Tired of seeing ads while studying? Now you can enjoy an "Ads Free" version of the site for as little as 10¢ a day.

Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament


- Revelation

by William Robertson Nicol





Longsuffering toward us here is the Most High:

He hath shown us that which is to be,

And hath not hidden from us what befalleth at the end.

For the youth of the world is over,

Long, since hath the strength of creation failed,

And the advent of the times is at hand.

The pitcher is nigh to the cistern,

The ship to the haven,

The caravan to the city,

And life to its consummation.

The Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch (lxxxv. 8, 10), A.D. 70 100


§ 1. The Text . The exceptionally corrupt state of the Textus Receptus in he Apocalypse is due to the fact that for this book Erasmus (to whose text it goes back) had access to only a single cursive [805] (numbered 1) of the twelfth or thirteenth century. Even that was inferior and incomplete. The MSS. which have become available since his day are neither ample nor faultless. Throughout the five uncials (two of which, i.e. , [806] and [807] , are defective palimpsests), over 1600 variants have been counted excluding merely orthographical differences in the 400 verses of the book; this proportion is considerably higher than in the Catholic epistles, for example, where 432 verses only yield about 1100 variants. The earliest uncial goes back to the fourth century ( [808] ); [809] and [810] , the most weighty, to the fifth; [811] [812] to the eighth; and [813] to the ninth. Of these, [814] [815] [816] are complete, while the Apocalypse in [817] is bound up with the writings of Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa “one of many instances in which the Apocalypse was bound up with ordinary theological treatises instead of with the other N.T. writings” (Gregory i. 121). [818] lacks Revelation 1:1 , Revelation 3:19 to Revelation 5:14 , Revelation 7:14-17 , Revelation 8:5 to Revelation 9:16 , Revelation 10:10 to Revelation 11:3 , Revelation 14:13 to Revelation 18:2 , Revelation 19:5 end. [819] is defective in Revelation 16:12 to Revelation 17:1 , Revelation 19:21 to Revelation 20:9 , Revelation 22:6 end.

[805] Relatively high among the secondary documents, but woefully inferior to the uncials. On the performance of Erasmus, see Delitzsch’s Handschrifte Funde , i. (1861), pp. 17 f., with A. Bludau’s essay on the Erasmus editions of the N.T. in Bardenhewer’s Biblische Studien , vii. 5.

[806] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

[807] Codex Porphyrianus (sæc. ix.), at St. Petersburg, collated by Tischendorf. Its text is deficient for chap. Revelation 2:13-16 .

[808] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[809] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[810] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

[811] An eighth century version of Codex Vaticanus

[812] To avoid confusion with the B of Codex Vaticanus, it is better to cite this codex Vaticanus as Q (so, after Tregelles, Weiss, Haussleiter, Bousset, Swete) than as B (Tisch.) or B 2 (W, Simcox).

[813] Codex Porphyrianus (sæc. ix.), at St. Petersburg, collated by Tischendorf. Its text is deficient for chap. Revelation 2:13-16 .

[814] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[815] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[816] An eighth century version of Codex Vaticanus

[817] An eighth century version of Codex Vaticanus

[818] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

[819] Codex Porphyrianus (sæc. ix.), at St. Petersburg, collated by Tischendorf. Its text is deficient for chap. Revelation 2:13-16 .

[820] [821] [822] reflect a fairly uniform text, which seems to have been influenced by an older unconnected text allied to that underlying the vulgate. Hence, as [823] in the Apocalypse, owing to its eccentric element, is not of exceptional value by itself (though supported by the cursives 95 and 36), AC vg. form an important group of witnesses, to which the minuscule 95 (like 68 and 38) and Syr. seem allied. The relation of [824] and [825] is less obvious. Their differences (they agree only in about fifty cases against [826] [827] [828] ) point either to two recensions of some older original (Bousset) or to a text based again upon some older revised text (Weiss). [829] approximates rather to the cursives in text. But its archetype usually tallies with [830] [831] [832] , and is allied somehow to the text behind the so-called “Coptic” [833] version ( cf. Goussen’s “Theolog. Studia, fasciculus l.”: Apoc, S. Johannis apostoli versio sahidica , 1895, pp. iv. vii.), like a small group of cursives (Bousset’s [834] rel.). In no one MS. or group of MSS. is a neutral or fairly accurate text preserved. This is mainly due to the interval which elapsed before the Apocalypse became generally canonical, particularly in the East; its text was less carefully guarded during this period than any other portion of the N.T., and even by the time that the [835] [836] [837] text (or texts) came into being, the book had not secured its canonisation throughout the Eastern churches. In addition to this, the grammatical irregularities and anomalies [838] which studded its pages tempted many a scribe to correct and to conform the text. Systematic emendation of this kind must have begun very early (Weiss, pp. 144 f.).

[820] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[821] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[822] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

[823] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[824] Codex Porphyrianus (sæc. ix.), at St. Petersburg, collated by Tischendorf. Its text is deficient for chap. Revelation 2:13-16 .

[825] An eighth century version of Codex Vaticanus

[826] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[827] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[828] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

[829] An eighth century version of Codex Vaticanus

[830] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[831] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[832] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

[833] In the textual notes = Sah. ( i.e. , Sahidic): a further fragment is edited by J. Clédat in, Revue de l’Orient Chrétien (1899), pp. 263 279. Gregory (pp. 546 547) throws both this and the later Bohairic or Memphitic version (= me.) back into the second century, but this is probably too early a date. All the extant fragments of the former are printed in Delaporte’s Fragments Sahidiques du N.T. (Paris, 1906). For the latter, cf. Leipoldt in Church Quart. Rev. , 1906, pp. 292 f.

[834] An eighth century version of Codex Vaticanus

[835] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[836] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[837] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

[838] These are not invariably Hebraisms, as Viteau and the older grammarians argue, but it is almost uncritical at the opposite extreme to rule out Hebraisms entirely. The Apocalypse is so saturated with the original text and the Greek version of the O.T., that there is more likelihood here than elsewhere in the N.T. of a grammatical solecism being due, directly or indirectly, to the influence of Semitic idiom. Even though a parallel instance can be adduced in some cases from the papyri or the κοινή elsewhere ( cf. Helbing, p. iv.), this merely suggests a possible origin for the phrase in question. Besides, the Apocalypse is a piece of literary art. Where its eccentricities are not due to ignorance of Greek or to reminiscences of Hebrew idiom, they are deliberate violations of grammar and syntax in the interests of rhetoric or faith. That Greek was spoken in these Asiatic townships although native dialects lingered in the country, is shown by L. Mitteis in his Reichsrecht und Volksrecht in den östlichen Provinzen d. röm. Kaiserreiches (1891), pp. 23 f.

This paucity and conflict of uncial evidence lends additional weight to the versions and patristic citations, especially as they reflect a text or texts which cannot be taken to be identical with, and yet must be older than, those underlying the MSS. Often, indeed, the versions themselves reproduce some of the most patent errors in the MSS., while the patristic texts are sometimes too insecure to admit of reliable inferences being drawn from their contents ( cf. Bebb in Studia Biblica , ii. 195 240). Yet, even with these drawbacks, one need not despair of utilising either. Thus the Latin versions [839] and patristic citations which are of special moment, since the Apocalypse was never absent from the Latin N.T., and since the fourth century version did not affect it seriously reveal a fairly distinctive Greek text behind the type of African text preserved by Cyprian (third century, citations in his Testimonia ), Primasius, the sixth century African commentator, and the fragmentary Fleury palimpsest (sixth or seventh century). [840] Critical opinion is still unse tled upon the precise connexion of this text with the uncials, or even with the citations of Latin fathers like Tertullian, Jerome and Augustine, to say nothing of Ticonius, Beatus (eighth century), Haymo (ninth century) and Cassiodorus (sixth century). Thus it is quite uncertain whether the idiosyncrasies of Tertullian’s quotations reflect a private recension (so Haussleiter) or some ecclesiastical version, if they are not made directly from the Greek ( cf. Nestle’s Einjührung , 94, 227 f., E. Tr. 119 20). Nevertheless, it is in this direction that the most promising outlook of textual criticism upon the Apocalypse lies. It has unique aid in the Latin versions. The greater respect shown by the ecclesiastical West to the Apocalypse must have conspired upon the whole to give its text a be ter chance of preservation than in the East. Certainly, the fragments of the so-called African text carry us back to a Greek text of the Apocalypse which was current in the middle of the third century, prior to the origin of any extant uncial, while the evidence of Dr. Gwynn’s Syriac text comes only second in importance. The Greek citations of Clem. Alex. and Origen also echo a text which hardly corresponds to that of any of the uncials; but, where the latter writer agrees with [841] , some early Alexandrian text may probably be discerned, which might be termed Western. His citations have also affinities with the text of S ( cf. Gwynn, pp. lv. f.). As for the more important of the cursives, so far as they have been collated ( cf. Gregory, i. 316 326, Serivenei’s Introd. , 1894, i. 321 326), they seem mainly to corroborate other lines of evidence. In the dearth of better witnesses, their place is occasionally more serious than some editors would allow; but no attempt at grouping them can be pronounced successful (about sixty contain the commentary of Andreas), and it is merely in the wake of earlier and heavier authorities that most of the minuscules can, as a rule, be employed with any safety.

[839] Dr. Armitage Robinson ( Cambridge Texts and Studies , i. 2, pp. 73, 97 f.), followed by Dr. Salmon ( Introd. to N.T. , pp. 567 f.), even argues from the Ep. Lugd., (Eus., H. E. , Jude 1:1 ) that the Gallican churches must have had a Latin version of the N.T. (including the Apocalypse) by the middle of the second century, akin to the African old Latin.

[840] Cf. Gregory, 609. and Mr. E. S. Buchanan’s collation in Journ. Theol. Studies viii., pp. 96 f

[841] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

In the main, however, there is a fair consensus of editors ( cf. W.H., ii., 260 f.) for the bulk of the text as printed in the following pages. Exigencies of space have obliged the present editor to omit nearly all the textual material which he had amassed, and the only variants noted, as a rule, are those of direct significance for the expositor. Once or twice a variant has some intrinsic interest of a special kind, or the reading has had to be justified, but the textual notes do not profess to provide anything like a complete textual conspectus. Thus there is no discussion upon the gloss of S on ἀνὰ in Revelation 4:8 , upon the curious Syriac rendering of Revelation 8:13 (as if μες . = μέσος οὐρὰ αἷμα ), or upon the interpolation at Revelation 11:1 . All that one has been able to do is to furnish the reader with as accurate a text as possible for that elucidation of the religious ideas of the book which it is the primary object of the Expositor’s Greek Testament to facilitate.

SPECIAL ABBREVIATIONS ( cf. others in vol. ii. 754 756, iii. 33 36, 413).

And. = comm. [842] of Andreas, bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia (fifth or sixth century), author of first Greek edit. ( ἑρμηνεία εἰς τὴν Ἀποκάλυψιν ). Cf. von Soden’s die Schriften des N.T. , i. 1. 472 475, 702 f., and Delitzsch’s Hands. Funde , ii. (1862). pp. 29 f.

[842] Extant in these forms: And a = codex August., 12th cent. (14th, Gregory), And c = codex Coisl. (10th cent.), And bav = codex Bavaricus (16th cent.), And pal = codex Palatinus (15th cent.). The newly discovered commentary of Oecumenius (6th cent., cf. Diekamp in Sitzungsberichte der königl. preuss. Akad. , 1907, 1046 f.), as yet unedited, may take the primacy from Andreas.

Areth. = comm. of Arethas, his successor (in 10th cent.?), allied to [843] (Delitzsch) as And. to [844] upon the whole.

[843] An eighth century version of Codex Vaticanus

[844] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

Arm. = Armenian version. Cf. Conybeare’s Armenian Version of Rev. (London, 1907), from codex 4 (12th cent.).

Bs. = Bousset’s “Textkritische Studien zum N.T.” ( Texte u. Untersuchungen , xi. 4, 1 44), 1894.

edd. = consensus or large majority of editors: so min. (minuscules), MSS. (manuscripts), and vss. (versions).

gig. = codex gigas Holmiensis (13th cent.), witness either to old Latin text or to “late European” type (Hort).

Pr. = Primasius, ed. Haussleiter in Zahn’s Forschungen zur Gesch. des NTlichen Kanons , iv., pp. 1 224 (1891), a very important study. Cf. the same critic’s essay on Vict., Tic., and Jerome in Zeits. für Kirchl. Wiss. u. Leben (1886), 237 257.

S. = Syriac Philoxenian recension (6th cent.), ed. Gwynn (1897); reflects a Greek text, which is mixed, but is in the main (lxi. f.) allied to the normal uncial text, and is especially close to [845] and Origen (lv. f.). cf. Gregory, ii. 507, 509.

[845] Codex Ephraemi (sæc. v.), the Paris palimpsest, edited by Tischendorf in 1843.

Spec. = pseudo-August. Speculum (8th or 9th cent.).

Syr. = Harkleian recension (represented by about eight considerable MSS.): posterior and inferior to S.

Tic. =“comm. in Apoc. homiliis octodecim comprehensus” of Tyconius the Donatist (end of 4th cent.).

vg. = vulgate (Jerome’s version, 4th cent.), best preserved in codices Am. (= Amiatinus, 8th cent.), and Fuld. (= Fuldensis, 6th cent.), Harl. (= Harleianus, 9th cent.), and Tol. (= Toletanus, 8th cent.).

Vict. = comm. of Victorinus, bishop of Pettau in Pannonia (end of 3rd cent.).

Ws. = B. Weiss: “die Joh. Apk., textkritische Unters. u. Textherstellung” ( Texte u, Unters. vii. 1), 1891.

§ 2. Analysis . The Apocalypse of John, which is thrown into epistolary form, is a slender book with a large design. After the title (Revelation 1:1-3 ) and prologue (Revelation 1:4-8 ) in which the prophet puts himself into relation with seven churches of Western Asia Minor, he proceeds to describe the vision of Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:9 f.) which furnished him with his commission to write. [846] The immediate outcome of the vision is a series of charges addressed to these churches (Revelation 2-3.). [847] Like the author of the 50th Psalm, he tries to rouse God’s people to the seriousness of their own position, before he enters into any predictions regarding the course of the outside world. The scene then changes to the celestial court (Revelation 4-5.), where God appears enthroned in his presence-chamber over the universe, with Jesus installed as the divine revealer of providence in the immediate future. The description of the heavenly penetralia forms a series of weird Oriental arabesques, but the nucleus is drawn from the tradition of the later post-exilic prophets (especially Ezekiel). According to one phase of this tradition, the climax of things was to be heralded by physical and political disturbances; a regular crescendo of disasters was imminent on the edge and eve of the world’s annihilation. Hence the next series or visions is full of material and military troubles, delineated partly in supernatural colours which are borrowed from the fanciful astro-theology of eschatological tradition. From this point onwards the sword of the Lord is either an inch or two out of its scabbard, or showering blows upon his adversaries. In the prophet’s own metaphor, before the contents of the Book of Doom (in the hands of Jesus Christ) can be read, its seven seals must be broken, and at the opening of each (Revelation 6-7.) some fresh woe is chronicled. [848] The woe heralded by the seventh seal drifts over, however, into another series of fearful catastrophes which are introduced by seven trumpet blasts (Revelation 8-9.), and it is only on their completion that the way is now clear for the introduction of the protagonists in the last conflict upon earth. These protagonists are the messiah of God, i.e. , Jesus Christ, and the messiah of Satan, i.e. , the Roman empire in the person of its emperor with his blasphemous claim to divine honours upon earth. The series of tableaux which depict their entrance on the scene indicates that the prophet has now reached the heart and centre of his subject. But at this point his method alters, and the thread of purpose is less patent. Hitherto the Book of Doom, with its seven seals, has sufficed for the artistic and rather artificial presentation of his oracles. Now that the seventh seal is broken, the Book, ex hypothesi , is opened; we expect the secrets of divine judgment to be unbared. Instead of describing what follows as the contents of this book, however, the prophet relates how he absorbed another and a smaller volume (Revelation 10:0 ), containing the sum and substance of the final oracles which bear on the world’s fate. [849] He then proceeds, in terms of current and consecrated mythological traditions, to portray the two witnesses (Revelation 11:0 ) who herald the advent of the divine messiah (Revelation 12:0 ) himself, in the latter days. Messiah’s rival, the dragon or Satan, is next introduced, together with the dragon’s commission of the Roman empire and emperor (Revelation 13:0 ) as the supreme foe of God’s people. Here is the crisis of the world! And surely it is a nodus dignus vindice ; God must shortly and sternly interfere. The imperial power, with its demand for worship, is confronted by a sturdy nucleus of Christians who will neither palter nor falter in their refusal to give divine honours to the emperor. Characteristically, the prophet breaks off to paint, in proleptic and realistic fashion, the final bliss of these loyal saints (Revelation 14:0 ), and the corresponding tortures reserved by God for the enemy and his deluded adherents. But at this point, just as the closing doom might be expected to crash down upon the world, the kaleidoscope of the visions again alters rather abruptly. The element of fantasy becomes still more lurid and ornate. The world of men and nature is drenched by a fresh series of chastisements (Revelation 15-16), which prove unavailing; no repentance follows (Revelation 16:11 ; Revelation 16:21 ), and the climax of history is eventually reached through a succession of mortal penalties inflicted upon the city and empire of Rome (the vices of the empire being ascribed to the city, on the O.T. view which identified capital and kingdom, cf. Nahum 3:1 f.), the votaries of the imperial cultus, and the devil himself (Revelation 17-20). To the mind of an early Christian ( cf. Tert., Scap. , 2) [850] it was inconceivable that the world could long survive the downfall of the Roman empire. “And when Rome falls, the world.” All that the prophet sees beyond that ruin is the destruction of the rebels employed by God to crush the capital; then thanks to the survival of an O.T. idea, quickened by later tradition a desperate recrudescence (Revelation 20:7 f.) of the devil. His defeat ushers in the general resurrection and the judgment. Earth and sky flee from the face of God , but men cannot fly. They must stand their trial. Then follows the advent of a new heaven and earth (Revelation 21-22) for the acquitted and innocent, with the descent of the new Jerusalem and the final bliss of God and of his loyal people.

