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tion are still critically discussed with very different results. In Germany the current of opinion is in favor of its composition under Nero or Galba, but seems decidedly against its apostolic origin. The ablest of the English and American writers, on the other hand, favor its apostolic origin, but nearly coincide with the Germans respecting the time of its composition.


No book of the Bible is so highly symbolical; it abounds in the most striking and awful imagery. Nothing can be more sublime than the description of our Saviour in the opening chapter, and the mighty events that follow are set forth in language and symbols of almost equal sublimity. Even the addresses to the seven Churches, which are of course didactic, assume an earnest and lofty tone. John reaches the sublimest heights without effort; he borrows, it is true, a part of his imagery from the Hebrew prophets, but he by no means slavishly copies them. In some respects he surpasses them; his descriptions are more lifelike and more terrible. He carries us to the throne of God, shows us the ETERNAL, the magnificent court of heaven, the glorified saints, and the forces and weapons which the Almighty employs in the destruction of his foes. But amid all the storms of divine wrath, amid thunderings and earthquakes, he never loses sight of God's people; he represents them as secure. This divine panorama, beginning with the appearance of Christ in a glorified state, addressing the Asiatic Churches, unfolds the mighty conflict waged for centuries between Christianity and Paganism, resulting in the complete overthrow of the latter, and closes with the resurrection of the dead, eternal judgment, and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth right


Two reasons may be assigned for the use of the symbolic style: first, for the sake of making a strong impression by a vivid presentation of the truth by means of striking pictures; secondly, because the truths pertaining to the higher spiritual life and to the kingdom of Christ can be adequately set forth only by symbols drawn from the natural world.

There is a peculiarity of the Apocalypse, its use of the numbers seven, four, and three, which Prof. Stuart calls its numer

osity, that deserves attention. Seven Churches are addressed; the "Son of man," in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, holds seven stars; seven spirits are before the throne of God; seven vials of wrath are poured out, seven seals are opened, and seven thunders utter their voices. The Lamb is declared worthy to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing, seven in number. The numbers three and four, however, are not used so conspicuously. It may be difficult for us to assign, a reason for this preference of the number seven. Seven, we know, was a sacred number among the Hebrews; yet this would hardly account for its frequent use in the Apocalypse.

The linguistic character of the book is remarkable. It is well known that all the books of the New Testament, with the exception of Matthew's Gospel, were originally written in Greek,* yet every scholar knows that it is not classic Greek, but abounds in Hebraisms. But the Apocalypse has more Hebraisms than any other book of the New Testament. Nor is this all. There are great irregularities in construction, and more or less soleeisms. The following are examples of Hebra isms: οἷς ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς ἀδικῆσαι τὴν γῆν, literally, to whom it was given to them to hurt the earth, the relative and personal pronoun both used for the relative simply; ἥν ούὐδεὶς δύαται kλɛĩσai avτý, which no one was able to shut it, ii, 8; ov ἀριθμῆσαι αὐτὸν οὐδεὶς ἠδύνατο, which no one was able to number it, vii, 9; v ápidμòs avτŵv, of which the number of them, xx, 8. That these constructions are Hebraistic, no Hebrew scholar can doubt; compare for example the language of Genesis:, which in it was its seed, for wherein was seed. Όπου ἡ γυνὴ κάθηται επ' αὐτῶν, where the woman sitteth upon them, xvii, 9, is Hebraistic for whereon the woman sitteth. As Hebraistic is to be explained the following passage: kaì ὅταν δώσουσι . . . πεσοῦνται . . . προσκυνήσουσι . . . βαλοῦσι . . .



* The extensive use of the Greek language in the Roman empire about the time of Christ may be shown from the Latin writers. Cicero, about B. C. 50, in an oration for Archias, says: "If any one supposes that less glory is derived from Grecian than from Latin verses, he is greatly mistaken; for Greek literature is read in nearly all nations; Latin literature within their own narrow limits." Juvenal, cotemporary with the apostles, says: "In this language (the Greek) they fear; in this pour forth their wrath, joys, cares; in this they utter every secret of their breast." Satire vi, lines 188, 189.

