I.V. Study Bible (1973)
“Revelation was written when Christians were entering a time of persecution. The two periods most often mentioned are the latter part of Nero’s reign (A.D.54-68) and the latter part of Dominian’s reign (81-96).
J. A. T. Robinson (1976)
“It is indeed generally agreed that this passage must bespeak a pre-70 situation. . . . There seems therefore no reason why the oracle should not have been uttered by a Christian prophet as the doom of the city drew nigh.” (Redating the New Testament pp.. 240-242).
“It was at this point that I began to ask myself just why any of the books of the New Testament needed to be put after the fall of Jerusalem in 70. As one began to look at them, and in particular the epistle to the Hebrews, Acts and the Apocalypse, was it not strange that this cataclysmic event was never once mentioned or apparently hinted at (as a past fact)? (Redating, p. 10).
“One of the oddest facts about the New Testament is that what on any showing would appear to be the single most datable and climactic event of the period — the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 — is never once mentioned as a past fact. . . . [T]he silence is nevertheless as significant as the silence for Sherlock Holmes of the dog that did not bark”. (Ibid., p. 13.)
Albert Schweitzer (1906)
“The apocalyptic discourses in Mark xiii., Matt. xxiv., and Luke xxi. are interpolated. A Jewish-Christian apocalypse of the first century, probably composed before the destruction of Jerusalem, has been interwoven with a short exhortation which Jesus gave on the occasion when He predicted the destruction of the temple.. His construction rests upon two main points of support; upon his view of the sources and his conception of the eschatology of the time of Jesus. In his view the sole source for the Life of Jesus is the Gospel of Mark, which was “probably written exactly in the year 73,” five years after the Johannine apocalypse.” (Quest for the Historical Jesus)
Steve Gregg (1997)
“Many scholars, including those supportive of a late date, have said that there is no historical proof that there was an empire-wide persecution of Christians even in Domitian’s reign.” (Revelation: Four Views, p.16)
“Since the text is admittedly “uncertain” in many places, and the quotation in question is known only from a Latin translation of the original, we must not place too high a degree of certainty upon our preferred reading of the statement of Irenaeus.” (Revelation: Four Views, p. 18)
Hank Hanegraaff (2004)
“More and more, people who have embraced the Futurist paradigm, when they recognize.. that the book of Revelation was not written in the mid-nineties, but rather was written in the mid-sixties, ..they have a different view of what the book of Revelation is actually dealing with in terms of substance.” (Voice of Reason, 11/21)
William Hurte (1884)
“That John saw these visions in the reign of Nero, and that they were written by him during his banishment by that emperor, is confirmed by Theophylact, Andreas, Arethas, and others. We judge, therefore, that this book was written about A.D. 68, and this agrees with other facts of history.. There are also several statements in this book which can only be understood on the ground that the judgment upon Jerusalem was then future.” (Catechetical Commentary: Edinburgh, Scotland, 1884)
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown (1871)
“The following arguments favor an earlier date, namely, under Nero:
(1) EUSEBIUS [Demonstration of the Gospel] unites in the same sentence John’s banishment with the stoning of James and the beheading of Paul, which were under Nero.
(2) CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA’S story of the robber reclaimed by John, after he had pursued, and with difficulty overtaken him, accords better with John then being a younger man than under Domitian, when he was one hundred years old.
