By George Salmon
THE JOHANNINE BOOKS,
THE FOURTH GOSPEL.
I come at length to consider the Fourth Gospel, which has been the subject of special assaults. In connexion with it I will discuss the other Johannine writings, the Epistles and the Apocalypse. I do not think it necessary to spend much time on the proofs that the First Epistle and the Gospel are the work of the same writer. There are numerous striking verbal coincidences between them, of which you will find a list in the introductions to the commentaries on the Epistle by the Bishop of Derry in the Speaker's Commentary, and by Professor Westcott in a separate volume. I give only a few examples of phrases common to both: That your joy may be full (ἵνα ἡ χαρὰ ὑμῶν ᾖ πεπληρωμένη, 1 John i. 4; John xvi. 20): Walketh in darkness and knoweth not whither he goeth (ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ περιπατεῖ καὶ οὐκ οἶδε ποῦ ὑπάγει, I John ii. 11; John xii. 35); Have passed from death unto life (μεταβεβήκαμεν ἐκ τοῦ θανάτου εἰς τὴν ζωήν, i John iii. 14; John v. 24); γιγώσκομεν τὸν ἀληθινόν (1 John v. 24; John xvii. 3). Moreover, the Epistle gives to our Lord the titles only begotten (iv. 9; John i. 14) and Saviour of the world (iv. 14; John iv. 42, see also iii. 17). And remember that this phrase, Saviour of the world, so familiar to us, conveyed an idea novel and startling to the Jewish mind of that day. I also take notice of the mention of the water and the blood* in the Epistle (v. 6), which we can scarcely fail to connect with St. John's history of the Passion. But besides these, and several other, examples of phrases common to both works, there is such a general resemblance of style, thought, and expression, that critics of most opposite schools have agreed in recognizing common authorship.
I think, therefore, that it would be waste of time if I were to enumerate and answer the points of objection to this view made by Davidson and others of his school, whose work seems to me no more than laborious trifling. These microscopic critics forget that it is quite as uncritical to be blind to resemblances as it is to overlook points of difference. And there cannot be a more false canon of criticism than that a man who has written one work will, when writing a second, introduce no ideas and make use of no modes of expression that are not to be found in the first. On the contrary, a writer may be pronounced very barren indeed if he exhausts all his ideas and expends all his vocabulary on one production. I am sure that any unprejudiced judge would decide that while the minute points of difference that have been pointed out between the Gospel and the First Epistle are no more than must be expected in two productions of the same writer, the general resemblance is such, that a man must be devoid of all faculty of critical perception who cannot discern the proofs of common authorship.
The main reason for denying the common authorship is that, if it be granted, it demolishes certain theories about St. John's Gospel. For instance, one of the doctrines of the Tübingen school was, that the fourth Evangelist was so spiritual that he did not believe in a visible second coming of Christ: Instead of Christ's second coming we have the Spirit's mission to the disciples. Jesus comes again only in the Comforter. Future and present are comprehended in the one idea of eternal life whose possession is present. There is, therefore, no future judgment. This doctrine about St. John is rather inconveniently pressed by the passage, John v. 28, The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and shall come forth: they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation. Scholten coolly disposes of this troublesome passage by setting it down as an interpolation. It is equally necessary to reject the 2ist chapter, which contains the words (v. 22), 4 If I will that he tarry till I come. At any rate the second coming is the sure hope of the Apostle when he wrote the Epistle. It is then the last time; the disciples are exhorted to live so that they may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming (ii. 18, 28). Yet the Epistle uses just the same language as the Gospel about eternal life as a present possession: We have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren. In this, and in other in stances which I need not detail to you, the arguments against the common authorship show only how ill-founded are the critic's theories about the doctrine of the Evangelist theories chiefly founded on his not having said certain things, which, however, when he is allowed to speak for himself a little more, he does say.