[846] The phrase ἐν κυριακῇ (= imperial, cf. Deissmann’s Licht vom Osten , 258 f.) ἡμέρᾳ (Revelation 1:10 ) denotes the Christian Sunday, not the day of judgment to which he was transported (so Wetstein, Weyland, Selwyn, Hort, Russell’s Parousia , 371, 372, and Deissmann in E. Bi. , 2815). The day of the Lord is only twice used in the Apoc. (Revelation 6:14 , Revelation 16:14 ), and there in a special eschatological connexion and in its normal grammatical form. In the Apocalypse it means the day of judgment, whereas in Revelation 1:10 the words imply revelation, and the Apocalypse is not a mere revelation of the judgment-day. Besides, ἐν πν . must go here with ἐγεν . as in Revelation 4:2 , otherwise it would have a verb of transport (Revelation 17:3 ; Revelation 21:10 ).

[847] These are addressed to tiny communities in the cities, not to the churches as being in any sense the cities. The character and history of the Christian community are by no means to be identified with those of the city; we have no reason to assume that the local Christians, who were ardently awaiting a citizenship from heaven, had any vivid civic consciousness, or were keenly sensitive to the historical and geographical features of their cities. The analogies sometimes drawn from the latter are interesting but for the most part specious and irrelevant coincidences. It is modern fancy which discovers in such directions any vital elements present to the mind of the prophet or his readers. Why these particular churches were selected, remains a mystery. The cities in question were not all conspicuous for a special enforcement of the imperial cultus, and the churches themselves can hardly be supposed to be in every case representative or particularly important. Even the plausible theory that they were the most convenient centres for district-groups of churches (Ramsay, Seven Letters , pp. 180 f.) does not work out well in detail.

[848] The longing of the martyred souls in Revelation 6:9-11 (“lignes toutes divines, qui suffront éternellement à la consolation de I’âme qui souffre pour sa foi ou sa vertu,” Renan, 463), recalls the function of the Erinnys in Greek religion, the Erinnys being primarily “the outraged soul of the dead man crying for vengeance” ( cf. J. E. Harrison, Prolegomena to Study of Greek Religion , p. 214). Only, the souls in the Apocalypse are passive; they do not actively pursue their revenge upon the living. The point of the vision is in part to reiterate the deterministic conviction that God has his own way and time; he is neither to be hurried by the importunity of his own people nor thwarted by the apparent triumph of his enemies.

[849] The distinctive and Jewish characteristics of the following oracles (10:11 14, 17 f.) suggest, as Sabatier was almost the first to see, that the contents of this βιβλαρίδιον are to be found here; so Weyland (a Jewish Neronic source in Revelation 10:1 to Revelation 11:13 ; Revelation 12-13, Revelation 14:6-11 , Revelation 15:2-4 , Revelation 16:13-14 ; Revelation 16:16 ), Spitta (a Jewish source, c . 63 B.C., in most of 10 11 Revelation 14:14 f., Revelation 15:1-8 , Revelation 16:1-12 ; Revelation 16:17 ; Revelation 16:21 , Revelation 17:1-6 ; Revelation 17:18 ., Revelation 19:1-8 , Revelation 21:9-27 , Revelation 22:1-3 ; Revelation 22:15 ), Pfleiderer (Jewish source, Neronic and Vespasianic, in most of 11 14, 17 19), and J. Weiss (Jewish source, Neronic, in Revelation 11:1-13 , Revelation 12:1-6 ; Revelation 12:14-17 , Revelation 13:1-7 ; Revelation 13:15-18 , Revelation 21:4-27 ). But the first editor has worked over the contents of the βιβλαρίδιον so thoroughly that it is impossible to be sure that it ever was a literary unity. The probability is that 11 13 at least reproduce fragments from it; the evidence hardly warrants us in postulating the incorporation of any coherent source. After chap. 10 the symmetry of the Apocalypse is impaired by rapid and bewildering alterations of standpoint to which no satisfactory clue can be found.

[850] The author of the Daniel-Apocalypse similarly believed that the resurrection of loyal Jews would follow the downfall of Antiochus Epiphanes (xii. 2, 13).

The cycles of seven (Revelation 2-3, Revelation 6 f., Revelation 8 f., Revelation 15-16) apparently formed the nucleus of the book, as the author conceived it, the seals representing the certainty, the trumpets the promulgation, and the bowls the actual execution of the doom. They may have been composed at different times and re-arranged in their present order, like the books of the Aeneid , but, as they stand, they are closely welded together. The introductory Christophany leads up to Revelation 2-3, while these chapters again anticipate the visions of Revelation 4-5, which are independently linked to 1. ( cf. Revelation 1:4 = Revelation 4:5 , Revelation 5:6 ; Revelation 1:5-6 = Revelation 5:9 ). Revelation 6-9 are interwoven, and, although the last cycle of seven (Revelation 15-16) seems abruptly introduced, it is really prepared for by 10 (see notes). Like the Fourth Gospel, the Apocalypse has been edited, possibly after the author’s death, by the local Johannine circle in Asia Minor ( eg. , Revelation 1:1-3 , Revelation 22:18 f.); one or two cases of transposition by copyists also occur ( cf. notes on Revelation 16:15 , Revelation 18:14 , Revelation 19:9 , Revelation 20:14 to Revelation 22:6 f.), and glosses may be suspected occasionally ( e.g. , Revelation 1:18 , Revelation 3:8 , Revelation 9:9 , Revelation 17:5 ; see § 8). But substantially it bears the marks of composition by a single pen; the blend of original writing and editorial re-setting does not impair the impression of a literary unity. This may be seen from the following analysis or outline:

Revelation 1:1-8 . Prologue. Revelation 1:9-20 . A vision of Jesus the messiah, introducing Revelation 2-3. Seven letters to Asiatic churches: (1) Ephesus. (2) Smyrna. (3) Pergamos. (4) Thyatira. (5) Sardis. (6) Philadelphia. (7) Laodicea. Revelation 4-5. A vision of heaven: the throne of God, the Lamb, the book of Doom or Destiny, introducing the plagues of the Revelation 6:0 . Seven seals: (1) The white horse. (2) The red horse (3) The black horse (4) The pale horse (5) The souls of the slain. (6) The earthquake and eclipse, etc. Intermezzo: Revelation 7:1-8 . the sealing of the redeemed on earth. Revelation 7:9-17 . the bliss of the redeemed in heaven. Revelation 8:1 . (7) The silence or pause. Revelation 8:2-5 . A vision of heaven: an episode of angels, introducing Revelation 8:6 to Revelation 9:21 . Seven trumpet blasts for (1) earth. (2) sea. (3) streams: the star Wormwood. (4) an eclipse. (5) a woe of locusts. (6) a woe of Parthian cavalry. Revelation 10:0 . Intermezzo: episode of angels and a booklet. Revelation 11:1 to Revelation 13:18 . The apocalypse of the two witnesses. Revelation 11:14-19 . (7) voices and visions in heaven, introducing Revelation 12:0 . A vision of ( a ) the dragon or Satan as the anti-Christ; a war in heaven. Revelation 13:1-10 . ( b ) The Beast or Imperial power. A war on earth. Revelation 13:11-18 . ( c ) The false prophet or Imperial priesthood. Intermezzo: Revelation 14:1-5 . bliss of the redeemed in heaven. Revelation 14:6-20 . episode of angels and doom on earth. Revelation 15:0 . A vision of heaven: the triumph of the redeemed, introducing Revelation 16:0 . Seven bowls with plagues for (1) earth. (2) sea. (3) waters. (4) the sun. (5) The realm of the Beast. (6) The Euphrates: an Eastern invasion. (7) The air: a storm, introducing A vision of Doom upon Revelation 17:0 . ( a ) The realm of the Beast, or Rome, at the hands of the Beast and his allies. Revelation 18:0 . a song of doom on earth: Revelation 19:1-10 . a song of triumph in heaven. Revelation 19:11-21 . ( b ) The Beast and his allies, and the false prophet. Revelation 20:1-10 . ( c ) The Dragon or Satan himself, with his adherents. A vision of the new heaven and earth: including Revelation 20:11 to Revelation 22:8 . The judgment of the dead Revelation 21:9 to Revelation 22:5 . The descent of the new Jerusalem. Revelation 22:6-21 . Epilogue. § 3. Literary Structure . This general unity of conception as well as of style is a unity of purpose, however, rather than of design. [851] Once we descend into details another series of features emerges into view. Even upon the hypothesis that it was written by one author, it cannot have been the product of a single vision, much less composed or dictated under one impulse. Furthermore, inconsequence of a certain kind is one of the psychological phenomena of visions; a change comes over the spirit even of religious dreams, as they drift through the mind of the seer. But more than this is required to account for incongruities and differences of climate, as e.g. , in Revelation 11:1-2 ; Revelation 11:19 and Revelation 21:22 , Revelation 11:8 and Revelation 18:24 , the various descriptions of the second advent (Revelation 1:7 , Revelation 14:14 f., Revelation 19:11 f.), of the judgment (Revelation 20:11 f., Revelation 22:12 ), or of heaven (Revelation 7:11 f., Revelation 15:2 , Revelation 19:7 f., Revelation 21:1 f., Revelation 22:1-5 , etc.), the isolated allusions to Michael, Gog and Magog, the four angels of Revelation 7:1-4 , the carnage of Revelation 14:20 , etc., the unrelated predictions which are left side by side, the amount of repetition, the episodical and conflicting passages of Revelation 7:1-17 ; Revelation 7:10 , Revelation 11:1-13 , Revelation 14:1-20 , Revelation 19:11 f., etc. Such phenomena are too vital and numerous to be explained upon the same principle as the contradictions and discrepancies which are to be found in many great works of ancient literature, or even as the free play of a poetic mind; they denote in several cases planes of religious feeling and atmospheres of historical outlook which differ not simply from their context but from one another. This feature of the book’s structure, together with the absence or comparative absence of distinctively Christian traits from certain sections, the iteration of ideas, the differences of Christological climate, the repetitions and interruptions, and the awkward transitions at one point after another, has given rise to the whole analytic movement of literary criticism upon the Apocalypse. The earlier phases are surveyed by A. Hirscht ( Die Apocalypse u. ihre neueste Kritik , 1895), Dr. Barton ( Amer. Journ. Theol. , 1898, 776 801), and the present writer ( Hist. New Testament , 1901, 677 689); for the later literature, see Dr. A. Meyer’s articles in the Theologische Rundschau (1907, 126 f., 182 f.), and an article by the present writer in the Expositor for March, 1909. The legitimacy of this method is denied by Dr. William Milligan ( Discussions on the Apocalypse , 1893, pp. 27 74), Zahn in his Einleitung in das N.T. (§§ 72 75), and Dr. M. Kohlhofer ( Die Einheit der Apocalypse , 1902), amongst others, but, although both attack and defence have too often proceeded upon the false assumption that the Apocalypse contains a balanced series of historical and theological propositions, or that it can be treated with the ingenuity of a Dante critic, the storm of hypotheses has at least succeeded in laying bare certain strata in the book, as well as a teleological arrangement of them in their present position. The Apocalypse is neither a literary conglomerate nor a mechanical compilation of earlier shreds and patches. There is sufficient evidence of homogeneity in style and uniformity in treatment to indicate that one mind has been at the shaping of its oracles in their extant guise ( cf. G. H. Gilbert in Biblical World , 1895, 29 35, 114 123, and Gallois in Revue Biblique , 1894, 357 374). But the prophet has worked occasionally as an editor of earlier sources or traditions, as well as an original composer. These leaflets or traditions are stones quarried from foreign soils; it is no longer possible [852] to ascertain with any great certainty when or how or even why they were gathered. The main point is to determine approximately the object of the watch-tower which the apocalyptist built by means of them, and the direction of his outlook. In some cases it is probable that, alike as a poet and a practical religious seer, he was indifferent to their origin, and in every case the important thing is to learn not the original date or shape of a source, or the particular mythological matrix of a tradition, but the new sense attached to it by the prophet himself and the precise object to which he adapted it. This consciousness of a purpose is the least obscure and the most Christian feature of the Apocalypse. Strictly speaking, it is an apocalypse not of John but of Jesus as the Christ [853] (Revelation 1:1 ), and it is the triumphant adoration of Christ which gives an inner clue to the choice and treatment of the various messianic categories. Where the problems of structure arise, and where source-criticism of some kind [854] is necessary, in order to account satisfactorily for the literary and psychological data is in the juxtaposition of disparate materials ( cf. notes on 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18).

[851] “ It is of the nature of an epic poem describing what a Christian Homer might describe as ‘the good news of the accomplishment of the righteousness and wrath of God’ ” (Abbott, p. 75). Cf . Romans 1:16-18 , Revelation 6:17 ; Revelation 10:7 ; Revelation 11:17-18 . The dramatic hypothesis, favoured by a series of students from Milton to Archbishop Benson, is worked out elaborately by Palmer and Eichhorn. The latter, after the prelude (Revelation 4:1 to Revelation 8:5 ), finds the first act in Revelation 8:6 to Revelation 12:17 (overthrow of Jerusalem in three scenes), the second in Revelation 12:17 to Revelation 20:10 (downfall of paganism), and the third in Revelation 20:11 to Revelation 22:5 (the new Jerusalem). But all such schemes are artificial.

[852] The state of the extant literature leaves our knowledge of early eschatological tradition full of gaps. It is less exhilarating but more critical to mark the extent of the gaps than to attempt to fill them up or to bridge them with more or less airy guesswork.

[853] The anti-Jewish note of the Apocalypse is as distinct as, though less loud than, the anti-Roman. Cf . notes, e.g. , on Revelation 1:6 ; Revelation 1:19 f., Revelation 2:9 , Revelation 3:7-10 , Revelation 5:9-10 , Revelation 10:7 , Revelation 11:19 , Revelation 21:22 .Revelation 22:18 . The Christian church was the new and true Israel, and thus served herself heir to great traditions and to high destinies which were only inferior to her own in that they formed a lower slope on the same hill. One of the minor effects (which differentiates the Apocalypse from the Fourth Gospel) of this conception is that Christians are not invited by John to love God or Christ; the temper of their vocation is defined in Jewish terms as a reverent fear of God ( cf. Revelation 11:18 , Revelation 14:7 , Revelation 15:4 , Revelation 19:5 ). Another is the avoidance of ἐκκλησια as a collective term for the church and the ignoring of ἐπίσκοποι , διάκονοι , πρεσβύτεροι , etc. for the twenty-four celestial πρεσβύτεροι , of course, have nothing whatever to do with the officials of the same name.

[854] English criticisms of Völter’s first essays by Warfield ( Presbyterian Review , 1884, 228 265), and A. Robertson ( Critical Review , Jan., 1895), of Vischer and Sabatier by Salmon ( Introd. N.T. , pp. 232 f.), of Vischer and of Völter’s earlier theory by Simcox (pp. 215 f.), and of Vischer by Thomson ( Books which influenced Our Lord , pp. 461 f.). Northcote once told Hazlitt that he believed the Waverley novels were written by several hands, on account of their inequalities. “Some parts are careless, others straggling; it is only when there is an opening for effect that the master-hand comes in.” There are several criticisms of the Apocalypse which, with their quasi-reasons recall this perverse and hapless verdict of a clever man.

