The Author of the Apocalypse

Part 2

Prof. R. D. C. Robbins


II. Internal Argument

1. Proof that John the Apostle was the Author of the Apocalypse from Declarations in the Book itself

The author of the book repeatedly indicates that his name is John (1:1, 4, 9; 22:8).

This has been adduced as an objection to the authorship of John the evangelist, since he nowhere gives his name in the Gospel and Epistles. But there was in them no occasion to name himself specifically. The authors of neither of the Gospels deem it necessary to make themselves conspicuous. But if a vision is seen or a revelation made, the one to whom the revelation is made or by whom the vision is seen is naturally designated. So it was with the Hebrew prophets: “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz”; “the word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw”; “the word that came unto Jeremiah from the Lord”; “a vision appeared unto me, even unto me, Daniel”; and so times almost without number, in the different prophets. Here the designation is, “to his servant John,” merely indicating his relation to the Saviour in his exaltation, just as in the Gospel he calls himself, in relation to his intercourse with the Saviour on earth, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” the one “who leaned on Jesus’s bosom.” The immediate designation in the first verse is, as Hengstenberg well says, not of John as apostle, but as prophet, and yet “we are conducted indirectly to the apostleship, since revelations of such high importance as those contained here were not given beyond the limits of the apostleship, and could not have been given, without shaking the foundation of the apostolic dignity.”1

The fact that no other designation is given with the name John, both in verse first and fourth, is a strong argument in favor of the apostolic authorship. There may have been others in the region who had the same name with the apostle; but there certainly was no one who was generally known. That “shadow of a man,” called John the presbyter or elder, is plainly cast from the designation of “elder,” given by John to himself in his second and third epistles, and deepened and endued with life by the wrong interpretation of a passage of Papias by Eusebius,2 and an obscure tradition hunted up by Dionysius to give some consistency to his denial of apostolical authority to the Revelation. It is little less than absurd to suppose that a man who should be chosen as a depository of such revelations as are given in the Apocalypse, or was capable of composing a work so elevated and unique in its character, and who intended to be known and to speak with authority, should leave no trace of his existence which subsequent ages could with the minutest examination lay hold of. We can see no alternative, from the manner in which the name “John” is employed, between supposing John the evangelist to be the author, and some impostor who wished to give the sanction of the apostle to his own work.

It was, as Hengstenberg says, directly in the region of the seven churches, “that the apostle John had a diocese,” and “he seems to be writing as to his seven churches,” beginning with Ephesus, where, according to tradition, “he had his seat.” 3 Thus Neander says: “All the ancient traditions, which maybe traced back to his [John’s] immediate disciples, agree in stating that Lesser Asia was the scene of his labors to the end of the first century, and Ephesus its central point.” 4 How, then, could another in honesty designate himself as John, simply, when he must have been aware that he would be confounded with the well-known John, the apostle? If we should find a classical work prefaced by “I, Cicero, thus write,” we should not doubt whether the words of the great Roman orator, or those of his brother Quintus, or his son Marcus,5 were intended to be designated. In the case before us, there must be a far greater difference between the apostle and any other John of the time, than between Cicero and his brother or son; so that some more specific designation would unavoidably be necessary to prevent confusion.

Verse ninth of ch. 1. also points directly to the apostle as author: “I John, who also am your brother and companion in tribulation.....was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” The incidental information here that the author of the Apocalypse was in banishment to Patmos on account of persecution for his faithfulness in his Christian labors, applies most naturally to the apostle. “According to a widely spread ancient tradition, the apostle John was banished to the island of Patmos, in the Aegean sea, by one of the emperors who was hostile to the Christians, but which of them is not ascertained.”6 And again, Neander says: “Certainly we cannot refuse to believe the unanimous tradition of the Asiatic churches in the second century, that the apostle John, as a teacher of these churches had to suffer on account of the faith; for which reason he is distinguished as a martyr in the epistle.....of Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus.” The circumstance that the church at Ephesus was first addressed, too, is most natural when we consider the relation of John to it, as the centre of his circle of influence. And the whole superscription of these epistles, and indeed their contents, indicate so plainly definite knowledge of the peculiarities and circumstances of each, and confidence in the writer’s personal influence, that while they fall pertinently and gracefully from the lips of John, the bishop of the region, they could scarcely belong to any other.

The name “John “seems to be repeated near the close of the Revelation (22:8), from the feeling that there was a strangeness and importance in these communications which required the special confirmation of a witness of known character. The influence of the things seen and heard are also here given, to show that they are not a human device, but such as caused the author of the book to fall down and worship before the feet of the angel who made the revelation. Thus “a trustworthy man, a tried organ of divine communications, John, whom Jesus loved, expressly assures us that he has not spoken of his own, bat only what he has heard and received.”7 So Bengel says: “John had placed his name in the title of his book, in the superscription to the seven churches, and at the beginning of his narrative. And now at the close, he names himself still again, so that we might perfectly know that he, namely the apostle John, had written this credible testimony of the future coming of Jesus Christ.”

The similarity of this passage with the subscription near the end of the Gospel of John should not escape notice. In John 21:24, after designating himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved, and referring to the same remarks of our Lord concerning him, the author says: “This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things [οὑτός ἐστιν ὁ μαθητὴς ὁ μαρτυρῶν περὶ τούτων καὶ γράψας ταῦτα], and we know that his testimony is true.” The words in the Apocalypse differ only so far as the nature of the two works require difference: κἀγὼ ᾿Λωάννης ὁ ἀκούων καὶ βλέπων ταῦτα. The witnessing (μαρτυρῶν) properly belongs to the Gospel, while the hearing (ἀκούων) and seeing (βλέπων) characterize the revelations and visions of the Apocalypse.

While some find an argument against the Apocalypse from the mentioning the name of the writer, others claim that he should have added the designation of “apostle.” If any other person had written this book and wished to pass it off as the work of the apostle, he would perhaps have blundered into such a designation. But it would not, in all probability, occur to John, known as he was in the whole region for which his book was immediately intended, that he could be mistaken for another. There is in the omission of any descriptive appellative, a decided indication that the author could be no obscure person, whose name alone would have carried no weight with it to his readers. “The John of Asia Minor was the only man of that day and that region who was honestly entitled to write in this manner.” It is scarcely necessary to add, in the words of another: “History knows of no other John, of that time and district, who held an important position in the church; nor could any one possibly exist, who did not stand far below the apostle, and who would not have reckoned it necessary to designate himself more particularly, to prevent his being confounded with the other.”

Chapter 18:20, “Rejoice over her Heaven, and ye saints and apostles,” etc., is sometimes referred to as implying that John could not be the writer, since the apostles are spoken of as being already in heaven. But it is plain that the apostles are spoken of as a class, just as saints and prophets are; and there is no more reason for supposing that this implies that the apostles had all gone to their rest, than that the saints all had. Besides, in the opinion of these objectors, the Apocalypse must have been written before John’s death, and those words, if inapposite in the mouth of the apostle, would have been equally so in that of another.

Chapter 21:14 has also been referred to by Ewald and others as inconsistent with the modesty of John. It is only necessary in confutation to refer to such passages as Ephes. 2:20:“Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone,” and Matt. 19:28, “where the twelve apostles appear as the heads of the church in regeneration, which is all one with the new Jerusalem.” It would certainly indicate a self-consciousness, which we should not expect in the Apostle John, to hesitate in giving utterance to that part of the vision which pertained to the apostolic labors and influence in the establishment of the church, based, as it was, upon previous utterances of inspired men.

