(Minor Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 or Revelation
Oswald T. Allis
John A. Broadus
Wilhelm De Wette
Charles Homer Giblin
Johann von Hug
J, F, and Brown
Jean Le Clerc
Jack P. Lewis
Sir Isaac Newton
Dr. John Owen
William W. Patton
Rudolph E. Stier
(Major Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 or Revelation
John L. Bray
Dr. John Brown
Francis X. Gumerlock
J. Marcellus Kik
Ovid Need, Jr
Milton S. Terry
(Virtually No Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 & Revelation in 1st
C. - Types Only ; Also Included are "Higher Critics" Not Associated With Any
Alan Patrick Boyd
John N. Darby
Charles G. Finney
J.P. Green Sr.
John N.D. Kelly
Dr. John Smith
George Fox |
Margaret Fell (Fox) |
PRETERIST UNIVERSALISM |
MODERN PRETERISM |
Richard Francis Weymouth
New Testament in Modern English |
"Afterwards He was on the Mount of Olives and was seated there when the disciples came to Him, apart from the others, and said, "Tell us when this will be; and what will be the sign of your Coming and of the Close of the Age?"
"I tell you in solemn truth that the present generation will certainly not pass away until all this has taken place."
Acts 23:3 "Before long," exclaimed Paul, "God will strike you, you white-washed wall! Are you sitting there to judge me in accordance with the Law, and do you yourself actually break the Law by ordering me to be struck?"
and having a hope directed towards God, which my accusers themselves also entertain, that before long there will be a resurrection both of the righteous and the unrighteous.
I solemnly implore you, in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is about to judge the living and the dead, and by His Appearing and His Kingship:
II Tim. 4:1
There remains nothing but a certain awful expectation of judgement, and the fury of a fire which before long will devour the enemies of the truth.
So I exhort the Elders among you--I who am their fellow Elder and have been an eye-witness of the sufferings of the Christ, and am also a sharer in the glory which is soon to be revealed.
1 Peter 5:1
(On I Thessalonians 4:17)
"We who are alive." The pronouns 'we' and 'you' cannot, as a rule, be used to be the total exclusion of the persons speaking or immediately addressed. Therefore here and in verse 17, Paul implies that the return of the Lord Jesus would take place in the lifetime of some of the first readers of this Letter.-Ed." (Weymouth New Testament in Modern Speech p. 553).
(On I Thessalonians 5:23)
"Bodies. An indication that the Apostle expected the Coming of Christ to take place in the lifetime of the first readers of the Letter - whilst they were still in the body. - Ed."
( On II Thessalonians 1:4-10)
your patience and faith amid all
persecutions and amid the afflictions which
you are enduring…it is a righteous thing for Him to requite with affliction
those who are now afflicting you; and to requite with rest
you who are suffering affliction now – rest with
of the Lord Jesus from Heaven,
attended by His mighty angels. He will
come in flames of fire to take vengeance on
those who have no knowledge of God…They will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, being banished from
the presence of the Lord and from His glorious majesty,
when He comes on that day…"
(II Thessalonians 1:4-10,
(On Hebrews 9:24,28)
"…He entered heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf…the way into the true Holy Place is
not yet open so long as the outer tent still remains in existence...(He)will appear a second time, separated from sin, to those who are eagerly expecting Him,
to make their salvation complete." (Hebrews 9:24,8,28,
N.T. In Modern Speech, Richard F. Weymouth, 1909)
(Introduction to Revelation)
"The Apocalypse was written either in 67, or in 96, A.D. An oft-quoted statement of Irenaeus that it, or its author — there is no word inserted to indicate which of the two he meant — "was seen" about the end of the reign of Domitian, is regarded by many as a conclusive proof of the later date. On the other hand, the "internal evidence" — the evidence, that is, furnished by the contents of the book itself — appears to point even more unmistakably to the earlier date. E.g-., in 11:1,2,8, the Holy City and the earthly Temple are spoken of as being still in existence, and as about to be trodden under foot by the Gentiles.
The language of the book has also a bearing upon the problem of its date. Although other explanations have been suggested, the many Hebrew idioms that it contains as compared with the much purer Greek of the fourth Gospel — which was probably by the same author — seem to indicate that it was written long before that Gospel, at a time when the Apostle had as yet only an imperfect acquaintance with the Greek language.
Dr. Stuart Russell, in his work The Parousia, has contended for the belief that the fall of Jerusalem and Judaism in 70 A.D. marked a stupendous epoch in the unseen world, a personal — although unrecorded — return of the Savior to the earth then taking place (cp. Acts 7:55; 9:7; 1 Corinthians 9:1), accompanied by a spiritual judgment of bygone generations, a resurrection from Hades to Heaven of the faithful of past ages, and an ingathering of saints then on earth into the Father’s House of many mansions (Matthew 24:31; John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:1).
If this belief ever obtains general acceptance the earlier date of the Apocalypse will also be regarded as fully established. For it will then be seen that the book describes beforehand events which took place in 70 A.D. and the years immediately preceding, partly on earth and partly in the spiritual world, and is mainly concerned with the downfall of the earthly Jerusalem and the setting up of Christ’s heavenly Kingdom — the new Jerusalem. And its many mysterious symbols will be seen to have been a cipher of which the first Christians held the key, but which hid its meaning from their enemies.
Many scholars, however, regard the book as a document of Nero’s time carefully incorporated in one written about 90 A.D.: "a Jewish Apocalypse in a Christian framework;" both perhaps being by the same author. — EDITOR."
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION
The Translation of the New Testament
here offered to English-speaking Christians is a bona fide translation made
directly from the Greek, and is in no sense a revision. The plan adopted has
been the following.
1. An earnest endeavour has been made
(based upon more than sixty years' study of both the Greek and English
besides much further familiarity gained by continual teaching) to
ascertain the exact meaning of every passage not only by the
light that Classical Greek throws on the langruage used, but also
by that which the Septuagint and the Hebrew Scriptures afford;
aid being sought too from Versions and Commentators ancient and
modern, and from the ample _et cetera_ of _apparatus grammaticus_
and theological and Classical reviews and magazines--or rather,
by means of occasional excursions into this vast prairie.
2. The sense thus seeming to have
been ascertained, the
next step has been to consider how it could be most accurately
and naturally exhibited in the English of the present day; in
other words, how we can with some approach to probability suppose
that the inspired writer himself would have expressed his
thoughts, had he been writing in our age and country. /1
3. Lastly it has been evidently
desirable to compare the
results thus attained with the renderings of other scholars,
especially of course witll the Authorized and Revised Versions.