The results reached in the following commentary outline a theory of the Apocalypse, in its literary aspect, which falls under ( a ) the incorporation hypothesis. According to this view, the Apocalypse is substantially a unity, due to one hand, but incorporating several older fragments of Jewish or Jewish-Christian origin. So Weizsäcker (ii. 173 f.), Sabatier ( Les origines littéraires et la composition de l’Apocalypse , 1888: Jewish fragments in Revelation 11:1-13 ; Revelation 11:12-13 , Revelation 14:6-20 , Revelation 16:13-14 ; Revelation 16:16 , Revelation 17:1 to Revelation 19:2 , Revelation 19:11 to Revelation 20:10 , Revelation 21:9 to Revelation 22:5 ), Schön ( L’origine de l’Apocalypse , 1887: Jewish fragments in Revelation 11:1-13 , Revelation 12:1-9 ; Revelation 12:13-17 , [except ver. 20]), Bousset, Jülicher ( Einleitung in das N. T. , § 22), C. A. Scott, F. C. Porter, A. C. M‘Giffert ( History of Apostolic Age , pp. 633 f.), A. Meyer ( Theol. Rundschau , 1907, pp. 132 f.), Abbott, Baljon, Wrede ( Entstehung der Schriften des N. T. , 103, 104), Schmiedel and Calmes. Pfleiderer’s two Jewish fragments ie in 11 14, 17 18, and in Revelation 21:10 to Revelation 22:5 . Those who are unwilling to admit the use of any Jewish sources fall back, as a rule, upon ( b ) the revision hypothesis of an Apocalypse which has been re-edited and brought up to date. This is represented best by Erbes ( Die Offenbarung des Johannes , 1891), who regards the original work as Johannine (before A.D. 70, incorporating one fragment of a Caligula apocalypse = 12 13.), with editorial additions (Domitianic) in Revelation 1:1-3 ; Revelation 1:20 , Revelation 7:4-8 ; Revelation 7:13-17 , Revelation 9:12 , Revelation 11:14 , Revelation 13:12 ; Revelation 13:14 , Revelation 14:4 ; Revelation 14:8-9 a , Revelation 15:1 ; Revelation 5:1 to Revelation 19:4 , Revelation 19:9 to Revelation 20:10 , Revelation 21:5 to Revelation 22:2 (Revelation 18-19?). Similarly, but very elaborately, Briggs ( Messiah of Apostles , pp. 285 f.) discovers a fourfold process of editing, or rather of materials successively gathering round an original nucleus, while Dr. Barth, in his recent Einleitung in d. N. T. (1908, pp. 250 276) goes to the opposite extreme of simplicity by conjecturing (partly along the lines followed by Grotius) that John simply revised, under Domitian, an earlier apocalypse of his own (written under Nero). Either ( a ) or ( b ) is preferable to the over-precision and disintegration of ( c ), the compilation hypothesis, according to which two or more large sources, fairly complete in themselves, have been pieced together by a redactor or redactors. So Weyland ( Omwerkings-en compilatie-hypothesen , etc., 1888: two Jewish sources, with Christian editorial additions ( c . A.D. 100) in Revelation 1:1-9 ; Revelation 1:11 ; Revelation 1:18 ; Revelation 1:20 ; Revelation 1:2-3 , Revelation 5:6-14 (Revelation 6:1 ; Revelation 6:16 ), Revelation 9:18 , Revelation 10:7 , Revelation 11:8 b , Revelation 11:19 , Revelation 12:11 ; Revelation 12:17 c , Revelation 14:1-5 , Revelation 15:1 ; Revelation 15:6-8 , Revelation 16:1-12 ; Revelation 16:15 ; Revelation 16:17 a , Revelation 16:21 , Revelation 17:14 , Revelation 19:7-10 ; Revelation 19:13 b , Revelation 22:7 a , Revelation 22:12 , Revelation 22:13 , Revelation 22:16-21 ), K. Kohler ( E. J. , 10:390 396: two Jewish sources, one from seventh decade, the other slightly later = Revelation 10:2 to Revelation 11:13 , Revelation 12:1 to Revelation 13:10 , Revelation 14:6 f.), Ménégoz ( Annales de bibliog. Théol. , 1888, 41 45; two Jewish sources), Bruston ( Études sur Daniel et l’Apocalypse , 1908, summarising his earlier studies: two Hebrew apocalypses, one Neronic = Revelation 10:1-2 ; Revelation 10:8-11 , Revelation 11:1-13 ; Revelation 11:19 a , Revelation 12:1 to Revelation 14:1 , Revelation 14:4 end, Revelation 15:2-4 , Revelation 16:13-16 ; Revelation 16:19 b , 17 19:3, Revelation 19:11-20 ; the other c . A.D. 100 = Revelation 1:4 f., Revelation 1:2-9 ., Revelation 10:1-7 , Revelation 11:14-19 , Revelation 14:2-3 ; Revelation 14:12-13 , Revelation 19:4-10 , Revelation 21:1-8 , Revelation 22:6-13 ; Revelation 22:16-17 ; Revelation 22:20-21 ), Spitta ( Offenbarung des Johannes , 1898: two Jewish sources, one B.C. 63 and one c . A.D. 40, with a Christian apocalypse by John Mark c . A.D. 60), Schmidt ( Anmerkungen , etc., 1891: three Jewish sources, Revelation 4:1 to Revelation 7:8 , Revelation 8:2 to Revelation 11:15 [except Revelation 10:1 to Revelation 11:13 ], Revelation 12:1 to Revelation 22:5 ), Eugène de Faye ( Les Apocalypses Juives , 1892, pp. 171 f.: two Jewish apocalypses, one from Caligula’s reign in Revelation 7:1-8 , Revelation 8:2 to Revelation 9:21 , Revelation 10:1-7 , Revelation 14:11; Revelation 14:11 , etc.; another = A.D. 69 70), J. Weiss ( die Offenbarung des Johannes , 1904: two sources, one Christian [A.D. 65 70] = Revelation 1:4-6 ; Revelation 1:9-19 ; Revelation 1:2-7 ; Revelation 1:9 , Revelation 12:7-12 , Revelation 13:11-18 , Revelation 14:1-5 ; Revelation 14:14-20 , Revelation 20:1-15 , Revelation 21:1-4 , Revelation 22:3-5 ; one Jewish, c . A.D. 70), etc. Upon similar lines O. Holtzmann (in Stade’s Gesch. Israel , 2:658 f.) detected two Jewish sources, one imbedded in the other, the earlier from Caligula’s period (13., Revelation 14:6 f.), the later from Nero’s. The coast of reality almost disappears from view in Völter’s latest theory ( die Offenbarung Johannis, neu untersucht u. erklärt , 1904), which is a combination of ( b ) and ( c ); it postulates an apocalypse of John Mark ( c . A.D. 65) and an apocalypse of Cerinthus ( c . A.D. 70 = Revelation 10:1-11 , Revelation 17:1-18 , Revelation 11:1-13 , Revelation 12:1-16 , Revelation 15:5-6 ; Revelation 15:8 , Revelation 16:1-21 , Revelation 19:11 to Revelation 22:6 ), both edited under Trajan and under Hadrian. Least successful of all, perhaps, in dealing with the complex literary and traditional data, is ( d ) the Jewish and Christian hypothesis, which is really a simplified variant of ( b ); e.g. , Vischer ( Texte u. Untersuchungen , ii. 3, 1886, 2nd ed. 1895) finds the groundwork of the apocalypse to be an Aramaic Jewish writing (mainly) from A.D. 65 70, which was translated, re-set, and edited by a Christian (in the “Lamb” passages, with 1 3., Revelation 5:9-14 , Revelation 7:9-17 , Revelation 12:11 , Revelation 13:9-10 , Revelation 14:1-5 ; Revelation 14:12-13 , Revelation 16:15 , Revelation 17:14 , Revelation 19:9-11 ; Revelation 19:13 , Revelation 20:4-6 , Revelation 21:5-8; Revelation 21:5-8Revelation 21:5-8 , Revelation 22:6-21 , etc.). Similarly Harnack ( ibid. ), Martineau ( Seat of Authority , 217 227), and independently, an anonymous writer in the Zeitschrift für alt. Wiss. 1887, 167 171, as well as Dr. S. Davidson ( Introd. to N. T. , 2., pp. 126 233: the Apocalypse an Aramaic Jewish work translated, with additions and interpolations). Von Soden’s theory ( Early Christian Literature , pp. 338 f.), which finds in Revelation 8:1 to Revelation 22:5 of the Johannine Apocalypse under Domitian, a Jewish apocalypse written between May and August of A.D. 70, lies, like C. Rauch’s ( Offenbarung des Johannes , 1894: Jewish composite nucleus, worked up by Christian editor) between ( d ) and ( b ).

The unsatisfactory result of many of these hypotheses is due to the use of inadequate criteria or to the inadequate use of right criteria. The distinction of Jewish and Christian elements is particularly hazardous in a book which deals with eschatology, where no Christian could work without drawing upon Jewish traditions. And these were neither stereotyped nor homogeneous. A given passage in the Apocalypse may not be couched in Christian language, but this does not necessarily prove that it was not written by a Christian; we know far too little about Jewish Christianity in the first century to be sure, apart from certain fundamental beliefs about Jesus, how far it diverged from cognate Jewish conceptions. A failure to appreciate either the poetic freedom of the Apocalyptist or the characteristic phenomena of apocalyptic writing in general has also turned some literary analysts into theorists of the narrowest parti pris . But such extravagances do not invalidate the legitimacy of the method in question; without some application of it, the phenomena of the book present a hopeless literary and psychological enigma, and it may fairly be concluded as well as argued that this apocalypse, like most others of its class, is composite to some degree.

§ 4. Characteristic Features . In spirit as well as in form the Apocalypse of John has affinities to the apocalyptic literature of the later Judaism. [855] An apocalypse was the word for a crisis, and for a crisis which bordered on the end. Whenever such epochs of dire emergency recurred, the faith of Israel rose in poignant hope that by breasting this wave of suffering they would soon be past the worst, and lie safe out of the swing of the sea. Since the exile, Israel’s foe had been some foreign power, whose policy threatened the religious conscience and whose annihilation was eagerly awaited by the faithful. Apocalypses frankly doomed the State and the world alike; they maintained an irreconcilable and pessimistic attitude towards both. Hence their speculation upon empires and emperors. Hence their constant appeal for courage, based on a conviction that God would intervene ere long in the political sphere to inaugurate a reign of the saints on earth. For the apocalypse was a programme of the immediate future on earth, or of a new earth, as well as a brilliant panorama of celestial mysteries vouchsafed to men in dreams or visions. Its subject was invariably ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει . Apocalyptic always spread its gorgeous pinions in the dusk of the national fortunes, but it strained to the near dawn of relief.

[855] For the characteristics of apocalyptic literature, and for the relation of apocalypse to prophecy, cf . §§ 6 19 of Lücke’s epoch-making Versuch einer vollständigen Einleitung in die Offenbarung Joh. und in die gesammte apok. Literatur (sec. ed. 1822); English summaries and surveys by Dr. Torrey ( E. J. i. 669 675); L. Hassé in Inaugural Lectures (Manchester, 1905, 126 159); Dr. Driver (“Daniel,” 1900, pp. lxxxvi. f.); Dr. A. C. Zenos in Dict. of Christ and Gospels , i. 79 94: and Dr, R. H. Charles ( E. Bi. 213 250, also 1338 1392 on Eschatology).

Our concern, however, is with the genius rather than with the genus of John’s Apocalypse. It rises above its class quantum lenta solent inter uiburna cupressi . The uiburna are not to be ignored, indeed. Their order is the general order of the Apocalypse, and when the latter is approached from the side of the early Christian literature, it seems often to include material of little or no specific Christian value. There is a certain foreign air and shape about its foliage. But when it is approached through the tangled underwoods of apocalyptic writings in general, with their frigid speculations upon cosmic details, their wearisome and fantastic calculations, their tasteless and repulsive elements, and the turgid rhetoric which frequently submerges their really fine conceptions, the Apocalypse of John reveals itself as a superior plant. Its very omissions are significant. There is no allusion, e.g. , to the prevalent category of the two æons , or to the return of the ten tribes, or to the contemporary Jewish wail over the cessation of sacrifice after A.D. 70 ( e.g. in Apoc. Bar. x. 10), or to the martyrs’ death as expiatory ( cf. 2Ma 7:37 f., 4Ma 6:29 ; 4Ma 17:21 , etc.), or to any intercession of the prophet on behalf of the church ( cf. 4 Ezra 8:0 .). There is no cosmogony, no self-satisfied comparison of God’s people with pagans, no reference to the law [856] (in contrast to the contemporary glorification, e.g. , in 4 Ezra 3-9, Apoc. Bar. xv. lxix. [ cf. Charles’ note on Revelation 15:5 ], where it rivals even the messiah as a medium of fellowship and a nucleus of future bliss). There are no parables (as in 4th Esdras) or allegories; above all, there are no querulous complaints from the living. Carlyle describes the Girondist pamphlets as far too full of long-drawn out ejaculations, “Woe is me, and cursed be ye!” Even 4 Esdras, for all its noble pathos, partakes of this self-pity and fury; it is half-anger and half-agony. But the Apocalypse of John usually breathes another air, mitigating upon the whole the brusque temper of its class. Though the oppression which makes a wise man mad may also make a good man sad, for all the feelings of exasperation and indignation stirred by the empire, the prophet John has not yielded to any pessimism about the cause of God. He never attempts to justify the ways of God, like his Jewish contemporaries, or to explain how the devil gave his power to the beast . His faith in Jesus as the messiah inspires a simple hope which enables him to remain unintimidated by the last threats and terrors of a foe whose end is near. The quarrel with Rome, e.g. , is God’s affair. His people have merely to stand still and witness their enemy’s rout.

[856] This is all the more remarkable as contemporary Christians were being led, for ethical reasons, to view their religion more and more from a nomistic standpoint.

It is this faith, this Christian consciousness, with its moral steadiness, which differentiates John’s Apocalypse from the other members of its class. To write an apocalypse meant, like the composition of a drama or a sonnet, conformity to certain literary rules or standards as well as approximation to a certain spirit and temper. It justified, if it did not necessitate, the use of earlier fragments, which were only partially intelligible, since the agony of their hour had long passed by. Apocalyptic modified and adapted such sources to the needs of a later generation. There was a sequacity about apocalyptic literature. [857] An author in this province could not start de novo ; not merely had conventional designs or traditions to be followed, but earlier products were commonly treasured and reset. John followed this method, but his regulative principle was unique, and one fascination of his Apocalypse lies in the fact that we have here a Christian prophet half-mastering and half-mastered by the literary exigencies [858] of apocalyptic, uttering his convictions in strange and hardly relevant terms which had hitherto been appropriated to alien ends. His vision of Jesus came to him through an atmosphere of truculent and fantastic messianism, which was scarcely lucid at all points and which tended to refract if not to blur the newer light; yet the Christian messianic belief generally managed to overpower the inadequate, archaic, and incongruous categories of tradition, through which it had often to pass. It is this juxtaposition which helps to explain the occasional awkwardness and artificiality in the symbolism of the Apocalypse. No doubt the author himself, whether as editor or composer, is partly responsible for this. A certain stiffness of structure pervades the book. There is a lack of sustained interest, and at several points the dove-tailing is defective, while, by a favourite Semitic device, repetition ( cf. Augustine, Civ. Dei , xx. 17) is made to serve the purpose of emphasis. But such inconsistencies and inequalities are mainly due to the fact that the writer’s Christian consciousness repeatedly tends to break through forms too narrow for its fulness. Probably the materials at the author’s disposal would have been better arranged, had this been anything less than the presentation of a living Redeemer in heaven as the messiah of God’s people upon earth. The mere fact that the messiah had lived, involved a readjustment of messianic categories; the further fact that he had suffered and risen meant that many had to be reshaped, There are things in the Apocalypse which show a careful study of earlier prophetic scriptures and rabbinic traditions; but there are other things which could only have been taught and learned within the school of Jesus Christ, and these are really the telling sentences throughout the book.

[857] This applies to traditions ( S. C . 252 f.) as well as to literature (Selwyn, 59 f.). A political and religious crisis promoted the resetting of older eschatological traditions and the resumption of such elements from the common fund or circle of apocalyptic teaching as had acquired special impressiveness ( S. C . 221 f.). The different interpretations of Jeremiah’s prediction about the 70 years by the authors of Daniel and En. lxxxix. 59 f., are a case in point.

[858] One of the clearest instances of this may be found in the angelus interpres ( cf . note on Revelation 1:1 ), which also illustrates, by the way, the difference between the Fourth Gospel and the Apocalypse. The Fourth Gospel scrupulously avoids connecting angels with Jesus. The only allusion to them, during his life-time, is the popular mistake (12:29 f.) which misinterpreted God’s voice to him as if it had been an angel’s voice. The Apocalypse, on the other hand, swarms with angels.

At the same time it must be remembered that some of the very features which have lost much if not all of their significance for later ages, ornate and cryptic expressions, allusions to coeval hopes and superstitions, grotesque fantasies and glowing creations of an oriental imagination, the employment of current ideas about antichrist, calculations of the immediate future, and the use of a religious or semi-mythical terminology which was evidently familiar to some Asiatic Christians in the first century these more or less ephemeral elements combined to drive home the message of the book. They signify to us the toll which had to be paid to contemporary exigencies; without them the book could not have made its way at all into the conscience and imagination of its audience. The momentum of its message lay, however, in the deep sincerity and lofty outlook of the prophet himself, and this broke out occasionally in passages of unexampled splendour and dignity. Sublimity, as a contemporary critic of literary style observed (Pseudo-Longinus, περὶ ὕψους ), has always a moral basis; it is, he declared, the echo of a great soul ( μεγαλοφροσύνης ἀπήχημα ) or, we might add, of a great soul exercised upon a great issue. The same critic makes another remark, which is apposite to a passage like ch. 18. of the Apocalypse. One avenue to sublimity, he notes, lies through imitation of and devotion to great writers of an earlier age: Ἔστι δὲ οὐ κλοπὴ τὸ πρᾶγμα , ἀλλʼ ὡς ἀπὸ καλῶν εἰδῶνπλασμάτωνδημιουργημάτων ἀποτύπωσις . This canon throws a ray of light upon the special psychological problem of the Apocalypse’s relation to its O.T. and extra-canonical models. Some great writers in every period of literature are only to be understood in the light of a long series of predecessors, and the prophet John is one of these. His apocalypse in one aspect is the final and brilliant flash of the red light which had gleamed from Amos down to the Maccabees. His affinities in point of form, treatment, and general aim are with the line of literary prophets who, from Ezekiel to the authors of Daniel , 4 th Esdras, and Baruch, applied themselves to the statement and restatement of apocalyptic eschatology. John’s Apocalypse is flecked with allusions to Ezekiel, Zechariah, [859] and above all Daniel. But his use of Daniel especially is more than that of a littérateur reproducing impressive and poetic conceptions from the study of a classic. For all the artistic and even artificial literary shape of the book, we should weigh it in the wrong scales were we to estimate it as the work of an author who simply drew upon such earlier models for his own later purposes. As contemporary rabbis not only pondered over passages like the Egyptian plagues, the prophecy of Gog and Magog, and the opening vision of Ezekiel, but even had ecstatic visions of heaven granted them ( cf. R. J. , 350, 379), so the prophet John was not a mere literary artist or a student of prophecy or an editor of earlier fragments. He was that, but he was more. Two features of his book differentiate him from such a class of writers; ( a ) he was a prophet in his own way, and ( b ) his consciousness had been so powerfully affected by the post-exilic Judaism, as well as by contemporary beliefs, that it is not possible to derive his conceptions exclusively from those of the canonical Old Testament. [860] These two features partially coalesce. As a prophet, no less than as a student of the prophetic and apocryphal scriptures, John believed that the predictions of Daniel were at last on the point of being fulfilled. This was the assurance which dominated his whole treatment of the O.T. in general. It explains how he appropriated and applied time-honoured messianic predictions which he considered relevant to Jesus the true messiah, and it also serves to account psychologically for the form of several visions ( e.g. , that of ch. 1.), which imply a mind already brooding over some of these passages. A well-known instance of this suggestion of visions occurs in Tertullian’s De anima , ix.: “Est hodie soror apud nos reuelationum charismata sortita, quas in ecclesia inter dominica sollemnia per ecstasin in spiritu patitur; conucrsatur cum angelis, aliquando etiam cum Domino, et uidet et audit sacramenta, et quorundam corda dinoscit, et medicinas desiderantibus submittit. lam uero prout scripturae leguntur aut psalmi canuntur aut allocutiones proferuntur aut petitiones delegantur, ita inde materiae uisionibus subministrantur”. When John’s soul is stirred to creative vision or prediction, it is usually something he has heard or read in Daniel or Ezekiel which is moving on the face of the waters. But the form taken by some of the oracles cannot be explained simply from the sacred scriptures, and it is therefore necessary to define separately and more precisely each of the features which have been just mentioned, even though the former necessarily involves the latter.

[859] In two aspects John resembles his prototype Zechariah: ( a ) in the employment of an intricate symbolism, which makes it difficult to be sure where intuition ends and literary decoration begins, ( b ) in the use of schematism to explain providence. For the latter, cf . Giesebrecht’s Die Berufsgabung der alttest. Propheten (1897), pp. 60 f. (p. 68: bei Amos drängt ein Lebendiges zum Lichte, bei Sacharja herrscht das Programm). On Ezekiel as a prophet who foretold the coming of Christ, cf . Clem. Rom., xvii. 1. The typical and eschatological significance of the Egyptian plagues especially seems, from Irenæus (4:27, 28), to have impressed the Asiatic πρεσβύτεροι .