And when the living creatures will give glory and honor and thanks to Him that sitteth upon the throne, to Him that liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders will fall down before Him that sitteth upon the throne, and they will worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and they will cast their crowns before him, iv, 9, 10. To indicate what is customary, the Hebrew language uses the future tense, meaning that the state or action is so not only now but for time to come. Hence the passage indicates what is continually done in heaven.

The use of the participle is peculiar: instead of its being construed with a finite verb, it frequently stands absolute in a nominative form; xwv, holding in his right hand; ¿kπopevoμévη, a sword proceeding from his mouth, chap. i; ή κατα βαίνουσα, which descending ; ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου καθήμενος, one sitting upon the throne. These are but a few of the instances. We are strongly inclined to think that this construction is Hebraistic. For a similar use of the participle, compare Ecclesiastes i, 4:7, one generation goes, another comes. In some of the later books of the Hebrew Bible, the verb, to be, is joined with the participles; and perhaps in these passages in the Apocalypse some form of eivai, to be, should be joined to the participles. Anomalous is the connecting of the present and future tenses by καὶ : ἐρχομαί σοι ταχὺ καὶ κινήσω τὴν λυχνίαν σου, Ι am coming to thee quickly and will remove thy candlestick, ii, 5. Καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ ἀστέρος λέγεται ἄψινθος, καὶ γίνεται . . . απέθανον . . . ἐπικράνθησαν. And the name of the star is called Wormwood, and the third part of the waters becomes wormwood; and many men died on account of the waters because they were made bitter, viii, 11 Here we have, quite anomalously, the present tense and the two aorists. Yet the construction may be explained by reflecting that the name of the star and the turning of the waters into wormwood are permanent states, while the dying of the men was momentary; and the first aorist, Tiкρávdŋoav, were made bitter, was used, most probably, to correspond in tense with the second aorist, drédavov, died.


Καὶ ἔχουσιν οὐρὰς ὁμοίας σκορπίοις, καὶ κέντρα ἦν ἐν ταῖς οὐραῖς avrov, and they have tails like scorpions, and stings were in their tails, ix, 10. It is very difficult to explain this connec

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tion of the present and imperfect tenses. Exceedingly harsh and irregular is the following passage: καὶ ἐνταῖς ἡμέραις αἷς Αντίπας δ μάρτυς μου ὁ πιστὸς, ὅς ἀπεκτάνθη παρ' ὑμῖν, ὅπου κατοικεῖ ¿ Zaravãs, even in those days in which Antipas my faithful martyr, who was slain among you where Satan dwelleth, ii, 13. Here we are compelled to supply a verb of existence after "martyr," as the easiest way to dispose of the difficulty. ̔Ο νικῶν, δώσω αὐτῷ καθίσαι μετ ̓ ἐμοῦ, he that overcometh I will give to him to sit with me, etc., iii, 21, is obviously an anacolouthon. ̓Από δ ὤν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, 1, 4, etc. Here we would expect the genitive after dлó; it is, however, probable that the phrase was regarded as indeclinable. The following reading has been adopted into the text by Griesbach; 'O Mixanλ καὶ οἱ ἄγγελοι αὐτοῦ τοῦ πολεμῆσαι κατα δράκοντος, Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, xii, 7, the infinitive, Toυ πоλεμñσαι, construed with a nominative case, would seem to be unparalleled. If this reading is to be received, we think that it should be explained Hebraistically. There was war in heaven, Michael and his angels were to fight, by supplying some form of ɛivai, or yiyvɛoda; compare the Hebrew

in the sun was about to go down (infinitive construct). In Griesbach's Testament we have the following reading, Aŋvòv tòv péyav, great winepress, xiv, 19; but it must be observed that aŋvós is common gender, so that μéyav is as correct as μɛyáλn. There are some other irregularities, but not of so striking a character. But after all, the most of the Greek is as regular in its construction as it is in the other books of the New Testament.