But alas, the great majority of even "new translations," so
called, are, in reality, only Tyndale's immortal work a
little--often very litLle--modernized!
4. But in the endeavour to find in
English a precise equivalent for a Greek word, phrase, or
sentence there are two dangers to be guarded against. There are a
Scylla and a Charybdis. On the one hand there is the English of
Society, on the other hand that of the utterly uneducated, each
of these _patois_ having also its own special, though expressive,
borderland which we name 'slang.' But all these salient angles
(as a professor of fortification might say) of our language are
forbidden ground to the reverent translator of Holy Scripture.
5. But again, a _modern_
translation--does this imply
that no words or phrases in any degree antiquated are to be
admitted? Not so, for great numbers of such words and phrases are
still in constant use. To be antiquated is not the same thing as
to be obsolete or even obsolescent, and without at least a tinge
of antiquity it is scarcely possible that there should be that
dignity of style that befits the sacred themes with which the
Evangelists and Apostles deal.
6. It is plain that this attempt to
bring out the sense
of the Sacred Writings naturally as well as accurately in
present-day English does not permit, except to a limited extent,
the method of literal rendering--the _verbo verbum reddere_ at
which Horace shrugs his shoulders. Dr. Welldon, recently Bishop
of Calcutta, in the Preface (p. vii) to his masterly translation
of the _Nicomachean Ethics_ of Aristotle, writes, "I have
deliberately rejected the principle of trying to translate the
same Greek word by the same word in English, and where
circumstances seemed to call for it I have sometimes used two
English words to represent one word of the Greek;"--and he is
perfectly right. With a slavish literality delicate shades of
meaning cannot be reproduced, nor allowance be made for the
influence of interwoven thought, or of the writer's ever
shifting--not to say changing--point of view. An utterly ignorant
or utterly lazy man, if possessed of a little ingenuity, can with
the help of a dictionary and grammar give a word-for-word
rendering, whether intelligible or not, and print 'Translation'
on his title-page. On the other hand it is a melancholy spectacle
to see men of high ability and undoubted scholarship toil and
struggle at translation under a needless restriction to
literality, as in intellectual handcuffs and fetters, when they
might with advantage snap the bonds and fling them away, as Dr.
Welldon has done: more melancholy still, if they are at the same
time racking their brains to exhibit the result of their
labours---a splendid but idle philological _tour de force_ --in
what was English nearly 300 years before.
7. Obviously any literal translation
cannot but carry
idioms of the earlier language into the later, where they will
very probably not be understood; /2 and more serious still is the
evil when, as in the Jewish Greek of the N T, the earlier
language of the two is itself composite and abounds in forms of
speech that belong to one earlier still. For the N.T. Greek, even
in the writings of Luke, contains a large number of Hebrew
idioms; and a literal rendering into English cannot but partially
veil, and in some degree distort, the true sense, even if it does
not totally obscure it (and that too where _perfect_ clearness
should be attained, if possible), by this admixture of Hebrew as
well as Greek forms of expression.
8. It follows that the reader who is
bent upon getting a
literal rendering, such as he can commonly find in the R.V. or
(often a better one) in Darby's _New Testament_, should always be
on his guard against its strong tendency to mislead.
9. One point however can hardly be
stated. It is not the present Translator's ambition to supplant
the Versions already in general use, to which their intrinsic
merit or long familiarity or both have caused all Christian minds
so lovingly to cling. His desire has rather been to furnish a
succinct and compressed running commentary (not doctrinal) to be
used sidc by side with its elder compeers. And yet there has been
something of a remoter hope. It can scarcely be doubted that some
day the attempt will be renewed to produce a satisfactory English
Bible--one in some respects perhaps (but assuredly with great and
important deviations) on the lines of the Revision of 1881, or
even altogether to supersede both the A.V. and the R.V.; and it
may be that the Translation here offered will contribute some
materials that may be built into that far grander edifice.
10. THE GREEK TEXT here followed is
that given in the
Translator's _Resultant Greek Testament_.
11. Of the VARIOUS READINGS only
those are here given
which seem the most important, and which affect the rendering
into English. They are in the footnotes, with V.L. (_varia
lectio_) prefixed. As to the chief modern critical editions full
details will be found in the _Resultant Greek Testament_, while
for the original authorities--MSS., Versions, Patristic
quotations--the reader must of necessity consult the great works
of Lachmann, Tregelles, Tischendorf, and others, or the numerous
monographs on separate Books. /3 In the margin of the R.V. a
distinction is made between readings supported by "a few ancient
authorities," "some ancient authorities," "many ancient
authorities," and so on. Such valuation is not attempted in this
12. Considerable pains have been
bestowed on the exact
rendering of the tenses of the Greek verb; for by inexactness in
this detail the true sense cannot but be missed. That the Greek
tenses do not coincide, and cannot be expected to coincide with
those of the English verb; that--except in narrative--the aorist
as a rule is _more_ exactly represented in English by our perfect
with "have" than by our simple past tense; and that in this
particular the A.V. is in scores of instances more correct than
the R.V.; the present Translator has contended (with arguments
which some of the best scholars in Britain and in America hold to
be "unanswerable" and "indisputable") in a pamphlet _On the
Rendering into English of the Greek Aorist and Perfect_. Even an
outline of the argument cannot be given in a Preface such as
13. But he who would make a truly
of a foreign book must not only select the right nouns,
adjectives, and verbs, insert the suitable prepositions and
auxiliaries, and triumph (if he can) over the seductions and
blandishments of idioms with which he has been familiar from his
infancy, but which, though forcible or beautiful with other
surroundings, are for all that part and parcel of that other
language rather than of English: he has also to beware of
_connecting his sentences_ in an un-English fashion.
Now a careful examination of a number
(including Scottish, Irish, and American) yields some interesting
results. Taking at haphazard a passage from each of fifty-six
authors, and counting on after some full stop till fifty finite
verbs--i. e. verbs in the indicative, imperative, or subjunctive
mood--have been reached (each finite verb, as every schoolboy
knows, being the nucleus of one sentence or clause), it has been
found that the connecting links of the fifty-six times fifty
sentences are about one-third conjunctions, about one-third
adverbs or relative and interrogative pronouns, while in the case
of the remaining third there is what the grammarians call an
_asyndeton_--no formal grammatical connexion at all. But in the
writers of the N.T. nearly _two_-thirds of the connecting links
are conjunctions. It follows that in order to make the style of a
translation true idiomatic English many of these conjunctions
must be omitted, and for others adverbs, &c., must be
The two conjunctions _for_ and
_therefore_ are discussed
at some length in two Appendices to the above-mentioned pamphlet
on the _Aorist_, to which the reader is referred.