ARETHAS, in the sixth century, applies the sixth seal to the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), adding that the Apocalypse was written before that event. So the Syriac version states he was banished by Nero the Cæsar. Laodicea was overthrown by an earthquake (A.D. 60) but was immediately rebuilt, so that its being called “rich and increased with goods” is not incompatible with this book having been written under the Neronian persecution (A.D. 64). But the possible allusions to it in Heb 10:37; compare Re 1:4,8 4:8 22:12; Heb 11:10; compare Re 21:14; Heb 12:22,23; compare Re 14:1; Heb 8:1,2; compare Re 11:19 15:5 21:3; Heb 4:12; compare Re 1:16 2:12,16 19:13,15; Heb 4:9; compare Re 20:1-15; also 1Pe 1:7,13 4:13, with Re 1:1; 1Pe 2:9 with Re 5:10; 2Ti 4:8, with Re 2:26,27 3:21 11:18; Eph 6:12, with Re 12:7-12; Php 4:3, with Re 3:5 13:8,17:8 20:12,15; Col 1:18, with Re 1:5; 1Co 15:52, with Re 10:7 11:15-18, make a date before the destruction of Laodicea possible. Cerinthus is stated to have died before John; as then he borrowed much in his Pseudo-Apocalypse from John’s, it is likely the latter was at an earlier date than Domitian’s reign. See TILLOCH’S Introduction to Apocalypse. But the Pauline benediction (Re 1:4) implies it was written after Paul’s death under Nero.” (introduction to Revelation)
Arthur Cushman McGiffert (1890)
“Internal evidence has driven most modern scholars to the conclusion that the Apocalypse must have been written before the destruction of Jerusalem, the banishment therefore taking place under Nero instead of Domitian.” (Eusebius, Church History, Book III, ch.5. Eusebius notes, 148, footnote 1.)
James M. MacDonald (1870)
“The question whether the Apocalypse was written at an early date or in the very closing period of the apostolic ministration has importance as bearing on the interpretation of the book. A true exposition depends, in no small degree, upon a knowledge of the existing condition of things at the time it was written ; i.e., of the true point in history occupied by the writer, and those whom he originally addressed…
“It is very obvious that if the book itself throws any distinct light on this subject, this internal evidence, especially in the absence of reliable historical testimony, ought to be decisive. Instead of appealing to tradition or to some doubtful passage in an ancient father, we interrogate the book itself, or we listen to what the Spirit said that was in him who testified of these things. It will be found that no book of the New Testament more abounds in passages which clearly have respect to the time when it was written.” (Life and Writings of John, p. 151-152)
“So clear is the internal evidence in favor of the early date of the Apocalypse. And no evidence can be drawn from any part of the book favoring the later date so commonly assigned to it.” (Life and Writings of John, p. 167)
“And when we open the book itself, and find inscribed on its very pages evidence that at the time it was written Jewish enemies were still arrogant and active, and the city in which our Lord was crucified, and the temple and the altar in it were still standing, we need no date from early antiquity, not even from the hand of the author himself, to inform us that he wrote before the great historical event and prophetic epoch, the destruction of Jerusalem.” (Life and Writings of John, p. 171-172)
“There appear to have been but seven church in Asia… when the book was written. It is dedicated to these seven alone by the careful mention of them one by one by name, as if there were no others… The expression ‘the seven churches’ seems to imply that this constituted the whole number, and hence affords one of the most striking incidental proofs of an early date.. Those who contend for the later date, when there must have been a greater number of churches than the seven in the region designated by the apostle fail to give any sufficient reason for his mentioning no more. That they mystically or symbolically represented others is surely not such a reason.” (ibid., p. 154)
Francis Nigel Lee
It is difficult to see why the A.D. 130ff Irenaeus would have referred (as he did) to “ancient copies” (rather than simply to “copies”) – tithe original autograph had itself been written on~ “towards the end of Domitian’s rule.” . . . For then, the first “ancient copies” would and could only have been made after A.D. 96 — whereas Irenaeus implies that those ancient copies were made before that date! Moreover, even if the copies were made only after A.D. 96 – they could hardly have been called “ancient” by the time of Irenaeus (born 130 A.D.). Still less could such first copies then (at a date only after 96 A. D.) appropriately have been described by Irenaeus as “the most approved and ancient copies.” Surely the compilation of many copies would thereafter require even further time. And the further determination of such of those approved and ancient copies as Irenaeus refers to as the “most approved and ancient copies” of the original, would need a further long time to take place. (Francis Nigel Lee, ” Revelation and Jerusalem” (Brisbane, Australia by the author, 1985).
