Christ’s Revelation Made Known to John
The Testimony of Jesus, Chapter 5
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John, Revelation 1:1
Today, we take a look at the author who penned the book— John. True, this isn’t the typical method in which to unfold a book commentary from the Bible, but I suppose I’m not the typical Bible expositor. Often, this information is given up front, at the very beginning; however, because of the majesty and priority of the information revealed in the first sentence of the verse, it seemed to me, more appropriate to examine John after the truth of Christ was sufficiently examined.
John’s name is mentioned, not only in this verse, but also in three other verses (Rev 1:4; 1:9; 22:8). Some of the ancient patriarchs of the early church testify to the John of Revelation being the same apostle to write the gospel account in his name, as well as the three general epistles, also identified with his name; among those patriarchs were Justin Martyr (c.100-165 AD), Irenaeus (c.130-202 AD), Clement of Alexandria (c.150-215 AD), and Tertullian (c.155-220 AD).
The setting and date of its writing go hand in hand. There are some who have set an early date to its writing, the late 60s AD, sometime shortly after Nero’s death, because of the short reigns and violent deaths of those Caesars following Nero, citing Revelation 17:10 as a supporting text,
they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. Revelation 17:10
With no other support for this early date, and attempting to compute the deaths of certain Caesars from this single verse, causes us to strain at a gnat to swallow a camel, hermeneutically speaking. Which Caesar should one start with? Tiberius, the Caesar alive during Christ’s crucifixion and the birth of the church? Caligula? Claudius? Nero?
No. More than likely a later date of the mid 90s is more appropriate. Irenaeus, who was a disciple of Polycarp (c.69-155 AD), declared that that Revelation had been written during the end of the reign of Domitian, who ruled as Caesar from 81-96 AD (Polycarp, the Christian bishop of Smyrna, was the disciple of John, the beloved apostle). Likewise, Clement of Alexandria, Origen (c.185-253 AD), the early church historian, Eusebius (c.260-339 AD), and Jerome (c.342-420 AD) attest to the later date during Domitian’s reign. John Foxe (c.1516-April 18, 1557), wrote:
“The ‘beloved disciple’ was brother to James the Great. The churches of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and Thyatira, were founded by him. From Ephesus he was ordered to be sent to Rome, where it is affirmed he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. He escaped by miracle, without injury. Domitian afterwards banished him to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. Nerva, successor of Domitian, recalled him. He was the only apostle who escaped a violent death. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA; 2004
SENT BY HIS ANGEL
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