The Alleged Difference in the General Characteristics of the Apocalypse and Other Writings of John

We have seen that the authority of the early Fathers is almost entirely in favor of the apostolic origin of the Apocalypse, and that the declarations in the book itself most naturally and indisputably point to John the evangelist as author. It would seem that we need not delay long upon the more direct internal argument, for nothing that was not distinct and palpable could annul that derived from these two sources of proof. Upon no part of the sacred volume, not even upon the Epistle to the Hebrews, has so much been written which is irrelevant and utterly without foundation as upon the Apocalypse. The Gospel of John, with perhaps his first Epistle, is taken by many as the representative of his whole being, culture, and development. Anything in the Apocalypse which falls without this is taken as proof of diversity of authorship. The author of the tranquil, loving, thoughtful, simple record of the character, life, and sayings of the Master on whose bosom he was wont to recline, is not capable of portraying the more general and objective relations of that Master, as “Prince of peace,” and in subduing the world to himself, casting the arch-deceiver with his minions into the lake of fire and brimstone, and preparing for all the faithful a city which has no need of the sun or the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God and the Lamb is the light thereof! The writer who in a time of peace sits down under the secret guidance of the Holy Spirit to the composition of a simple narrative, where the selection of materials and their arrangement is left, in a measure at least, to his individual choice, will, forsooth, write in the same tone and spirit as when, in the midst of a fiery persecution, in banishment he is selected as the medium of communication from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, of the most important events that relate to the struggles, conflicts, and final victory of Christianity on this earth. It is nothing, that the heaven and the bottomless pit are opened to his vision; that he is brought into the presence of him who sat upon that throne in heaven out of which proceeded lightnings and thunderings, and in the midst of which and the beasts and the elders that surrounded it, stood the Lamb, as having been slain; that he hears the voice of many angels round about the throne, whose number is “ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain”; that he sees the stars of heaven fall to the earth, and the heavens depart, as a scroll when it is rolled together, and every mountain and island moved out of their places. It is nothing, that, in the midst of these exciting scenes, which no other eye has seen and lived, being in the spirit, he was told that he must disclose these visions and “prophesy before many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.” Because in such circumstances he adopts a higher strain, and speaks what is given him to say in more confident tones; because instead of the style of simple, unpretending narrative he adopts that fitted to prophecy, and even imitates in some measure those Hebrew prophets who preceded him and wrote on somewhat similar themes, — the author of the Apocalypse cannot forsooth be the author of the fourth Gospel. A man is not himself, but another, because he adapts himself to his position; because God chose him, and qualified him by large measures of his Spirit, and by mysterious communications, and revelations of his plans for all the future ages of man. Not so are we accustomed to limit the powers of the gifted of our race; not so should we circumscribe the power of the Most High.

We cannot deem it of importance to dwell long upon the differences between the Apocalypse and Gospel and Epistles of John, which are of a general character, and which naturally, if not necessarily, result from the different themes treated of, and the different objects to be attained. It is objected by Baur, Lücke, and others, for example, that the Apocalypse is external in its character, while the Gospel is internal.8 How could it be otherwise? The object of the Apocalypse, as is now generally acknowledged, is to portray the struggles and final triumph of the kingdom of Christ on the earth, and its consummation in future blessedness. For the attainment of this great general object in a space that could well be incorporated with, and form the completion of, the sacred oracles, certain symbols or pictures were employed, by which whole series of events, extending through many years and over many lands, were characterized. These symbols were mainly objects addressed to the external senses, and were representatives of events and persons in objective relations. The representation here begins at a time subsequent to the occurrence of the events recorded in the Gospel. The subjective relation of the life, teachings, and death of Christ to the individual soul naturally is made somewhat prominent in the Gospel; but in the Apocalypse Christ has ascended the mediatorial throne, and hence, although, in reference to his atoning sacrifice, he is repeatedly represented as the Lamb that was slain, his theocratic dominion is made prominent. He rides forth in his conquering chariot, with the name King of kings and Lord of lords upon his vesture, subduing his enemies, thwarting the designs of the adversaries of his kingdom, comforting and encouraging his faithful followers, by giving them a place around his throne, where “they shall live and reign with him,” where “they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

Although, from the object of the Apocalypse, the representation is external or objective, and while there is much that is internal and subjective in the Gospel and Epistles, yet it is surprising how many points of contact there are between them, even in this particular. The appearing of Christ in the Gospel is often in a spiritual sense, as in 14:18: “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you;” and in vs. 23: “If a man love me, my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” So in the Apocalypse, 3:20: “If any man hear my voice, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” “I come,” has been called the “watchword of the Revelation.” In 2:5: “Repent, else I will come quickly;” verse 25: “Hold fast till I come;” 3:11: “I come quickly,” also 22:7, 12, 20. This external coming has its parallels in the Gospel. In John 21:22 Christ replies to the question of Peter in reference to John: “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” etc. Even Lücke says upon this passage: “In what sense Jesus said, ‘Till I come,’ we can best learn from Rev. 2:5, 16; 3:11; 22:7; etc. In 24:3, it is said also: “If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself,” etc. Compare also 1 John 2:28.

The external victories of Christ and the church are very prominent in the Apocalypse. It could not be otherwise. It was written in a time of persecution from outward enemies, and for the consolation of those who in all ages should be subject to peril and suffering from hostile secular powers. Still, there is something of the same kind in the Gospel. John 16:33: “In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,” contains the fundamental idea that is developed at length and in detail in the Apocalypse.9 In the first Epistle, 2:18: “Little children, it is the last time; and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time;” external enemies are plainly brought into account.

In the Gospel, spiritual enemies are the conspicuous objects in the foreground. In the Apocalypse, too (chap. 14:1–5), the hundred and forty-four thousand are represented as having overcome spiritual enemies. In 21:8, 27, it is those who are subject to evil passions and habits that are excluded from the New Jerusalem, and are the subjects of the second death. Compare also 22:15, and the epistles to the seven churches throughout.

As external enemies, so a visible recompense comes specially into the account in the Apocalypse. In this it agrees with the whole tenor both of the Old and New Testament. John’s Gospel is not an exception here, although nothing called forth a special development of this doctrine. In 5:14, disease is represented as coming in consequence of sin: “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee,” i.e. worse-than the impotence of which he had been cured. So death is the result of sin. For in 8:21, 24, “Ye shall die in your sins,” implies “that the sins which lead into death are, at the same time, to be regarded as the cause of death,” as “appears from a comparison of the Old Testament phraseology that lies at the foundation.”

The Apocalypse is distinguished from all the other books of the New Testament by its symbolic, dark, and mystical character. But the Gospel and Epistles of John have more of these same characteristics than any other of these books except the Apocalypse. The dipping of the sop and giving it to Judas (13:26); the symbolical character of the act of healing the blind man, as announced by Jesus himself (9:39); the washing of the disciples feet (13:5); the occasional complaint made, according to the relations of John, that the sayings of Christ were dark (6:60); the frequent misunderstanding of them (8:27; 10:6; 14:5; 16:18); the designations of Christ as “the light of the world,” the “bread of life,” “the water of life,” “the good shepherd,” “the wine,” etc., are examples of these peculiarities.

