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the letter of the Church of Smyrna respecting the martyrdom of Polycarp, Hengstenberg quotes several passages as alluding to the Apocalypse. One of these, we think, may possibly refer to it. According to Andreas and Arethas, Papias, who lived at the close of the first century, held the Apocalypse to be an inspired book.
Justin Martyr of Syria, who lived about the middle of the second century, delivers a clear and valuable testimony to the apostolic origin of the Apocalypse. After attempting to support his chiliasm from the Old Testament, he adds: “And since also a man among us, whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ, in the revelation made to him, prophesied that those who believe in our Christ shall spend a thousand years in Jerusalem," etc.* Justin had traveled extensively over the Christian world; and according to Eusebius, the Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, from which the foregoing testimony is taken, was held at Ephesus. He must, therefore, have known who was the author of the Apocalypse.
Melito, Bishop of Sardis, who lived during the latter part of the second century, a man of great learning, wrote a work "concerning the devil and the Revelation of John." Eusebius, speaking of Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, (A. D. 170-180,) says he wrote a work with the title, "Against the Heresy of Hermogenes," in which he makes use of testimony from the Revelation of John. That Theophilus should quote the Apocalypse in writing against a heretic shows that the book was extensively known and authoritative, and perhaps acknowledged by the heretic himself to be an apostolic work. It is highly probable, that if either Melito or Theophilus had ascribed the Apocalypse to any other than the Apostle John that Eusebius would have noticed it.
Apollonius, who flourished A. D. 190, in refuting a Phrygian heresy, "quotes," says Eusebius, "the Revelation of John as testimony; and relates, also, that a dead man was raised by the divine power, through the same John at Ephesus."+ It is in the highest degree probable that Apollonius speaks of
* Καὶ ἐπειδὴ καὶ παρ ̓ ἡμῖν ἀνήρ τις, ᾧ ὄνομα Ἰωάννης, εἷς τῶν ἀποστόλων τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἀποκαλύψει γενομενῇ αὑτῷ πроερητενσε. Dialogus cum Trypho, cap. 8.
Ecclesiastical History, b. v, cap. 18.
the Apostle John. He would hardly have attributed the power to raise the dead to any other person at Ephesus.
Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons, who lived during the latter part of the second century, in his five books against heresies, everywhere speaks of the Apocalypse as the work of John, the disciple of the Lord, evidently meaning no other than the apostle. For example, he says: "Whatever John the disciple of the Lord saw in the Apocalypse," etc.; "John the disciple of the Lord saw in the Apocalypse the glorious coming of his kingdom," etc.* In the fifth book, he says in reference to the calculation of Antichrist's name: "As matters are thus, and the number 666 is thus found in all the genuine and ancient copies, and as they who saw John attest," etc. The testimony of Irenæus is important from the fact that he spent the early part of his life in Asia Minor, in the very midst of the seven Churches addressed in the Apocalypse, surrounded at the same time by the disciples of John. It is true that Irenæus also says that the Apocalypse was seen toward the end of the reign of Domitian, which we have already remarked is inconsistent with the internal evidence offered by the book itself. But his error respecting the time of the composition of the Apocalypse cannot destroy his testimony concerning its author. The genuineness of a book professing to be divine, the credibility of which depended in a great measure upon its apostolic authority, could not fail to excite the highest interest. The time of its composition is not of so much importance, and hence less would be likely to be known about it. How few there are, comparatively, that know the time of the composition of most of the ancient and modern works! Indeed, the time when many of the ancient works were written cannot be determined with any accuracy.
All the witnesses that we have hitherto produced in favor of the apostolical origin of the book lived either in the very midst of the scenes of John's labors, or at least at no remote distance from them. This makes their testimony so valuable.
Tertullian, of northern Africa, the first ecclesiastical Latin writer of any note, makes great use of the Apocalypse in his Montanistic writings (A. D. 220) and in those composed before that period. He appears to know of no opposition to the Apoca*Book iv, cap. 20.
lypse in the Church. Hippolytus, Bishop of Portus Romanus, in the first quarter of the third century, regarded the Apocalypse as a very early work of the Apostle John.*
Clemens of Alexandria, in the beginning of the third century, frequently cites the Apocalypse as a genuine work of the Apostle John; and in reference to the heavenly elders and the twenty-four thrones in the Apocalypse, he remarks: "As John says in the Apocalypse."
The great Origen, who lived in the first half of the third century, delivers his testimony in his Commentary on Matthew in the following words: "What ought I to say concerning John, who leaned upon the bosom of Jesus? He left one Gospel, confessing that he was able to write so many that not even the world could contain them. He also wrote the Apocalypse, having been commanded to conceal and not to write the voices of the seven thunders."+
The testimony we have cited belonging to the second and third centuries of the Christian Era is of the highest importance, and, we think, it should be considered as quite conclusive respecting the apostolic origin of the Apocalypse. We meet with no opposition to the Apocalypse until Montanism began to develop itself fully, about the year 200. This sect, which had its origin in Phrygia about the middle of the second century, based its fanatical pretensions to new revelations on the promise of Christ to send the Paraclete, (comforter.) This seems to have been the principal reason that led the Alogoi, who opposed the Montanists, to reject John's Gospel. Montanus taught that Christ would reign a thousand years upon the earth, and that Pepuza in Phrygia would be the capital of his millennial kingdom. The great support of the millenarian views of the Montanists was the Apocalypse. This led some of the more reckless opponents of the system to reject the book, while others sought to weaken its authority by denying its apostolical origin, admitting it, however, to be a holy book.