[860] The author knows the Hebrew original as well as the LXX (or, at any rate, some of his sources do), but the LXX quotations, or rather references (Swete, pp. cxxxv. cxlviii.) and reminiscences for no formula of citation occurs occasionally ( cf . Revelation 1:7 , Revelation 9:20 , Revelation 10:6 , Revelation 12:7 , Revelation 13:7 , Revelation 19:6 , Revelation 20:4 ; Revelation 20:11 ) mark a deliberate divergence, not unexampled in the N.T., towards what was apparently a pre-Christian Greek version of the Hebrew, approximating to the version of Theodotion (particularly in Daniel). They thus anticipate the later preference of writers like Origen for the Theodotionic Daniel ( cf . Salmon’s Introd. to N.T ., pp. 547 f., and Swete’s Introd. to the O.T. in Greek , pp. 46 f.), or else they prove that he was translating directly from the Hebrew text (so e.g . in Revelation 1:6 , Revelation 11:4 ?, Revelation 14:8 ; Revelation 14:18 ). For instances of composite O.T. reminiscences cf . Selwyn, pp. 62 64.

( a ) The mind of a prophet like John is, in Wordsworth’s phrase, “a feeling intellect,” which instinctively embodies ideas in symbols. Thought rises before it in pictorial shape. Symbols are idea and picture at once; they embody beliefs and are also realities of a kind. Conceptions clothe themselves in vivid representations which are effective either on account of their traditional associations or from the aptness of their contemporary allusions, though it is often difficult for a modern reader to fathom their origin in the writer’s mind or to estimate the precise relation between the figurative element and the definite idea which that element is intended to enshrine. [861] The difficulty is doubled when, as in the present case, we have occasionally to deal with an ecstatic experience. The material to be interpreted includes the reflective working of the prophet’s mind upon a previous mental condition, the literary presentment (with some expansions, rearrangement and embellishment) of what he remembers to have seen in the exalted moments of rapture, together with the impressions produced by these upon his later consciousness. The Apocalypse is not a continuous vision. In parts, it is not a vision at all. There are rhapsodies in it, but it is not a rhapsody. Occasionally the prophet speaks as a counsellor, or writes as an editor of earlier fragments, or calculates the future in terms of traditional eschatology. The very elaboration with which the details and design of the book are worked out precludes any idea of it as a mere transcript of visions written when the seer’s memory was fresh, even though some phrases were set down as reflective or editorial glosses. At the same time, the nucleus and the origin of the book are inexplicable apart from the presupposition of a definite religious experience which assumed in part the form of a trance or rapture. Vision here, as elsewhere, in apocalyptic literature is occasionally the literary form of allegory and tradition; but not always. The psychological problem is to explain the relation between this inner consciousness of inspiration and the curious imaginative forms in which the prophet seemed to think it needful to embody his Christian conceptions. He employs a large number of suggestive figures and metaphors, drawn from the Old Testament and elsewhere, in spite of their literal inadequacy; these phantasmagoria it is impossible to regard as mere symbols, but on the other hand they are hardly to be taken literally in the case of John any more than that of the later prophets of Judaism ( cf. Riehm’s Messianic Prophecy , pp. 228 f.) from whom he borrowed many of them. Often the best way to explain them is to let them appeal to the religious imagination, since it is in this way that they are likely to disclose any permanent truth of which they may be at once the vesture and the vehicle. But whatever they are, they are suggestive, not dogmatic; they are poetic coefficients rather than logical definitions of the author’s faith.

[861] On this power of the poetic Eastern imagination, at certain stages of culture to fill sensuous forms with a higher content, see some admirable remarks in Caird’s Evolution of Religion , i. 287 ff.

The comparative independence with which, like the psalmists ( cf. Cheyne’s Origin of the Psalter , pp. 285, 286), he occasionally employs “anthropomorphic, or, let us say at once, mythic expressions, is a consequence of the sense of religious security which animates” him. These expressions helped out his Christian consciousness by their vivid realism and their time-honoured associations in the circles for which he wrote. He could embody in them some deeper truths of his own faith. In this weird world of fantasy, peopled by a rich Oriental imagination with spectral shapes and uncouth figures, [862] where angels flit, eagles and altars speak, and monsters rise from sea and land in a world of this kind many Asiatic Christians of that age evidently were at home, and there the prophet’s message had to find them. Often the point of an allusion lies in some half-forgotten contemporary belief; the terms of it may be superstitious enough, but the aim is predominantly spiritual. An apt illustration of this procedure in the sphere of popular religion is afforded by Luther’s well-known use of the superstition about the wood of the cross. “The cross of Christ,” he writes in one of his letters, “is parted throughout all the world, and every one meets with his portion. Do not you therefore reject it, but rather accept it as the most holy relic, to be kept, not in a gold or silver chest, but in a golden heart, that is, a heart imbued with gentle charity.” Here we have a Christian message couched poetically and effectively in terms of a familiar superstition which neither Luther nor his readers any longer shared. A similar explanation may fairly be applied now and then to John’s poetic use of the superstitions about amulets, talismans, secret names, [863] and the like, although it is often a fair question how far his language is faded metaphor, and whether he did not sincerely attach himself to some of the current beliefs which underprop his imagery. Otherwise we must allow that details are often used for their poetical impressiveness, which depends on the power of starting old associations and of suggesting dim, mysterious beliefs.

[862] Even grotesque symbols of an Oriental cast would appeal to Hellenic readers who were familiar, e.g ., with the Ἄρτεμις πολύμαστος of Ephesus, on whose statue winged bulls and rams appear ( cf . Revelation 4:5 f.).

[863] Thus in 2 3, especially, Christians are promised a real initiation into the privileges of the Divine cult after death, instead of the pagan cults which they abjure.

His relation to history is equally free. Nothing could well be more jejune than to suppose that he is covertly conveying political information to his readers, or laboriously spelling out the course of providence from the politics, warfare, and meteorology of his age. History does not move in neat systems of seven, and even apocalyptic prophecy for all its artificial dogmas and tendency to produce an impression by means of prediction forms no calendar of exact events to come, much less any chronicle of recent happenings. It is the dogmatic programme which is uppermost in apocalyptic. The seer, by virtue of his inherited ideas, knew how external events must move; his schematism was more to him than anything else, and this accounts for the large haggadic element in such writings ( cf. Baldensperger, 100, 117 f.). But John’s prophetic impulse in the revelation of Jesus to his spirit overbore the tendency to rest the weight of his message on exact disclosures of the future. “For the mass of his audience,” George Eliot says of Savonarola ( Romola , ch. xxv.), “all the pregnancy of his preaching lay in his strong assertion of supernatural claims, in his denunciatory visions, in the false certitude which gave his sermons the interest of a political bulletin.” John’s forecasts, such as they were, did not aim, at any rate, at the gratification of curiosity, and even his dogmatic programme was little more than a traditional form of expressing his absolute certainty that the God of Jesus Christ would conquer evil.

( b ) As a product of Asiatic Christianity towards the close of the first century, no less than as a member of a literary class which was usually heterogeneous in eschatology, the Apocalypse further reflects the religious syncretism which prevailed especially in Phrygia and the surrounding districts. The visions of the book are frequently put in terms of local and contemporary religion. Even the contour of what are apparently Old Testament reminiscences is occasionally modified by the collateral foreign tendencies which permeated postexilic Judaism, especially along apocalyptic lines ( cf. Cheyne’s Bible Problems , 70 f.). Thus ( a ) the Babylonian background of several conceptions [864] is now recognised on all hands (see notes on Revelation 1:4 ; Revelation 1:20 , Revelation 4:7-8 , Revelation 5:6 , Revelation 6:1 f., Revelation 13:11 , Revelation 14:6 , Revelation 19:7 ; Revelation 19:16 , Revelation 21:1-2 ; Revelation 21:18 , Revelation 22:1 ; Revelation 22:16 ). The gnosticism of Asia Minor during the second century reveals the survival and adaptation of more than one feature which was ultimately due to Babylonian mythology or astro-theology, and the previous developments of Judaism had already assimilated ideas from the older speculations of the Babylonians. ( b ) Along with this, traits corresponding to analogous conceptions in Egyptian religion are fairly common (see notes on Revelation 1:8 , Revelation 2:7 ; Revelation 2:11 ; Revelation 2:17 ; Revelation 2:26 f., Revelation 4:3 ; Revelation 4:9 , Revelation 5:13 , Revelation 7:16 ; Revelation 7:12 ., Revelation 14:5 , Revelation 15:6 , Revelation 22:4 ; Revelation 22:16 ). This is hardly surprising, as Egyp tian prophecy probably affected Hebrew prophecy ( cf. Wilcken it Hermes , 1905, 544 f.), as the relations between Asia Minor and Egypt were close, and as the latter country was the natural home of eschatology. [865] ( c ) The Hellenic traits, though fewer and fainter, are not inconspicuous ( cf. notes on Revelation 2:17 , Revelation 4:11 , Revelation 7:9 ; Revelation 7:16 , Revelation 8:5 , Revelation 9:11-12 ., Revelation 15:6 , Revelation 20:8 f.), but specifically Orphic features ( cf. Maas, Orpheus , 1895, pp. 250 261) are scarcely recognisable. ( d ) The Zoroastrian [866] influence is strongly marked, though not so strongly as Völter, in his latest volume (pp. 29 f., 63 f., 86 f., 116 f.), would make out. This, like that of Babylonia, reaches back not simply to the indirect channel of the post-exilic Judaism, but apparently to an almost direct relationship. In Zoroastrian angelology and eschatology alone, for example, does anything adequate correspond to the sort of conceptions which in their present shape are peculiar, or almost peculiar, to the Apocalypse: viz. (i.) the binding or noosing of the fiend (Revelation 20:1 f., cf. S. B. E. , 5:19), (ii.) the blasting of the third part of the earth (Revelation 8:7 f., cf. S. B. E. , 5:164, where the climax of the evil spirit’s work is that “he took as much as one-third of the base of the sky in a downward direction, into a confined and captive state”), (iii.) the seven spirits of God (Revelation 1:4 , cf. Encycl. Religion and Ethics , 1:384 385, and S. B. E. , iv. pp. lxxi. f.), (iv.) the guardian fravashis of the churches (see note on Revelation 1:20 quite an Avestan touch), (v.) the recrudescence of evil genii before the consummation (Revelation 20:7 f., cf. Stave, pp. 227 f.), (vi.) the emphasis on the millennium-period, [867] and (vii.) the renewal of the universe. See, further, notes on Revelation 1:13 , Revelation 2:5 , Revelation 4:3 , Revelation 7:17 , Revelation 11:5 f., Revelation 14:17 f., Revelation 16:13 ; Revelation 16:20 . Upon the other hand, no distinct references to Mithraism (as, e.g. , against Barns in Expos. , iii. 220 f.: Titan, the number of the Beast = Mithra as sun-god) can be detected, while the Buddhistic or Indian parallels are scanty and as a rule remote.

[864] Especially behind 12 ( cf . Calmes, Rev. Biblique , 1903, 52 68, and Jeremias pp. 34 f.). But cosmological traits or traditions from Babylonia will not explain the entire form of this oracle ( cf . Cheyne’s Bible Problems , 195 207, and Kohlhofer, pp. 72 f.), and even elsewhere they break down. Thus it is extremely questionable if the Babylonians had any conception of the millennium or of the resurrection of the dead; the accusing function of the devil is absent from Babylonian theology, as are the features of Revelation 13:11-17 ; and the Babylonian origin of the heavenly temple seems to be highly doubtful ( cf . Prof. G. B. Gray in Expos ., 1908, May June).

[865] Hermas, the next apocalypse of the early church, is tinged at one point by this influence ( cf . Reitzenstein’s Poimandres , 12 f.). The occupation of the Cyclades led to the introduction of many Egyptian deities into the local cultus between 308 and 146 B.C. ( cf . F. Hiller von Gaertringen’s Beiträge zur alten Gesch ., i., 1902, pp. 218 f.), including not only Isis but that worship of the Ptolemies which, e.g . in Thera ( cf . the same writer’s Thera , i., pp. 237 f.) fostered the later Imperial cultus of Rome. Some further Egyptian parallels are collected by Miss A. Grenfell in The Monist (1906), 179 200.

[866] The English reader may consult Prof. Moulton’s article on “Zoroastrianism” in Hastings’ Dict. B ., vol. iv., E. Bi . iv. 5428 5442, Lightfoot’s Colossians , pp. 385 f.), and Renan (pp. 470 f.). I have stated and discussed the general evidence in H. J ., 1903 1904. The best investigations are in the Jahr. für protest. Theologie , Hübschmann (1879, pp. 203 245) and Brandt (1892, pp. 405 f., 575 f.) respectively., Cf . also Böklen and Stave (§ 10).

[867] Plutarch ( De Iside , 46 f.), in describing the Zoroastrian doctrines of the Magi as these were known to Romans and Greeks of the first century A.D., closes by sketching the final doom of Ahriman, when the earth lies smooth under a single ruler and a single language, and “at the end Hades shall fail and men be happy” (Revelation 20:6-14 ). Similarly, the fierce doom of Revelation 19:17-18 , where birds are summoned to eat the flesh of messiah’s victims, is probably a reflex of the supreme penalty inflicted on the carcases of those who resist Mazdeism, viz ., that they be devoured by birds of prey ( S. B. E ., iv. 27, 131).

Nothing is more deceptive than such coincidences between primitive religions. Si duo faciunt idem, non est idem . They may simply be due in certain cases to analogous but independent movements of the religious feeling in different quarters. Here as elsewhere inferences have to be drawn with extreme caution, yet there is good reason to believe that a number of the special traditions and paraphernalia used in the Apocalypse owed part of their form, if not of their content, to ideas which were current in Jewish and pagan circles during the first century in Asia Minor. The coincidences with Oriental religious conceptions ( cf., e.g. , J. Brandis in Hermes , 1867, pp. 259 284) are too numerous and too striking to be dismissed in every case as accidental. Even when the cord is Christian, it may be spun out of several variegated threads, though it is often difficult and sometimes impossible to determine where the threads were drawn from. Clemen’s Religionsgeschichtliche Erklärung des Neuen Testaments (1909) is a convenient handbook to the whole subject of these highways and byways of the apocalyptic fairy-land.

§ 5. The Nero-redivivus Myth. The most central of these coefficients, drawn from a mixture of supernatural and political legends, is the belief in the return of a Nero-antichrist from the underworld.

The massacre of A.D. 64 had invested Nero with such peculiar infamy for the early Christians, that it is not surprising to find Satan’s chief agent in the final attack upon God’s kingdom depicted by the prophet John as an infernal Nero, issuing from the underworld to head a coalition of the East against Rome and then against the Christ. Both the Jewish and the Christian literature of this period show traces of the successive phases of the Nero-redivivus anticipation (Suet. Nero , 47). [868] The legend sprang up on Roman soil. People could hardly credit the tyrant’s death, so sudden and secret had been its circumstances. A curious mixture of relief and regret prevailed after the removal of the last member of the Julian dynasty at the age of thirty-two. For some time, indeed, a more or less sincere belief (Tacit., Hist. ii. 8, 9) prevailed, that he could not have died, but must be lying hidden somewhere in the East. This idea was suggested by his friendly relations with Parthia, and perhaps corroborated by the wide-spread notion, which he had encouraged in his own life-time, that he would reign over the East from Jerusalem, or that Rome was to be supplanted by an Eastern empire (Suet. Nero , 40, Vesp. 4, Tacit. Ann. xv. 36, Hist. Jude 1:13 ; Jude 1:3 : pluribus persuasio inerat antiquis sacerdotum litteris contineri eo ipso tempore fore ut ualesceret Oriens profectique Judaea rerum potirentur; cf. Joseph. Bell . Revelation 6:5 ; Revelation 6:4 ). On the strength of this superstition, edicts were actually issued in Nero’s name, ‘quasi uiuentis et breui magno inimicorum malo reuersuri’ (Suet. Nero , 57). The East was disturbed by pretenders, who exploited this superstition. One appeared shortly (Tac. Hist. ii., 8 9) after Nero’s death; another (Terentius Maximus) came forward in 80 A.D., who bore a physical resemblance to the emperor, and was only surrendered by the Parthians to Domitian after some years of power; a third emerged in 88 A.D. (Suet. Nero , 57). This created disaffection, especially in the Eastern provinces (Tacit. Hist. i. 2: “mota prope etiam Parthorium arma falsi Neronis ludibrio”), where revolutionary hopes and dislike of the existing régime were only too easily excited. Even under Trajan, Nero was believed by some to be still alive somewhere (Dio Chrysost. Orat. , xxi.), but by that time the illusion had been broken for most people, or rather it had been transmuted into the shuddering belief that Nero would return from the under-world. The political expectation thus became semi-supernatural or transcendental. [869] In certain Jewish and early Christian circles towards the close of the first century, particularly throughout Asia Minor, Nero-redivivus became fused with the other weird figures of Beliar and the antichrist. To some of the Romans Domitian was another Nero. To the Christians who shared John’s view, Nero was to come again in another form. The Apocalypse passes over the Beliar-myth of a Satanic accuser who thwarts and seduces God’s people ( cf. Introd. to 2 Thessalonians); incidentally, it assigns this function to the dragon, Satan (Revelation 12:10 ). But it follows one cycle of Jewish tradition in associating antichrist with some political or foreign persecuting power (Antiochus Epiphanes, Daniel ; Pompey = dragon, Ps. Sol. 2:29; head of Roman Empire, Apoc. Bar. , xxxix. xl.). The dragon Satan delegates his authority on earth to the Roman empire and emperor. The supreme enemy on earth, however, is the weird, spectral figure of this revenant Nero, who reappears in history ( A. C. pp. 184 f.; cf. for contemporary Jewish evidence, Dr. L. Ginzberg in E. J. , i. 625 627 on Nero as the devil-antichrist). Thus it is that the saga is doubled, not in Revelation 13:1-18 , so much as in Revelation 13:17 , and this doubling seems to be anticipated even in Revelation 11:7 (compare Revelation 13:1 f.). The seduction of the Jews by antichrist proper (Revelation 11:7 f.) is subordinated by the prophet John to the seduction of the pagan nations (13 14, 16 18), the latter being regarded as a far more ominous sign of the end. On the other hand, Nero-redivivus is employed, quite in Old Testament fashion, as the unconscious instrument of the divine vengeance upon Rome-Babylon; then he falls as a just victim to God’s wrath.