As to the external history of the First Epistle, I merely mention that it is quoted by Polycarp (c. 7), by Papias (Euseb. in. 39), by Irenaeus, in. xvi.,1 and repeatedly by Clement of Alexandria (e. g. Strom, n. 15)2 and Tertullian (e.g. Adv. Prax. 15; De Pudic. 19). In the Muratorian Fragment it is spoken of, not, in what it might seem its proper place, among the Epistles, but immediately in connexion with the Gospel (see the passage quoted, p. 48). When the list of Epistles is given, only two of St. John are mentioned. The fact that in this document the First Epistle is detached from the other two and connected with the Gospel is ably made use of by Bishop Lightfoot (Contemporary Review, October, 1875, p. 835), in confirmation of a theory of his, that the First Epistle was originally published with the Gospel as a kind of commendatory postcript.3
Augustine, followed by other Latin authorities, calls this the Epistle to the Parthians (Quaest. Evangel, n. 39). It has been conjectured that this may have been a corruption of a Greek title πρὸς παρθένους. The ground is not very conclusive, namely, that Clement of Alexandria tells us (Hypotyp. p. ion, Potter's edition) that the Second Epistle of St. John was known under this title. Gieseler plausibly conjectures that in both cases a corruption took place of the title τοῦ παρθένου, which was commonly given to John in early times, and which may have been added to the inscriptions of the Epistles.
The fourth Gospel, as I have said, has been the subject of far more serious assaults than the others. If the others are allowed to have been published soon after the destruction of Jerusalem, the fourth is not assigned an earlier date than the latter half of the second century. Such, at least, was Baur's theory; but in the critical sifting it has undergone, the date of the fourth Gospel has been receding further and further back in the second century, so that now hardly any critic with any pretension to fairness puts it later than the very beginning of that century, if not the end of the first century, which comes very close to the date assigned it by those who believe in the Johannine authorship.
In the value he attaches to the fourth Gospel, Renan is a singular exception among sceptical writers. He is ready enough to grant the antiquity of our documents, though claiming for himself an intuitive sagacity which can discriminate the true words and actions of Jesus from what may have been added by the piety of the second generation of Christians. To St. John's Gospel Renan attaches particular value. The discourses, indeed, of Jesus, recorded by St. John, are not to Renan's taste, and he rejects them with depreciating epithets which I need not repeat; but the account given of the life of Jesus he treats as preferable, in a multitude of cases, to the narrative of the Synoptic Evangelists. In particular he declares that the last month of the life of Jesus can only be explained by St. John, and that a multitude of traits unintelligible in the Synoptic Gospels assume in St. John's narrative consistency and probability. He is the more ready to attribute this Gospel to St. John because he imagines that he finds in it a design unduly to exalt that Apostle, and to show that on different occasions he was honoured by Jesus with the first place. His theory is, that John in his old age having read the evangelic narratives then in circulation, re marked in them several inaccuracies, and was besides annoyed at finding that only a secondary place in the history of Christ was assigned to himself; that he then began to dictate a multitude of things which he knew better than the others, and with the intention of showing that on many occasions where Peter alone was spoken of in those narratives, he had figured with him and before him. These precious notes Renan supposes to have been distorted by the mistakes or carelessness of John's disciples. In order to reconcile his belief in the antiquity of the Gospels with his rejection of their historic authority, whenever it is convenient for him to do so, Renan imagines a case of a life and recollections of Napoleon written separately by three or four soldiers of the Empire thirty or forty years after the death of their chief. It is clear, he says, their narratives would present numerous errors and contradictions: one would put Wagram before Marengo; another would write without hesitation that Napoleon turned out the government of Robespierre; a third would omit expeditions of the highest importance. But one thing would stand out clearly in these artless notes, and that is, the character of the hero and the impression he made on those about him. And in this point of view such popular histories would be worth far more than a formal and official one.
