1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a Christian Forum that recognizes that all Christians are a work in progress.

    You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

The mid 60's or The mid 90's?

Discussion in 'Christian Debate Forum' started by Willie T, Jan 7, 2020.

  1. Willie T

    Willie T Heaven Sent Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,952
    Likes Received:
    7,510
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    When do you think The Book of Revelation was written?
    Here are a few things you may not have considered: (from one of my favorite authors, Jon Welton.)
    The Authorship Date of the Book of Revelation
    I have come to understand that the majority of the Book of Revelation was written regarding events that took place at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. The scope of the book in your hands is not able to adequately address this topic; however, I do want to briefly discuss the issue of authorship. To believe that Revelation is about the AD 70 destruction, the main issue that must be addressed is the date of authorship. If the book was written in AD 96, as many modern teachers claim, then there is no way that my point of view could be valid. Yet, I believe that the overwhelming body of evidence proves beyond reasonable doubt that Revelation was more likely written before AD 68. Therefore, it is important to take a few minutes to establish the date of its writing.


    The primary reason some Bible teachers claim that the Book of Revelation was written around AD 96 is because John noted in Revelation 1:9 that he was on the island of Patmos at the time he received the Revelation. There is some historical evidence that John was exiled to Patmos under the reign of Domitian between AD 81 and AD 96. Therefore, the book might have been written during that time—or so some claim. In reality, there are also historical documents that tell us that John was exiled to Patmos at a much earlier date. Here I will share ten evidences that Revelation was written before AD 68.
    1. The Syriac
    We have the witness of one of the most ancient versions of the New Testament, called The Syriac. The second-century Syriac Version, called the Peshitto, says the following on the title page of the Book of Revelation:

    "Again the revelation which was upon the holy John the Evangelist from God when he was on the island of Patmos where he was thrown by the emperor Nero."

    We know that Nero Caesar ruled over the Roman Empire from AD 54 to AD 68. Therefore, John had to have been on the island of Patmos during this earlier period. One of the oldest versions of the Bible tells us when Revelation was written! That alone is a very compelling argument.
    2. Revelation 17:10
    When we look at the internal evidence, we find that there is also a very clear indicator regarding the date of authorship, found in Revelation 17:10: "They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while" (Rev. 17:10).

    This passage, which is speaking of the line of rulers in Rome, tells us exactly how many rulers had already come, which one was currently in power, and that the next one would only last a short while. Take a look at how that perfectly fits with Nero and the Roman Empire of the first century.

    The rule of the first seven Roman Emperors is as follows:
    Julius Caesar (49-44 BC)
    Augustus (27 BC-AD 14)
    Tiberius (AD 14-37)
    Caligula (AD 37-41)
    Claudius (AD 41-54)

    "Five have fallen..."
    Nero (AD 54-68)
    "One is..."
    Galba (June AD 68-January AD 69, a six month ruler-ship)
    "the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while."


    Of the first seven kings, five had come (Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius, and Claudius), one was now in power (Nero), and one had not yet come (Galba), but would only remain a little time (six months). The current Caesar at the time of John's writing was the sixth Caesar, Nero.
    3. Those Who Pierced Him
    Lo, he doth come with the clouds, and see him shall every eye, even those who did pierce him, and wail because of him shall all the tribes of the land. Yes! Amen (Revelation 1:7 YLT).

    We already examined the Hebrew idiom, "coming on clouds," so we know that this speaks not of the return of Christ for the final judgment day, but of God coming to bring judgment on a city or nation (see Chapter 2 for more on this).

