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death of Paul. For, neither in the farewell address which Paul delivered at Miletum to the elders of the church at Ephesus, nor in the Epistles written during confinement to the Ephesians and Colossians, nor in the second epistle to Timothy, is any mention made of John; Paul still regarded himself then as the overseer of the congregations in Asia Minor. In all probability, the death of the Gentile Apostle, A. D. 64, and the dangers and convulsions consequent upon it which he himself had anticipated (Acts 20: 29, 30), induced John to visit this important city, to take the place of Paul, and to build upon the foundation which he had laid. The place of his residence in the interim (between 50 and 60) cannot be discovered.'

As the energetic activity that prevailed in the second century which bears upon it the impress of John's intluence, fully testifies, Asia Minor was selected as the main theatre for the action of the second period in the history of the Church. Here were gathered all ihe elements necessary to bring about a thorough purification of ecclesiastical life, the germs of the two fundamental heresies which the Church was called upon to vanquish. On the one hand a Pharisaico-Jewish spirit labored to impose afresh the slavery of the law, as is evident particularly in the Galatian congregations; on the other, there was forming a false gnosis, a speculative tendency composed of Jewish and Pagan elements whose workings arbitrarily overleaped the wholesome bounds of sound thought which is vigorously and successfully opposed in the epistles to Timothy, the Colossians, and in the second epistle of Peter and Jude. At a later period the Gnostic Cerinthus, who was a contemporary of John, gave to this speculative tendency a more sharply defined form. Danger was not only to be apprehended, however, from heretics. Believers both among the Jews and Gentiles were not yet united in the bonds of a consistent, permanent unity, while the former were still disposed to look with suspicious eye on the liberal views entertained by Paul touching the Law. In order to pacify narrow minded Israelites, Peter thought it necessary to set forth in clear light for the benefit of those sections of the Church his substantial agreement with Paul in the faith. John was admirably qualified in this critical posture of affairs to check the pernicious action of


• The later report that he preached to the Parthians originated from an inscriptioon on some Latin MSS. on the first Epist of John "ad Parthos,” and this inscription from a misunderstanding of the predicate rap évos. which name John obtained on account of his celibacy. Comp. Lücke commen. on the first Ep. John, 2nd Ed. p. 23, &c.

such unscriptural tendencies, and not only to overcome them negatively, but positively also, by recognizing and putting in proper relations the wants and truths of which they were perversions. As a native of Palestine and one who had been an Israelite he enjoyed the confidence of Jewish Christians, while the facility with which he entered into the truth involved in modes of thought foreign to his own, and the susceptibility of his disposition, enabled him to appropriate with ease the Grecian element and adopt the principles of Paul. Inasmuch as he reconciled in his own person these two primary forms of A postolic Christianity, so far as they were correct, and exhibited the different sides of one and the same truth, he was fitted to bind up the entire Church of Asia Minor in that compact, well-fortified unity, which was absolutely necessary for a defence in conflict with internal foes, as well as in suffering under the bloody hand of persecution.

§. 3. Persecution of Christians under Domitian and the

Expulsion of John to Patmos. He was interrupted in the midst of his efficient labors, the monuments of which are scattered in rich profusion through his Gospel and Epistles, by the persecution of the Christians in the reign of Domitian. His banishment, however, in no wise seriously checked the progress of our holy religion. With prophetic vision, he unfolded the future history of ihe Church, and contributed in this way to her welfare and edification.

Domitian succeeded his brother Titus, A. D. 81, and reigned to the time of his assassination 96. The happy beginnings of his rule were soon disturbed by an unbounded iyranny, which led to execution or banishment the best and most respectable of his subjects, who became the victims of his murderous suspicions by venturing to check his insatiate ambition. So great was his vanity, that he gloried in the deification of himself, and may fairly be charged with the crime of unlimited blasphemy. If we except Caligula, he was the first of Roman emperors presumptuous enough to arrogate to himself the name of God, he began his letters with the words “ Our Lord and God commands ;" ' nay, he thought himself superior to the gods, caused

