Online Bible and Study Tools
Translate || Vine / Schaff || Alts/Vars/Criticism/Aramaic


End Times Chart

Introduction and Key


Free Online Books

Free Online Books

Apocalyptic | Apocryphal | Archeology | Lectures | Biographies | Dead Sea Scrolls | First Century History | Foreign | Jewish Sources | Josephus

Click For Site Updates Page

Free Online Books Page

Historical Preterism Main

Modern Preterism Main

Hyper Preterism Main

Preterist Idealism Main

Critical Article Archive Main

Church History's Preteristic Presupposition

Study Archive Main

Dispensationalist dEmEnTiA  Main

Josephus' Wars of the Jews Main

Online Study Bible Main


070: Clement: First Epistle of Clement

075: Baruch: Apocalypse Of Baruch

075: Barnabus: Epistle of Barnabus

090: Esdras 2 / 4 Ezra

100: Odes of Solomon

150: Justin: Dialogue with Trypho

150: Melito: Homily of the Pascha

175: Irenaeus: Against Heresies

175: Clement of Alexandria: Stromata

198: Tertullian: Answer to the Jews

230: Origen: The Principles | Commentary on Matthew | Commentary on John | Against Celsus

248: Cyprian: Against the Jews

260: Victorinus: Commentary on the Apocalypse "Alcasar, a Spanish Jesuit, taking a hint from Victorinus, seems to have been the first (AD 1614) to have suggested that the Apocalyptic prophecies did not extend further than to the overthrow of Paganism by Constantine."

310: Peter of Alexandria

310: Eusebius: Divine Manifestation of our Lord

312: Eusebius: Proof of the Gospel

319: Athanasius: On the Incarnation

320: Eusebius: History of the Martyrs

325: Eusebius: Ecclesiastical History

345: Aphrahat: Demonstrations

367: Athanasius: The Festal Letters

370: Hegesippus: The Ruin of Jerusalem

386: Chrysostom: Matthew and Mark

387: Chrysostom: Against the Jews

408: Jerome: Commentary on Daniel

417: Augustine: On Pelagius

426: Augustine: The City of God

428: Augustine: Harmony

420: Cassian: Conferences

600: Veronica Legend

800: Aquinas: Eternity of the World




1265: Aquinas: Catena Aurea

1543: Luther: On the Jews

1555: Calvin: Harmony on Evangelists

1556: Jewel: Scripture

1586: Douay-Rheims Bible

1598: Jerusalem's Misery ; The dolefull destruction of faire Ierusalem by Tytus, the Sonne of Vaspasian

1603: Nero : A New Tragedy

1613: Carey: The Fair Queen of Jewry

1614: Alcasar: Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi

1654: Ussher: The Annals of the World

1658: Lightfoot: Commentary from Hebraica

1677: Crowne - The Destruction of Jerusalem

1764: Lardner: Fulfilment of our Saviour's Predictions

1776: Edwards: History of Redemption

1785: Churton: Prophecies Respecting the Destruction of Jerusalem

1801: Porteus: Our Lord's Prophecies

1802: Nisbett: The Coming of the Messiah

1805: Jortin: Remarks on Ecclesiastical History

1810: Clarke: Commentary On the Whole Bible

1816: Wilkins: Destruction of Jerusalem Related to Prophecies

1824: Galt: The Bachelor's Wife

1840: Smith: The Destruction of Jerusalem

1841: Currier: The Second Coming of Christ

1842: Bastow : A (Preterist) Bible Dictionary

1842: Stuart: Interpretation of Prophecy

1843: Lee: Dissertations on Eusebius

1845: Stuart: Commentary on Apocalypse

1849: Lee: Inquiry into Prophecy

1851: Lee: Visions of Daniel and St. John

1853: Newcombe: Observations on our Lord's Conduct as Divine Instructor

1854: Chamberlain: Restoration of Israel

1854: Fairbairn: The Typology of Scripture

1859: "Lee of Boston": Eschatology

1861: Maurice: Lectures on the Apocalypse

1863: Thomas Lewin : The Siege of Jerusalem

1865: Desprez: Daniel (Renounced Full Preterism)

1870: Fall of Jerusalem and the Roman Conquest

1871: Dale: Jewish Temple and Christian Church (PDF)