[868] In Sib . iv. 119 f. the great king ( i.e ., Nero) flies away wounded across the Euphrates into Parthian territory, while in Sib . iv. 137 139 (after 80 A.D.) the eruption of Vesuvius is taken as a portent of Nero’s immediate return from the East with a huge retinue to wreak vengeance on Rome. In another of these Asiatic oracles (ver 143 147, dating 71 74 A.D.) the flight of the detested and unpopular Nero from Babylon ( i.e ., Rome) to the Parthians is described. He reaches the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, to return in the last days (361 f.) for a bloody conquest of the earth ( κοσμομανὴς πόλεμος ). Cf . Geffcken’s studies “Zur älteren Nero-sage” in Nachrichten d. Götting. Gesellschaft d. Wissensch . (1899), pp. 443 f. The presence of the Nero-myth in the Apocalypse seems to have been first re-discovered by a Spanish Jesuit, Juan Mariana, who commented on the book in 1619.

[869] On the apocalypse as a means of transition from political to transcendental messianism, see Dr. Shailer Mathews’ scholarly pages (pp. 25 f.) in his Messianic Hope in the New Testament (1906).

The eschatological portent of Nero-redivivus, however, was bound up with the pressing claim of the Roman emperors to be worshipped as divine, and it was the latter peril which formed at once the occasion and the theme of John’s Apocalypse.

§ 6. The Imperial Cultus . Over two centuries earlier the great exemplar of apocalyptic literature had been issued in order to nerve the faithful who were persecuted for refusing to admit the presumptuous divine claims of Antiochus Epiphanes. The Apocalypse of John is a latter-day pamphlet thrown up by a similar crisis. The prophet believed that the old conflict had now revived in its final form; Daniel’s predictions were on the way to be fulfilled at last in an age when the Roman emperor insisted upon being worshipped as the august lord and god of men!

Since the days of Augustus, the emperor had been viewed as the guardian and genius of the empire, responsible for its welfare and consequently worthy of its veneration. It was a convenient method of concentrating and expressing loyalty, to acknowledge him as entitled to the prestige of a certain sanctity, even during his lifetime. There were no monarchical traditions available to strengthen the sense of imperial patriotism, and it was a politic step of the emperor to permit a certain adoration to gather round his official figure, an adoration which was generally the outcome of gratitude to the dead and deference to the living ruler for his εὐεργεσίαι ( cf. Rushforth’s Latin Historical Inscriptions , pp. 46 f., and A. J. H. Greenidge’s Roman Public Life , pp. 440, 444, with Gwatkin’s article in Hasting’s D.B. , iv., pp. 293 295). The imperial cultus in this aspect was instinctive rather than deliberate, developing out of certain germs within the ancient mind, such as the blend of religion and patriotism among the Persians, the custom of hero-worship [870] ( ἀφηρωίξαι , especially prevalent in the Ionian islands, e.g. , at Thera, cf. CIG , 2467 2473, Usener’s Gôtternamen , 1896, pp. 249 250), and the worship of the Ptolemies which shocked the pious Plutarch. Its primary aim was to foster patriotism by presenting a symbol of the solidarity and unity of the empire. Its political convenience, however, lent it increasing momentum. Gradually, on the worship of the Lares Augusti in Italy and the capital (Rushforth, pp. 59 f.) and on the association of the imperial cultus with that of dea Roma (to whom a temple had been erected at Smyrna as far back as 195 B.C.), the new canonisation rose to its height, never jealous of local cults, but thriving by means of its adaptability to the religious syncretism of the age. It was the religious sanction of the new imperialism. [871] It had temples, sacrifices, choirs (as at Smyrna), and even a priesthood ( the sodales Augustales ) of its own.

[870] For the Latin germs of Caesar-worship, prior to Augustus, see Mr. E. Fiddes in Historical Essays (Manchester), 1902, pp. 1 16. Many heroes were πάρεδροι θεοί , associated with specific gods in a cult as σύνναοι or σύνθρονοι of the gods ( cf . E. Kornemann’s essay “Zur Gesch. der antiken Herrscherkulte” in Beiträge zur alten Gesch ., i. 51 f.); e.g ., the later Attalidae at Pergamum had statues in the temple dedicated to them as divine (pp. 85 f.). The shrinking of the Christian conscience from this deification or apotheosis reveals the significance of the divine honours paid to Jesus in the Apocalypse. The position assigned him by Christian faith was no result of apotheosis.

[871] Full investigations by Boissier ( La Religion Romaine , i. 184 f.), Friedländer (iii. 455 f.), and Mr. B. W. Henderson ( Nero , pp. 347 f., 434 f.), to be supplemented by Otto Hirschfeld’s essay in Sitzungsberichte d. Akademie d. Wissensch. zu Berlin (1888), 833 f, the articles in Roscher’s Gricch. u. Röm. Mythologie (ii. pp. 902 919) and in Prot. Real-Encykl . (1901), x. 539 f., Wendland’s Hellen.-Römische Kultur in ihren Bezieh. zu Jud. u. Christ. (1907), §§ 5 and 7, and especially by J. Toutain’s pages on the cult of Roma (37 f.) and the spread of the imperial cultus generally (pp. 43 f.) in his notable work on Les cultes païens dans l’Empire Romain (première partie, tome i. Paris, 1907). Popular sketches in English in L. Dyer’s Studies of the Gods in Greece (1891, pp. 37, 45); Lecky’s History of European Morals (i. 257 f.), Westcott’s Epistles of St. John (235 269), Iverach H.J . (1906, 262 f.), Workman’s Persecution in the Early Church (1906, pp. 94 f.), and Harnack’s Mission and Expansion of Christianity (1908), i. book ii. chap. ix.

For obvious reasons the cult flourished luxuriantly in the provinces, particularly in Asia Minor, [872] where the emperor was often regarded as an incarnation of the local god or named before him. Distance lent enchantment to the provincial view of the emperor. Any sordid traits or idiosyncrasies retired into the background before the adoration felt for the divinity which hedged this unseen, powerful figure, who was hailed with a mixture of servility and real gratitude as “the Saviour,” “the Peace,” “the αὐτοκάτωρ ” of the world, or as the lord of men ( κύριος , dominus; cf. Kattenbusch, ii. pp. 612 f.). Asia Minor became a hotbed of the cultus. The mere recognition of an abstract empire with its authority providentially vested in the emperor passed often into a religious adulation of the latter, as θεός ( cf. Thieme’s Inschriften von Magnesia am Mäander u. das N.T. , pp. 28 f.). The annual festival or diet of the nine Asiatic townships, which served as an organ of government throughout the province, readily coalesced with an annual festival in honour of the reigning emperor (Mommsen, Provinces , i., 344 f.). The Asiarchs probably organised and pushed the new religion, even more than the local magistrates ( cf. Revelation 13:11 f.). At any rate the cultus, attaching itself like mistletoe to institutions and local rites alike, shot up profusely; polytheism found little trouble in admitting the emperor to a place beside the gods, and occasionally, as in the case of Augustus and Apollo, or of Domitian and Zeus, “the emperor was represented as the deity incarnate in human form” ( C. B. P. i. 53 f.). The islands also shared in this cult, as they had previously shared in the worship of the Ptolemies. At Thera, for example, a pagan altar has been found which was dedicated “to the almighty Caesar, the son of God” (contrast Revelation 2:18 ). This divi filius title was one of the most common and least conventional of what John called βλασφημίας ὀνόματα .

[872] With the title of Jesus ( ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κτίσεως τοῦ θεοῦ ), in Revelation 3:14 , contrast the servile language of the decree issued ( c. 9 B.C.) by the Asiatic κοινόν , fixing New Year’s Day as the emperor’s birthday: ἣν τῇ τῶν πάντων ἀρχῇ ἴσην δικαίως ἂν εἶναι ὑπολάβοιμεν ( τοῦτο αὐτῷ ἀρχὴν τοῦ βίου καὶ τῆς ζωῆς γενονέναι ). Cf Dittenberger’s Orientis Graeci Inscript. Selectae , 458.

The inevitable clash between this cult and the sensitive monotheism of Judaism was struck during the latter years of the insane madcap, Caligula (39 41 A.D.). His pretensions to divinity would have been ridiculous, if they had not been dangerous. But he deified himself in literal earnest by means of incense, gestures, and clothing ( cf. Joseph. Antiq. xviii. 7 8, xix. 1 2; Suet. Calig. 22); and the climax of his insults to Judaism the proposed erection of his statue in the temple at Jerusalem was only averted by the prudent temporising of Petronius and the murder of the emperor himself. Under Claudius matters righted themselves. Still, the shock of the crisis ( cf. Eus. H. E. ii. 5 6) left a deep impression on the conscience of the Jews. It revived the worst memories of Antiochus Epiphanes, and the dread remained, as Tacitus allows, that some other emperor might attempt what Caligula had failed in ( cf. Spitta 490 f.). Echoes of this are to be heard possibly in 2 Thess. and the synoptic apocalypse as well in Revelation 13:0 , which (according to many critics) [873] is based upon a source either Christian (Erbes 19 f., Bruston, Briggs) or Jewish (Spitta, Pfleiderer, de Faye, O. Holtzmann, Rauch adding Revelation 16:13-14 ; Revelation 16:16 ), dating from this period. On this view, the general tenor of the oracle required only a few alterations to render it applicable to the later situation, when Nero and Domitian had become for Christians what Caligula had been for the Jews half a century earlier. The arguments for this literary hypothesis, however, are not oxen strong enough to pull the plough ( cf. notes on 13.).

[873] Otherwise, Revelation 12:17 to Revelation 13:7 is held to contain a Jewish fragment (Kohler, J. Weiss), concluded in Revelation 19:11-21 , which dates from 70 A.D. Similarly Schmidt, Weyland. Wellhausen, and others (Neronic). “Caligula”, in Hebrew (Gaskulgas = גסקלגם קסר ) as in Greek ( ΓΑΙΟΣ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ) is equivalent by gematria to 616, the variant to which Irenæus objected ( cf . on Revelation 13:18 ); but so is ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ΘΕΟϹ (Deissmann: Licht vom Osten , 199 f.) as well as the shortened form of “Nero Caesar” For a discussion of the Beast’s number, see the recent symposium by Clemen, Corssen, Bruston, and Vischer in Preuschen’s Zeitschrift fόr die neutest. Wiss . 1901 1904.

Hitherto Christians had been out of the fray. Even Nero’s massacre of them was a freak of personal violence, justified by their reputation for hostility to the State, and apparently prompted by Jewish malevolence. It had nothing whatever to do with the imperial cultus. The latter was not seriously enforced until the second part of Domitian’s reign. Like Caligula [874] formerly and Diocletian afterwards, this emperor ( cf. Schoener, in Acta Semin. Philologici Erlang. 1881, pp. 476 f.) laid claim to the title of dominus et deus , and though his claim was not official, it was none the less serious. Hence, while he proved a “second Nero” to the Christians no less than to his own restive subjects, the former had special reasons for remembering the reign of terror,

[874] The bisellium, a splendid double throne, was assigned as a divine honour to Caligula alone after Caesar. Contrast Revelation 21:1 .

“When Vespasian’s brutal son

Cleared Rome of what most shamed him.”

The strict and harsh enforcement of the poll-tax (Suet. Domit. 12) pressed heavily upon the Jews, indeed, but otherwise they were generally undisturbed, since normally, under the semi-tolerant policy of the empire, they were not obliged to erect or worship statues of the emperor (Joseph. Apion. ii. 6). They sacrificed for him, not to him. As a national religion, Judaism had its own rights like the rest. [875] But Christianity was not a religio licita , and the Nazarene faith, by the sheer force of its principles and the success of its contemporary propaganda, had soon to face the exercise of the law against illicit cults (especially when these refused the test of swearing by the emperor’s genius). The very differentiation of Christianity from Judaism, which had become increasingly plain ever since Nero’s outburst, [876] deprived the former of its right to the shelter of the imperial aegis and rendered it liable to the religious and patriotic tax of the Caesar-worship which Domitian’s claim now emphasised. The growth of the new faith and the deepening need of the imperial cultus as a national bond of loyalty made a collision between the church and the State inevitable; and, although no literary record exists of the opening movement in the campaign, the correspondence of Trajan and Pliny is now recognised pretty generally to presuppose an earlier stage in the policy of the empire towards Christianity a stage most probably associated with the later years of Domitian ( cf. Neumann’s der Röm. Staat u. die allgemeine Kirche bis auf Diocletian , 1890, i. pp. 7 f. 11 15). [877] Then the conflict became more than sporadic ( οἱ πολλοὶ ἐπὶ Δομετιανοῦ διωγμοί , Mart. Ign. 1). Domitian not only permitted but encouraged and enforced the payment of divine honours to himself; compliance with the rites of the Caesar cultus was made the convenient test of loyalty for Christians who had hitherto been arraigned for the most part upon criminal charges ( flagitia cohaerentia nomini ) such as anarchy; confession of the Name of Christ now involved a refusal to give the emperor the name of deus or divus , and, as John put it, all who refused to worship the image of the beast or to be marked by his name were liable to death. The religious recusant was naturally suspected of lése majesté . When his religious susceptibilities were outraged by the quasi-deification of the emperor, his protest was viewed as a veiled pretext for rebellion, as well as an assertion of ἀθεότης or sacrilege ( cf. for Domitian’s reign, Lightfoot’s Clem. Rom. i. pp. 104 115). But whether obstinatio or ἀθεότης or maiestas , the crime was visited with the same penalties.

[875] They suffered under Domitian not for their personal faith but for the success of their propaganda in making proselytes; cf . S. Gsell’s Essai sur le Règne de l’Empereur Domitien , pp. 313 f.

[876] The most recent discussion is by Klette in Die Christen-Katastrophe unter Nero (1907; cf . the present writer’s review in H. J ., 1908, 704 707). Renan’s coloured pages (pp. 124 f.) and Hausrath’s graphic outline ( Hist. of N.T. Times. The Apostles iv. 168 f.) must be checked by the statements of Ramsay ( Church in Roman Empire , ch. xi.) and of Mr. B. W. Henderson in his Life and Principate of the Emper Nero (1903).

[877] The connexion of the Apocalypse with this Domitianic phase is also worked out by A. Matthaei ( Preussische Jahrb . 1905, 402 479) from the Roman standpoint. He argues (477 f.) that the first θηρίον of ch. 13 is the imperial cultus itself, while the second symbolises the provincial authorities especially in Asia Minor. Ramsay ( Seven Letters , p. 97) partly agrees with the latter identification, taking the θηρίον of Revelation 13:11 f. to mean “the Province of Asia in its double aspect of civil and religious administration,” but the probability (see notes) is that the writer is thinking of the Asiatic priests of the imperial cultus, who may have played a part like that of the Buddhist and Taoist priests during the Boxer rising in China, or like that of the officials of the Russian Church in the recent campaign against the Milkist sectaries. It is noticeable that there is no Christian antithesis, in the way of priesthood, to Satan’s embodiment in the priesthood of the imperial cultus (Revelation 13:11 f.), whereas the latter in the sense of false prophet is implicitly contrasted with the true prophetic order of Christianity, as are the official ὑμνῳδοί of the cultus at Pergamos and elsewhere with the singers of hymns to God and Jesus in the Apocalypse.

This conflict of loyalties is the business of the Apocalypse. At the first shock of persecution in Asia Minor over the principle of the imperial cultus, John grasped with moral power the truth that this was not a local skirmish but a matter of life or death to the church. The issue between ΚΥΡΙΟΣ ΙΗϹΟΥΣ and ΚΥΡΙΟΣ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ was to be neither compromised nor confused; the worship of the emperor, even as a form of patriotism, and the adoration of Jesus as the Christ of God were incompatible. The State did not realise this until afterwards, when the dimensions and irrepressible vigour of the Christian movement revealed it as a menace to the older civilisation of the empire. As yet the Nazarene faith was little more than one of the numerous Oriental weeds which had to be rooted out as immoral, anti-social, and unpatriotic; it was mainly notable for its tenacity of life. The State did not dream as yet of regarding these atheists and anarchists as a rival power. It was contemptuous rather than distrustful of the new faith. That this sect within a sect, or rather this struggling offshoot of the Jewish superstition, would outlive the empire which treated it as the legions treated the daisies on their line of march, must have seemed then the infatuation of a narrow-minded fanatic. History, by justifying this expectation, has proved that it was more than a magnificent reach of the religious instinct, that it was in fact what men have agreed to label rather than define as “inspired”. It is true that the messianic and apocalyptic traditions, with which the prophet worked, tended to foreshorten his view of the campaign. The host of martyrs were not crowded into a brief interval, and the triumph of the church over the empire came in a very different way from what the prophet or any of his contemporaries imagined. But the Apocalypse penetrated to the heart of the issue. The resolve which it knit and the hope which it kindled were substantially the faith which nerved the later church, from Ignatius and Polycarp onwards. What “faithfulness to death” ( cf. Revelation 2:10 ) involved may be illustrated from the normal procedure of the pro-consul in Bithynia, where Pliny, as he tells us, had people brought before him who were accused, sometimes anonymously and sometimes erroneously, of being Christians. They included persons of both sexes, all ages, and varying health. After being thrice warned, those who still adhered to their confession of faith were, in consequence of the cognitio or preliminary investigation, either imprisoned and killed (if provincials, cf. Revelation 2:13 ) or deported to Rome (if Roman citizens, cf. Revelation 17:6 , Ignatius, etc.). Others, however, were not so loyal to their Lord. [878] When an opportunity of recantation was offered, some denied any recent connexion with Christianity, telling the proconsul that they had been (some twenty years ago, i.e., c. 93 A.D., the period of the Apocalypse), but no longer were, Christians. Some also had no objection to offer incense before the image of the emperor or to curse publicly the name of Christ. This was the criterion applied to the suspect, [879] and it was largely due to the propagation of such resolute ideas as are expounded in the Apocalypse that Christians were kept loyal to their faith, and that, without a tear in their eye or a sword in their hand, they were able eventually to change the face of the world by enforcing the recognition of their claims at the hands of the empire. Like the conventicles of the Scottish Covenanters, the primitive Christian churches were accused of immorality and sedition, but, unlike them, they succeeded by passive resistance pure and simple. The Apocalypse is a call to arms, but the arms are only patience and loyalty to conviction. [880]

[878] There were the δειλοὶ and ἄπιστοι , e.g ., of Revelation 21:8 . Cowardice was particularly dangerous on account of its infectious nature. For the bad example of the δειλοὶ spies, cf . Joseph. Antiq ., iii. 15, 1. Ep. Lugd. describes ten renegades “who occasioned us much grief and immeasurable sorrow and impaired the ready zeal of those who had not yet been arrested”. “Some remained ἔξω ( cf . Revelation 21:8 ; Revelation 22:15 ), οἱ μηδὲ ἴχνος πώποτε πίστεως , μηδὲ αἴσθησιν ἐνδύματος νυμφικοῦ , μηδὲ ἔννοιαν φόβου θεοῦ σχόντες ” ( cf . Revelation 11:18 ).

