Dating the Book of Revelation


Something hit me today as I thought about the date for the book of Revelation. The internal evidence of the book of Revelation seems to suggest that the Temple in Jerusalem is still standing at the time of the vision. Moreover, the mark of the beast is an allusion to Nero Caesar. Since the Temple was destroyed in AD 70 and Nero killed himself in AD 68, the vision would have to date before AD 68.

Yet the scholars who place the vision later always drag out that Irenaeus quote stating that it was written “at the end of the reign of Domitian”. So I looked up the quote in Irenaeus. Guess what? It doesn’t say that the book was written at the end of Domitian. Nor does it say that the vision of Saint John occurred in the reign of Domition. Rather, it says that it was “seen” towards the end of Domitian’s reign.

“It was not seen very long time since,but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian’s reign” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 5, 30, 3).

In other words, the document appeared in the reign of Domitian. This doesn’t mean that it was written or experienced at that time. John could have experienced the vision of Revelation and only published the document in about AD 96.

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Dating the Book of Revelation


Something hit me today as I thought about the date for the book of Revelation. The internal evidence of the book of Revelation seems to suggest that the Temple in Jerusalem is still standing at the time of the vision. Moreover, the mark of the beast is an allusion to Nero Caesar. Since the Temple was destroyed in AD 70 and Nero killed himself in AD 68, the vision would have to date before AD 68.

Yet the scholars who place the vision later always drag out that Irenaeus quote stating that it was written “at the end of the reign of Domitian”. So I looked up the quote in Irenaeus. Guess what? It doesn’t say that the book was written at the end of Domitian. Nor does it say that the vision of Saint John occurred in the reign of Domition. Rather, it says that it was “seen” towards the end of Domitian’s reign.

“It was not seen very long time since,but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian’s reign” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 5, 30, 3).

In other words, the document appeared in the reign of Domitian. This doesn’t mean that it was written or experienced at that time. John could have experienced the vision of Revelation and only published the document in about AD 96.