It has been objected to the Johannean authorship of the Apocalypse that there is an air of severity and sharpness in it that is not found in the Gospel and Epistles of John. There is not the same affectionateness in the mode of address of the seven Epistles as in the acknowledged Epistles of John. Such designations as “My children,” and “Beloved,” are entirely wanting. Those who make this objection seem to forget that John is not only “in the Spirit,” but that these Epistles contain not his own words, strictly speaking, but those of him at the view of whose glory and majesty the seer falls as dead (1:17). Could we expect that he who is “the first and the last;” “who holdeth the seven stars in his right hand;“ “who hath the sharp sword with two edges;” “eyes like a flame of fire;” and “the seven spirits of God,” would adopt a familiar and commonplace form of address, or a tender and brotherly strain of exhortation or rebuke? In such a number of Epistles, designed merely as introduction to what was to follow, what reason or propriety would there be in “a circular sort of movement,” or a repetition or expression of any fundamental thought? We should expect (whoever penned these epistles) that the admonition in them would be pointed and authoritative; the rebukes decided and without softening epithets; the encouragement dignified and with something of majesty in it; the whole style of expression vivid, direct, without circumlocution, strong, sharp, and almost bald, as we find it to be. Is there anything in the acknowledged writings of John, or in his character, inconsistent with this? Those who contend that there is, must forget or have overlooked the “fiery, energetic, decided” temperament of that apostle, who wished to call down fire from heaven upon a village of the Samaritans because they did not pay suitable respect to his Master (Luke 19:52).

Do not the same characteristics also appear in the Gospel? Schultze says: “We cannot fail also, from the polemical spirit that appears in nearly all the discourses of Jesus preserved in John’s Gospel, and from the reproaches which Jesus continually casts on the Jews, to draw unfavorable conclusions regarding the weakness of the historian, especially as in John, other persons speak in similarly bitter and polemical tone.”10 Kaestlin also says: “The contrast in which John places Christianity to the two other religions of his day is much sharper and more decided than in the other writers of the New Testament. With him Christianity alone is ‘the truth,’ as opposed to lies;’ it is ‘the life,’ out of which there is nothing but’ death;’ ‘the light,’ which is surrounded on every hand with darkness.’.....Everything with John falls into two opposite spheres: the one of which contains whatever is divine, the other whatever is the reverse.”11 The very nature and design of the Apocalypse would naturally bring out more sharply and sternly the contrasts between the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of Satan; and yet in the second Epistle, verse 10, it is easy to recognize the same spirit, where it is said: “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.” So that Hengstenberg is not wrong when he affirms that “the decision which is shown in rejecting everything which does not carry on its front the seal of Christ, and sets itself up against him, is a bond that unites most clearly the Gospel and Epistles of John to the Apocalypse.”12 This very appearance of severity is a result of the strong attachment of John to the Saviour, and his cause which he had so heartily adopted.

The Manner of Quoting from the Old Testament in the Apocalypse

The manner of quoting from other authors may, in some cases, be a proof of identity or diversity of authorship. In the Apocalypse and acknowledged works of John there is nothing absolutely decisive on this point, — nothing, certainly, which is at variance with the supposition that they are from the same hand. We are aware that it has been confidently asserted that in the omission of on before quotations from the Old Testament, the author of the Apocalypse differs from John. But a close examination shows that this objection cannot be relied upon. In the first place, although the allusions to the Old Testament are very frequent, so much so as to give a Hebraic tinge to the style, yet a direct, formal quotation is never made. And then, when the words of the Old Testament are introduced, they appear to come from a mind fully imbued with those writings, and seem not to be sought after, but to be introduced from the suggestion of the occasion. Indeed the whole idea of the book, as composed from the dictation, if we may so say, of Christ, and under the excitement of such unusual and soul-stirring inspiration, is opposed to formal quotation. Only a bungling counterfeiter would introduce anything of the kind, to any extent, in a writing of the character of the Apocalypse.

But this is not all. The citations are so manifestly from memory, that commentators cannot determine whether the Septuagint13 or the Hebrew text is the basis of the quotations; and yet the Apocalypse, with all its peculiarities, scarcely differs more than the Epistle of John, in the manner of quotation, from the fourth Gospel. Furthermore, there are very few cases (not more than ten or twelve, Stuart says) where the ὅτι could have been introduced appropriately, and John’s Gospel has a large number of instances of its omission.14

There is, however, one passage quoted in the Apocalypse and John’s Gospel quite indicative of the same hand. John alone (in Gos. 19:34–37) gives an account of the piercing of our Saviour’s side with a spear, and quotes from Zech. 12:10:“They shall look on him whom they pierced” The author of the Apocalypse quotes from the same passage (1:7): “Every eye shall see him, and they also who pierced him.” What is specially noticeable here is, that both in the Gospel and Apocalypse the same word is employed (Gos. εἰς ὃν ἐξεκέντησαν; Apoc., αὐτὸν ἐξεκέντησαν), while the Septuagint translators, probably from a mistake in a letter of the Hebrew word, use the verb κατωχρήσαντο.

Peculiarities of Style in the Apocalypse

In no part of the argument have the opposers of the authenticity of the Apocalypse exerted themselves so much as in that which relates to the style of the work. Here so much is uncertain, so much depends upon the taste or mental peculiarities of the writer, so much upon previously formed opinions, that there is much room for discussion. And yet a suitable regard for the peculiarities of the circumstances of the writer, the object to be attained by the book, and the manner of the presentation of the different points of the revelation to the writer, independently of any forethought or plan on his part, cast entirely out of the account, with a candid critic, a large share of what has been so confidently brought forward under this head.

1. The irregularity of style, the anacolutha, the abruptness, the want of accurate finish in the Apocalypse, about which so much has been written, are easily and naturally to be accounted for from the exciting, varied, changing, irresistingly moving scenes through which the writer passed: now in heaven, now on the earth, now in the world of torment; at one time on the land, in the wilderness, in the great city, and at another in view of the sea and death and hell giving up their dead; amidst war, pestilence, famine; before the throne of God and the Lamb, and dazzled by the splendors of the New Jerusalem, which had no need of sun or moon to give it light, since God and the Lamb were the light of it. How could a writer amid such scenes, and with the destinies of the myriads of all future time before him, write in a calm, regular, correct style? Ought we not to expect abrupt transitions, irregular and broken constructions, and at the same time a fervor, a glow, even a sublimity of style, which would be inappropriate in a calm narrative, or in a letter written in the moments of repose and quiet. Poetry, not in form perhaps, but in substance, must be the result of such circumstances as those in which the author of the Apocalypse wrote, especially if he had the keen susceptibilities of the apostle John.

All the irregularities of poetry too, except those that result from measure and rhythm, are to be expected in such a composition. It assumes a higher tone, makes use of rare words, and those of a concrete rather than abstract nature; loves sonorous but short sentences, which seem to burst out, rather than flow, from the overcharged breast. We should not expect personal peculiarities to appear conspicuously. While in some respects the circumstances would give peculiar activity of mind, yet there is truth in the remark that “his mind was passive rather than active. It received impressions.” “Ideas were presented to him in a peculiar manner, and he had little more to do than record them as they were presented. He heard words, and he had to write them.” It would be manifestly unjust to apply rigidly the ordinary rules of composition to anything written as the Apocalypse was.