1879: Warren: The Parousia

1882: Farrar: The Early Days of Christianity

1883: Milton S. Terry: Biblical Hermeneutics

1888: Henty: For The Temple

1891: Farrar: Scenes in the days of Nero

1896: Lee : A Scholar of a Past Generation

1902: Church: Story of the Last Days of Jerusalem

1917: Morris: Christ's Second Coming Fulfilled

1985: Lee: Jerusalem; Rome; Revelation (PDF)

1987: Chilton: The Days of Vengeance

2001: Fowler: Jesus - The Better Everything

2006: M. Gwyn Morgan - AD69 - The Year of Four Emperors

Print and Use For Personal Bookmark or Placement in Bookstores


In Support of the Late Date Theory


B. W. Johnson


      Only two dates for the composition are named, (1.) that always assigned to it by the ancient church, near the end of the reign of the Emperor Domitian, which extended from A. D. 81 to A. D. 96, and (2.) that which has been urged by certain modern critics, the latter part of the reign of Nero, about A. D. 65-68. The first date is supported by the historical testimony. It is urged in behalf of the second that there are internal evidences in its favor, but when these are examined they are found to resolve themselves into certain theories of interpretation and were it not for the necessity of these, this date would never have been proposed. Before stating the grounds for assigning the date to the latter part of the reign of Domitian, about A. D. 95,96, I will briefly consider the reasons urged in favor of the date in the reign of Nero. (1.) It is held that the work must have been written while the temple was still standing (Re 11:1) and that chap. 11:2 and chap. 20:9 prove that the City of Jerusalem was still standing but in a state of siege. It seems strange to me that a Bible student could use this argument. Every New Testament student knows that both the temple and Jerusalem are used elsewhere as symbols of the church, and how much more likely that the terms would be used as symbols in a book which is largely composed of symbols from beginning to end! It seems strange that in a vision composed of symbols any one should insist that John on Patmos, a thousand miles distant, literally saw the temple or Jerusalem. Besides, when John in chap. 11:8 speaks of the city as "spiritually called Sodom and Egypt," he shows that he cannot mean the literal Jerusalem. A holy city is the symbol of the church; a wicked city of an apostate church; a city trodden down by the Gentiles of a church overcome by worldly influence. The language of chap. 20:9 utterly excludes the Jewish capital in the reign of Nero.1 (2.) It is held that chap. 17:11 refers to Nero, and hence a forced and, as will be shown in the text, an erroneous interpretation is made the basis for determining the date. The theory itself is skeptical in that it convicts John of holding and sanctioning a popular error. (3.) It is also urged that there are certain solecisms in the Greek original which are wanting in John's gospel, and from this it is argued that the Revelation must have been written much earlier than the gospel, before John had fully mastered the language. Upon this point I quote from Prof. Wm. Milligan, of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, than whom, probably, no man living is a more thorough scholar in New Testament Greek: "The solecisms are not such as proceed from an ignorance of the Greek language, and they would not have been removed by greater familiarity with [406] it. However we attempt to account for them, they are obviously designed, and rather imply a more accurate knowledge of the grammatical forms from which they are intentional departures. At the same time there are passages in the book (as for example chap. 18) which, in their unsurpassed and unsurpassable eloquence, exhibit a command of the Greek tongue, on the part of the writer, that long familiarity with it can best explain, were explanation necessary."2 (4.) It is said that the Jewish imagery belongs to John's earlier rather than his later years. To this it may be replied that no New Testament writer shows a stronger Jewish feeling than is found in John's gospel. It is John, who states, "Salvation is from the Jews" (John 4:22) that Jesus is "the King of Israel" (John 1:49), and Old Testament thoughts and figures constantly appear in the fourth gospel.



      It is thus seen that the argument in favor of the early date is easily answered. On the other hand, the historical argument in favor of a later date is convincing to the mind which can be swayed by historical evidence. Commencing with the positive and definite statement of Irenĉus there is unbroken agreement for nearly four centuries that the date of the work belongs to the persecution of the reign of Domitian. To properly weigh the statement of Irenĉus, elected Bishop of Lyons in A. D. 178, and born in the first quarter of the second century, it is needful to keep in mind that he was a disciple of Polycarp, who suffered martyrdom in A. D. 155. In one of his letters Irenĉus speaks to a fellow disciple of how intimate they had been with Polycarp and how often they had heard him tell of John the apostle, and how much they had been told of John by the aged saint who had once been under the instruction of the apostle. Hence it is apparent that Irenĉus must have known from Polycarp the leading facts of John's history, and especially the circumstances connected with his exile to Patmos. This witness, whose opportunity for knowing the facts is unquestioned, declares, "Revelation was seen no long time since, but almost in our generation, towards the end of the reign of Domitian" (A. D. 96). With this plain statement agree all the church fathers who speak of the subject, not only of the second century, but for three centuries. "There is no variation in the historical accounts. All statements support the conclusion that St. John was banished to Patmos by Domitian (A. D. 81-96)--some writers placing the exile in the fourteenth of his reign--and all agree that the Visions of which Revelation is the record were received in Patmos."3