[879] Pliny’s idea of repentance was that Christians should give up their faith. He thought that a number would be willing to recant if they got the opportunity, and Trajan confirmed his suggestion by ordering that whoever denies himself to be a Christian and makes that plain by his actions, i.e., by worshipping our gods, shall gain forgiveness . Contrast Revelation 9:20 ; Revelation 16:9 f. At Vienne and Lyons the Roman citizens in the church were beheaded ( cf . Revelation 20:4 , and the cases of John the Baptist and James, Acts 12:1 ). The rest were thrown to the wild beasts or tortured to death in other ways. It must always be remembered that μάρτυς , in its sombre sense, did not necessarily imply that a Christian had suffered the death-penalty ( cf . Tert. de Fuga 12, Eus. H. E. Jude 1:18 , etc.).

[880] Cf . Revelation 13:10 , Revelation 14:12 . In spite of the Cameronian touch of Revelation 13:17 , this is the normal temper of the book; it is a Christian expression of the passivity shown already by the Quietists in Judaism, but the controlling motive is the spirit of Jesus as recorded in his own saying (Matthew 22:21 ) and in the reply of his relatives to Domitian (Eus. H. E. , ii. 32): “His kingdom is not of this world or of this earth, but heavenly and angelic, to arrive at the consummation of this age”.

It is unnecessary to assume that any widespread persecution under Domitian, or indeed any “persecution” in the later and technical sense of the term, was before the prophet’s mind, in order to account for the language and spirit of the Apocalypse. John himself had only been banished or imprisoned, like some of his friends (Revelation 2:10 , Clem. Rom. ix. and cf. on Revelation 1:9 ). But from the position of matters he already argued the worst. The few cases of repressive interference and of martyrdom in Asia Minor (and elsewhere) were enough to warn him of the storm rolling up the sky, though as yet only one or two drops had actually fallen. Eusebius probably exaggerates when he speaks of “many others” along with Clemens and Domitilla (Revelation 3:18 ), and the period of terror was admittedly short (H. E., xx. 9 11, cf. Tert. Revelation 5:0; Revelation 5:0 ), but the crisis was sufficiently acute to open John’s mind to the issues at stake. It is this sense of the irreconcilable antagonism between the imperial cultus and Christianity, not any specific number of martyrdoms, which accounts for the origin of the Apocalypse during the latter years of Domitian. A cursory glance will show that its language presupposes a situation more definite and serious than any covered by earlier references to persecution for The Name or My Name , which in all likelihood, as 1 Peter indicates, obtained more or less generally after the crisis of 64 A.D. in Rome. John sees another name set up against the name of Christ, and he stamps it as the essence of blasphemy to recognise any such title. What Christians were summoned by him to do was to say “No”. Their positive confession of the Christian name resolved itself practically into a refusal to admit the legitimacy of the emperor’s divine names.

This power of penetrating to the eternal issues underneath the conflict of the day is one note of the true prophet, and in touching the Apocalypse we touch the living soul of Asiatic Christendom. The book comes forward as a work of prophecy ( cf. notes on Revelation 1:1 ; Revelation 1:3 ; Revelation 11:18 ; Revelation 18:20 ; Revelation 18:24 ; Revelation 22:6-7 , etc.). As such it is designed for the instruction and encouragement of the Christian society (1 Corinthians 14:3 f.). It fulfils this design by means of visions depicting ( a ) the approach and certainty of the Christ’s return, ( b ) the warnings and comfort of God for the churches during the interval, and ( c ) the bliss and terror of the world to come. Ordinarily the revelation takes the form of rapture or vision. This, again, may pass into an address in which the prophet leaves the rôle of seer for that of spiritual adviser. Or, rhapsody may become a song ( ψαλιμός ), reflecting the antiphonal outbursts of melody ( E. Bi. 2138 2140, 3242) in the congregation ( cf. the responsive Amen in Revelation 5:14 , Revelation 7:12 , the Trisagion in Revelation 4:8 , and the Hallelujah in Revelation 19:1 f.) which were based in part upon earlier Jewish psalms of the synagogue (as Pliny found in Bithynia: “carmen Christo quasi deo dicere secum inuicem”). Finally, the prophet may work along the lines of traditional apocalyptic oracles which were more or less familiar to his hearers, just as the author of Daniel took Jeremiah’s seventy weeks as one of his texts. All these varieties are represented in the Apocalypse of John. But, whatever rôle he assumes, the seer or speaker is pre-eminently a prophet, and the Christian prophet is ranked beside Moses and the angels as the servant of God κατʼ ἐξοχήν . The order of prophets is second only to the apostles.

If it is the vocation of the prophet to reveal and emphasise the faith, it is the corresponding duty of the martyr to be loyal at all costs to that faith in the killing times. Hence the martyr or confessor is, next to the prophet, the most prominent figure in the landscape of the Apocalypse. One of the tests proposed (most unfairly) by an anti-Montanist in the second century as a criterion of Montanist prophecy was its capacity for producing martyrs. Did it inspire a faith equal to the stress of persecution? Was the religion it fostered strenuous enough to provoke persecution? The crisis of the imperial cultus under Domitian seemed to John at any rate to demand an attitude of passive resistance [881] on the part of Christians which involved the risk of death. Neither rebellion nor suicide was to be contemplated as a means of escape, and flight was out of the question. Whither could one flee from the Caesar? The Christian must be prepared to be faithful unto death , and if there is any distinction among Christians drawn by the prophet’s mind it lies not between Jewish and Gentile Christians, but between the martyrs on the one hand and the rank and file of the church upon the other. The martyr is primus inter pares ; an exceptional place and space is assigned him for his persistent fidelity. At the same time the extravagant prerogatives of the martyrs and the confessors in later Christian belief lie outside the purview of the Apocalypse. The prophet’s homage to them is partly due to the exceptional circumstances of the “killing” time, and the permanent element underlying it is the truth (witnessed by Zoroastrianism in its own way, cf. Encycl. Rel. and Ethics , i. 210) that history is neither caprice nor blind fate, but a moral order in which sacrifice for the sake of Christ and loyalty to God are not water spilt upon the ground a moral order, too, whose end is bound up with the person of Jesus Christ as Lord and Redeemer. It was perhaps inevitable that the expression of this great religious conception should, by its very emphasis, lead to some exaggeration. The flood-tide which submerges some truths isolates others in a position of abnormal prominence. Thus the Apocalypse, which is a tract for the bad times of persecution, views the philosophy of history as catastrophe rather than as growth; the virtues of asceticism and even celibacy ( cf. on Revelation 14:4 ) acquire unwonted prominence; sensuous aspects of the messianic reign tend to predominate; the impulse of propaganda is checked by the sombre and fore-shortened view of the world which the presentiment of approaching judgment fostered; religion tends to be bound up with a hatred and fear of the civil power; [882] and God is a dazzling, silent, enthroned figure of majesty, who has men warned and wounded, not (as in the fourth gospel) a Father who is in direct touch with his children upon earth. The passion for moral retribution regards material and political convulsions more and more as the proper dynamic of providence. To John’s eyes, the cause of affairs in the empire of his day was running straight to the edge of a precipice. He saw in history not any τύχη or εἱμαρμένη but the justice and irony of providence abroad, and his puritanic temper expressed itself in a mixture of spiritual resignation with an imperious and vindictive expectation:

[881] With Revelation 13:9-10 compare the Jewish high-priest’s prayer on the day of atonement (Jer. Jom. ver 42 c.), that “neither this day nor through this year may any captivity come upon us.… And as for Thy people Israel, let no enemy exalt himself against them.”

[882] It cannot be too strongly insisted that the tone of the Apocalypse here was neither normal nor final. Indeed the subsequent history of the church bears out this verdict. The Asiatic idiosyncrasies of its eschatology, and above all of its relation to the State are thrown into relief against the “loyalist” tone of a contemporary Roman writing like that of Clemens Romanus . The moderation of this fine epistle is attributed by Lightfoot ( Clem. Rom ., i. pp. 27 f. 60 f. 382 f.) to the fact that its author and bearers were connected with the imperial household.

Rome shall perish I write that word

In the blood that she has spilt.

This expectation is only a heightened form of the traditional belief ( cf. 4th Esd. 12:11 f., Apoc. Bar. iv. 4 5) that the fourth kingdom of Daniel’s vision was the Roman empire, which was to be overthrown at the advent of messiah’s reign. Josephus prudently evades this interpretation, though he is well aware of it. His business, he protests, is not to explain the future ( Antiq. x. 10. 4). But the interpretation was widespread in apocalyptic circles, and a Christian had special reasons for sharing it. John expresses it with characteristic vigour. He will encourage no fifth-monarchy tendencies among Christians in Asia Minor, but he has no word of showing loyalty to the empire as distinguished from worshipping the emperor. He makes no attempt, such as Agrippa made before Caligula ( Leg. ad Gaium , 36), to disprove the charge of treason, and no considerations of patriotism qualify his threats of doom against the Roman empire. [883]

[883] Dr. Selwyn actually conjectures (pp. 124 f.) that the prophet was banished for having written the seditious oracles of iv. xxii., and that when he re-edited the work (adding i. ii.) during Galba’s reign it was only the strong anti-Neronic feeling at Ephesus which saved him from capital punishment as a traitor (pp. 214 f.).

§ 7. The Date . When the motive of the Apocalypse is thus found in the pressure upon the Christian conscience exerted by Domitian’s emphasis of the imperial cultus, especially as that was felt in Asia Minor, any earlier date for the book becomes almost impossible ( cf. Mommsen’s Provinces of Rom. Empire , ii. 175 f.). The traditional alternative, i.e. , the reign of Claudius, is absurd. The Neronic date ( i.e. , soon after Nero’s death) exerts most of its fascination on those who cling to too rigid a view of the book’s unity, which prevents them from looking past passages like Revelation 11:1 f. and Revelation 17:9 f. But ( a ) the phase of the Nero-redivivus myth which is represented in the Apocalypse cannot be earlier than at least the latter part of Vespasian’s reign; ( b ) the church of Smyrna, as we know from Polycarp (ad Phil. xi.) was not founded by 64 A.D., and it is impossible to crush the development implied in Revelation 2:8-11 into a few years; ( c ) the conception of the new Jerusalem implies a post-70 date ( cf. notes on 21 22.); ( d ) no worship of the emperor, adequate to explain the data of the Apocalypse, was enforced under Nero; and ( e ) the allusions to the martyrs (Revelation 2:13 , and especially Revelation 6:10-11 the How long? of the Neronic victims, and their subsequent comrades in martyrdom) surely presuppose a much longer period than three or four years. For recent English statements of the Neronic date, see Selwyn (pp. 215 f.) and Mr. B. W. Henderson ( op. cit. pp. 439 f.). The Vespasianic date ( cf. V. Bartlet, Apostolic Age , 388 408; Scott, 48 56), which has rather a better case in the internal evidence of the book, is ruled out of court by ( d ). The lack of any traditional reference to persecution under this emperor would not indeed be a decisive argument by itself; it is only by the letters of Pliny that we happen to know anything of the troubles experienced by Asiatic Christians under Trajan, and a similar outburst under Vespasian might have passed unnoticed by Christian or pagan writers. But this is unlikely. [884] In any case, Vespasian did not take his inherited and official divinity seriously. Christians had a temporary and comparative immunity under him, and “so rapidly did their influence grow that they even made converts in the imperial family itself” ( cf. Lightfoot, Clem. Rom. ii. 507). Parts of the Apocalypse, taken singly ( e.g. , in 13.), might be referred to Vespasian’s reign, but, unlike Domitian, he does not seem to have interfered with Oriental cults. Thus, since the general intensity of John’s language about martyrdom cannot be explained altogether as either a reminiscence of the Neronic outburst or as a prophetic anticipation of what was to be expected at the hands of the world-power during the latter days for some concrete occasion is necessary to account for the prophet’s standpoint the most probable solution is that Christians were being persecuted here and there in Asia Minor for what Domitian (as Neumann and others rightly point out) regarded as a cardinal offence, viz. , the refusal to acknowledge him as the divine head of the empire. The religious development of the churches is often held to presuppose a considerable length of time, but this argument must be used with caution. Worldliness and error and uncharitable feelings did not require decades to spring up in the primitive churches of Asia Minor and elsewhere. No great stress can be laid on this feature. Still, the character of the heresies described in 2 3. certainly presupposes an acquaintance with incipient gnosticism which requires a later period than 70 A.D. for its development.

[884] An even stronger term might be used, in view of the researches by critics like Matthaei, Gsell, Neumann and Ramsay. The extreme unlikelihood of the Apocalypse being elicited by anything during the reigns of Titus or Vespasian is also recognised by Linsenmayer in his Bekämpfung des Christentums durch den römischen Staat (1905), pp. 66 f.

The one passage (apart from Revelation 6:6 , where see note) which appears to be a water-mark of the date is unfortunately ambiguous (see notes on 17.), as it contains an earlier Vespasianic source. But in Revelation 17:10-11 so much at least seems clear. The numbers are literal, not symbolical. The reckoning probably begins with Augustus as the first emperor; the three usurpers (Galba, Otho and Vitellius) are passed over ( cf. Suet. Vesp. 1: rebellione trium principum et caede incertum diu et quasi uagum imperium suscepit firmauitque tandem gens Flavia), as was only natural to a provincial, who would be specially apt to regard their struggle as a brief nightmare. The sixth and reigning emperor ( ὁ εἷς ἔστιν ) is Vespasian (69 79 A.D.), with whom the Flavian dynasty took up the imperial succession, after Nero’s death, which ended the Julian dynasty, had well-nigh broken up the empire ( cf. Revelation 13:3 f.). Vespasian’s successor (Titus, 79 81 A.D.) is to have a very brief reign. [885] As a matter of fact it only lasted for a couple of years. After him, the deluge! Nero-redivivus ( τὸ θηρίον ), incorporating the full Satanic power of the empire, who had already reigned on earth ( ὃ ἧν ) but who meanwhile was invisible ( καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ) was to reappear from the abyss, only to be crushed finally ( καὶ εἰς ἀπώλειαν ὑπάγει ). In its present form the oracle announces that the downfall of the empire is to be heralded by the reappearance after Titus of one belonging to the seven emperors ( ἐκ τῶν ἑπτά ἐστιν ) who, on the traditional scheme of the heads , were to see the rise and ruin of the State. Here a literary problem of some nicety emerges, for, while Jude 1:10 implies the reign of Vespasian, Jude 1:11 points to an eighth emperor (evidently Domitian). The solution is either that the writer of both throws himself back in thought into Vespasian’s age, representing history under the form of apocalyptic prophecy, or that Jude 1:11 (Domitian recalling and playing the part of Nero) represents a later addition, [886] inserted in order to bring the source up to date. In either case the final standpoint is Domitianic, however, and this tallies with the general evidence of the rest of the book. [887]

[885] This might be ( a ) a uaticinium ex euentu , or ( b ) an eschatological inference (a writer, composing under the sixth emperor of a series which was only to number seven, would naturally argue that, as the end was near, the seventh emperor could not have long to reign), or ( c ) a reflection of the widespread feeling ( cf. Schiller’s Gesch. d. Röm. Kaiserzeit , i. 520) that the poor health of Titus would not permit him to reign for very long.

[886] “ To me it seems that there are two distinct notes of time in the passage, and that we are almost compelled to suppose that what was written at one date has been adapted to another” (Dr. Sanday in Journ. Theol. Studies , viii. 492).

[887] This kind of elusive, enigmatic reckoning is illustrated by the Jewish Domitianic apocalypse in 4 Esd. 3 14. and by Barn. iv. In the former, the Roman empire is an eagle with three heads ( i.e. the Flavian dynasty: Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian), the first of which rules the earth oppressively, the second of which is devoured by the third (alluding to the belief that Domitian had made away with his brother), while the third is to be challenged and vanquished by messiah (a parallel to John’s prediction). The Christian writing, in order to prove the nearness of the end, quotes Daniel 7:7-8 ; Daniel 7:24 for the purpose of showing that from the beast ( i.e. the Roman empire) ten horns were to spring ( i.e. the Caesars from Julius to Vespasian or Domitian) and from them a little horn by way of excrescence ( παραφυάδιον i.e. Nero antichrist) which will abase three of the great horns ( i.e. the Flavian dynasty) Similarly Daniel’s addition of the 11th horn to the traditional 10 illustrates John’s apocalyptic revisal of the 7 heads. The only σοφία of the Apocalypse is the knack of solving puzzles in this province of religious arithmetic (Revelation 13:18 , Revelation 17:9 ).

It also tallies with second-century tradition. In describing the persecution of Christians by Domitian, that worthy successor of Nero, Eusebius ( H. E. iii. 18) quotes the following words from lrenaeus on the name of Antichrist; εἰ δὲ ἔδει ἀναφανδὸν ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ κηρύττεσθαι τοὔνομα αὐτοῦ , διʼ ἐκείνου ἄν ἐρρέθη τοῦ καὶ τὴν ἀποκάλυψιν ἑορακότος . οὐδὲ γὰρ πρὸ πολλοῦ χρόνου ἑωράθη , ἀλλὰ σχεδὸν ἐπὶ τῆς ἡμετέρας γενεᾶς , πρὸς τῷ τέλει τῆς Δομετιανοῦ ἀρχῆς . The attempts to turn the force of this passage by supposing that lrenaeus confounded Domitian’s actual reign with his temporary regency in 70 A.D., or by referring ἑωράθη to the seer instead of to the vision, are ingenious but quite unconvincing. The tradition must be taken as it stands. Originally, as πρὸς τῷ τέλει suggests, it was more precise and extended. It was held by Hippolytus, Clement of Alexandria, Jerome, and Victorinus, possibly even by Hegesippus at an earlier date, if Dr. Lawlor is correct in his argument ( Journ. Theol. Studies , viii. 436 f.) that the statements of Eusebius ( H. E. iii. 11 20) were borrowed from that writer’s Hypomnemata ; indeed, no other early tradition has anything like the same support or plausibility. Irenaeus, of course, is no great authority by himself on matters chronological, but he is reporting here what there was no obvious motive for inventing. The internal and the external evidence thus converge upon the latter part of the reign of Domitian as the period of the book’s composition or publication. Little more than half a century later, one of its first commentators, bishop Melito of Sardis, protested to Marcus Aurelius that “of all the emperors it was Nero and Domitian alone who, at the instigation of certain slanderous persons,” assailed the Christian church (so Lact. De Morte Persec. 3). Whether Melito knew this independently of the Apocalypse or not, we need have very little hesitation ( cf. Stephan Gsell’s Essai sur le règne de l’Empereur Domitien , 1894, pp. 307 f.) in collating this persecution with the book in question.