“Advocates of the Early-Church-in-general’s earlier (Neronic) date for the book of Revelation, include: Epiphanius, Andreas of Caesarea, Arethas of Caesarea, Theophylact, Annius, Caponsacchius, Hentenius, Salmeron, Alcazar, Grotius, Hammond, Wettsteign, Harenberg, Herder, Hartwig, Guerike, Moses Stuart, Adam Clark, Zuellig, Luecke, Bleek, Duesterdieck, Lightfoot, Westcott, Hort, Van Andel, A.D. Barnes, J.M. Ford, C. Vanderwaal, Leon Morris, J.A.T. Robinson, F.N. Lee, K.L. Gentry, Jr.., and David Chilton. Significantly, the A.D. 400 Church Father Epiphaneaus gave a very early date to the Book of Revelation based on Mt. 24:7 & Acts 11:28 & 18:2. cs. Rev 6:2-8.”
Philip Schaff (1877)
“On two points I have changed my opinion — the second Roman captivity of Paul (which I am disposed to admit in the interest of the Pastoral Epistles), and the date of the Apocalypse (which I now assign, with the majority of modern critics, to the year 68 or 69 instead of 95, as before).” (Vol. I, Preface to the Revised Edition, 1882 The History of the Christian Church, volume 1)
“The early date [of Revelation] is now accepted by perhaps the majority of scholars.” (Encyclopedia 3:2036.)
“Tertullian’s legend of the Roman oil-martyrdom of John seems to point to Nero rather than to any other emperor, and was so understood by Jerome (Adv. Jovin. 1.26) (History 1:428.)
“The destruction of Jerusalem would be a worthy theme for the genius of a Christian Homer. It has been called “the most soul-stirring of all ancient history.” But there was no Jeremiah to sing the funeral dirge of the city of David and Solomon. The Apocalypse was already written, and had predicted that the heathen “shall tread the holy city under foot forty and two months.” (p. 397-398)
A.H. Strong (1907)
” Elliott’s whole scheme [based on his “interpretation of `time and times and half a time’ of Dan. 7:25, which according to the year-day theory means 1260 years…” p 1009, ed], however, is vitiated by the fact that he wrongly assumes the book of Revelation to have been written under Domitian (94 or 96), instead of under Nero (67 or 68). His terminus a quo is therefore incorrect, and his interpretation of chapters 5-9 is rendered very precarious. The year 1866, moreover, should have been the time of the end, and so the terminus ad quem seems to be clearly misunderstood– (Systematic Theology, A.H. Strong, ©1907, published 1912, The Griffith & Rowland Press, Boston, p 1010.)
B.F. Westcott (1825-1903)
“The Apocalypse is after the close of St. Paul’s work. It shows in its mode of dealing with Old Testament figures a close connexion with the Epistle to the Hebrews (2 Peter, Jude). And on the other hand it is before the destruction of Jerusalem.” (Brooke Foss Westcott, The Gospel According to St. John (Grand Rapids: Baker,  1980), pp. clxxiv-clxxv.)
Robert Young (1885)
“It was written in Patmos about A.D.68, whither John had been banished by Domitious Nero, as state in the title of the Syriac version of the book ; and with this concurs the express statement of Irenaeus in A.D.175, who says it happened in the reign of Domitianou — ie., Domitious (Nero). Sulpicius, Orosius, etc., stupidly mistaking Domitianou for Domitianikos, supposed Irenaeus to refer to Domition, A.D. 95, and most succeeding writers have fallen into the same blunder. The internal testimony is wholly in favor of the earlier date.” (Commentary on Revelation – Young’s Analytical Concordance)
Henry Cowles (1871)
“The conclusion to which I am brought after much investigation is that the historic testimony for the Domitian date is largely founded on a misconception of the passage from Irenaeus, and as a whole is by no means so harmonious, so ancient, and so decisive, as to overrule and set aside the strong internal evidence for the earlier date. I am compelled to accept the age of Nero as the true date of this writing.” (The Book of Revelation)
David Crews (1994)
“The view accepted without much question by many Christians is that the Revelation was written in or around A.D.96, during the reign of the Caesar Domitian. This date of authorship would, of course, prevent the book from referring to the events of the Jewish War.. Simply put, the case for a late Domitian date hangs by a very slender thread. It is determined from a single statement by the Bishop of Lyons, named Irenaeus.. This statement is not an eyewitness testimony from Irenaeus, but is his recollection of what was said by an ever earlier man, Polycarp, who is supposed to have known John personally.” [Prophecy Fulfilled – God’s Perfect Church (Austin, TX: New Light Publishing, 1994), pp. 256,257]
“The Book (of Revelation) bears on it, not in one place, but in many, nay in its whole structure, an undeniable proof of having been written before the fall of Jerusalem.” (Th. i., p. 137)
Jay E. Adams (1966)
“[the temple still standing in Revelation 11:1 is] unmistakable proof that Revelation was written before 70 A.D.” (The Time is at Hand, p. 68).
