Sunday, July 26, 2015
Author of Revelation Series #2 – Part 67 of Riddles, Enigmas & Esoteric Imagery of Revelation
When we were last together I asked you, “Does history really shed light on who received the visions and in what year?” Since the early church fathers were unable to identify the author of the Revelation with documents available to them, not in existence today, we cannot identify the writer of the Revelation. But, what we can do is provide historical documentation as to why 90 A.D. is not the correct year the visions were imparted, and new insight as to why the Apostle John is probably not the author.
The early Christians were considered the scum of society in the culture of Roman pagans and religious Jews. Emperor Nero ordered his army to capture and torture Christians by heinous and barbaric methods, such as, wrapping them in the skins of wild animals and thrown to the dogs, where they were viciously torn and dragged to death. Others though, were brutally crucified on a cross and set on fire, creating a human torch to illuminate the garden path where the psychotic Nero strolled in the evening. Thousands were exiled to a penal colony on the island of Patmos, where all experienced extreme depravity, not just the Apostle John.
In the first century, John, James, and Jesus were very common names. There is even another prominent John in the New Testament, who was often referred to as John Mark, who was a cousin to Barnabas. This John accompanied Barnabas, Paul, and Peter at separate times on missionary journeys. Could he be the John of Revelation?
After the Apostle John was released from his exile on the island of Patmos, he settled in Ephesus. Historians record many deeds of this apostle during the five years he spent in Ephesus, before his death in 99 A.D. Yet, no documentation, no historical record could be found by the early church fathers that attributes authorship of this very important prophecy to the Apostle John. Historian Eusebius Pamphilus, a Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, who ministered in the court of Emperor Constantine confirmed that no documentation could be found. Why do we ignore him?
Historian Eusebius made an interesting observation regarding the John of Revelation. He reveals how the writer of Revelation proclaims himself to be named John, a brother and companion in the tribulation, who had been exiled to the island of Patmos because of his testimony for Jesus Christ. John does not call himself an apostle. This John refers to himself five times in the first person, whereby, John in his gospel never gives his name, but rather refers to himself in the third person.
According to Eusebius, and other historians who studied the writing style and grammar of the writer of the Revelation, then compared it with the writing style of the writer of the gospel of John, could find no similarity in the two documents. In fact, these historians even question if the gospel of John and the epistles of John even are by the same author.
Is it not strange that the deeds of the Apostle John in Ephesus of much less importance than the visions, were carefully documented for posterity, yet absolutely no documentation was preserved that definitely attributes the Apostle John with receiving the supernatural visions? History does confirm that two monuments were erected at Ephesus, honoring two different men named John, with no further identification. There were many honorable men named John in the early church who helped establish Christianity.
Food for thought – is it possible that God did not want us to have a confirmation of who wrote these very important visions, knowing men’s penchant to put a man on a pedestal? We already know how many millions of people worship Mary, a mere human being, rather than Jesus Christ, even deifying the apostles. God commands us to have no other gods – worship Him alone.
Some portions of the Revelation were so forthcoming that John was instructed…do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand…Rev. 22:10 This urgency was probably directed toward the 7th church at Laodicea because of the imminent earthquake.
How does the earthquake in Laodicea establish a more accurate date for the Revelation? Stay tuned…
God’s sheep question the doctrines of men…sheeple follow without question…