The mind of John, we should suppose, was reflective, rather than highly imaginative. Still no one would doubt that it “would be wrought up to the highest pitch of enthusiastic excitement by the awful grandeur of the visions he was privileged to behold. Besides, who can doubt that the Spirit of God exerted an overmastering influence on the instrument it had chosen for its revelations? The author’s “own reflection shrank back into its feebleness, oppressed by the greatness of the task. Overawed by the sublimity of the scenes to be delineated it withdrew, giving place to the immediate operation of the Holy Spirit. Hence an abruptness and a vehemence are observable in the manner. Brevity and energy are strongly impressed upon the diction. The circumstances and time allowed no room for rounded periods or polished sentences. The dramatic action proceeds with rapid fervor, and the mind of the writer in high excitement is hurried along by the progress of events, hastening towards a catastrophe. The heavenly beings introduced as speaking, have no space for long dialogue, while the coming of Christ is at hand.”15

Still there is a basis in the writings of John for just such a style as that of the Apocalypse, influenced by the attending circumstances. There is nothing of the dialectic, conservative, logical connection of argumentation, so common in the writings of Paul; but simplicity and vividness strongly characterize it. So Steinhofer says of the first Epistle: “We find in this epistle clear, full words (voces fragmentes), since each word not only contains the whole matter in itself, but also suits the manifold circumstances that may occur in connection with it. As, for example, when it is said: He that is of God abides in God. They are sayings of such a kind as immediately awaken suitable feelings, and produce a living impression and spiritual sense of the matter,”16 etc. “In this connection,” says Hengstenberg, “let us only think of’ the Lamb;’ of ‘the Lion of the tribe of Judah;’ of ‘the Word;’ ‘but I have somewhat against thee, that thou hast left thy first love;’ of the Laodiceans being neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm; of the charge: Hold fast what thou hast, that no man take thy crown;’ or of his standing before the door and knocking, and supping with those who let him in.”

2. The Hebraistic character of the style of the Apocalypse has been adduced as an objection to the authorship of John. In the first place, many of the peculiarities which have been charged to the imitation of the Hebrew, both by the advocates and opponents of the Johannean origin, are purely rhetorical, and are accounted for by the remarks under the preceding head of irregularities of construction. Then the Gospel of John is not entirely free from Hebraisms. Thus Hengstenberg says, that “in the Gospel of John there are not wanting points of contact with the Hebraistic character of the Apocalypse.” “The Evangelist’s predilection for the Hebrew language is indicated by his using so many Hebrew words with an appended interpretation.”17 Thiersch also says: “It is not to be overlooked that in the Gospel of John, the introduction, especially in its earlier part, exhibits with perfect clearness, in the structure of the sentences, in the parallelism of the members, and the position of the words, the rhythm of the Old Testament hymns.” 18 There is, indeed, enough of Hebrew coloring to occasion some to pronounce it strongly Hebraic, and to suppose that it was written in Aramaic, the Hebrew of that age. Still there is plainly no good ground for this supposition; and we cannot, if we would, deny that the Apocalypse is more allied in style to Hebrew, and more nearly related in contents to the Hebrew prophets, than any other book of the New Testament.

What produces this Hebrew coloring? In the first place, it is a book of prophecy, and the only one of the New Testament. This would naturally, of itself, give it some similarity in style. Then the native language of John was the Aramaic; his education was in that language, and his early religion that of the Hebrews; and it is by no means certain that he learned Greek before he went to Ephesus, where that language was much spoken. Then, tradition as well as other reasons, make the fourth Gospel of a later date than the Apocalypse; and John, from his longer residence in Asia Minor, would here necessarily have obtained a more easy and flowing style.

John, too, would doubtless be far more familiar with the Hebrew poetic style than with the Greek; and when he was brought into circumstances which required a poetic diction, he would naturally fall somewhat into that with which he was most familiar, although writing in another language.

But another circumstance seems to me to have had far more influence in giving a Hebrew tinge to the style, since the author indicates, in various expressions, that he does not use a Hebraic style from ignorance of Greek or inability to write correctly in that language.19 It was a time of the persecution of Christians, and John was in banishment for his adherence to the Christian faith (1:9). He would naturally, in such circumstances, turn his attention to the promises of the Old Testament in reference to the oppressions of the people of God and the hope of deliverance. This led him, doubtless, to a close study of the later prophets, such as Daniel, Ezekiel, and Zechariah; and it is not unnatural to suppose that this study was a part of the preliminary training that rendered him a fit medium for the revelation which God wished to make to the children of men. This would, it seems to us, be a sufficient explanation of the Hebraistic style of the Apocalypse, if there were no other. And this, taken with the preceding considerations, seems to warrant the strong language which Hengstenberg uses, when he says: “It is difficult to understand how any one can still argue from them [the Hebraisms of the Apocalypse] that the author of it must have been different from the author of the Gospel. No one can do this in good faith, excepting he who makes his own mental weakness, incompetence, and monotony the measure for others.”20

Words Found in the Other Writings of John and not in the Apocalypse, and the Reverse

Some words found in John’s other writings do not appear in the Apocalypse; and, on the other hand, some words in the Apocalypse are wanting in the Gospel and Epistles. It may be said of many of those enumerated, that they are not specially characteristic of the style of John, and are used in other books of the New Testament. An author cannot, of course, expect to use all the same words in a simple narrative and in a prophetic writing, where works in another language are in some degree imitated, and where the style is highly poetic. Besides, “the range of the Gospel and Epistles is wider than that of the Apocalypse.” There is a far greater variety of ideas in them, while in the Apocalypse the ideas were peculiar, especially as compared with the rest of the New Testament. Hence we should expect different words and phrases.

It is said by Ewald and others that the particles πάντοτε, πώποτε, οὐδέποτε, οὐδέπω, are not found in the Apocalypse, although they appear in the other writings of John. We should not expect so many connective particles or so much variety in them in a work consisting of separate visions, communicated often in disconnected sentences. But, furthermore, these particles can none of them be considered as in any way characteristic of John’s writings. Πάντοτε is oftener used by Paul than John, who indeed never uses it in his Epistles, and but six or seven times in the Gospel. He had no occasion to use it in the Apocalypse, and it accordingly does not appear there. Of πώποτε it is sufficient to say that it is used but once in the Epistles of John, and four times in the Gospel, and that the Apocalypse does not deal in negative clauses like those in which this particle is found. Οὐδέποτε is used just once by John in Gospel 7:46. Οὐδέπω is used three times only by John, and he had no further occasion for it.

Καθώς is frequent in the Gospel and Epistles, but not found in the Apocalypse. So it is frequent in the Romans and in the Corinthians, and not found at all, or rarely, in several of Paul’s other epistles. Besides, we should expect the shorter form ὡς in the concise, abrupt style appropriate to the Apocalypse.

ὡς, as a particle of time, is not found in the Apocalypse, but often in the Gospel. It is not, however, in the Epistles of John, and is found in some of Paul’s epistles, and not in others.

The particles of reasoning and consecutive narrative, such as οῦν, ἄρα, μέν, τέ, γάρ, ἀλλά, ἵνα, are naturally either sparingly used, or not used at all, in the Apocalypse. The simple connective καί is frequent when little attention would be given, in the excitement of the inspiration, to niceties and unnecessary discrimination in the use of connecting words. Besides, in respect to many of these words, “the peculiarity is only a higher degree of that which is also met with in the other writings of John.”

Some difference is found in the use of verbs of sight, in John’s Gospel and Epistles and in the Apocalypse; but no more than we might expect the same writer to exhibit in so different kinds of writing. The verb βλέπω is found sixteen times in the Gospel, about the same number of times in the Apocalypse, but not at all in the first Epistle. Ὁράω is quite frequently used in the Gospel, but almost always (once ἑώρων) in the Perfect, ἑώρακα, while it is used but three times in the Apocalypse. It need hardly be suggested how inappropriate the form in the Gospel would be to designate things seen in vision, where the objects pass before the eyes and are gone. The Aorist εἶδον is the exactly appropriate word, and is found far oftener than any other verb of sight in all the writings of John. But it is said, “that θεάομαι and θεώρεω are favorite words with John,” while the former is not found in the Apocalypse, and the latter but twice. θεάομαι occurs ten times (not often enough to prove it a very favorite word), and θεώρεω nearly twice as often. But the meaning of these words, especially the former, as used elsewhere by John,— to look at carefully, to inspect, — would not find place in the Apocalypse.