The first great opponent of the apostolic origin of the Apoca
* Bunsen's Hippolytus, vol. ii, p. 141.
† Τί δεῖ περὶ τοῦ ἀναπεσόντος λέγειν επὶ τὸ στῆθος τοῦ Ἰησοῦ Ἰωάννου; ὅς εὐαγγέλιον ἐν καταλέλοιπεν, ὁμολογῶν δύνασθαι τος αῦτα ποιήσειν, ἃ οὐδὲ ὁ κόσμος χωρῆσαι ἐδύνατο. Έγραψε δὲ καὶ τὴν Αποκαλύψιν, κελευσθεὶς σιωπῆσαι καὶ μὴ γράψαι τὰς τῶν ἑπτὰ βροντῶν φωνάς.
lypse was Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, who flourished in the first half of the third century, a man of great learning, who inquired diligently into everything that pertained either to canonical or apocryphal writings. A sensual chiliasm was prevailing in the nome of Arsinoe, the bishop of which was Nepos. So far did they carry their fanatical views, that whole Churches separated themselves from communion with the mother Church at Alexandria. Dionysius refuted these Chiliasts. It would be very natural for him to degrade as much as possible the book which was the principal support of the Chiliastic sect that had given him so much trouble. On the Apocalypse he remarks: "Some, indeed, before us, have set aside, and have attempted to refute the whole book, criticising every chapter, and pronouncing it without sense and without reason. They say that it has a false title, for it is not of John. Nay, that it is not even a revelation, as it is covered with such a dense and thick vail of ignorance that not one of the apostles, and not one of the holy men, or those of the Church, could be its author; but that Cerinthus, the founder of the sect of the Cerinthians, so called from him, wishing to have reputable authority for his own fiction, prefixed the title. For my part, I would not venture to set this book aside, as there are many brethren that value it much; but having formed a conception of its subject as exceeding my capacity, I consider it also containing a certain concealed and wonderful intimation in each particular. For, though I do not understand, yet I suspect that some deeper sense is enveloped in the words, and these I do not measure and judge by my private reason; but allowing more to faith, I have regarded them as too lofty to be comprehended by me, and those things which I do not understand I do not reject, but I wonder the more that I cannot comprehend."* He objects to the book as a work of the Apostle John, on the ground that the apostle prefixes his name neither to the Gospel nor to the first Epistle, and that he never speaks as of himself (in the first person) nor as of another (in the third), but he that wrote the Apocalypse declares himself immediately in the beginning; that it is a John that wrote these things he must believe, as he says it, but what John it is is uncertain; that the author does not call himself the beloved
* Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, book vii, chap. xxv.
disciple of the Lord; that there was also another John whose surname was Mark. He then proceeds to show a similarity of style between the Gospel of John and his first Epistle, and that the whole style of the Apocalypse is different from them in every particular. The objections of this acute critic have furnished the basis of all the subsequent attacks that have been made on the apostolic origin of the Apocalypse. Dionysius, however, acknowledged the book to be the work of a holy and inspired man.*
It must be observed that he alleges no want of external evidence as the ground of objection to the book. He produces not a single preceding writer of eminence that rejected its apostolic origin. It is evident that he knew of none to whom he could appeal as furnishing a precedent.
Eusebius of Cæsarea, the Church historian, who flourished during the first part of the fourth century, doubts the apostolic origin of the Apocalypse. The criticism of Dionysius seems to have perplexed him. In speaking of the canon of Scripture, he remarks: "The opinions respecting the Revelation are still greatly divided." Again: "After these [canonical books] is to be placed, if proper, the Revelation of John."+
Methodius and Pamphilius, about the beginning of the fourth century, following the tradition of the Church, received the Apocalypse as the work of John, the apostle, without doubt. So did Lactantius and Victorinus, who lived about the same period. The great Athanasius, who flourished during the middle of the fourth century, held the Apocalypse to be the work of John, and frequently cites it as such.
Didymus, president of the Catechetical School of Alexandria, in the latter half of the fourth century, speaks of the Apocalypse as the work of the Apostle John. So, about the same period, does Gregory of Nyssa. In the same age, it is cited as canonical by Basil the Great. Cyril of Jerusalem, however, in the latter half of the fourth century, omits the Apocalypse in his canon of Scripture. The celebrated Chrysostom of Constantinople, who lived during the latter part of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth centuries, received the Apocalypse. Suidas says of him, under the title 'Iwávvns: + Book iii, chap. xxv.
Eusebius's Eccl. Hist., book vii, chap. xxv. FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XVII.—16