14. The NOTES, with but few
exceptions, are not of the
nature of a general commentary. Some, as already intimated, refer
to the readings here followed, but the great majority are in
vindication or explanation of the renderings given. Since the
completion of this new version nearly two years ago, ill-health
has incapacitated the Translator from undertaking even the
lightest work. He has therefore been obliged to entrust to other
hands the labour of critically examining and revising the
manuscript and of seeing it through the press. This arduous task
has been undertaken by Rev. Ernest Hampden-Cook, M.A., St. John's
College, Cambridge, of Sandhach, Cheshire, with some co-operation
from one of the Translator's sons; and the Translator is under
deep obligations to these two gentlemen for their kindness in the
matter. He has also most cordially to thank Mr. Hampden-Cook for
making the existence of the work known to various members of the
OLD MILLHILIANS' CLUB and other former pupils of the Translator,
who in a truly substantial manner have manifested a generous
determination to enable the volume to see the light. Very
grateful does the Translator feel to them for this signal mark of
Mr. Hampden-Cook is responsible for
the headings of the paragraphs, and at my express desire has inserted some
I have further to express my
gratitude to Rev. Frank Baliard, M.A., B.Sc., Lond., at present of Sharrow,
Sheffield, for some very valuable assistance which he has most kindly given
in connexion with the Introductions to the several books.
I have also the pleasure of
acknowledging the numerous valuable and suggestive criticisms with which I
have been favoured on some parts of the work, by an old friend, Rev. Sydney
Thelwall, B.A., of Leamington, a clergyman of the Church of England, whom I
have known for many years as a painstaking and accurate scholar, a well-read
theologian. and a thoughtful and devout student of Scripture.
I am very thankful to Mr. H. L.
Gethin. Mr. S. Hales, Mr. J. A. Latham, and Rev. T. A. Seed, for the care
with which they have read the proof sheets.
And now this Translation is humbly
and prayerfully commended to God's gracious blessing.
/1. I am aware of what Proffessor Blackie has written on this
subject (_Aeschylus_, Pref. p. viii) but the problem endeavoured
to be solved in this Translation is as above stated.
/2. A flagrant instance is the "having in a readiness" of 2 Cor.
10.6, A.V. althoglgh in Tyndale we find "and are redy to take
vengeaunce," and even Wiclif writes "and we han redi to venge."
/3 Such as McClellan's Four Gospels; Westcott on John's Gospel,
John's Epistles, and _Hebrews_; Hackett on _Acts_, Lightfoot, and
also Ellicott, on various Epistles: Mayor on _James_; Edwards on
_I Corinthians_ and _Hebrews_; Sanday and Headlam on _Romans_.
Add to these Scrivener's very valuable _Introduction to the
Criticism of the N.T._
PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION
For the purposes of this edition the
whole volume has
been re-set in new type, and, in the hope of increasing the
interest and attractiveness of the Translation, all conversations
have been spaced out in accordance with modern custom. A freer
use than before has been made of capital letters, and by means of
small, raised figures, prefixed to words in the text, an
indication has been griven whenever there is a footnote.
"Capernaum" and "Philadelphia" have been substituted for the less
familiar but more literal "Capharnahum" and "Philadelpheia." Many
errata have been corrected, and a very considerable number of
what seemed to be infelicities or slight inaccuracies in the
English have been removed. A few additional footnotes have been
inserted, and, for the most part, those for which the Editor is
responsible have now the letters ED. added to them.
Sincere thanks are tendered to the
many kind friends who
have expressed their appreciation of this Translation, or have
helped to make it better known, and to the many correspondents
who have sent criticisms of the previous editions, and made
useful suggestions for the improvement of the volume.
ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THE NOTES
Aorist. Dr. Weymouth's Pamphlet on the Rendering of the Greek
Aorist and Perfect Tenses
A.V. Authorised English Version, 1611.
ED. Notes for which the Editor is responsible, wholly or in part.
I.E. That is.
LXX. The Septuagint (Greek) Version of the Old Testament.
N.T. New Testament.
O.T. Old Testament.
R.V. Revised English Version, 1881-85.
S.H. Sanday and Headlam's Commentary on 'Romans.'
V.L. Varia Lectio. An alternative reading found in some
Manuscripts of the New Testament.
In accordance with modern English
custom, _ITALICS_ are
used to indicate emphasis. [In the etext, surounded by **]
Old Testament quotations are printed
in small capitals.
[In the etext, surrounded by <>]
During Christ's earthly ministry even
His disciples did not always
recognize His super-human nature and dignity. Accordingly, in
the Gospels of this Translation, it is only when the Evangelists
themselves use of Him the words "He," "Him," "His," that these
are spelt with capital initial letters.
The spelling of "me" and "my" with
small initial letters, when
used by Christ Himself in the Gospels, is explained by the fact
that, before His Resurrection, He did not always emphasize His
own super-human nature and dignity.
The Good News as Recorded by Matthew
There are ample reasons for accepting
tradition which from earliest times has ascribed this Gospel to
Levi the son of Alphaeus, who seems to have changed his name to
'Matthew' on becoming a disciple of Jesus. Our information as to
his subsequent life is very scanty. After the feast which he made
for his old friends (Lu 5:29) his name only appears in the New
Testament in the list of the twelve Apostles. Early Christian
writers add little to our knowledge of him, but his life seems to
have been quiet and somewhat ascetic. He is also generally
represented as having died a natural death. Where his Gospel was
written, or where he himself laboured, we cannot say.
Not a little controversy has arisen
as to the form in
which this Gospel first appeared, that is, as to whether we have
in the Greek MSS. an original document or a translation from an
earlier Aramaic writing. Modern scholarship inclines to the view
that the book is not a translation, but was probably written in
Greek by Matthew himself, upon the basis of a previously issued
collection of "Logia" or discourses, to the existence of which
Papias, Irenaeus, Pantaenus, Origen, Eusebius and Jerome all
The date of the Gospel, as we know
it, is somewhat
uncertain, but the best critical estimates are included between
70 and 90, A.D. Perhaps, with Harnack, we may adopt 75, A.D.
