Revelation p2

(Continued from Sunday Class article)

This internal evidence includes the following:

  • In Re 11:1-14 the temple, which was demolished in August of 70 A.D., is still standing. Advocates of the "late date" naturally understand this passage in a strictly figurative sense. While somewhat figurative, the allusion to the crucifixion of our Lord (Re 11:8) compel us to think of the historical Jerusalem (Philip Schaff).

  • In Re 17:9-11, we find mention of EIGHT "kings". If these "kings" are emperors of Rome, then starting with Augustus the first FIVE were: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero (who died June 9, 68 A.D.). Nero’s death left the empire in an uproar. This may be the "deadly wound" in Re 13:3,12,14. Three men (Galba, Otho, and Vitellius) tried vainly to consolidate power over the empire, but it was Vespasian who restored order in 70 A.D. Thus, the "deadly wound" was healed, and Vespasian would be the SIXTH "king" (or the "one is" in Re 17:10). This would make Titus the SEVENTH emperor and Domitian the EIGHTH.

  • Notice carefully, that in Re 17:8,11 John was told that the beast "is not". It "was", and "is about to come" (ASV), but at the time the Revelation was being given, the beast "IS NOT"! If we understand (as I do) that the "beast" represents imperial Rome as personified in its emperors Nero and Domitian, then Revelation could NOT have been written during the reigns of either Nero or Domitian!

  • The condition of persecution that had been experienced already by those in the book are similar to that mentioned by Peter. He wrote to the Christians in Asia Minor also, just a few years before (cf. 1Pe 1:1). They were undergoing persecution similar to that described in Re 2 & 3 (cf. 1Pe 1:6; 4:12; 5:9); i.e., persecution by the Jews with the help of Roman authorities, something that had been going on since the days of Paul’s first missionary journey.

Therefore I suggest the internal evidence indicates that the Revelation was given during the reign of VESPASIAN, the SIXTH emperor, while the "beast is not". This would place the date of the book around the spring of 70 A.D. (as suggested by Philip Schaff, History Of The Church, Vol. I). A date between the death of Nero in 68 A.D. and the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. was also favored by F. J. A. Hort, J. B. Lightfoot, and B. F. Westcott (John A. T. Robinson, Redating The New Testament, p. 224). Another advocate of an early date is F. F. Bruce.