Πιστεύειν is very frequent in the Gospel, used about one hundred times, but never in the Apocalypse; for the simple reason that the plan of the Apocalypse did not include a discussion of subjective faith, as a means of attaining to eternal life, so often brought to view in the Gospel. On the other hand, faith (πίστις), as denoting a more objective or general relation, is found, naturally, four times in the Apocalypse, and never in the Gospel. We cannot accede to the view of Hengstenberg, that the word πιστεύειν is avoided in the Apocalypse because it is so often used by John in the Gospel, and by other writers of the New Testament, in order, in a prophetical work, “to shun the characteristic peculiarities of his own customary dialect,” or the current phraseology of the age. We do not believe the Apocalypse was composed with any such nice balancings of what was befitting the character of the book; but that such language was employed as was suggested by the peculiar character of the book and the circumstances of the author.

It has been objected that composite words are less used in the Apocalypse than in John; but Professor Stuart, after a careful examination, finds that the preponderance is rather in favor of the Apocalypse than the Gospel.21

Οικουμένη is used in the Apocalypse, but not in the other writings of John. So it is used in the Epistle to the Romans, and not elsewhere in Paul’s writings, except the Hebrews. Is that Epistle therefore spurious? In the three places where it is found, it seems more appropriate than the common κόσμος, found so often in the Gospel and twice in the Apocalypse. In 3:10 and 12:9 it is put forss the inhabitants of the earth, and from its derivation is naturally used; and in 16:14, with ὅλης, it is more apposite than κόσμος. Besides, it is the usual word in the LXX. for ל, and hence might naturally be employed in the Hebraistic style of the Apocalypse.22

Παντοκράτωρ is used eight or nine times in the Apocalypse, and only once besides (in 2 Corinthians) in the New Testament, and always with ὁ θεός or κύριος ὁ θεός. It is parallel with the Hebrew ל שַׁדַּי, or יְהוָֹה אֱוֹּהֵי צְבָאוֹת, but not probably an imitation. The strongest word was required to express the power and majesty of God, and none more suitable could be found. With a similar desire for emphatic, full-toned designations, characteristic of prophetic style, Christ is designated as “Prince of the kings of the earth,” the “Beginning of the creation of God,” etc.

ὑπομονή occurs several times in the Apocalypse, but not in the other writings of John. The simple reason is, that endurance, patience under suffering, is prominent in the Apocalypse, but not in the Gospel and Epistles of John. The word is used several times by Paul, when he has occasion to give expression to the same idea. For the same reason we find ἔ̓χειν τὴν μαρτυρίαν (6:9; 12:17; 19:10) in the Apocalypse, and not elsewhere in John.

There are words that occur with unusual frequency in the Apocalypse; for example, μέγας is used about eighty times in the Apocalypse and five times in the Gospel. The reason is obvious to even a superficial reader. The subject-matter, the objects brought to view, and the desire to give the importance which belonged to them to these objects, and the high tone which is suited to poetic and prophetic writings, are sufficient to account for this frequent use. The accumulation of words to designate the dignity or majesty of the object described; as, εὐλογία, τιμή, δόξα and κράτος; and the use of “full-toned words as μεσουράνημα and ποταμοφόρητος, or longer forms of particles, as ἰδού for ἴδε, are to be explained in the same way.23

Several other words and phrases have been referred to, as occurring either in the fourth Gospel and first Epistle and not in the Apocalypse, or the reverse; but they are so manifestly a casual use that is perfectly natural, or one that is suggested by the objects before the mind of the writer at the moment, that it is a waste of time to enumerate them. The argument from this source, it seems to us, if not decisive in its favor, is certainly not against, the Johannean authorship of the Apocalypse. The course taken by the opposers of the genuineness of this book, as far as this argument goes, would deprive Paul of several of his Epistles; and indeed any other author of works as different in their character as the fourth Gospel and the Apocalypse could be shown not to have written but one of the works in question. But, further, we proceed to give

Proof of Identity of Authorship from the use or Omission of the Same Words and Phrases in the Apocalypse and Other Writings of John

Μαρτυρία and ματυρέω are favorite words in the Gospel and Apocalypse. Gospel, 1:7, (twice) 8, 15, 19, 32, 34; 2:25; 3:11 (twice), 26, 28, 32, 33; 4:39, 44; 5:31 (twice), 32 (three times), 33, 34, 36 (twice), 37, 39; 7:7; 8:13 (twice), 14 (twice), 17, 18 (twice); 10:25; 12:17; 13:21; 15:26, 27; 18:23, 37; 19:35 (twice), 21:24 (twice). Apocalypse, 1:2 (twice), 9; 6:9; 11:7; 12:11, 17; 19:10; 20:4. These are also very frequent in the first Epistle of John 1:2; 4:14; 5:6, 7, 8, 9 (four times), 10 (three times), 11; and it occurs five times in the third Epistle vs. 3, 6, 12 (three times). Μαρτυρία is rarely used elsewhere in the New Testament, while ματυρέω occurs a few times in Acts and Hebrews, but is infrequent in the other books. In the Gospel we find such phrases as τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἡμῶν; Ματυρῶ περὶ ἐμαυτοῦ; Ή μαρτυρία μου; Μαρτυρῶν περὶ ἐμοῦ, where Christ speaks of himself ; and where others, as the Pharisees, speak to him, Σὺ περὶ σεαυτοῦ μαρτυρεῖς; Ἡ μαρρτυρία σου. Cf. 3:10; 5:31, 32; 8:13, 14, et al. In the Apocalypse, τὴν μαρτυρίαν ̓Λησοῦ Χριστοῦ (1:2, 9), and kindred phrases are frequent. No one can mistake the identity in the meaning of the words.

The use of ἀληθινός is rare, except in the writings of John, and especially as applied to God is found elsewhere only in 1 Thess. 1:9. Gospel 1:9; 4:23, 37; 6:32; 7:28; 15:1; 17:3; 19:35. 1 John 2:8; 5:20 (three times), Rev. 3:7, 14; 6:10; 15:3; 16:7; 19:9, 11; 21:5, 22:6.

Μετὰ ταῦτα as a formula of transition, in its frequency, is peculiar to the writings of John, Apocalypse 1:19; 4:1; 7:1, 9; 9:12; 15:5 ;18:1; 19:1; 20:3. Gospel 3:22; 5:1, 14; 6:1; 7:1; 19:38; 21:1.

The use of the verb νικᾶv, especially in the present partciple ὁ νικῶν. in the acknowledged writings of John and the Apocalypse are strikingly indicative of identity of authorship, as the peculiar usage is not only not found in the New Testament, except in Rom. 12:21, but is not in other authors. See Apocalypse 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21 (twice); (5:5; 6:2; 11:7; 12:11; 13:7; 15:2; 17:14); 21:7; Gospel 16:33; first Epistle 2:13, 14; 4:4; 5:4 (twice), 5. It should not escape notice that the peculiar use of overcoming the world or the evil, is almost confined to the first Epistle and the epistles to the churches, where, in accordance with the brief, apothegmatical character of the writing, the simple participle is used without the object in the accusative.