“The Revelation was written to a persecuted church about to face the most tremendous onslaught it had ever known. It would be absurd (not to say cruel) for John to write a letter to persons in such circumstances which not only ignores their difficulties, but reveals numerous details about events supposed to transpire hundreds of years in the future during a seven year tribulation period at the end of the church age.” (The Time is at Hand, p. 49)
“It is to remain unsealed because ‘the time is at hand.’ That is, its prophecies are about to be fulfilled. The events which it predicts do not pertain to the far distant future, but they are soon to happen. The message is for this generation, not for some future one.” (The Time is at Hand, p. 51)
Adam Clarke (1837)
(On Revelation 1:7) “By this the Jewish People are most evidently intended, and therefore the whole verse may be understood as predicting the destruction of the Jews; and is a presumptive proof that the Apocalypse was written before the final overthrow of the Jewish state.” (6:971.)
“Bengel has said much on these points, but to very little purpose; the word in the above place seems to signify delay simply, and probably refers to the long-suffering of God being ended in reference to Jerusalem; for I all along take for probable that this book was written previously to the destruction of that city.” (Revelation 10)
F.W. Farrar (1886)
“there can be no reasonable doubt respecting the (early) date of the Apocalypse.” (The Early Days of Christianity; NY, NY: A.L. Burt, 1884; p. 387)
“We cannot accept a dubious expression of the Bishop of Lyons as adequate to set aside an overwhelming weight of evidence, alike external and internal, in proof of the fact that the Apocalypse was written, at the latest, soon after the death of Nero.” (The Early Days of Christianity; NY, NY: A.L. Burt, 1884; p. 408)
The reason why the early date and mainly contemporary explanation of the book is daily winning fresh adherents among unbiased thinkers of every Church and school, is partly because it rests on so simple and secure a basis, and partly because no other can compete with it. It is indeed the only system which is built on the plain and repeated statements and indications of the Seer himself and the corresponding events are so closely accordant with the symbols as to make it certain that this scheme of interpretation is the only one that can survive. (The Early Days of Christianity; NY, NY: A.L. Burt, 1884; p. 434)
Ken Gentry (1989)
“My confident conviction is that a solid case for a Neronic date for Revelation can be set forth from the available evidences, both internal and external. In fact, I would lean toward a date after the outbreak of the Neronic persecution in late A.D.64 and before the declaration of the Jewish war in early A.D.67. A date in either A.D.65 or early A.D.66 would seem most suitable.” (Before Jerusalem Fell (Tyler, TX: ICE, 1989), 336.)
“John emphasizes his anticipation of the soon occurrences of his prophecy by strategic placement of these time references. He places his boldest time statements in both the introduction and conclusion to Revelation. It is remarkable that so many recent commentators have missed it literally coming and going! The statement of expectancy is found three times in the first chapter – twice in the first three verses: Revelation 1:1,3,19. The same idea is found four times in his concluding remarks: Revelation 22:6,7,12,20. It is as if John carefully bracketed the entire work to avoid any confusion.” (The Beast of Revelation; Tyler, TX; ICE, 1982; p. 21-22).
“Think of it: If these words in these verses do not indicate that John expected the events to occur soon, what words could John have used to express such? How could he have said it more plainly?” (The Beast of Revelation; Tyler, TX; ICE, 1982; p. 24).