    The phrase "those who did pierce him" refers to the people of the first century. According to this passage, they were expected to be alive at the time of Revelation's fulfillment. How is that possible if Revelation was not going to come to pass until 2,000 or more years later? Consider also that "those who did pierce him" weren't even alive in AD 96 because they would have been killed in the slaughter of AD 70. This verse is a clear indicator of Revelation being written before AD 70.
    4. Jewish Persecution of Christians
    The Jewish persecution of Christianity in Revelation 6 and 11 indicates a pre-AD 70 authorship. The Jews were not in a position to persecute the early Church after they were slaughtered in AD 70. In fact, since the AD 70 slaughter, the Jews have never been in a position to be able to persecute Christians.
    5. Judaizing Heretics in the Church
    The activity of the Judaizing heretics in the Church (see Rev. 2:6,9,15; 3:9) would not have been as large of an issue after Paul's epistles had been circulated. Therefore, an early date of authorship allows for the heretics to be a larger problem.
    6. Existence of Jerusalem and the Temple
    The existence and integrity of Jerusalem and the Temple (see Rev. 11) suggest a date before the destruction of AD 70.
    7. Time-related Passages
    The internal time-related portions of Revelation indicate that the events it foretells will come to pass shortly (see Rev. 1:1,3; 22:10,20). If this was read with an unbiased perspective, one would conclude that Revelation was not written about events 2,000 years in the future.
    8. John's Appearance in AD 96
    Another reason to believe that the Book of Revelation was written at the earlier date is because Jerome noted in his writings that John was seen in AD 96 and that he was so old and infirm that "he was with difficulty carried to the church, and could speak only a few words to the people." We must put this fact together with what Revelation 10:11 says: that John must "prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings." It is difficult to imagine that John would be able to speak to many nations and many kings at any date after AD 96 since he was already elderly and feeble.
    9. Timetable Comparison with Daniel
    In Daniel, the author was told to "seal up the vision, for it is a long way off" (Dan. 12:4)—which referred to a 483-year wait until Jesus came to fulfill the prophecy. By contrast, in Revelation, John was told to "not seal up the vision because it concerns things which must shortly come to pass" (Rev 22:10). If 483 years was considered a long way off, meaning that the vision should be sealed, it makes no sense that 2,000 plus years would be considered "shortly to come to pass" and not to be sealed up.
    Clearly, Revelation shouldn't be sealed because it was about to come to pass at the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem.

    10. Only Seven Churches
    The existence of only seven churches in Asia Minor (see Rev. 1) indicates a writing date before the greater expansion of Christianity into that region.
    The Other Perspective
    Those who believe in the later date of authorship for the Book of Revelation are mainly leaning on the fact that Irenaeus the Bishop of Lyons (AD 120-202) claimed that John wrote while on Patmos under Domitian's reign. This alone could seem compelling, except that Irenaeus is notorious for being terrible at accurately recording dates and times in his writings. Irenaeus is the same Church father who claimed that Jesus' ministry lasted nearly twenty years, from the age of thirty until the age of fifty. There is no internal evidence for a later date of authorship; one must lean only upon external evidence to force this conclusion.

    Because of the overwhelming body of evidence, I firmly believe that Revelation was written during Nero's reign and before his death in AD 68. I believe that Revelation was written regarding the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem. Yet, I also know that, at this time, I personally am not called to add my thoughts to the many great works written regarding the Book of Revelation from this point of view. For more information, I will suggest the writings of the experts in this regard:
    The Great Tribulation by David Chilton
    Days of Vengeance by David Chilton
    Revelation by Gordon Fee
    Revelation for Everyone by N.T. Wright


    BTW, a FREE copy of an earlier edition of this entire book can be downloaded online at:
    Raptureless: First Edition (Free)
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    12,667
    Likes Received:
    17,538
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Good read Willie,
    This makes so much more sense than what has been taught in the mainline Evangelical Church's. Guy's a good and concise writer!
     
    Waiting on him and Willie T like this.
  3. FHII

    FHII Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,616
    Likes Received:
    2,344
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Interesting stuff! I am far from ready to jump aboard, though. Some of the points you made intrigue me more than others. I am interested in looking into the Syriac, as well as Irenaeus's errors. Some of the other stuff is speculation for now (as I see it for the time being). But it's all interesting and certainly worth looking into.
     