      One writer in the fourth century makes the blunder of assigning the banishment to the reign of Claudius Cĉsar, a blunder which finds no endorsers, a blunder which is supposed to have been a verbal mistake, but it is not until the sixth century that we find the opinion expressed that the banishment belonged to the persecution of the reign of Nero, and up to the twelfth century there are only two writers who endorse this date. They cannot be called witnesses, since the earliest of them was separated from the death of John by a period greater than that which separates us from the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. Hence, it is no misstatement of the facts to say that the historical proof, in favor of the later date, is uniform, clear and convincing. [407]



      The historical conclusion is corroborated by convincing internal testimony. I condense from Godet's Bible Studies, second series, certain points which bear upon the question of Date: (1.) "The condition of the churches indicated" in the second and third chapters renders the early date improbable. These churches were not founded before A. D. 55-58. Paul wrote to two of these churches, Ephesus and Colosse, in A. D. 62 or 63; Peter wrote to all the churches of that region several years later still; Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy, at Ephesus, probably as late as A. D. 67; in these letters there is no hint of John being in that section of the world, or of the spiritual decay revealed in the letters to the angels of the churches of Ephesus, Sardis and Laodicea; yet this theory requires us to believe that not later than A. D. 68 or 69, John found these churches spiritually dead. There is no reasonable doubt but that the second and third chapters of Revelation describe a condition which could only have arisen a generation later than the date of Paul's last intercourse with these churches. (2.) Godet notes the fact that an ecclesiastical organization reveals itself in the seven churches which did not reveal itself until about the close of the first century. In each church there is one man, "the angel of the church," through whom the whole church is addressed. There is no hint of any individual enjoying a distinction like this until about the beginning of the second. (3.) The expression, "The Lord's-day," does not occur in the earlier apostolical writings. They always speak of the "First Day of the week" instead. The term used in A. D. 68 was "the First Day of the week," but the writers of the second century from the beginning use "the Lord's-day." This term, then, points to a period near the beginning of the second century as the date of Revelation. (4.) The expressions in chap. 2:9 and 3:9 point to a complete separation between the church and the synagogue. This complete separation did not take place until the epoch of the destruction of Jerusalem. Such language as we find in these two places can only be accounted for by a fact so momentous as the overthrow of the Jewish state, and hence belongs to a later date.

      This discussion might be continued, and it is of importance to any correct interpretation that the date should be clearly settled, but I believe that enough has been said to show that all the facts point to "near the end of the reign of Domitian, or about the year A. D. 96." It might be of service to add that the persecution of Nero, as far as known, was local and confined to Rome; that death, instead of banishment, was the favorite method of punishment with him; that it is not probable that he would have put to death Paul and Peter and banished John; and that there is no evidence that John, as early as A. D. 68, had ever visited the region of the seven churches. On the other hand, the persecution of Domitian was not local; we know also that he sent other Christians into exile; we know also that the later years of John's life were passed at Ephesus, and in the region of which it was the center.

What do YOU think ?

Submit Your Comments For Posting Here
Comment Box Disabled For Security

Date: 16 Feb 2011
Time: 11:07:42

Your Comments:

I think Johnson does not know what he is talking about.

1. His "overwhelming" historic testimony really amounts to the declaration of one man (Irenaeus). Everyone else just quoted from him.

2. The internal evidence clearly points to the early date and his inability to see this is simply due to his presupposition that the wbook "Had" to be written later.

Click For Index Page

Free Online Books Historical Preterism Modern Preterism Study Archive Critical Articles Dispensationalist dEmEnTiA  Main Josephus Church History Hyper Preterism Main

Email's Sole Developer and Curator, Todd Dennis  (todd @ Opened in 1996