“It seems indisputably clear that the book of Revelation must be dated in the reign of Nero Caesar, and consequently before his death in June, A.D.68. He is the sixth king; the short-lived rule of the seventh king (Galba) “has not yet come.” (Before Jerusalem Fell (Tyler, TX: ICE, 1989; 158.)
Ovid Need Jr. (2001)
“I will say in opening that Revelation chapter eleven almost requires that the date of the book be pre 70 AD, for there the temple and altar are still standing, as well as the city where our Lord was crucified, v. 8. (International Bible Encyclopedia, s.v. Revelation, book of. 1917.)
Admittedly, there are good arguments for both an early and a later date of the Revelation. However, I believe Biblical evidence requires an early date, before 70AD. As an introductory statement, let me mention that prophecy is from the time it is written, NOT FROM THE TIME IT IS READ.
A pre 70 AD date would make the purpose of the Revelation the same as was Isaiah’s prophecy — that is, to see the faithful people of God through the extremely difficult times ahead as their then known world was going to be shaken to its very foundation by the judgment of God against Babylon. (Revelation: Date, Time and Purpose)
Milton Terry (1898)
“the trend of modem criticism is unmistakably toward the adoption of the early date of the Apocalypse.” (p. 241n.)
“It is therefore not to be supposed that the language, or style of thought, or type of doctrine must needs resemble those of other production of the same author .. the difference of language is further accounted for by the supposition that the apocalypse was written by the apostle at an early period of his ministry, and the gospel and epistles some thirty or forty years later.” (Biblical Apocalyptics, p. 255)
“A fair weighing of the arguments thus far adduced shows that they all excepting the statement of Irenaeus, favor the early rather than later date. The facts appealed to indicate the times before rather than after the destruction of Jerusalem.” (ibid.,258)
Now, there is no contention that Galatians and Hebrews were written before the destruction of Jerusalem, and, to say the least, the most natural explanation of the allusions referred to is to suppose that the Apocalypse was already written, and that Paul and many others of his day were familiar with its contents. Writers who cite passages from the apostolic fathers to prove the priority of the gospel of John are the last persons in the world who should presume to dispute the obvious priority of the Apocalypse of John to Galatians and Hebrews. For in no case are the alleged quotations of Gospel more notable or striking than these allusions to the Apocalypse in the New Testament epistles.” (ibid.,260)
“The verb was seen is ambiguous and may be either it, referring to the Apocalypse, or he, referring to John himself.” (Biblical Hermeneutics, p. 238)
C. Vanderwaal (1989)
“We cannot accept all the arguments of J.A.T. Robinson in his book Redating the New Testament (London, 1976), but we agree with his conclusion that all the books of the New Testament were written before the year A.D.70.” (Cited in James E. Priest, “Contemporary Apocalyptic Scholarship and the Revelation,” in Johannie Studies: Essays in Honor of Frank Pack, ed. James E. Priest; Malibu, CA: Pepperdine University Press; p. 199, n. 75)
“The book of Revelation presents a clear testimony to the churches in the first century. To be more specific, I am convinced that Revelation was written in the seventh decade of the first century – before the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70, which Jesus talked about in Matthew 24.” (Hal Lindsey and Bible Prophecy; St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada: Paideia Press, 1978; p. 12)
A quote from Patrick Stone’s website, thepreteristpost.com
The Identity of the Beast
Before moving on to the next period, we must first identify which historical figure represents the beast of Revelation (Rev 13:1-5, Rev 17:7-12).
In order to properly identify the beast amid the first century, one must recognize that John speaks of the Beast as both an individual as well as a composite. The beast has 7 heads, which is commonly interpreted to be 7 Kings or Emperors and the Beast itself as their empire. Therefore, when the word “beast” is read, it may refer to just one of the kings, or it may refer to their empire.