    Willie T likes this.
  4. Willie T

    Willie T Heaven Sent Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,952
    Likes Received:
    7,510
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Well, the main thing that has ALWAYS greatly bothered me was, that if the date of writing was in the 90's, it seems completely unfathomable that not even one single word about the massive, horrible, murderous, and overwhelming and total destruction of almost EVERYTHING Jewish was written there, at all. Not even one mention of any of it.
     
    Waiting on him likes this.
  5. reformed1689

    reformed1689 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,519
    Likes Received:
    1,223
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Actually, the fact that nothing is said about it points to that it was written after the events. You wouldn't need to tell those churches about those events, they had already lived through them.

    The early church, namely Iraneaus, who was only one step removed from John, put it at the end of the Century during Domitian's reign.
     
  6. Willie T

    Willie T Heaven Sent Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,952
    Likes Received:
    7,510
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Did you know Josephus claims that 1.1 million people were killed during the 70 AD siege of Jerusalem, of which a majority were Jewish. And that not so much of a trace of the Temple was left? The Romans actually plowed the ground flat and level where it once stood. (The ultimate insult to a civilization.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
    historyb and Nancy like this.
  7. Willie T

    Willie T Heaven Sent Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,952
    Likes Received:
    7,510
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Do you think that the American Revolutionary War was never mentioned to Americans just 26 years later, simply because "They all already knew it happened."? This was still in the lifetime of people who lost their loved ones in 70 AD. It would have still been a huge deal.
     
    historyb likes this.
  8. reformed1689

    reformed1689 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,519
    Likes Received:
    1,223
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Yet we still have traces of the temple there today...
     
  9. reformed1689

    reformed1689 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,519
    Likes Received:
    1,223
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Not mentioned as something that was future tense, no. But what about Iraneus?
     
  10. Helen

    Helen Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    15,336
    Likes Received:
    20,609
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    Canada
    Oh great...a good interesting subject...well written, I need to read the link ...

    Thanks ✟
     
    Nancy, Waiting on him and Willie T like this.
  11. Willie T

    Willie T Heaven Sent Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,952
    Likes Received:
    7,510
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Are you serious? Of course it is still there. The Romans plowed dirt over the rubble of the remains.... they didn't carry them back to Rome.
     
    historyb and Nancy like this.
  12. reformed1689

    reformed1689 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,519
    Likes Received:
    1,223
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Right but you said no trace.
     
  13. Hidden In Him

    Hidden In Him Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,490
    Likes Received:
    8,796
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    This is an interesting debate, Willie. I have leaned in favor of the early to mid 60s for about a decade now.
    The strongest arguments to refute that you quoted from are #1, #6, #8, combined with "The Other Perspective."
    Number 6 is the one that convinced me years ago that it likely wasn't written in the 90s. If it was introduced then, the verse in Revelations 11 that says that the Gentiles would trample the outer court of the temple (only) would make absolutely no sense at that point. The outer court was not just trampled, the whole temple was leveled to the ground and no longer existed. This one fact alone would likely have caused the entire book to have been rejected as fraudulent if it had been introduced in the mid 90s A.D.

    Here is a counter-argument. At one point they claim “there is no mention in any writer of the first three centuries of any other time or place (i.e. other than Patmos in the early 90s AD),” but this is a very dated quote. #1 in your post refutes it. When Was the Book of Revelation Written?

    Keep in mind that the author(s) of your quotations appear to be Preterists, however, and that is an eschatological view I fully reject. Most Preterists believe all prophecy was fulfilled during New Testament times except the return of Christ itself. But there are references by later early church writers to the effect that "a day with the Lord is as a thousand years," and that the actual fulfillment of the book was set to take place after 6,000 years of human history, which means that the early church came to the understanding fairly quickly that the ultimate fulfillment of the things spoken of in Revelation was reserved for a few thousand years later. This puts their fulfillment in our time, which is the position of most Futurists.

    Good topic. Worth looking into : )
     
  14. Waiting on him

    Waiting on him Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,793
    Likes Received:
    5,496
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Revelation 1:3 KJV
    [3] Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

    For the longest time I’d listened to all the man made doctrines pertaining to a future rapture.