Until recently it was a very common opinion that the Apocalypse was written in the reign of the Emperor Domitian, A. D. 95 or 96. The most eminent of modern biblical scholars, with few exceptions, place it under Nero or Galba, A. D. 68 or 69.

Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons, (A. D. 177-202,) is the first writer that bears testimony to the time of its composition: "For had it been necessary," says he, "that his name (the name of the apocalyptic beast) should be clearly made known at the present time, it would have been proclaimed by him who saw the reve

lation; for it was not seen a long while ago, but almost in our own generation, toward the end of the reign of Domitian."* Domitian reigned from A. D. 81 to 96. What makes the testimony of Irenæus valuable is the fact that he spent the early part of his life in Asia Minor, and was acquainted with Polycarp, a disciple of John, and would, therefore, be likely to know the time of the composition of the book. Yet Irenæus may have obtained no traditional knowledge upon the subject, and may have determined the time by critical conjecture.

Clemens of Alexandria (191-202) remarks that "John returned from the Island of Patmos to Ephesus when the tyrant was dead."+ But what tyrant he means is not clear; for it is very obvious that the epithet suits Nero at least as well as Domitian. Origen (220-254) in commenting on Matthew's Gospel remarks: "The sons of Zebedee drank of this cup, and were baptized with this baptism, since Herod slew James the brother of John with the sword. The king of the Romans, as tradition teaches, banished John, who bore witness on account of the word of truth, to the Island of Patmos. These things John says concerning his own testimony, not telling us who condemned him." He appears not to have regarded the testimony of Irenæus as decisive. Eusebius, (died 340,) in his Ecclesiastical History, relates that during the persecution of Domitian, "tradition says (Karéxe λóyos, the story goes) that the apostle and evangelist John, who was still alive, was condemned, on account of his testimony to the divine word, to dwell in the Isle of Patmos." S

According to Tertullian (about 200) the apostle John was thrown into boiling oil, (he appears to mean by Nero; a fiction doubtless,) but escaping unhurt, he was banished to Pat

* Εἰ γὰρ ἔδει ἀναφανδόν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ κηρύττεσθαι τού ονομα αὐτοῦ δι' ἐκείνου ἄν ἐρρέθη τοῦ καὶ τὴν ἀποκάλυψιν ἑωράκοτος. Οὐδὲ γὰρ πρὸ πολλοῦ χρόνου ἐωράθη, ἀλλὰ σχεδὸν ἐπὶ τῆς ἡμετέρας γενεῖς, πρὸς πῷ τέλει τῆς Δομετιανοῦ αρχῆς.

† Ἐπειδὴ γὰρ τοῦ τυράννου τελευτήσαντος ἀπὸ τῆς Πάτμου τῆς νήσον μετῆλθεν εἰς τὴν Ἔφεσον.

+ . Ὁ δὲ Ῥωμαίων βασιλεὺς, ὡς ἡ παράδοσις διδάσκει, κατεδίκασε τὸν Ἰωάννην μαρτυροῦν τα διὰ τὸν τῆς ἀληθείας λόγον εἰς Πάτμον τὴν νῆσον διδάσκει δὲ τὰ περὶ τοῦ μαρτυρίου ἑαυτοῦ Ἰωάννης, μή λέγων τίς αὐτὸν Κατεδίκασε. . . .

§ Εν τουτῷ κατέχει λόγος τὸν απόστολον καὶ Εὐαγγελιστὴν Ἰωάννην ἔτι τῷ βίῳ ἐνδιατρίβοντα, τῆς εἰς τὸν θεῖον λόγον ἕνεκεν μαρτυρίας, Πάτμον οἰκεῖν Καταδικασθῆ. val Thν vñoov. Book iii, chapter 18.

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