During the first century, the empire that ruled the World was the Roman Empire. Its first Caesar was Julius Caesar in 49 BC. As already mentioned, it was a Roman army led under Cestius that was defeated in 66 AD, just before the Roman – Jewish War of 67-70AD. In addition, it is commonly acknowledged (by Preterist, Futurist, and Historicists) that Rome in the ancient world was known to sit on seven hills [Rev 17:9]. The Beast is Rome and its 7 Heads were its Caesars. The 7 Heads are, in order of their rule:
1) Julius Caesar
The “five fallen” are the Caesars who died prior to the Roman-Jewish war of 67-70AD. This includes the first five emperors, making Nero the one who “is” and Vespasian the one “not yet come.” Nero was on the throne when Florus persecuted the Jews and when Cestius attacked Jerusalem. In this sense, it was Nero’s head that was wounded. It was because of the defeat and deadly wound that Nero sent the great commander Vespasian, who would later become emperor himself, to conquer Judea.
In 68AD Nero died, and a political struggle began for the throne, but ultimately Vespasian emerged as the Caesar of the Roman Empire. Nero’s death is symbolically portrayed in the visions of Revelation as the head of the beast that “goes into perdition” [Rev 17:8, 11]. Although the “eighth head” is variously interpreted by preterist scholars, the eighth head is best understood as a “resurrected Nero.” The sixth head [Nero] of the beast was wounded in 66AD. The revived head symbolizes the revived Roman army led by Vespasian to conquer Jerusalem in 67AD. Although he was only a general in the army at the time, Vespasian became emperor in 68AD and can therefore be called the “seventh head” of the beast. Since the “sixth head” was wounded in 66AD, Nero’s death in 68AD is portrayed as the “eighth head” which is “of the seven” and “goes into perdition” [Rev 17:11].
Vespasian led the war in 67AD which, although he leaves the battle to claim the throne in 68AD, lasts for 3 ½ years until 70AD when Jerusalem is completely conquered and the temple destroyed. Thus it is said of the beast that “power was given unto him to continue forty & two months” (referring to the duration of the war) as well as of the seventh head “the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space” (referring to the rule of Vespasian up to the end of the war).
The recapitulation in these two visions found in chapter 13 and 17 can quite easily be shown when aligned with their proper correspondence to the Roman Caesars.
Here is a little snippet in a book about spiritual formation. The book is called Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation by M. Robert Mulholland Jr.
The last chapter deals with corporate/social spirituality, and the author brings the message of Revelation into the discussion at the very end. He interprets the book in this way:
“John’s vision is not about the rapture, and it is not a blueprint of the future. Instead, it is a profound vision of what it means to be a citizen of New Jerusalem in the midst of a world that is shaped by the destructive values and dehumanizing powers of Fallen Babylon…”
Here’s the other really interesting part…
“John sees a huge, cubic city (the twelve thousand stadia are about fourteen hundred miles), and it is the dwelling place of God. Now why is this city, the dwelling place of God, cubic? It is the Holy of Holies. In the Jerusalem temple, the Holy of Holies was a cubic space (see 1 Kings 6:20) where God’s presence dwelt. John is seeing that the new covenant community is the new Holy of Holies. Paul uses the same image when he speaks of the church not only as a holy temple but as the dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Eh. 2:21-22).
Now, if you take a map of the Mediterranean, cut out a square fourteen hundred miles on a side to the scale of the map and lay the square over the map with its center on the Island of Patmos, where John received his vision, you discover that the western edge falls right about where Rome is, the eastern edge falls along the eastern boundary of the Roman Empire near Jerusalem, and the northern and southern edges follow the northern and southern boundaries of the eastern Roman Empire. The real significance of this, howeever, is that at the time John received the vision, every living Christian lived within that square! The church had not yet moved beyond those boundaries. John was seeing that the church in his day was the citizenship of New Jerusalem in the midst of the Fallen Babylon of the Roman Empire.
John’s vision has to do with the dynamics of these two orders, how they contend against one another and, particularly, what it means to be a faithful citizen of New Jerusalem in the midst of Fallen Babylon. Such a life–lived by the values and perspectives of God’s New Order of being in Christ in the midst of the destructive values of Fallen Babylon–is the essense of all social spirituality.”