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of the whole of the exposition, may find what they desire in the two treatises : The beast in the Apocalypse, Evang. KircheZeitung, 1847, and : The thousand years' reign, Do. 1848.
The title shows that this work is intended for all who search the Scriptures. The remarks contain little of a grammatical nature. The text will present no difficulties to cultivated readers, even though not theologians, if they are only animated by an earnest desire to become thoroughly acquainted with the contents of the book.
Of the investigations which are usually brought into Introductions to the Apocalyse, that alone is presented here which respects the historical starting point of the book, as being the only one which really has its proper place before the exposition. All besides is reserved for concluding treatises to be contained in the second volume.
Many readers will think there are too frequent quotations from the older Expositors, especially from Bengel. Such persons, however, should remember that their wants are not the only ones that require to be met. The experience I have already had in connection with my Commentary on the Psalms, has specially induced me not to be sparing in these quotations. Certainly the greater number of readers will be more pleased with this than if I had gone into greater length in stating and commenting on the views of others, which would have been of less service in regard to this book than almost any other in the Bible. The present times, too, urgently demand that we should disburden the exposition of sacred Scripture from all unprofitable matter, and instead of that should present what properly accords with its design, as declared in 2 Tim. iii. 16, and may constantly bring it to mind. That the ascetical element should create no prejudice against the necessity of scientific inquiries is taken for granted ; and I hope that no reproach will in this respect be cast on me.
I am perfectly aware that this work is destined to meet with much disfavour from many who are united with me in faith. The persons whose concurrence I should have most highly prized, are precisely those in whom the exposition of Bengel, to which also I owe more than to any other for the explanation of particular parts, has takeu deepest root; insomuch that an attack on it, which has made the Revelation dear and precious to them, will
uy find what they desire in the e Apocalypse, Evang. Kircheid years' reign, Do. 1848. i is intended for all who search ontain little of a grammatical difficulties to cultivated readers.
they are only animated by an hly acquainted with the contents
scarcely be regarded by them in any other light than as an attack on the Revelation itself. But I am still not without confidence, that the method of exposition attempted here will by and bye make way, especially among those who are disposed to look more profoundly into the Old Testament, and in particular into its prophetical writings. For this is absolutely indispensable to a proper understanding of the Revelation. My confidence rests on the conviction, that I have not striven to foist in any thing, but to the best of my ability have sought merely to expound and enforce what is written.
In conclusion, I commend this work, the deficiencies of which I deeply feel, to Him who has given me strength to execute it thus far, and who has rendered it to myself a source of edification and comfort.
2 usually brought into Introducis presented here which respects le book, as being the only one before the exposition. All bereatises to be contained in the
are too frequent quotations from
from Bengel. Such persons,
on the Psalms, has specially
united with me in faith. The
ir and precious to them, will
Page 7, line 11, for to the, read and the.
22, first note, for juber read jubet.
96, line 11, for God's, read good. , 165, line 11, for good, read food
337. line 33, for before, read upon.
REVELATION OF SAINT JOHN.
ON THE TIME OF THE COMPOSITION OF THE BOOK.
and the d jubet. te seu potius relucebat. mu, read remoramar end coelo.
The older theologians proceeded almost uniformly on the supposition, that the Book of Revelation was composed in the closing period of Domitian's reign--an opinion that finds, in Vitringa especially, an excellent though brief defence. On the whole, however, little comparatively was done to establish this opinion on solid and satisfactory grounds; even Bengel did not go deeply into the matter. The feeling for the genuine historical interpretation of the Apocalypse was still not awakened, so that but little weight could as yet be attached to this most important inquiry, and it was passed hurriedly over. The interest felt in it was less on account of the exposition, than for the defence of the authority of the old ecclesiastical tradition, which had declared in favour of the composition under Domitian. But there being no right feeling awakened for the true historical interpretation, the power failed, in connection with that interest, to give a lucid exhibition of the proof. This can only be found when one understands how to obtain from many scattered indications a living image of the existing condition of the Seer, which forms the proper startingpoint for the announcement of the future. Vitringa has some excellent observations in this respect, but they are confined to the seven epistles. In regard to the remainder of the Book, the question as to the historical starting-point can scarcely be said to be so much as mooted. With him, as with Bengel, and so many unfortunately even to our own day, the prophecy swims, as it were, in the air; and nothing, consequently, could be derived from it for determining the period of its composition. In more recent times the position advanced originally by Grotius, Hammond, Lightfoot, for the purpose of understanding certain passages of the fate of Judaism, that the Book was composed before the destruction of Jerusalem, has been pretty generally acquiesced in. And on the authority especially of Ewald and Lücke the precise opinion, that the Apocalypse was composed under Galba, has obtained very general consent. By many it is uttered with a sort of naive confidence, and most of all by those who have brought almost nothing of an independent investigation to bear upon the subject.
We shall, first of all, examine the external testimonies that relate to the point at issue. From these we shall gather the result that, what Lampe has said in his Comm. on John i. p. 62, "all antiquity agrees in the opinion of Domitian's being the author of John's banishment,” is no paradox, but the simple truth. For, the deviations from this result are on the part only of such as do not deserve to be heard and considered.
The series of testimonies for the composition under Domitian is opened by Irenæus. He says, B. V. c. 30, “For if it were necessary at present to declare plainly his name (i.e. the name of the person indicated by the number 666 in the Apocalypse xiii. 18), it might be done through him, who also saw the Apocalypse. For it was seen not long ago, but almost in our generation, toward the close of Domitian's reign."i Irenæus was in a position for knowing the truth. According to the beginning of the chapter, the numbers 666 (in opposition to the other reading 616) bear testimony to having seen John in the face." He speaks not by way of conjecture or on constructive reasons, but as of a matter established beyond any possibility of doubt. He neither expressly refers, nor alludes to the passage, ch. i. 9, from which the opponents of the composition under Domitian might so naturally attempt to account for the testimonies of antiquity to that era. Nor does he announce it, as if communicating something that had hitherto been unknown, but with another design altogether, he
1 Ει γάρ έδει αναφανδόν τω νύν καιρώ κηρύττεσθαι τούνομα αυτού, δι εκείνου αν ερρέθη του και την αποκάλυψιν έωρακότος' ουδέ γάρ προ πολλού χρόνου έωράθη, αλλά σχεδόν επί της ημετέρας γενεάς, προς το τέλει της Δομετιανού αρχής.
2 Μαρτυρούντων αυτων εκείνων των κατ' όψιν τον Ιωάννην έωρακότων.