§ 8. The Author . The settlement of the date clears up the problem of the authorship to this extent, that it confirms the disjunctive canon of Dionysius ( cf. Lucke, §§ 39 42; Simcox xxiii. f. xxxiii. f.), Origen’s thoughtful pupil, who saw, upon grounds of internal evidence, that it was impossible for the Apocalypse and the Fourth Gospel to have come from the same pen. Were the Apocalypse dated earlier, it could be supposed that John had matured during the interval, since twenty or twenty-five years’ residence in a Greek city might be conjectured to have improved his style and widened his outlook. But when the Apocalypse has to be dated in the same decade as the Fourth Gospel, the hypothesis of a single author collapses. While the data of vocabulary, style, and thought suggest that both writings originated in a school or circle of Asiatic Christians, they differentiate the one book from the other unambiguously. [888]

[888] Recent, though rather extreme, statements are to be found in J. Réville’s Le Quatr. Évangile (1901), pp. 26 47, 333 f. in Selwyn (pp. 81 f. 114 f., 222 f., 258 f., the Fourth Gospel = a correction not only of the synoptists but of the Apocalypse), and in Schmiedel’s article ( E.B. ii. ii. 2515 2518). As Alford admits, “the Greek of the Gospel and Epistle is not that of the Apocalypse in a maturer state”.

Hardly any writing in the New Testament loses so little, or gains so much, by translation as the Apocalypse, for almost any version serves to obliterate most of the exceptionally numerous and glaring irregularities of its syntax. But one drawback of this advantage is that the distinctive characteristics of the book are less vividly felt; the further one goes from the original, the less visible are those idiosyncrasies of conception, style, and construction which mark off the Apocalypse from the rest of the early Christian literature and notably from the Fourth Gospel. The psychological difference by itself should not be pressed too far. One has only to recollect men like Samuel Rutherford and Keble, to understand how vindictiveness to religious opponents is compatible with a sweet and even devout spiritual tone in certain natures. But the disjunctive canon in the present case proceeds from a wider induction. Thus e.g. the well-known resemblances of the Lamb and the Logos are both specious and secondary. The former ( τὸ ἀρνίον Apoc.; ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ , Gospel, ἀρνίον being reserved for Christians) does not exist in the original, nor is it peculiar to the Johannine literature. The latter again ( ὁ λόγος τ . θεοῦ , Apoc.; ὁ λόγος , Gospel) is verbal ( cf. note on Revelation 19:13 ); the two ideas are adapted from totally different soils in pre-Christian Judaism and for alien ends. Some closer analogies, such as ( a ) the relation of God, Christ, and the believer ( cf. on Revelation 2:27 , Revelation 3:19 f.), ( b ) the use of the partitive ἐκ , ἵνα , δείκνυμι (of revelation), etc., ( c ) the explanation of Hebrew terms, ( d ) formulas like ματὰ ταῦτα , and ( e ) phrases about witnessing or keeping God’s word (commandments), do not necessarily imply more than a common milieu of thought and expression such as contemporary writers belonging to the same school might naturally employ. A common religious dialect often produces similar instances of corresponding or coincident expression in different authors of the same period. On the other hand, the Apocalypse has a vocabulary of its own, whose peculiarities are not to be explained simply from the subject matter; e.g. δοῦλοι θεοῦ (in explicit contrast to John 15:15 ), λατρεύειν , οἰκουμένη , παντοκράτωρ , πίστις , ὑπομονή , etc. besides cases of the multiplied genitive (Revelation 14:8 , etc.). It ignores many favourite and even characteristic terms of the Fourth evangelist, e.g. ἁλήθεια , ἀληθής , ἀληθῶς , ἀπεκρίθη κ . εἶπεν , ἀφιέναι τὰς ἁμαρτίας , θεᾶσθαι , ἴδε , ἴδιος , καθὼς , μετὰ τοῦτο , πάντοτε , παρρησία , πώποτε , ὑψοῦσθαι , χάρα , sonship ( cf. on Revelation 21:7 ) asking ( ἐρωτάω ) God, darkness , μὲνδὲ , μένειν (except in Revelation 17:10 , historically), πονηρός or ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου (of the devil), to be of God or to be born of God, love to God or Christ, ὑπέρ with genitive, ἀντί , ὑμό (accus.), μέντοι , etc., etc. Even where the Apocalypse uses certain terms or ideas of the Fourth Gospel, it is in a different sense; e.g. αἰώνιος (only in Revelation 14:6 , never with ζωή ), light and the world (physically not spiritually), ἐκεῖνος (never substantival), ἐμός (only once), οὖν of logical appeal [889] (not of historical transition), ἱερουσαλήμ not ἱεροσόλυμα , νικᾶν (never transitive, and in special sense cf. on Revelation 2:7 ), judgment (outward and dramatic, not inward), the Spirit (wholly prophetic, in contrast to the inward Comforter of the Gospel), σημαίνειν , ὑπάγειν , etc. Furthermore, the Fourth Gospel ignores, often deliberately, a large number of words or phrases used not only by the Apocalypse (once at least) but by the earlier synoptic Gospels; e.g. ἀναγινώσκω (of Scriptures), ἀποδίδωμι , ἀπόστολοι , ἄρσην , ἀφαιρέω , βασανίζειν , βδέλυγμα , βίβλος , γαστήρ , γρηγορεῖν , γυνή (wife), δαιμόνια , δένδρον , διαθήκη , δἰκαιος (of men), δῶρον , ἔθνη (= Gentiles), εἰκών , ἔλαιον , ἐνδύειν , ἑπτά , ἐσθίω , ἔσχατος , ἔσωθεν ( ἔξωθεν ), εὐαγγέλιον ( cf. on Revelation 14:6 ), ἑξήκοντα , ἐχθρός , ἥλιος , θρόνος , ἰσχύς , ἰσχυρός , κληρονομεῖν , κλίνη , κηρύσσειν , κόπτω , λιμός , λοιπός , λυχνία , μακρόθεν , μαρτύριον , μάρτυς , μηδείς , μετρέω , μικροί , μυστήριον , νεφέλη , ὀλίγος , ὀμνύειν , ὀδούς , οὐαί , οὖς (contrast John 18:10 ; John 18:26 ), πάσχω , πατάσσειν , περἱ (accus.), πέτρα , πίστις , πλοῦτος (- σιος ), ποτίζειν , πόλεμος , πρεσβύτεροι , προσευχή , πρόσωπον , ῥάβδος , ῥίζα , σεισμός , σελήνη , σκηνή , σοφία , σταυρόω , σφόδρα , ὑψηλός , φυλακή , ψευδοπροφήτης , and χήρα . The Apocalypse also substitutes ἔρχου for ἐλθέ , and uses phrases like ἄξιος with infin. for ἄξιος with ἵνα . The eschatological differences of conception, which are too patent to require comment or to admit of harmonising, corroborate the impression made by this argument from words. Such features, linguistic and mental ( cf. e.g. on Revelation 1:4 , Revelation 2:7 , Revelation 3:21 , Revelation 7:15 ), are not due to literary versatility, nor to an imaginary growth in the same writer’s vocabulary and soul, nor even to a common editorial revision. The argument from solecisms ( cf. § 1) and regular irregularities of style, from the special vocabulary, and above all from the realistic type of religious feeling, may be cumulative, but it is none the less able to support the contention that whilst the Fourth Gospel and the Apocalypse must have sprung from the same circle of Asiatic Christianity, they could not have been written by the same person within a few years of each other; the divergences of eschatology, angelology, and Christology which represent the crucial points of comparison between the two books are almost as clearly cut in Revelation 1-3, where the Apocalypse is least apocalyptic, as in the later oracles. In general, it would not be irrelevant to apply to the Fourth Gospel and the Apocalypse the terms used by Dionysius of Halicarnassus to characterise the works of Herodotus and Thucydides respectively; the one is radiant ( ἱλαρόν ), the other is awe-inspiring ( φοβερόν ).

[889] This is particularly significant, since, as the Apocalypse “is largely made up of narrative, we might have expected narrative οὖν in abundance if it had been written by the hand that wrote the Fourth Gospel” (Abbott, Joh. Grammar , p. 479).

While the author of the Apocalypse cannot have been the author of the Fourth Gospel, his personality is partially disclosed by the internal evidence of the book, which shows that it was the work of a Jewish Christian prophet called John (Revelation 1:1 ; Revelation 1:9 , etc.) who was in close touch with the Asiatic churches. It is a προφητεία , and as such it is ranked by the first Christian writer of the second century who definitely mentions it ( cf. Justin’s Dial ., 81, 82). It was intended to be read aloud in the worship [890] of those Christian congregations, primarily but not exclusively, to which its opening messages were addressed. In reality it is a sort of catholic epistle as it stands ( cf. Revelation 2:7 , etc., Revelation 22:16 ; Revelation 22:21 ), an open letter or manifesto to the churches. The authority claimed by John is that of a prophet, not of an apostle. The seven Asiatic communities may have lain within his circuit or diocese, but the data of Revelation 2-3 do not suggest any specifically concrete relations between the prophet and the churches. He does not seem to have founded any of them, nor does he promise to re-visit them. Upon the other hand, John claims no special relation to Jesus Christ, and there is no distinct evidence that he had been an eye-witness of Jesus the messiah upon earth. None of the visions implies any such personal intimacy; indeed that of Revelation 1:9 f. tells against it, for the apocalyptic categories which dominate the opening vision are not such as might be expected from one who had been among the Galilean disciples. [891] It may be replied that an apocalypse is not a gospel, and that in an apocalypse it was the qualities of a προφήτης which would naturally be prominent. But this only raises the further psychological problem: how should a primitive disciple adopt such categories? The reference in Revelation 18:20 does not absolutely exclude the possibility of John having been an apostle, for ἀπόστολος is here employed in its wider sense, and in any case the addition of προφῆται shows that this προφῆτης might have equally well referred objectively to the class or order to which he belonged. The unique allusion in Revelation 21:14 to the twelve apostles of the Lamb , however, has an objective and retrospective tinge, which, though it does not absolutely rule out apostolic authorship, points in that direction. It is not a subtle anti-Pauline touch, for even Paul did not number himself among the twelve (1 Corinthians 15:5 ), but when it is collated with such discrepancies as that between Revelation 11:1-2 and Mark 13:2 ( cf. also Revelation 3:21 with Mark 10:37-40 ) or that between Acts 1:6-8 and the apocalyptic calculations of the end (see further, on Revelation 3:21 , Revelation 7:1-3 ; Revelation 7:14 , Revelation 9:15 ) the result is a cumulative argument in favour of some primitive Christian who sat looser to the synoptic tradition than a disciple such as the son of Zebedee would have done. During last century the apostolic authorship of the book, in conjunction with the Neronic date, was urged by Baur ( cf. Church Hist, of First Three Centuries , i. 84 f., 153 f.) and his school, on the double ground that it represented a type of narrow Jewish Christianity in the apostolic church, and that it contained an overt polemic against the apostle Paul. Neither of these arguments is seaworthy at the present day, although the anti-Pauline reference becomes a much more serious question, when the Nero or Galba date is chosen, than some recent defenders of the latter hypothesis appear to realise. The Apocalypse has the Pauline teaching behind it ( cf. Revelation 3:14 , Revelation 22:17 ), but it neither reproduces any of the Pauline idiosyncrasies nor opposes Paul personally. It goes back to the popular Jewish Christianity of the primitive churches, whose “theology” consisted primarily in a belief that Jesus, the true messiah, had secured the forgiveness of sins for his people and would return presently to establish the divine βασιλεία . The writer ignores any problem of the law or of the resurrection of the body. Echoes of the synoptic tradition are audible enough, particularly of its Lucan form, and one feature of the teaching of Jesus is preserved carefully, viz. , the belief in the catastrophic advent of the βασιλεία ; but no evidence is available to prove a literary filiation between it and any of the synoptic gospels. [892]

[890] Passages like Revelation 1:3 , Revelation 2:7 , etc., Revelation 13:9 ; Revelation 13:18 , Revelation 22:7 , reflect this ecclesiastical use, while the explanatory comments in Revelation 4:5 ( ἅ εἰσινθεοῦ ), Revelation 5:6 ( οἵ εἰσινγῆν ), Revelation 5:8 ( ἅ εἰσινἁγίων ), Revelation 18:24 , Revelation 19:8 ( τὸ γὰρἐστίν ), Revelation 19:10 ( ἡ γὰρπροφητείας ), Revelation 19:13 ( καὶ κέκληταιθεοῦ ), Revelation 20:14 ( οὗτοςπυρός ), sound often like prose glosses which in some cases may have been inserted by the author himself or a general editor, but in others were probably due to the interpretative reading in the churches. A partial analogy is furnished by the influence of the players on the text of Shakespeare’s plays.

[891] The seer never says, I saw the Lord Jesus, or, Behold, the Lord Jesus . Contrast Acts 7:55-56 , etc. “Jesus speaks through His Spirit under various forms or without any form, and is never beheld in the form He wore in Galilee” (Abbott, p. 214). Cf. Prof. A. S. Peake, in Mansfield College Essays (1909), pp. 89 106.

[892] So far as the local colour is not derived from O.T. traditions, it may be ascribed, as, e.g. , by Mr. Theodore Bent ( Nineteenth Century , 1888, 813 881, cf. also Historical New Testament , p. 688) to a personal acquaintance with Palestine and Asia Minor (see on Revelation 4:2 , Revelation 6:12 f., Revelation 8:8 f., Revelation 9:16 ; Revelation 9:18 , Revelation 22:2 ). Thus, e.g. , the references to the appearance or the disappearance ( cf. the case of Chrysê near Lemnos, told by Pausanias, viii. 33 4) of islands reflect the insular situation of Patmos, from which several of the Ægean islands were at least visible (Tozer: Islands of the Aegean , pp. 178 95), as well as the volcano of Santorin. The crater of some Mediterranean volcano may have lent special point to the lake of fire and brimstone . But John’s imagination is stronger than his susceptibility to his environment, though sometimes it is not fanciful to trace a special significance in some conventional phrase, e.g. the boom of the Mediterranean in Revelation 1:15 , or in Revelation 6:15-16 an allusion to the Sipylus range, north of the Gulf of Smyrna, where cisterns and holes cut in the rocks afforded temporary shelter to the population during the frequent panics caused by earthquakes on the coast ( cf. Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Phrygia , Eng. tr., 1892, pp. 61 62).

Who was this John? Was he some otherwise unknown figure ( ἄλλον τινα τῶν ἐν Ἀσίᾳ γενομένων , Dionysius) in the primitive church of Asia Minor (so e.g. , J. Reville, F. C. Porter, Julicher)? This is possible, for the name was common enough. But, if it is felt that the work must be connected with a more authoritative personality, tradition offers us the choice of three figures. ( a ) That of John Mark (so e.g. , Hitzig, Weisse, and Hausrath), whom Dionysius of Alexandria mentions in this connection but only to set aside on the score of his un-Asiatic career, need not be seriously discussed, though Beza favoured his claims (“quod si liceret ex stylo conjecturam facere, nemini certe potius quam Marco tribuerim qui et ipse Johannes dictus est”). The real alternative lies between ( b ) John the son of Zebedee, and ( c ) John the presbyter, both of whom have strong traditional claims. The latter is not to be emended out of existence by any manipulation of the text of Papias, and we have no reason to regard the one as the doppelgänger of the other. Whether Eusebius was right in arguing from that text or from other evidence that Papias was one of his hearers, John ὁ πρεσβύτερος was an important Christian disciple; his authority was so great that he could be called ὁ πρεσβύτερος without any further designation. There is strong and early support for ( b ) in tradition, but the internal evidence, as we have seen, is at best neutral and in certain lights unfavourable. It is impossible here to analyse that tradition in its bearings upon the Apocalypse, but it may be said that there were special reasons which contributed to its popularity ( cf. § 9). Internal evidence weighed less with the early church than other considerations. The wavering position of the Apocalypse required nothing short of apostolic sanction to keep it within the canon, and indeed apostolic authorship came more and more to be tantamount to inspiration. Under these circumstances it was not easy for any theory or tradition of unapostolic authorship to keep its footing. Mr. Conybeare puts this succinctly ( The Armenian Text of Revelation , pp. 161 f.): “Between 350 and 450 Greek texts of Revelation were rare in the Eastern half of the empire. The best minds of the Greek Church, men such as Eusebius Pamphili and Dionysius of Alexandria, denied its Johannine authorship. Living in an age when old Greek was still the language of every-day life, they were too conscious of the contrasts of style which separate it from the Fourth gospel to accept the view that a single author wrote both. Having to accept John the apostle as author of one or the other, they decided in favour of the gospel. In the West, on the other hand, where both documents circulated only in a Latin dress, men were unconscious of these contrasts of style, and so found no difficulty in accepting both as writings of the apostle John.” Hence, taking the Apocalypse by itself on the one hand and the tradition of John the presbyter on the other, we find both converging on the conclusion that, even if John the apostle did survive till the end of the first century in Asia Minor, it was not he but his namesake who wrote the Johannine Apocalypse. καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι ὑμῶν ἐνυπνίοις ἐνυπνιασθήσονται (Acts 2:17 ), under the influence of the prophetic spirit. In this case, the term πρεσβύτερος (as in 2 John Jude 1:3 , and 3 John Jude 1:1 ) is the Christian term of honour and authority ( cf. Deissmann, 154 f., 233 f.), not the Jewish term [893] for a member of the Sanhedrin ( πρεσβύτης ). Occasionally, as in the case of John, the presbyter must have had prophetic gifts; the fragments preserved by lrenæus from the tradition of the Asiatic presbyters point unmistakably to prophetic and even chiliastic tendencies, though they are more sensuous than in the corresponding features in the Apocalypse. John was also a μαθητὴς τοῦ κυρίου in the wider sense of the term. He was one of the most important authorities who were in touch with apostolic tradition, and it is easier to credit him with the rabbinic erudition and apocalyptic lore of the Apocalypse than one who was ἀγράμματος καὶ ἰδιώτης (Acts 4:13 ).