The book was evidently intended for
Jewish converts, and
exhibits Jesus as the God-appointed Messiah and King, the
fulfiller of the Law and of the highest expectations of the
Jewish nation. This speciality of aim rather enhances than
diminishes its general value. Renan found reason for pronouncing
it "the most important book of Christendom-- the most important
book which has ever been written." Its aim is manifestly didactic
rather than chronological.
The Good News as Recorded by Mark
This Gospel is at once the briefest
and earliest of the
four. Modern research confirms the ancient tradition that the
author was Barnabas's cousin, "John, whose other name was Mark,"
who during Paul's first missionary tour "departed from them" at
Pamphylia, "and returned to Jerusalem" (see Ac 12:12,25;
15:37,39; Co 4:1O; 2Ti 4:11; Phm 1:24; 1Pe 5:13). His defection
appeared to Paul sufficiently serious to warrant an emphatic
refusal to take him with him on a second tour, but in after years
the breach was healed and we find Mark with Paul again when he
writes to Colossae, and he is also mentioned approvingly in the
second Letter to Timothy.
Scholars are now almost unanimous in
fixing the date of
this Gospel between 63 and 70, A. D. There is no valid reason for
questioning the usual view that it was written in Rome. Clement,
Eusebius, Jerome and Epiphanius, all assert that this was so.
That the book was mainly intended for Gentiles, and especially
Romans, seems probable from internal evidence. Latin forms not
occurring in other Gospels, together with explanations of Jewish
terms and customs, and the omission of all reference to the
Jewish Law, point in this direction. Its vividness of narration
and pictorial minuteness of observation bespeak the testimony of
an eye-witness, and the assertion of Papias, quoted by Eusebius,
that Mark was "the interpreter of Peter" is borne out by the
Gospel itself no less than by what we otherwise know of Mark and
In a real though not mechanical
sense, this is "the
Gospel of Peter," and its admitted priority to the Gospels of
Matthew and Luke affords substantial reason for the assumption
that it is to some extent the source whence they derive their
narratives, although Papias distinctly affirms that Mark made no
attempt at giving a carefully arranged history such as that at
which Luke confessedly aimed.
In spite of the witness of most
uncial MSS. and the
valiant pleading of Dean Burgon and others, modern scholars are
well nigh unanimous in asserting that the last twelve verses of
this Gospel are an appendix. Yet less cannot honestly be said
than that they "must have been of very early date," and that they
embody "a true apostolic tradition which may have been written by
some companion or successor of the original author." In one
Armenian MS. they are attributed to Aristion.
The Good News as Recorded by Luke
Modern research has abundantly
confirmed the ancient
tradition that the anonymous author of the third Gospel is none
other than "Luke the beloved physician" and the narrator of the
"Acts of the Apostles" (see. Col 4:14; 2Ti 4:11; Phm 1:24). Even
Renan acknowledges this, and the objections of a few extremists
appear to have been sufficiently answered.
The date is not easy to settle. The
main problem is
whether the book was written before or after the destruction of
Jerusalem in 70, A.D. Not a few scholars whose views merit great
respect still think that it preceded that event, but the majority
of critics believe otherwise. Three principal dates have been
suggested, 63, A.D., 80, A.D., 100, A.D. If we accept 80, A. D.,
we shall be in substantial accord with Harnack, McGiffert, and
Plummer, who fairly represent the best consensus of scholarly
There is no evidence as to where this
composed, although its general style suggests the influence of
some Hellenic centre. Its special characteristics are plain. It
is written in purer Greek than the other Gospels, and is
manifestly the most historic and artistic. It has also the widest
outlook, having obviously been compiled for Gentiles, and,
especially, for Greeks. The Author was evidently an educated man
and probably a physician, and was also a close observer.
Eighteen of the parables and six of
the miracles found
here are not recorded elsewhere. Those "portions of the Gospel
narrative which Luke alone has preserved for us, are among the
most beautiful treasures which we possess, and we owe them in a
great measure to his desire to make his collection as full as
possible." Luke's object was rather to write history than
construct an "apology" and for this reason his order is generally
This Gospel is often termed, and not
without reason, "the
Gospel of Paul." Luke's close association with the great
Apostle--an association to which the record in the Acts and also
the Pauline Letters bear testimony--at once warrants and explains
the ancient assumption that we have here a writing as truly
coloured by the influence of Paul as that of Mark was by Peter.
This is especially the Gospel of gratuitous and universal
salvation. Its integrity has recently been placed beyond dispute.
Marcion's edition of it in 140, A.D., was a mutilation of the
The Good News as Recorded by John
In spite of its rejection by Marcion
and the Alogi, the
fourth Gospel was accepted by most Christians at the end of the
second century as having been written by the Apostle John. In the
present day the preponderating tendency among scholars favours
the traditional authorship. On the other hand the most recent
scrutiny asserts: "Although many critics see no adequate reason
for accepting the tradition which assigns the book to the Apostle
John, and there are several cogent reasons to the contrary, they
would hardly deny that nevertheless the volume is Johannine--in
the sense that any historical element throughout its pages may be
traced back directly or indirectly to that Apostle and his
As regards the date, no more definite
period can be
indicated than that suggested by Harnack--between 80, A.D., and
110, A.D. But that it was written in Ephesus is practically
certain, and there is evidence that it was composed at the
request of Elders and believers belonging to the Churches of
The special characteristics which
render the book unique
in literature are unmistakable, but scarcely admit of brief
expression. It is manifestly supplementary to the other Gospels
and assumes that they are known and are true. The differences
between the fourth Gospel and the other three may be easily
exaggerated, but it must be acknowledged that they exist. They
relate, (1) to the ministry of Christ, and (2) to His person. As
to the former it is impossible to correlate all the references to
distinct events, for whilst the Synoptics appear to contemplate
little more than the life and work of a single year, from John's
standpoint there can scarcely have been less than three years
concerned. As to the person of Christ, it must be owned that
although the fourth Gospel makes no assertion which contradicts
the character of Teacher and Reformer attributed to Him by the
Synoptics, it presents to us a personage so enwrapped in mystery
and dignity as altogether to transcend ordinary human nature.