῎Οψις used in Gospel 7:24; 11:44, and Apocalypse 1:16, and not elsewhere in the New Testament.

Βροντή is very frequent in the Apocalypse, as 4:5; 6:1; 8:5; 10:3-4, (twice), 11:19, et al, and is used in the same sense in the Gospel, and nowhere else in the New Testament, except once in Mark, who calls James and John sons of thunder (βροντῆς)

῾Εβραῒστί is not found in any other of the sacred writings except John’s Gospel and Apocalypse; Gospel 5:2; 19:13, 17, 20, and Apocalypse 9:11; 16:16.

It is certainly strange that so peculiar an appellative as the word, ὁ λόγος, is applied to Christ in the Gospel (1:1, 14), First Epistle (1:1; 5:7), and Apocalypse (19:13), and nowhere else in the New Testament, if these are not all from the same hand.

᾿Εκκεντέω, only found in Rev. 1:7, and Gospel 19:37.

Σφάττειν is employed in Rev. 5:6; 9:12; 6:4, 9; 13:3, 8; 18:24, and First Epistle 3:12 (twice), and not elsewhere.

Σκηνοῦν also is used in Apocalypse 7:15; 12:12; 13:6; 21:3, and Gospel 1:14, and only in those passages.

The phrase ἔχειν μέρος, with the meaning, to have part in or with, is found only in John’s Gospel 13:8, and Apoclypse 10:6.

Περιπατεῖν μετά τινος, to walk with, associate with. Gospel 6:66; Apocalypse 3:4.

Λαλεῖν μετά (τινος), to talk with, Rev. 1:12; 4:1; 10:8; 17:1; 21:9, 15; Gospel 4:27; 9:37; 14:30; and not elsewhere, except Mark 6:50.

Τηρεῖν τὸν λόγον belongs only to John. See Gospel 8:51, 52, 55; 14:23, 24 (τοὺς λόγους); 15:20; 17:6; Rev. 3:8, 10. So τηρεῖν ἐκ (τινος) Rev. 3:10; Gospel 17:15.

Κύριε, σὺ οἶδας, three times in Gospel 21:15–17, and Rev. 7:13; not elsewhere.

Compare also the phrase γίνου πιστός (Gospel 20:7; Rev. 2:10); καταβαίνειν ἐκ τοῦ αὐρανοῦ, (Gospel 6:33, 38, 41, 42, 50; Apocalypse 3:12; 10:1; 13:13; 16:21; 18:1; 20. et al.); ἀναβαίνειν εἰς τὸν αὐρανόν (Gospel 3:13; Apocalypse 11:12; 19:3); ὄνομα αὐτῳ (Gospel 1:26; 3:1; Rev. 6:8; 9:11); ἀπεκρίθη λέγων (Gospel 1:26; 10:33; Rev. 7:13).

In both the Gospel and Apocalypse it is usual to explain Hebrew by Greek words, Apoc. 3:14; 9:11; 12:9; 20:2; 22:20; Gospel 1:39, 42, 43; 9:7; 19:13, 17, a usage rare in the other New Testament writers.

A sort of parallelism made by a positive and negative expression is found in the writings of John. Gospel 1:3, 7, 20, 48; 3:15, 17, 20; 5:19, 24; 8:35, 45; 10:4, 5, 28; 15:5–7; First Epistle 2:27; Apocalypse 2:2, 8, 13; 3:8, 17, 21, et al. A peculiar joining together of the present and future tenses is found in the Gospel 14:3, πάλιν ἔρχομαι, καὶ παραλήψομαι ὑμᾶς, κ.τ.λ.; Apocalypse 2:5, ἔρχομαί σοι ταχὺ, καὶ κινήσω τὴν λυχνίαν σου κ.τ.λ.

The Apocalypse says of Satan (12:9), that “he was cast to the earth,” ἐβλήθη εἰς τὴν γῆν; the Gospel (12:31), that “the prince of this world shall be cast out”; ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου ἐκβληθήσεται ἔξω.24

The omission of certain words and phrases common in other writers of the New Testament is noticeable in the writings of John, including the Apocalypse; as μετανοία, γέεννα, θησαυρός, θησαυρίζω; compounds of δυς; certain conjunctions as διό, διότι, ἕως ἂν; prepositions in connection with forms of γίνομαι, as ἐν τῷ γενέσθαι, εἱς τὸ γενέσθαι, πρὸς τὸ γενέσθαι, μετὰ τὸ γενέσθαι, ἀντὶ τοῦ γενέσθαι,25 etc.

Similarity of Imagery in the Apocalypse and Gospel of John

The imagery in the Apocalypse and the Gospel and Epistles of John is drawn from the same sources, and is frequently expressed in a similar manner. Christ is the bridegroom of the church:

Gos. 3:29: Ὁ ἔχων τὴν νύμφην, νυμφίος ἐστιν: ὁ δὲ φίλος τοῦ νυμφίου, ὁ ἑστηκὼς καὶ ἀκούων αὐτοῦ, χαρᾷ χαίρει διὰ τὴν φωνὴν τοῦ νυμφίου.

Apoc. 19:7: Χαίρωμεν καὶ ἀγαλλιώμεθα, καὶ δῶμεν τὴν δόξαν αὐτῷ: ὅτι ἦλθεν ὁ γαμος τοῦ ἀρνίου, καὶ ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ ἡτοίμασεν ἐαυτήν.

Apoc. 21:2: Καὶ ἐγὼ ᾿Λωάνηης εἶδον τὴν πόλιν τὴν ἁγίαν ἡτοιμασμένην ὡς νύμφην κεκοσμημένην τῷ ἀνδρὶ αὑτῆς.

Apoc. 22:17: Καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ ἡ νύμφη λέγουσιν, κ.τ.λ.

So Christ is the shepherd and his followers the sheep:

Gos. 10:1–5: ὁ ποιμήν ἐστι τῶν προβάτων καὶ τὰ πρόβατα αὐτῷ ἀκολουθεῖ, κ.τ.λ.

Apoc. 7:17: τὸ ἀρνίον ποιμανεῖ αὐτοὺς, καὶ ὁδηγήσει, κ.τ.λ.

Gos. 10:1: Ὁ μὴ εἰσερχόμενος διὰ τῆς θύρας εἰς τὴν αὐλὴν τῶν προβάτων, κ.τ.λ.

Gos. 10:7, 9: ᾿Εγώ εἰμι ἡ θύρα τῶν προβάτων.

Apoc. 3:20: ᾿Λδοὺ, ἕστηκα ἐπὶ τὴν θύραν, καὶ κρούω: ἐάν τις.....ἀνοίξη τὴν θύραν.

The voice and hearing are used similarly, in a figurative sense:

Apoc. 3:20: ᾿Εάν τις ἀκούση τῆς φωνῆς μου.

Gos. 10:3: Τὰ πρό́βατα τῆς φωνῆς αὐτοῦ ἀκούει.

Gos. 10:4: Τὰ πρόβατα οἴδασι τὴν φωνὴν αὐτοῦ.

Gos. 10:5: Οὐκ οἲδασι τῶν ἀλλοτρίων τὴν φωνήν.

Gos. 10:16: τῆς φωνῆς μου ἀκούσουσι.

So hunger and thirsty and the water of life:

Apoc. 12:17: Ὁ διψῶν ἐλθειτω, ὁ θέλων λαμβανέτω ὕδωρ ζωῆς δωρεάν.

Gos. 7:37: ᾿Εάν τις διψᾷ ἐρχέσθω πρός με, καὶ πινέτω.