Suelon Domit. c. 13. “Dominus et Deus noster hoc fieri jubet.” Unde institutum posthac, ut ne scripto quidem ac sermone cujusquam appellare. tur aliter.

his statue to be erected in the most sacred place of the temple, and whole herds of sacrificial animals to be offered to his divinity.' A man of such character would very naturally regard an open confession of Christ as an offence against the crown, wor• thy of the severest punishment. In his time, many Christians and amongst them his own cousin, the Consul Flavius Clemens, died the martyr's death; urged by unfounded suspicions, and fears of attempts to displace him from the throne, he effected the murder of the remaining descendants of David, and even had two relations of Jesus brought from Palestine to Rome for examination, whose poverty and obscurity soon convinced him of the vanity of his fears."

Tradition affirms that, during the reign of this emperor, the Apostle John was banished to the lonely, barren island of Patmos, (now Patio or Palmosa), in the Ægean sea, not far from the coast of Asia, and in a southwestern direction from Ephesus. Here it was that he received the Revelation, concerning the conflicts and victories of the Church. To the fact of his having enjoyed a vision while in exile on this island he himself testifies in Rev. 1: 9: “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” To the fact of this

'Pliny, Panegyr. c. 52, cf. 33.

? According to Dio Cassius, he with many others was accused of atheism, which was used witbout doubt to designate the christian faith. See the passages given by Gieseler C. H. I. 1. p. 135.

3 According to Hegesippus in Euseb. H. E. III 19 20. According to Tertul. liun de præscr. hær. c. 36 John was brought to Rome (the emperor's name is not mentioned), plunged into a barrel of burning oil, and, having sustained no injury, was banished to Patmos (ubi, namely at Rome, apost. Joh. pos. teaquam in oleum igneum demersus nihil passus est, in insulam relegaiur). As this species of punishment is in itself very improbable and as it is only once more mentioned, namely by Jerome, who bases his remark on the authority of Tertullian, we are perfectly justified in remanding it back into the region either of invented or exaggerated legends.

* To this day travellers are pointed to the cavern at the harbor of de la Scala, in which the beloved Apostle received in rapi vision, on the Lord's day, an insight into the future weal of the Church. Tischendorf (travels in the East II. p. 257, &c.,) describes the island in the following terms : “Speechless lay before me, in the light of the dawn of morn, the small island; several olive trees enlivened the dreary desert of the mountain on it. The sea was silent as the grave, Patmos reposed in it like a dead saint. . . .. John-this is the thought of the island. It belongs to him, it is bis sanctuary. The stones on it preach of him, and every heart cleaves to him."

vision having occurred in the time of Domitian Christian antiq. uity bears almost unanimous witness.

Nor does the proper meaning of the book in any wise conflict with this hypothesis. Irenæus, the oldest witness, who deserves special attention be. cause of his intimate relations with Polycarp the personal friend of John, says expressly and with great assurance that John enjoyed the visions recorded in the Apocalypse not long before, and almost in his time, namely, towards the close of the reign of the emperor Domitian. With him coincides Eusebius, who, in several passages in his Church History, based upon the testimony of tradition, places the bapishment of the Apostle in the reign of Domitian and, according to his chronology, in the 14th year of it (that is, in the year 95), his return to Ephesus in the reign of Nerva.' So also Jerome' and others. Two other witnesses, Clemens of Alex. and Origen, who in the order of time come directly after Irenaeus, mention indeed the name of the emperor, but designate him, the former as “ Tyrant,” the latter as “ King of the Romans.”' Both titles, however, suit the character of Domitian full as well as that of Nero. The appellation of "tyrant” expresses more clearly, perhaps, the nature of Domitian, who of all Roman emperors was the most

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* Adv. hter. V, 30 : ουδέ γάρ προ πολλού χρόνου έωράθη (ή αποκάλυψις), αλλά σχεδόν επί της ημετέρας γενεάς προς το τέλει της Λομετιανού αρχής. The fanciful opinion of Guericke who, in order to harmonise this passage with his present view touching the composition of the Apocalypse (at an earlier period he advo. cated the correct view in his “contrib. to New Test.” p. 55 and in the “conlinuation" of it p. 20), wishes, in opposition to the rules of languages to regard Aoueriavoù as an adjective and to apply it to Domitius Nero, is utterly untenable because of what immediately precedes which by no means accords with the thirty years distant from the time of Nero. The omission of the article proves nothing against the word taken as a substantive; because Eusebius who by it understands Domitian, also omits the article ; H. E. III, 23. uctà tùy Aqueriavoù teleurnu; so also Philostratus, Vita Apoll. VΙΙ, 4. της Λομετιανοή φοράς.