This transcendent Personality is indeed the avowed centre of the
whole record, and His portrayal is its avowed purpose. Yet whilst
the writer never clearly reveals to us who he himself is, it is
equally manifest that his own convictions constitute the matrix
in which the discourses and events are imbedded, and that there
is nothing in this matrix to render that which it contains unreal
The Acts of the Apostles
The authorship of this book has been
much discussed, but
it may now be affirmed with certainty that the writer of our
third Gospel is also the author of "the Acts," and that he speaks
from the standpoint of an eye-witness in the four we sections
(16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1--28:16), and is known in Paul's
Letters as "Luke the beloved physician" (Col 4:14; 2Ti 4:11; Phm
1:24). The date necessarily depends upon that of the third
Gospel. If the latter was written before the destruction of
Jerusalem, then Luke's second work may well have been issued
between 66 and 70, A.D. But the tendency, in the present day, is
to date the Gospel somewhere between 75 and 85, A.D., after the
destruction of the city. In that case "the Acts" may be assigned
to any period between 80 and 90, A.D. The latter conclusion,
though by no means certain, is perhaps the more probable.
The familiar title of the book is
for it is manifestly not the intention of the writer to describe
the doings of the Apostles generally, but rather just so much of
the labours of Peter and Paul--and especially the latter--as will
serve to illustrate the growth of the early Church, and at the
same time exhibit the emancipation of Christianity from its
primitive Judaic origin and environment.
It is plain that the writer was
contemporary with the
events he describes, and although his perfect ingenuousness
ceaselessly connects his narrative with history, in no case has
he been proved to be in error. The intricacy of the connexions
between this record and the Pauline Letters will be best
estimated from a study of Paley's _Horae Paulinae_. We know
nothing definite as to the place where the Acts was written, nor
the sources whence the information for the earlier portion of the
narrative was obtained. But it may be truthfully affirmed that
from the modern critical ordeal the work emerges as a definite
whole, and rather confirmed than weakened in regard to its
Paul's Letter to the Romans
The four books of the New Testament
known as the Letters
to the Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians, are allowed by
practically all critics, including some of the most
"destructive," to be genuine productions of the Apostle Paul.
Opinions vary as to the order of their composition. The latest
research tends to put 'Galatians' first, and 'Romans' last, in
the period between 53 and 58 A. D. The date generally assigned to
the Roman Letter is 58 A.D., but recently Harnack, McGiffert,
Clemen and others have shown cause for putting it some four years
earlier. The chronology of the period is necessarily very
complicated. It must suffice, therefore, to regard this Letter as
having been written, at either of these dates, from Corinth,
where Paul was staying in the course of his third missionary
tour. He was hoping to go to Rome, by way of Jerusalem, and then
proceed to Spain (15:24; Ac 24:21).
The object of this Letter was to
prepare the Christians
in Rome for his visit, and make a clear statement of the new
doctrines which he taught. It is probable that the crisis in
Galatia, to which the Letter sent thither bears witness, had
driven the Apostle's thoughts in the direction of the subject of
Justification, and he was apparently much troubled by the
persistence of Jewish unbelief. Hence the present Letter has been
well termed "the Gospel according to Paul."
We know really nothing about the
Christians then in Rome
beyond what we find here. It is, however, fairly certain that
reports concerning the Saviour would be taken to that city by
proselytes, both before and after the events described in Acts 2,
and we know that there was a large Jewish population there
amongst whom the seed would be sown. Some critics have thought
"that a note addressed to Ephesus lies embedded in the 16th
chapter," because, they say, it is "inconceivable that Paul could
have intimately known so many individuals in a Church like that
in Rome to which he was personally a stranger." But this is by no
means demonstrated, nor is there evidence that the Church there
was founded by any other Apostle.
Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians
The genuineness of the two Letters to
the Corinthians has
never been seriously disputed. The first was written by the
Apostle Paul, probably in the early spring of 56 A.D., just
before he left Ephesus for Troas in the course of his third
missionary tour (Ac 19). The Church in Corinth had been founded
by him during his previous tour (Ac 18). After some hesitation he
had been induced to preach in Corinth, and in spite of the
opposition of the Jews such great success attended his efforts
that he remained there for more than eighteen months. The furious
attack upon him which was frustrated by Gallio gave impetus to
the new cause, so that when the Apostle left, there was a
comparatively strong Church there, consisting mostly of Greeks,
but including not a few Jews also. The dangers, however, arising
out of the temperament and circumstances of the Corinthians soon
manifested themselves. The city was the capital of Roman Greece,
a wealthy commercial centre, and the home of a restless,
superficial intellectualism. Exuberant verbosity, selfish
display, excesses at the Lord's table, unseemly behaviour of
women at meetings for worship, and also abuse of spiritual gifts,
were complicated by heathen influences and the corrupting customs
of idolatry. Hence the Apostle's pleas, rebukes, and
exhortations. Most noteworthy of all is his forceful treatment of
the subject of the Resurrection of Christ; and this only a
quarter of a century after the event. Of the Letter mentioned in
5:9 we know nothing.
Second Letter to the Corinthians
The second Letter to the Corinthians
was probably written
in the autumn of 56 A.D., the first Letter to them having been
sent in the spring of that year. But there are other letters of
which we have no clear account. One, lost to us, evidently
preceded the first Letter (1Co 5:9). In our "second" Letter we
find mention (2:2,4) of a severe communication which could not
but give pain. Can this have been our "first" to the Corinthians?
Some think not, in which case there must have been an
"intermediate" letter. This some students find in 2Co 10 1-8:1O.
If so, there must have been four letters. Some have thought that
in 2Co 6:14-7:1, and 8, 9, yet another is embedded, making
possibly five in all. The reader must form his own conclusions,
inasmuch as the evidence is almost entirely internal. On the
whole it would seem that our first Letter, conveyed by Titus, had
produced a good effect in the Corinthian Church, but that this
wore off, and that Titus returned to the Apostle in Ephesus with
such disquieting news that a visit of Paul just then to Corinth
would have been very embarrassing, alike for the Church and the
Apostle. Hence, instead of going, he writes a "painful" letter
and sends it by the same messenger, proceeding himself to Troas
and thence to Macedonia, where, in great tension of spirit, he
awaits the return of Titus. At last there comes a reassuring
account, the relief derived from which is so great that our
second Letter is written, with the double purpose of comforting
those who had been so sharply rebuked and of preventing the
recurrence of the evils which had called forth the remonstrance.
In this way both the tenderness and the severity of the present
Letter may be explained.
Paul's Letter to the Galatians
There is no question as to the
genuineness of this
Pauline Letter, but unlike most other writings of the Apostle it
was addressed to "Churches" rather than to a single community.
Formerly it was not easy to decide
the precise meaning of
the term "Galatia." Opinions differed on the subject. The "North
Galatian theory," contended for by some German scholars,
maintained that the Letter was addressed to the Churches of
Ancyra, Tavium, Pessinus and possibly to those in other cities.