Apoc. 21:6: ᾿Εγὼ τῷ διψῶντι δώσ́ ἐκ τῆς πηγῆς τοῦ ὕδατος τῆς ζωῆς δωρεάν.

Gos. 4:10: ῎Εδωκεν ἄν σοι ὕδωρ ζῶν.

Apoc. 22:1 : Ποταμὸν ὕδατος ζωῆς.

Gos. 4:14: Πηγὴ ὕδατος ἁλλομένου εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

Apoc. 7:16: Οὐ πεινάσουσιν ἔτι, οὐδὲ διψήσουσιν ἔτι.

Gos. 6:35: Ὁ ἐρχόμενος πρός με, οὐ μὴ πεινάσῃ: καὶ ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμὲ, οὐ μὴ διψήσῃ πώποτε.

Many more examples of a like kind might be adduced; but we will merely refer to the figurative use of such words as φωτίζω, δόξα, φαίνω, and the use of lamb as a designation of Christ, which is found twenty-five times in the Apocalypse, and in John’s Gospel 1. 29, 36, and not elsewhere in the New Testament, except in Acts 8:32, and 1 Pet. 1:19, where Isa. 53:7 is quoted. It is worthy of remark that ὁ ἀμνός is used in the Gospel, while ἀρνίον is the word employed in the Apocalypse. “But,” says Davidson, “τὸ ἀρνίον in the Apocalypse is chosen as a term descriptive of Messiah, not only with reference to his sacrificial death, an idea common to it and ἀμνός, but chiefly because the τὸ ἀρνίον of the Apocalypse is put in antithesis to θηρίον.”26

Similarity of Doctrine and Sentiment in the Apocalypse and Acknowledged Writings of John

That different sentiments and doctrines, and different phases of the same doctrine, are presented in two pieces of writing, is no objection to identity of authorship. There must be a contrariety that cannot be reconciled. But instead of that, in comparing the fourth Gospel and Apocalypse, we find amidst a variety, and even diversity, which we should expect, some points of union; as many, indeed, as we ought to look for in works composed in so different circumstances, upon so different a plan, and for so different an end.

In reference to the names given to Christ, such as λόγος and ἀρνίον we have already spoken. But there are other representations which are worthy of notice. The propitiatory sacrifice of Christ is spoken of much in the same way. Apocalypse 1:5; “Unto him.....that washed us from our sins in his own blood.” 1:5; “The blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from all sin.” See also Apocalypse 5:9; 7:14; 12:11; 14:4; 1 Epistle 2:2; 4:10; Gospel 1:29, 36; 10:15, 18, et al.

The salvation procured by Christ is for all. This is from the nature of the Apocalypse expressed with more fulness; See Apocalypse 5:9; 7:9; 21:25, 26; 22:2; First Epistle 2:2; 4:14; Gospel 3:16; 10:16; 11:51 seq.; 12:32.

The same power is accorded to Christ and the same praise ascribed to him, and in many cases it is like that which belongs to God the Father. Rev. 1:5 seq.; 3:21; 5:6, 8–13; 7:17; 11:15; 14:1; 19:10–13; 21:23; 22:13–16; Gospel 1:1; seq.; 5:20 seq.; 6:62; 8:54 seq.; 10:28 seq.; 12:41; 17:1 seq.

Omniscience is also ascribed to him. Apocalypse 2:23:“I am he who searches the reins and the hearts;” and the introductions to the Epistles 2:2, 9, 13, 19; 3:1, 8, 15, and Gospel 2:23:“He knew all men,” and 24:“He knew what was in man.” There are also many other passages of, the like nature.

Still he is represented as dependent upon the Father, especially in reference to what he teaches. Apocalypse 1:1:“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which’ God gave unto him, to show unto his servants.” So in Gospel 17:8 Jesus says of his followers: “I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me;” and 2:27:“Even as I received of my Father”; and 2:49:“I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, gave me a commandment what I should say.” See also 5:19, 20; 7:16; 8:28; 15:15.

On the other hand, Christ’s followers are made participants in what he receives from the Father. In addition to the verses quoted in the preceding paragraph, which relate especially to the instruction given, see, in reference to power and honor, Apocalypse 3:21: “To him that overcometh I will grant to sit with me on my throne” etc. Gospel 12:26: “Where I am, there shall also my servant be; and Apocalypse 2:26; 14:2; 17:26, etc.

The stress laid upon works, and the necessity of exhibiting Christian principle in the life, is evident throughout the writings of John. Apocalypse 2:23; 3:1; 14:4, 5, 12, 13 et al; 1 Epistle 2:3 seq.; 3; 10, 17. In regard to the Gospel, Lücke says: “As he represents the implantation and advancement of saving faith as the more immediate design of writing his Gospel, so also in his whole exhibition of doctrine and history he seems to indicate that the ground and centre of he Christian life is loving, active, obedient faith (see especially 14–17.), not a mere knowing and apprehending.”27 It should not escape notice, that it is not particular duties and obligations, such as Paul and Peter often inculcate, that John lays stress upon, but works in general — the life.

The invisible and spiritual agency is necessarily different in the Apocalypse from that in the other writings of John, and indeed from that in the other New Testament books. There is little occasion to refer to angels and demons in the Gospel, while in the Apocalypse, “angels are the companions and interpreters of the seer throughout his visions. Their interposition is announced in the inscription to the book, and declared near its close (22:16). They are everywhere brought forward to our view, either as the executioners of divine justice, or as fulfilling the will of God and the Redeemer, by becoming instruments in protecting the church, and making it victorious over all its enemies and persecutors.”28 No objection in respect to authorship can properly be made from this employment of angelic agency by the Almighty in the revelations which he made by his servant, unless it should appear from his other writings that John discarded unseen spiritual agents. In that case we might suppose that God would select another for the execution of his designs. But instead of any such evidence appearing in John, we find expressions in reference to angelic agency in the fourth Gospel which might naturally fall from the pen of the author of the Revelation. E. g. 1:51:“Hear-after ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the son of man”; 5:4: “For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool” (compare with this Apocalypse 1:4 seq.); 12:29:“An angel spake to him”; 20:12:“And seeth two angels siting,” etc. If it be objected to the Apocalypse that so much use is made of angelic agency, we will merely say, as it does not properly pertain to our present inquiry, that such agency is frequent in the Old Testament, especially in Daniel and Zechariah; and that in the prophecies in reference to our Saviour, it is said that angels shall have guardianship over him, to keep him from evil in his human capacity (Ps. 91:11-12, and that in actual life they ministered to him (Matt. 4:11), and that twelve legions of angels were at his command, if he desired them, to sustain him in his conflict with his enemies (Matt. 26:53).29

It has been objected to the Apocalypse, that antichrist is different in the Epistles and Apocalypse, since in the former prophets are thus designated, and a temporal ruler in the latter. In the first place it may be said, that the word is not found in the Apocalypse or in John’s Gospel; and it can certainly be no objection to the Apocalypse that a different class of errorists are there brought into notice. Besides, as Hengstenberg says: “The antichrist of the Epistles recurs substantially in the Revelation.” That the enigmatical Old Testament names of the Nicolaitans (re), of those who followed the doctrine of Balaam (2:14), of the woman Jezebel (2:20), are more suited to the character of the Apocalypse needs no proof. There is, besides, an apparent allusion to the name in chapter 2:13.”30

The doctrine of a double resurrection it is said is peculiar to the Apocalypse. Whether this is so or not, in the first place, depends upon the interpretation given to some passages in the Apocalypse and some of the other books of the New Testament, about which there is much difference of opinion among scholars, and which can not be discussed here. Hengstenberg finds a plain allusion to a double resurrection in John 5:21–29:“The first and the second resurrection in the Apocalypse denote the same two stages of salvation which are also mentioned in the Gospel of John.”31 The only difference is, as Hengstenberg supposes, that “the word ‘resurrection’ is used in a figurative sense “also in the first stage, and that only the righteous are designated in the Revelation, while in the Gospel the wicked are also included. But whether Hengstenberg is right or not, it makes little difference, as far as the authorship of the Apocalypse is concerned. That book was designed as a revelation of what should be in the future; and is it strange that something more, or more definite, is made known concerning the resurrection, which is but so lightly touched upon in the Gospel? It seems to us, that only the strong desire to accumulate proof for a preconceived opinion would have had recourse to this as an argument.