• H. E. III, 18. “In his reign (Domitian) it is said in accordance with tradition that the Apostle and Evangelist John, who then flourished, was condemned to the island of Patmos because of his testimony in behalf of the divine word;" further III, 20, 23, and Chron ad ann. 14 Domitian.

De viris illustr. c. 9: Johannes quarto decimo anno secundam post Neronem persecutionem movente Domitiano in Patmos insulam relegatus scripsit Apocalypsim.

• Quis dives salv. c. 42 and by Euseb. H. E. III, 23: ención y ap toù supávrov τελευτήσαντος από Πάτμου της νησου μετήλθεν εις την Ερεσον.

Orig. ad Matth. 20: 23, 23, Opp. Ed. de la Rue III, 720. Comp- on this witness the remarks in the first volume of Hengstenberg's Commentary on Revelation p. 4, &c.. who ably and thoroughly defends the view of its composition in the time of Domitian against moderu criticism.


arbitrary despot. Tacitus says, “ that he exhibited his cruel ferocity not only at intervals, and on select occasions, but labored systematically to destroy at one fell swoop the general prosperity." Eusebius also applied to him the passage of Clemens. The uncritical and frivolous Epiphanius first proposed a different opinion, by putting the banishment of the Apostle into the reign of Claudius. His view, however, is utterly untenable and was universally rejected. In our day the authority of Ewald, Lücke and Neander, has given almost general prevalence to the opinion, that the Apocalypse (which the last mentioned does not consider as a production of the Apostle but of the Ephesian Presbyter John), was composed soon after the death of Nero, in the time of Galba, A. D. 65 or 69. The only witness in this case who deserves respect, is the Syrian translator of this book who in no wise confirms his opinion by tradition, but seems to have derived it from his view of its contents. At any rate, as respects authority he cannot be compared with the elder Irenaeus. The view of these modern interpreters rests confessedly for support on internal grounds. It is believed that in the book itself are to be found clear evidences that it was written before the destruction of Jerusalem (c. 11), whilst the persecution by Nero and the burning of Rome were fresh in the mind, during the reign of the sixth Roman Emperor (Galba), and before the generally expected re-appearance of Nero who


'Agric. c 44, comp. the representation which Pliny gives of this "im. manissima bellua" panegyr, c 48.

* We cannot therefore allow Dr. Lücke the right of speaking about“ a fluctuating of the ecclesiastical tradition touching the time of exile and the writing of the Apoc, (see his attempt at a thorough introduction to the Revelation of John,” p. 409). Tradition, so far as it has an historical char. acter, delivers unanimous testimony. Variations from it consist of isolated subjective opinions which are mutually contradictory.

3 Namely, in the writing : Revelatio, quam Deus Joanni Evangelistæ in Patmo insula dedit, in quam a Nerone Caesare relegatus fuerat. The Syre iac translation, however, of the Apoc. is not found in the original Peschito and belongs to the i hiloxeniana, or their revision by Thomus; it dates therefore from the 7th century, according to the account of a Florestinian Ms. from the year 622 (comp. Hug's introd. in N. T., I p. 353 &c., and De Wetie's, $11, a.), and its isolated account concerning the composition of the Apoc. has for this reason no critical value. Touching this point Theophylact of the 12th century deserves still less attention, because he evidently con. founds two things evtirely distinct in character, supposing (comment on Ev. Joh. Int.) the Gospel of John lo have been composed on the island of Patmos 32 years after the ascension of Christ, in the time of Nero whore he does not mention-an opinion universally rejected. Hence it may be inferred with what reason Guericke (Int. p. 285) should in this connection speak of the "critical and discerning" Theophylact.

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