The "South Galatian theory," which now holds the field in
English-speaking countries, is to the effect that the
congregations intended were those of Pisidian Antioch, Iconium,
Derbe and Lystra; and this is strongly supported by the unique
resemblance between this Letter and Paul's sermon in Pisidian
Antioch (Ac 13:14-41). In any case the population was very mixed,
consisting of Phrygians, Greeks, Romans, Gauls and Jews.
The date of the Letter cannot be
exactly fixed. The
periods assigned by recent scholarship vary from 46 A.D. to 58
A.D., but the medium estimate of 53 A.D., adopted by Harnack and
Ramsay, satisfies all the requirements of the case.
The Apostle certainly visited Galatia
during his second
missionary tour, perhaps about 51 A. D., and, although suffering
from illness, was received with enthusiasm. After a short stay he
departed cherishing a joyful confidence as to his converts there.
But when, less than three years afterwards, he came again, he
found that the leaven of Judaism had produced a definite
apostasy, insomuch that both the freedom of individual believers
and his own Apostolic authority were in danger.
Even his personal presence (Ac 18:23)
did not end the
difficulty. Hence, possibly during his journey between Macedonia
and Achaia, he sent this Letter. Its rugged and incoherent style
shows that it was dictated under great stress of feeling, and the
doctrine of justification by faith is stated more emphatically
than in any other of his writings. But his earnest insistence
upon the "fruit borne by the Spirit" proves that his ideal of
practical holiness was rather strengthened than impaired by his
plea for Faith as the mainspring of Christian life.
Paul's Letter to the Ephesians
This appears to have been a kind of
circular Letter to
the Churches in Roman Asia, and was not addressed exclusively to
the Church in Ephesus.
Ephesus was a well-known seaport and
the principal city
in Roman Asia. It was famous alike for its wonderful temple,
containing the shrine of Artemis, and for its vast theatre, which
was capable of accommodating 50,000 persons.
Paul was forbidden at first to preach
in Roman Asia (Ac
16:6), but he afterwards visited Ephesus in company with
Priscilla and Aquila (Ac 18:19). About three years later (Ac
19:1) he came again and remained for some time--probably from 54
to 57 A. D.--preaching and arguing in the school of Tyrannus,
until driven away through the tumult raised by Demetrius. He then
went to Jerusalem, by way of Miletus, but was arrested in the
uproar created by the Jews and was taken first to Caesarea (Ac
23:23), and thence to Rome (Ac 28:16). This was probably in the
spring of 61 A.D.
Late in 62 or early in 63 A.D., this
Letter was written,
together with the companion Letters to the Colossians and
Paul's Letter to the Philippians
This Letter was written shortly
before that to the
Ephesians, probably late in 61 or early in 62 A.D. Epaphroditus
had been sent to Rome to assure the Apostle, in his imprisonment,
of the tender and practical sympathy of the Philippian disciples
(Php 2:25; 4:15,16). The messenger, however, fell ill upon his
arrival, and only on his recovery could Paul, as in this Letter,
express his appreciation of the thoughtful love of the
The Apostle appears to have visited
the city three times.
In 52 A.D. it was the place of his first preaching in Europe (Ac
16:12); but he came again in 57 and in 58 A.D. (Ac 20:2,6), on
the last occasion spending the Passover season there.
Two special traits in the Macedonian
recognized by the Apostle in this Letter; the position and
influence of women, and the financial liberality of the
Philippians. It is remarkable that a Church displaying such
characteristics, and existing in a Roman "colonia," should have
lived, as this one did, "without a history, and have perished
without a memorial."
Paul's Letter to the Colossians
This Letter belongs to the same group
as those to the
Ephesians and Philemon, and was probably written from Rome about
63 A. D. Colossae was a town in Phrygia (Roman Asia), on the
river Lycus, and was destroyed by an earthquake in the seventh
year of Nero's reign. The Church there was not founded by Paul
himself (Col 2:1), but by Epaphras (Col 1:7; 4:12), and this
Letter arose out of a visit which Epaphras paid to the Apostle,
for the purpose of discussing with him the development, at
Colossae, of certain strange doctrines which may possibly have
been a kind of early Gnosticism. Paul here writes to support the
authority and confirm the teaching of Epaphras.
First Letter to the Thessalonians
During his second missionary tour (Ac
17), Paul came to
Thessalonica and preached the Good News there with no little
success. The city--which had had its name given it by Cassander,
after his wife, the sister of Alexander the Great--was the most
populous in Macedonia, besides being a "free city" and the seat
of the Roman pro-consular administration. Its modern name is
Very soon the unbelieving Jews
stirred up the mob against
Paul and Silas, and dragged Jason before the magistrates. Hence
the brethren sent the missionaries away by night to Beroea, being
alarmed for their safety. As the Apostle was naturally anxious
about the persecuted flock which he had been obliged to leave
behind, he made two attempts to return to them, but these being
frustrated (1Th 2:18), he then sent Timothy, from Athens, to
inquire after their welfare and encourage them.
The report brought back was on the
but left occasion for the self-defence, the warnings and the
exhortations of this Letter, which was then sent from Corinth,
probably in 53 A.D.
Letter to the Thessalonians
This Letter was written from Corinth
not long after the
preceding one, and probably in the year 54 A.D. Its occasion was
the reception of tidings from Thessalonica which showed that
there had been a measure of misapprehension of the Apostle's
teaching in regard to the Return of the Lord Jesus, and also that
there was a definitely disorderly section in the Church there,
capable of doing great harm.
Hence Paul writes to correct the
error into which his
converts had fallen, and at the same time he uses strong language
as to the treatment to be dealt out to those members of the
Church who were given to idleness and insubordination.
Paul's First Letter to Timothy
There has never been any real doubt
people as to the authorship of the three "pastoral" Letters. But
definite objections to their genuineness have been made in recent
times upon the ground of such internal evidence as their style,
the indications they present of advanced organization, their
historic standpoint and their references to developed heresy.
Says one scholar, "While there is
probably nothing in
them to which the Apostle would have objected, they must be
regarded on account of their style as the product of one who had
been taught by Paul and now desired to convey certain teachings
under cover of his name. The date need not be later than 80 A.D."
Yet a thorough examination of the
matter does not support
such objections. It is certain that the three Letters stand or
fall together, and there is no sufficient reason for dismissing
the ancient conclusion that they are all the genuine work of
Paul, and belong to the last years of his life, 66-67 A.D.
This first Letter was probably
written from Macedonia.