[893] So Selwyn (127 f.), holding that the author of the Apocalypse retained his earlier Jewish title. But it is prosaic to see that semi-circular court reflected in Revelation 4:2 f., or to find evidence of special legal knowledge in Revelation 5:1 and Revelation 12:10 .

A further possibility (recognised by Erasmus) lies in the direction of pseudonymity. Apocalypses were almost invariably pseudonymous, and it is held by some ( e.g. , S. Davidson, Weizsäcker, Wernle, Forbes, and Bacon in Expositor , 1907, 233 f.), that the presumption is in favour of John’s Apocalypse also belonging to the pseudepigrapha. This would be rendered more probable, were it taken to include fragments or traditions which were really due to John Mark (Spitta, Völter), John the son of Zebedee (Erbes, Bruston), or John the presbyter (J. Weiss, so differently Bousset and Schmiedel). But it does not follow that an early Christian apocalypse must necessarily be pseudonymous. Hemias is not. Besides, one raisond’être for pseudonymity is absent, viz. , the consciousness that the prophetic spirit was no longer present in the church. The amount of antedated prediction in the Apocalypse ( i.e. , in 13, 17), too, is barely adequate, of itself, to support this theory. And it may be argued that a pseudonymous writer would probably have been more explicit upon the apostolic authority of John, i.e. , if John the apostle was the John under whose name he issued the Apocalypse. The case for the latter form of the hypothesis would be strengthened, of course, if it could be shown, as many critics have recently attempted to prove, that the tradition of John’s early martyrdom is reliable. In any case the ardent and even vindictive spirit of the Apocalypse is not to be connected necessarily with Luke 9:55 . Such a passionate, unpatriotic temper would be as much due to the apocalyptic traditions and to the local exigencies of the period as to any personal idiosyncracy, and if John retained this feeling till the end of the century, or even till the seventh or eighth decade, he must have profited very little by the lesson which Jesus had read him long ago. When he is connected with the tradition or authorship of the Fourth gospel, the supposition that he was responsible for the attitude of the Apocalypse becomes doubly, trebly difficult.

To sum up. The Apocalypse was a product of the “Johannine” school or circle in Asia Minor, towards the close of the first century. Beyond the disjunctive canon that it was not composed by the author of the Fourth Gospel, but that it may have been written by the presbyter whose name appears in the address of 2 and 3 John, we can hardly go, in our comparison of the Johannine writings. The data of tradition are unfortunately ambiguous and contradictory, but, whether or not the son of Zebedee resided in Asia Minor, the presbyter John seems on the whole to suit the requirements of the Apocalypse better than any other contemporary figure, and, unless we are content with Castellio and others to share the pious reticence of Dionysius ( ὅτι μὲν οὖν Ἰωάννης ἐστὶνταῦτα γράφων , αὐτῷ λέγοντι πιστευτέου · ποῖος δὲ οὗτος , ἄδηλον ), the balance of probability is in favour either of pseudonymity or of the hypothesis that the prophet John who composed the Apocalypse was the presbyter John of early Christian tradition (so after Dionysius, from various standpoints, [894] Eichhorn, Wittichen, De wette, Mangold, Credner, Bleek, Ewald, Keim, Havet, Düsterdieck, Selwyn, Erbes, O. Holtzmann, Harnack, Kohler, Von Soden, Heinric ( Das Urchristenthum , 1902, 126 f.), and Von Dobschütz ( Probleme d. apost. Zeitalters , 1904, 91 f.).

[894] Grotius: “Credo autem presbytero, apostoli discipulo, custoditum hunc librum, inde factum, ut eius esse opus a quibusdam per errorem crederetur”. Loisy ( Le Quatr. Evangile , p. 134), Swete, ‘Giffert, Peake ( Introd. N.T ., 1909, 152 f.), and some others incline to this hypothesis with hesitation, as does Jacoby ( Neutestam. Ethik , 1899, 444 455). It was admitted by Vogel ( Commentationes , etc., 1811 1816), who was almost the first to suggest the composite origin of the Apocalypse.

§ 9. The Reception of the Apocalypse . No immediate traces of the Apocalypse ( cf. Zahn’s Geschichte des N. T. Kanons , i., pp. 201 f., and Leipoldt’s Gesch. d. N. T. Kanons , i., pp. 32 f., 58 f., etc.), are to be found in early Christian literature; the two or three apparent allusions in Clemens Romanus, Barnabas, and Hermas, imply nothing but common oral tradition or the independent use of the O.T., if not of apocryphal sources. Ignatius, however, seems to have known it (see on Revelation 3:12 , Revelation 21:3 ); certainly Papias and Justin did. Melito of Sardis ( c. 170 A.D.) wrote a commentary upon it, while Apollonius and Theophilus of Antioch were acquainted with it; so were the Valentinians, and of course the chiliasts. Irenæus and the Ep. Lugd. attest its circulation in southern Gaul ( c. 177 A.D.). Clement also read it in Alexandria as a sacred scripture. The evidence of the martyrdoms and of Tertullian proves that in Africa, as well as in southern Gaul and Egypt, it was widely circulated before the close of the second century, and the Muratorian canon witnesses to its authority in Rome. But it did not escape sharp criticism ( τί με ὠφελεῖἀποκάλυψις Ἰωάννου , λέγουσά μοι περὶ ἑπτὰ ἀγγέλων καὶ ἑπτὰ σαλπίγγων ;) and even repudiation not only from Marcion, with his antipathy to the O.T., but from the anti-Montanists, alike in Asia Minor and in Rome, [895] who disliked the sensuous elements in its prophecies and repudiated ecstasy as a form of true prophecy. The predilection for Hellenistic eschatology also helped to throw it into disfavour, as compared with, e.g., The Apocalypse of Peter , which even the Muratorian canon ranks alongside of it. Another feature which probably told against its popularity was its unpatriotic attitude to the empire. When prayers were offered in the churches for the emperor, and when the empire had come to be viewed, as Paul had taught, in the light of a providential bulwark, it is not surprising that John’s Apocalypse had a hard struggle to retain its place in the canon, and that except in times of sore persecution it did not appeal to the majority of Christians. The result was that before very long the only means of preserving it for ecclesiastical edification was to allegorise it freely. This naturally threw the interpretation of the book quite out of focus, so that the fortunes of the Apocalypse really form a chapter in the history of the canon or of the church ( cf. Lücke, §§ 30 36, 50 59). But even prior to, or independent of, the allegorical interpretation, the book had vitality. It is paradoxical to claim that the apocalypses of the early church, including that of John, were the first Christian scriptures to be canonised, owing to their prophetic origin, which ranked them with the O.T. Their place in the series of prophetic writings is obvious, but the treatise de aleatoribus , from which the main evidence for this theory is drawn, is of too uncertain a date to be used safely in this connexion. Still, the Apocalypse did retain its vogue in many circles of the early church, especially throughout the west. Often this was due to a vague and correct instinct for John’s great religious message in spite of its archaic paraphernalia and its fantastic elements ( cf. Renan, 479, 480). Yet even its literal prophecies still maintained an appeal of their own. It was the chiliasm of the book, not its unfulfilled predictions, which proved a difficulty. The prediction which went soonest out of date ( i.e. , Revelation 17:8-11 ) seems to have occasioned as little trouble to the church as the Sibylline oracles or the similar passages of the O.T. prophets. The Apocalypse evidently was not final any more than normal. [896] Besides, against the failure of its historical programme to correspond with the subsequent trend of history, must be set the fact that the number of the Beast could be interpreted as Trajan, Hadrian, or Marcus Aurelius, that the expectation [897] of a Nero-antichrist lingered down to the fifth century in certain corners of the popular religious mind, that Gog and Magog were repeatedly expected in the form of savage hordes (Huns, Goths, etc.), and that the dread ( cf. Lightfoot’s Ignatius , i., 644 f.) of a Parthian invasion did not become obsolete till the third century. In several respects the book could still be taken reasonably as a prediction of near events. Thus, by the time that Constantine’s policy had antiquated the Apocalypse’s view of the Roman State, the position of the book was fairly secure. New systems of interpretation, allegorical ( e.g. , that of Tyconius) and semi-historical, were devised to vindicate its rights as a scripture of the church, and these were the more cordially welcomed, as the book itself was enigmatic and in parts ambiguous. All sense of its original object had faded from the uncritical mind of the church. Dogmatic prepossessions underlay its rejection as well as its reception; it was exposed to extravagant censure and extravagant praise, but the growing belief in its apostolic origin helped to save it, like Hebrews, from ultimate exclusion or depreciation. In the case of the one book as of the other, the instinct which determined the judgment of the councils and the churches was sounder than the political reasons which they adduced. Nostra res agitur , they felt. The authentic note of loyalty to Jesus Christ at all costs was audible enough to prevail with them over their antipathy to the crashing discords of Christian apocalyptic. [898]

[895] The controversy between Hippolytus and Gaius the Roman presbyter, in the beginning of the third century, shows that the latter, like the Alogi, possibly ascribed the Apocalypse to Cerinthus ( cf. Schwartz’s essay, Ueber den Tod d. Sôhne Zebedaei , 1904, pp. 33 45). Hippolytus feels that Caius has gone too far in his wholesale repudiation of the Apocalypse along with its Montanist exploiters. One of the objections urged by the Alogi was that there was no church at Thyatira, and consequently that John was no true prophet, which probably means that the local church had become Montanist ( cf . Corssen in Texte u. Unters ., xv. 1, 52 56), and therefore had ceased to exist as a church, from the standpoint of catholic Christianity. For the most part, as Dionysius says, they went through every chapter of the book, with a keen scent for its Oriental phantasy ( ἄγνωστόν τε καὶ ἀσυλλόγιστον ἀποφαίνοντες ).

[896] Cf . A. B. Davidson on this point in Hastings, D. B ., i. 736, 737, iv. 126.

[897] Though “it was during the continuance of the Flavian dynasty that the expectation was at white heat,” yet it “lingered on for many centuries” (Lightfoot, Clem. Rom ., ii, pp. 511, 512).

[898] “ If a great man interprets a national crisis so as to bring home to the nation its true ideals and destination, he remains a true prophet even if his forecast was mistaken. Without the critical situation it is probable that the great man could never have brought so much truth to such powerful expression. So an eschatology is not to be judged by a simple rule of agreement with facts, but rather by its fitness under the circumstances to quicken faith in God, to stir the conscience and put men’s wills under the domination of ideal motives, to give a living sense of God and eternity” (F. C. Porter, Messages of the Apoc. Writers , p. 73).

§ 10. Literature, etc. In addition to abbreviations which are already noted (page 284), or which are obvious enough, the following may be mentioned:

Abbott = E. A. Abbott’s Notes on N. T. Criticism (1907), pp. 75 f., 175 f.

AC = Bousset’s der Antichrist (Eng. Tr. by Keane, 1896).

Baldensperger = sec. ed. (1892) of Baldensperger’s das Selbstbewusstsein Jesu .

Blass = Grammatik des NTlichen Griechisch (2nd ed. 1902; Eng. Tr. 1905).

Böklen = B.’s die Verwandtschaft d. jüdisch-christlichen mit der Parsischen Eschatologie (1902).

Burton = E. de W. Burton’s New Testament Moods and Tenses (2nd ed. 1894).

C.B.P. = W. M. Ramsay’s Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia , vol. i. part i. (1895), part ii. (1897).

Dalman = Dalman’s Worte Jesu (Eng. Tr. The Words of Jesus ).

Dieterich = A. Dieterich’s Nekyia (1893).

Dobschütz = Von Dobschütz’s die urchristlichen Gemeinden (1902; Eng. Tr., “Christian Life in the Primitive Church,” 1904).

E.B.D. “The Egyptian Rook of the Dead” (ed. E. Wallis Budge; the translation, 1898).

E.Bi. = The Encyclopædia Biblica .

E.J. = The Jewish Encyclopedia (1901 ff.).

Ep. Lugd. = “The epistle of the churches at Vienne and Lyons,” 177 A.D. (Eus. H.E. Jude 1:1 ).

Friedländer = Darstellungen aus der Sittengeschichte Roms (1888, 6th ed.), by L. Friedländer.

Gfrörer = Gfrörer’s das Jahrhundert des Heils (1838).

Grill = J. Grill’s Untersuch. über die Entstelmng d. vierten Evglms (1902).

Grotius = Grotius’s Annotationes , viii. 234 f. (1839 ed.).

Helbing = R. Helbing’s Grammatik der Septuaginta (1907).

Gregory = C. R. Gregory’s Textkritik des N.T. (1900 1909).

Jastrow = Prof. Morris Jastrow’s The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria (1898).

Jeremias = A. Jeremias’ Babylonisches im N. T. (1905).

Kattenbusch = K., das apostolische Symbol , vol. ii. (1900).

Lueken = Lueken’s Michael (1898).

Moulton = J. H. Moulton’s Gramm. N. T. Greek , vol. i. (sec. ed., 1906).

Pausanias = Pausanias’ “Description of Greece” (ed. J. G. Frazer, 1898).

Pfleiderer = das Urchristentum (1902), vol. ii., pp. 281 f.

P.W. = Pauly’s Real-Encycl. der class. Altertumswissenschaft (ed. Wissowa, 1894 f.).

Renan = Renan’s L’antéchrist (1871).

R.J. = Bousset’s die Religion des Judentums im neutest. Zeitalter (1903; the references are to the first edition).

R.S. = W. Robertson Smith’s Religion of the Semites .

S.B.E. =“The Sacred Books of the East” (Oxford).

S.C. = Gunkel’s Schöpfnng und Chaos (1895): with his essay (1903) Zum religionsgesch. Verständnis des N. T. ( cf. The Monist , 1903, 398 455).

Selwyn = E. C. Selwyn: “The Christian Prophets and the Prophetic Apocalypse” (1901).

Stave = Ueber d. Einfluss d. Parsismus auf d. Judentum (1898).

Thumb = Die Griechische Sprache im Zeitalter d. Hellenismus (1901).

Titius = Dr. A. Titius: die vulgäre Anschauung von d. Seligkeit im Urchristentum (1900).

Viteau = Viteau’s Étude sur le grecque du nouveau Testament , vol. i. (1893), vol. ii. (1896).

Volz = P. Volz: Jüdische Eschatologie (1903).

Weinel = Weinel’s die Wirkungen des Geistes u. der Geister im nachap. Zeitalter (1899).

Weizsäcker = The Apostolic Age (Eng. Tr., 1894 1895).

Win. = Winer’s Grammatik (8th ed., by P. W. Schmiedel).

In order to save space, most of the citations from the O.T. and the N.T. have been relegated to the margin; often the substance of a note has been crushed into a handful of such references. It has been impossible to give any register of opinion or history of interpretation, and I have abstained from furnishing such grammatical, philological, or geographical information as may be found in any concordance, grammar, or dictionary of the Bible. For fuller details on questions of introduction I must refer the reader to the relevant sections in my forthcoming Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament .

The English student is now excellently served by the articles of Bousset ( E.Bi. i. 194 212, summarising the results of his editio princeps in Meyer [1896, 1906]) and Dr. F. C. Porter (Hastings’ Dict, of the Bible , iv. pp. 239 266, an invaluable introduction), and by Dr. Swete’s full edition of the Greek text (3rd. ed. 1909). Manual editions by W. H. Simcox (Cambridge Greek Testament, 1893), C. A. Scott (Century Bible, 1902), and H. P. Forbes ( Intern. Handbks to N. T. , iv., 1907, pp. 86 149). The main English contributions, since Alford, are those of Farrar ( Early Days of Christianity , 1882, ch. 28.), Lee ( Speaker’s Comm. 1881), Wordsworth (1875), Randall ( Pulpit Comm. , 1890), Milligan ( Discussions on the Apocalypse , 1893; also his edition in the fourth vol. of Schaff’s Commentary), E. W. Benson ( The Apoc. , 1900), Selwyn, and Briggs ( Messiah of the Apostles , pp. 285 461); cf. further G. H. Gilbert ( The First Interpreters of Jesus , 1901, pp. 332 397), F. Palmer’s The Drama of the Apocalypse (1903), H. Berg’s The Drama of the Apocalypse (1894), Dr. F. C. Porter’s Messages of the Apoc. Writers (1905, pp. 169 296), the English translations of Beyschlag’s Neutest. Theol. (vol. ii., 247 361) and Wernle’s Die Anfänge , pp. 256 274 (“The Beginnings of Christianity,” 1901, vol. i., pp. 360 f.), Sir W. M. Ramsay’s Letters to the Seven Churches (1904), Hort’s posthumous fragment ( Apoc. 1 3., 1908), and Canon J. J. Scott’s The Apocalypse (1909).

German edd. De Wette (1848), Bleek (Eng. tr. 1875), Düsterdieck (1887), B. Weiss (2nd ed. 1902), J. Weiss ( die Schriften des N. T. , 1907), Bousset, and H. J. Holtzmann ( Hand-Commentar , 3rd. ed., 1908). Schmicdel’s Volksbuch (1906) is included in the English edition of his Johannine Writings (1908). There is a competent Dutch commentary by J. M. S. Baljon (Utrecht, 1908); besides French works by Havet ( Le Christ, et ses origines , iv. 314 344), Reuss (Paris, 1878), A. Crampon (Tournai, 1904), and Th. Calmes (Paris, 1905), with the last-named scholar’s pamphlet, L’Apoc. devant la tradition et devant la critique 3 (1907). Baljon’s critical introduction is given in his Geschiedenis van de Boeken des nieuwen Verbonds (1901), 241 265.

Of the commentaries which preceded Alford, almost the only English works which retain any critical value are those of Moses Stuart (Andover, 1845: on the lines of Lücke) and Trench ( Commentary on the Epp. to the Seven Churches , 1861, sixth edition, 1897).

Since the present commentary was drafted, six years ago, a number of monographs, including some of those just mentioned, have been issued. I have occasionally inserted references to them in the text, for the sake of convenience and completeness, but, for the sake of independence, the notes have otherwise been left untouched.