The testimony from the Fathers for John as the author of the Apocalypse is decided, full, varied, continuous, and almost unbroken in the early centuries. All the opposition that can be found to its apostolic origin is so manifestly the result of a perversion of its contents, and a desire to counteract the hurtful influence which had arisen from the supposed corroboration in it of millenarian views, that it can have very little weight in a critical argument (see p. 347, above).

The declarations in the book itself would seem, too, to leave little doubt who was its author. There can have been no other John who could have honestly designated himself as John simply in writing to the churches over which John the apostle had the oversight, and who, in connection with the name, would naturally characterize his work in a manner so similar to that found in John’s Gospel 21:24 (see pp. 348 seq., above).

The general characteristics of the Apocalypse, from the origin, nature, and design of the work, are very different from those of the other writings of John, and indeed from all of the books of the New Testament; but still there is not only not anything in it which is contradictory to the other writings of John, but there are many points of union with them; as many, at least, as we should expect to find in writings so diverse in their general inception and object.

The manner of quoting from the Old Testament is not such in general as to throw much light upon the question of authorship; but in one passage at least (1:7, compared with Gospel 19:34 seq.) there are indications of the same hand that penned the fourth Gospel.

There are words and phrases in the Apocalypse that are not found in the Gospel and Epistles of John, and others in the latter productions which do not appear in the former. They are, however, not characteristic uses of words, or are easily accounted for from different topics treated of, or the different circumstances of the writer; while, on the other hand, there is a similarity in the use or omission of words and imagery that is peculiar, and certainly such as might be expected from the same author.

The sentiments and doctrines of the Apocalypse are many of them unique, but not contradictory to those of the acknowledged writings of John, and indeed are often such that one is strikingly reminded of the disciple whom Jesus loved.


1) Hengstenberg’s Commentary, I. 1, xviii. 20, and Vol. II. 391.

2) See Hengstenberg’s Commentary, Vol. II. 403 sq.

3) Coram., Vol. II. 390, 391.

4) Planting and Training of the Christian Church, Bk. V., where many particulars illustrating his influence there are given.

5) Thus Twells, in Vindic. Apoc, says: “So that Cicero did this or that, or declared so and so to his readers, it is manifest who would be meant. We should at once understand that it was the oration of that well-known Cicero, and not Quintus Cicero his brother, or Marcus his son.”

6) Neander’s Planting and Training, Bk. V. See also Tertull. Praescript., c. 36; Clemens, c. 42; Orig. 1:16. in Matt. § 6; Irenaeus, V. 30.

7) Hengstenberg, Comm. on xxii. 8.

8) We cannot deem it a matter of much importance, as far as the authorship of the Apocalypse is concerned, that it is more artificial in its structure than the Gospel of John; and yet it may not be amiss to give Hengstenberg’s remarks upon this point: “The actual plan of the Apocalypse agrees so exactly with that of the Gospel, that we are thereby alone led to think of the identity of the author. The Gospel, like the Apocalypse, consists of an introduction (ch. 1:1–18), a main body, the close of which at the end of chap, 20, has often been mistaken for the end of the whole, and the conclusion (ch. 21.). The main body in the Gospel, as in the Apocalypse, has two chief parts, the second beginning with chap. 13:1, as in the Apocalypse with ch. 12. The main body, further, in the Gospel, as in the Apocalypse, falls into a series of groups, the existence of which is generally recognized, though the firm establishment of them has not been attended to by expositors as it should have been. It is found on close examination that the seven number of the groups in the Apocalypse returns also here, divided by the four and three, as there by the three and the four. These divisions also in the Apocalypse alternate with each other. Of the four groups of the first part of the main body, the first, in chap. 1:19–2:11, contains the beginning of Christ’s ministry in Peraea and Galilee, according to the order intimated in the prophecy of Isa. 8:23, ‘the region of the sea beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, which Matthew takes for his starting-point, and which required John also to lay the commencement of our Lord’s operations in the same region. The second, chap. 2:12–4:54, begins at Capernaum and closes also there; the third, in chap. 5:1–6:71, the fourth, in chap. 7:1–12:50, contain the three festal visits of Jesus to Jerusalem and what was connected with them. Of the three groups of the second part, the first, chap. 13:1–7:26, represents how Jesus loved his own to the end; the second chap, 18:19, describes the sufferings, death, and burial of Jesus; the third or seventh of the whole, chap, 20., gives an account of the resurrection. Artless simplicity — that is here, as in the Apocalypse, the character of the arrangement.” Vol. II. 458, 459.

9) See Hengstenberg, Vol. II. 468, 469.

10) Der Schriftst. des Joh., p. 328.

11) Schultze, p. 40; quoted by Hengstenberg, Vol. II. 480.

12) Comm., Vol II. 481.

13) Davidson says that he usually follows the Septuagint version. “But,” he says, “the writer has not always adopted its very words. He departs from it, or changes it, after the manner of John in the Gospel and of other New Testament writers.”

14) See Stuart, Vol I. § 21, p. 389.

15) Davidson’s Introduction, Vol. III. 588.

16) Quoted by Hengstenberg, Vol. II. 479.

17) Apoc, Vol. II. 445.

18) Newtestam. Krit., p. 72.

19) Lücke, p. 363, says that the author of the Apocalypse “shows himself very dexterous in his way, and perfectly free from the rawness of a beginner”; and Winer maintains that the solecisms of the Apocalypse should be explained by the critics, as they can be, and not attributed to the ignorance of the author, who, “in other and much more difficult turns, shows that he knew well enough the rules of grammar.”

20) We could hardly, however, put the stress that Hengstenberg does upon the fact that the writer is said to be “in the Spirit,” as if the Hebraisms were directly inspired, “a necessary result of the author’s being in the Spirit.” He says also, “A pure Greek gospel, a pure Greek apostolical epistle, is inconceivable. The canonical and the Hebrew are most intimately connected.” Comm., Vol. II. 443, 444.

21) See words enumerated in his Commentary, Vol. I. 385.

22) See Stuart and Davidson.

23) Hengstenberg’s Commentary, Vol. II. 441, 442.

24) For other words and phrases similar to the above, see Davidson’s Introduction, Vol. III. 552 seq; Stuart’s Commentary, Vol. I. § 17.

25) See Davidson’s Introduction, Vol. III. 556, 557.

26) Introduction, Vol. III. 578.

27) Lücke, p. 215; quoted by Hengstenberg, Vol. II. 488.

28) Stuart’s Apocalypse, Vol. II. Exc.; I. 397.

29) See Hengstenberg’s Commentary, Vol. II. 478.

30) Commentary, Vol. II. 474, 475.

31) See Commentary, chap. 20:5, and Vol. II. 476.