Paul's Second Letter to Timothy
The marks of genuineness in this
Letter are very
pronounced. For instance, the thanksgiving, the long list of
proper names--twenty-three in number--the personal details and
the manifest tone of sincerity and earnestness. Hence it is
accepted as Paul's even by some who reject the former Letter and
that addressed to Titus. But it is inseparable from the others,
and was probably written from Rome during the Apostle's second
imprisonment. It is his last Letter known to us, and its apparent
date is 67 A.D.
Paul's Letter to Titus
This Letter was probably written from
Ephesus in 67 A.D.
Titus, who was a Greek by birth, is mentioned in eleven other
places in the Pauline Letters and always with marked approval
(2Co 2:13; 7:6,13,14; 8:6,16,23; 12:18; Ga 2:1,3; 2Ti 4:10). He
was often a trusted messenger to the Churches, his last errand
being to Dalmatia. Tradition confirms the inference commonly
drawn from this Letter that he was long the Bishop of the Church
in Crete, and regards Candia as having been his birthplace.
Paul's Letter to Philemon
This Letter (63 A.D.) was written as
the result of Paul's
deep interest in Onesimus, a slave who had fled from Colossae to
Rome to get free from Philemon his master (Col 4:9).
"A Phrygian slave was one of the
lowest known types to be
found in the Roman world, displaying all the worst features of
character which the servile condition developed. Onesimus had
proved no exception. He ran away from his master, and, as Paul
thought probable (verses 18,19), not without helping himself to a
share of his master's possessions. By the help of what he had
stolen, and by the cleverness which afterwards made him so
helpful to Paul, he made his way to Rome, naturally drawn to the
great centre, and prompted both by a desire to hide himself and
by a youthful yearning to see the utmost the world could show of
glory and of vice.
"But whether feeling his loneliness,
or wearied with a
life of vice, or impoverished and reduced to want, or seized with
a fear of detection, he made his way to Paul, or unbosomed
himself to some Asiatic he saw on the street. And as he stepped
out of the coarse debauchery and profanity of the crowded resorts
of the metropolis into the room hallowed by the presence of Paul,
he saw the foulness of the one life and the beauty of the other,
and was persuaded to accept the gospel he had so often heard in
his master's house.
"How long he remained with Paul does
not appear, but it
was long enough to impress on the Apostle's mind that this slave
was no common man. Paul had devoted and active friends by him,
but this slave, trained to watch his master's wants and to
execute promptly all that was entrusted to him, became almost
indispensable to the Apostle. But to retain him, he feels, would
be to steal him, or at any rate to deprive Philemon of the
pleasure of voluntarily sending him to minister to him (verse
14). He therefore sends him back with this Letter, so exquisitely
worded that it cannot but have secured the forgiveness and
cordial reception of Onesimus" (Marcus Dods, D.D., _New Testament
The Letter to the Hebrews
As regards the date of this Letter,
the only sure
conclusion appears to be that it was before 70 A.D. The book
itself claims to have been written at the end of the Jewish Age
(1:2; 9:26), whilst the earthly temple was still in existence
(9:8), and it is inconceivable that such an overwhelming comment
upon the writer's whole position as that afforded by the
destruction of Jerusalem would have been overlooked, had it been
available. Hence 67-68 A.D. may with probability be alleged as
the time of composition. The only fact clear as to the author is
that he was not the Apostle Paul. The early Fathers did not
attribute the book to Paul, nor was it until the seventh century
that the tendency to do this, derived from Jerome, swelled into
an ecclesiastical practice. From the book itself we see that the
author must have been a Jew and a Hellenist, familiar with Philo
as well as with the Old Testament, a friend of Timothy and
well-known to many of those whom he addressed, and not an Apostle
but decidedly acquainted with Apostolic thoughts; and that he not
only wrote before the destruction of Jerusalem but apparently
himself was never in Palestine. The name of Barnabas, and also
that of Priscilla, has been suggested, but in reality all these
distinctive marks appear to be found only in Apollos. So that
with Luther, and not a few modern scholars, we must either
attribute it to him or give up the quest.
There has never been any question as
to the canonicity of
this Letter, nor can there be any doubt as to its perennial value
to the Church of Christ. Where it was written cannot be decided.
"The brethren from Italy" (13:24) proves nothing. Nor is it
possible to decide to whom it was sent. "The Hebrews," to whom it
was addressed, may have been resident in Jerusalem, Alexandria,
Ephesus, or Rome. The most remarkable feature of the Letter is
manifestly its references to the old Covenant. Here there is a
mingling of reverence and iconoclasm. The unquestionably divine
origin of the Jewish dispensation is made use of for laying
emphasis upon the infinitely superior glory of the Christian
order. Thus an _a fortiori_ argument pervades the whole --if the
shadow was divine, how much more must the substance be! "The
language of the Epistle, both in vocabulary and style, is purer
and more vigorous than that of any other book of the New
Four persons bearing the name of
'James' are mentioned in
the New Testament.
(1) The Apostle, the son of Zabdi.
(2) The Apostle, the son of Alphaeus.
(3) The son of Mary the wife of Clopas.
(4) The Lord's brother, mentioned as such along with Joses, Simon
and Judah, and prominent in the Acts (12:17; 15:13; 21:18).
The last-named was also known as
'James the Just' and is
represented by tradition as having led an ascetic life, which
ended in martyrdom. He was undoubtedly Bishop, or President, of
the Church in Jerusalem and in all probability this Letter was
written by him from that city.
There has been some difference of
opinion as to the date
of the book. The majority of scholars insist that both the
internal and external evidence point to its having been written
between 44 and 50 A. D., before the earliest of Paul's Letters.
But, on the other hand, the solemn emphasis which the author lays
upon the immediateness of the Lord's Return (5:7,8,9) may be
regarded as a moral proof of a date very much nearer the winding
up of the Mosaic dispensation in 70 A. D.
The Letter may have been a Jewish
one, addressed to the
Christian converts from Judaism who were scattered abroad, within
or beyond the limits of the Roman Empire. Luther deemed it "an
Epistle of straw," by reason of its insistence upon the vital
importance of 'works.' But its practical ideal assumes the same
basis of Christian faith as is found in the Letters of Paul. The
opening references to severe trial seem to show that the
persecution begun by Herod Agrippa had already been repeated
elsewhere. If the later date of the book be admitted, the
persecution must then, of course, have been that under Nero.