    Good post Willie, but for anyone to consider what is being suggested, they’d have to abandon all the pet doctrines that have been planted in their brains.

    Right fighters don’t go down easy.
    Tecarta Bible
     
    Nancy and Willie T like this.
  15. FHII

    FHII Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,616
    Likes Received:
    2,344
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Willie,

    Just some questions and perspectives to give after about an hour into looking into this:

    We can't look at this as Biblical, but we can as historical. So it warrants investigation, but with the knowledge that it is second century, and there is a lot of garbage in the the 1st and 2nd century. I am not calling it such, but it does warrant a look with skepticism.

    I googled online sources of the Peshitto... But of course, that quote is going to be difficult to find without a direct reference.

    It doesn't fit perfectly. You started with Julius Caesar. All references I looked at name Augustus the first. Another problem is that Otho and Vitellius served before 69 AD ended. Another named Vespesian claimed Emporership before 70 AD. Overall, one source says there were 71 or more Emporerors altogether.

    So it really depends on how you cook the facts.

    This is an assumption that they (those who pierced him literally) lived until 70 AD. It's also an assumption that this is a literal time stamp on a book filled with symbolism and talk of souls that have passed on still being active.
    Furthermore, those that literally pierced him weren't Jews. They were Romans. They wouldn't have been slaughtered in 70 AD. Heck.. they were probably retired and went back to their homes by then.

    I don't see how either of these chapters point to Jewish persecution of Christian's. Please let me know what you are referring to.

    I have a speculation that Jews were not persecuting, but harassing Christian's in Europe in medieval times. Perhaps it was that???

    Why?

    "As large an issue"? But still an issue, right? By all evidence the Galatians were taught, but we're swayed.

    Well, Jerusalem is still there. Solomon's rebuilt temple isn't. But Rev 11 says the temple of God. Do you really think it was speaking of the literal temple? If so, there are a lot of things that followed the mention of that temple. Who were the two witnesses that were killed? Was there an earthquake? Did a tenth part of the city fall?

    So... Just some questions...
     
    Nancy likes this.
  16. Willie T

    Willie T Heaven Sent Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,952
    Likes Received:
    7,510
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Now, go back and read all of it again, and see if you notice that I quoted a book. Kind of silly to be asking me what I was thinking when someone else wrote the book. LOL As I said, these were things some of us may not have considered. Frankly, I doubt your sincerity when you approach the post this way.
     
  17. Willie T

    Willie T Heaven Sent Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,952
    Likes Received:
    7,510
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Oh, good grief. You know I meant there was no trace to be seen when one stood and looked at where the Temple had once been. I even told you the Bible said the Romans plowed it all under the ground.
     
    Nancy likes this.
  18. reformed1689

    reformed1689 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,519
    Likes Received:
    1,223
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    And you still didn't deal with where Iraneus dated the book. Thoughts?
     
  19. FHII

    FHII Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,616
    Likes Received:
    2,344
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    I absolutely realize you were quoting a book. One or two times I did slip up and suggest you were the author, but I was in a flow of thinking. I apologize for that, but again... They were meant to be general questions.

    You are right, I hadn't previously considered them, and now I did. After considering and researching them, I posted some questions. So there they are!

    If you want to doubt my sincerity, that's fine. But why doubt my sincerity? I offered a first post where I said it was intriguing and interesting and you liked that... I even said I still had some doubts. Now that I am asking questions you doubt my sincerity?

    Willie, I am still intrigued and interested. I am still considering it. I just asked questions. I know you didn't write it (and I didn't need your opening statements to realize that), but do you have answers or commentaries on my questions or not? Or are you just going to rant about how you didn't write it and how silly it is for me to believe you did (which is not what I believe: I know you didn't)?
     
    charity and Nancy like this.
  20. Willie T

    Willie T Heaven Sent Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,952
    Likes Received:
    7,510
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    If even part of the claim of the unreliability of Irenaeus' relating of dates is true, then I think that matter is settled.
     
Loading...