Peter's First Letter
The state of things described in this
Letter answers to
what we find in the first Letter to Timothy, and points to the
same period. The "fiery trial" referred to is probably the
persecution which, begun by Nero, in 64 A.D., in order to divert
attention from himself, was continued throughout the Roman
The Letter seems to be primarily
addressed to those who
regarded Peter as the Apostle to the Jews, although it is
manifest that he did not think of these alone. The fact that it
is "full of Pauline thought and Pauline language," is accounted
for by the well-grounded supposition that Peter arrived in Rome
shortly before Paul was released. So that this Letter, probably
written about 65-66 A.D., was definitely intended to set before
the Churches of Roman Asia "the inspiring vision of the two
Apostles working and planning together in the capital."
This would be at once the clearest
lesson the Churches
could have concerning their unity, and a great encouragement to
those then undergoing tribulation and persecution on behalf of
Peter's Second Letter
It is impossible to speak with any
certainty as to either
the date or the authorship of this Letter. From the beginning
there have been doubts as to its genuineness and canonicity, and
these are represented to-day in the differing judgements of
critics equally able and sincere.
It has, however, unquestionably had a
place in the canon
of the New Testament since the Council of Laodicea in 372 A.D.,
and there is certainly no such decisive evidence against it as to
warrant our omitting it from the New Testament.
It would appear that the writer,
whoever he was, had seen
the Letter from Jude, and bore it in mind in this his plea for
such character and conduct on the part of believers as were
worthy of their faith and would prepare them for the Coming of
the Lord. The whole Letter constitutes an earnest appeal for
John's First Letter
That this Letter was the actual work
of the Apostle John,
the son of Zabdi, has been abundantly testified from the very
Some modern critics have doubted it,
on the ground of
internal evidence. But a calm survey of the whole case does not
bear out their objections. Dr. Salmon well says that no
explanation of the origin of the Epistle fits the facts so well
as the one which has always prevailed. It seems to have been
addressed to the Church at large, with perhaps special reference
to the Churches in Roman Asia.
The connexion between this Letter and
the fourth Gospel
is "intimate and organic. The Gospel is objective and the Epistle
subjective. The Gospel suggests principles of conduct which the
Epistle lays down explicitly. The Epistle implies facts which the
Gospel states as historically true."
This Letter appears to have been
written from Ephesus,
and critics have usually assigned 95 A. D., or some other year
equally late in the Apostolic age, as the probable date of its
composition. On the other hand the internal evidence points to a
date immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem in 70
A.D. See 2:8 (last clause); 2:18; 4:3; and note the expectation
of a speedy Coming of Christ (2:28; 3:2)--an expectation which
seems almost to have ceased in the early Church after that date.
John's Second Letter
Although we are unable to fix the
exact date of this
Letter or the place at which it was written, there is sufficient
evidence, both external and internal, to warrant our acceptance
of it as a genuine work of the Apostle John.
Some have thought that the "lady"
addressed stands for an
unknown Church, but upon careful consideration it appears more
reasonable and natural to regard the Letter as having been a
private one. It is impossible to discover the name of the
individual to whom it was sent, but both this and the following
Letter may be taken as "precious specimens of the private
correspondence of the beloved Apostle."
John's Third Letter
There can be no doubt that this
Letter was addressed to
an individual person. We cannot affix to it a definite date, or
place, but the most natural supposition--which there is nothing
to contradict--is that it came from the Apostle in Ephesus, about
the same time as the preceding Letter.
The special mention of Diotrephes and
points indeed to a somewhat advanced development in the Church to
which Galus belonged, but such characters are all too possible at
any juncture to afford in this instance any guarantee of a later
In this, as in the preceding Letters,
the writer's great
concern is that transcendental truth should be embodied in
Of the time and place of the
composition of this Letter
we know nothing beyond what may be inferred from its contents.
These seem to show that it was written in Palestine, and the
absence of any reference to so striking an event as the
destruction of Jerusalem points to a date earlier than 70 A. D.
It has, however, been thought that
such a rebuke of error
and licentiousness as that which this Letter contains can only
apply to the forms of Gnosticism known to have existed in the
first quarter of the second century. But there is no reason to
doubt that the author was the man he asserts he was, the brother
of James, the head of the Church in Jerusalem. He was, therefore,
not an Apostle but one of the Lord's brothers.
The abiding value of the Letter
consists in its severe
condemnation of merely professional Christianity, and its
remarkably beautiful doxology.
The Revelation of John
The Apocalypse was written either in
67, or in 96, A.D.
An oft-quoted statement of Irenaeus that it, or its author--
there is no word inserted to indicate which of the two he
meant--"was seen" about the end of the reign of Domitian, is
regarded by many as a conclusive proof of the later date. On the
other hand, the "internal evidence"--the evidence, that is,
furnished by the contents of the book itself--appears to point
even more unmistakably to the earlier date. E.g-., in 11:1,2,8,
the Holy City and the earthly Temple are spoken of as being still
in existence, and as about to be trodden under foot by the
The language of the book has also a
bearing upon the
problem of its date. Although other explanations have been
suggested, the many Hebrew idioms that it contains as compared
with the much purer Greek of the fourth Gospel-- which was
probably by the same author--seem to indicate that it was written
long before that Gospel, at a time when the Apostle had as yet
only an imperfect acquaintance with the Greek language.
Dr. Stuart Russell, in his work _The
contended for the belief that the fall of Jerusalem and Judaism
in 70 A.D. marked a stupendous epoch in the unseen world, a
personal--although unrecorded--return of the Saviour to the earth
then taking place (cp. Ac 7:55; 9:7; 1Co 9:1), accompanied by a
spiritual judgement of bygone generations, a resurrection from
Hades to Heaven of the faithful of past ages, and an ingathering
of saints then on earth into the Father's House of many mansions
(Mt 24:31; Joh 14:3; 1Th 4:17; 2Th 2:1).
If this belief ever obtains general
earlier date of the Apocalypse will also be regarded as fully
established. For it will then be seen that the book describes
beforehand events which took place in 70 A.D. and the years
immediately preceding, partly on earth and partly in the
spiritual world, and is mainly concerned with the downfall of the
earthly Jerusalem and the setting up of Christ's heavenly
Kingdom--the new Jerusalem. And its many mysterious symbols will
be seen to have been a cipher of which the first Christians held
the key, but which hid its meaning from their enemies.
Many scholars, however, regard the
book as a document of
Nero's time carefully incorporated in one written about 90 A.D.:
"a Jewish Apocalypse in a Christian framework;" both perhaps
being by the same author.--EDITOR.
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