But in this comparison one point of essential difference is overlooked. Three or four soldiers of the Empire would be competent witnesses to such facts as lay within their range of observation. They would be incompetent witnesses to the order and design of battles, changes of ministry, plans of statesmanship, and other things out of their sphere. If they meddled with such matters in their stories we should not be surprised to find errors and contradictions. But to have a real comparison to lives of our Lord written by Apostles, we should imagine lives of Napoleon written by three or four of his marshals. In that case a statement concerning his battles in which all agreed would justly be regarded as of the highest authority. Take the account of any of our Lord's miracles, and especially that of the Resurrection. We ask, Is the narrator telling a wilful lie? No is answered by almost all our antagonists. Well, then, could he be mistaken? Yes/ answer Strauss and his school. He lived a long time after the event, and only honestly repeated the stories which had then got into circulation about the founder of his religion. But if we admit, as Renan in his first edition was willing to do, that the Gospel is the work of an Apostle and an eye witness, the possibility of a mistake can no longer be asserted with any plausibility. I think, therefore, that Renan's re viewers of the sceptical school were quite right in regarding him as having made a most dangerous concession in admitting that John's Gospel has the authority of the Apostle of that name. The authority, I say, for Renan does not now at least maintain that it was actually written by John himself, but rather that it was the work of a disciple who bore to John the same relation which, according to Papias, Mark bore to Peter.
It remains for us, therefore, to examine the arguments which are urged against the Johannine authorship. Now, with respect to external evidence, I have already expressed my belief that John's Gospel stands on quite as high a level of authority as any of the others. Suffice it now to say that if it be a forgery it has had the most wonderful success ever forgery had; at once received not only by the orthodox, but by the most discordant heretics by Judaizing Christians, Gnostics, Mystics all of whom owned the necessity of reconciling their speculations with the sayings of this Gospel.
Of the reasons why its apostolic origin has been disbelieved, I will place first that which I believe to have had the greatest influence, and to have been the cause why other reasons have been sought for, namely, the impossibility of reconciling the Gospel with the denial of our Lord's Divinity. Critics now-a-days trust far more to their own powers of divination than to historical testimony. It is an assumed principle with them that there can be no miracle; that Jesus was a man like others; that he must have been so regarded by his disciples; that the opinion that he was more than man could only have gradually grown up; that, therefore, a book in which the doctrine of Christ's Divinity is highly developed bears on the face of it the marks of late date. This is a pre possession against which it is hard to struggle; the forms of scientific inquiry may be gone through, but the sentence has been passed before the evidence has been looked at. What ever be the pretext on which the book is condemned, the real secret of the hostility to it is the assumption that a belief in our Lord's Godhead could not have existed among the Apostles who had companied with Him during His life, and that it must have grown up by degrees among the new generation of Christians who had not known our Lord after the flesh, and who merely reverenced in their ideal Christ a personification of all that is pure and noble in humanity. St. John's Gospel, if admitted as of authority, would make Christ from the first claim and receive a homage to which no mere man is entitled. There was a time when Socinians endeavoured to reconcile their system with the evangelical records, but that attempt is now abandoned as hopeless, and accordingly, the overthrow of at least St. John's Gospel be comes a necessity.
Strauss, on whose principles the question whether Jesus was more than man cannot even claim discussion, argues that Jesus in John's Gospel claims to have a recollection of a divine existence reaching back to a period before the creation of the world. Such a recollection is inconceivable to us, because in accredited history no instance of it has occurred. If anyone should speak of having such a recollection, we should consider him as a fool or an impostor. But since it is difficult to believe that Jesus was either of these, we cannot allow that the words attributed to him were really spoken by him. Similarly Strauss is offended with the whole tone of the language of Jesus about Himself, as reported in this Gospel, the manner in which He insists on His divinity, puts His own person forward, and makes adherence to Himself the first duty of His disciples. The speeches of Jesus about himself in this Gospel, says Strauss, are an uninterrupted doxology only translated out of the second person into the first, from the form of address to another into an utterance about a self. When an enthusiastic disciple calls his master (supposed to have been raised to heaven) the light of the world when he says of him that he who has seen him has seen the Father, that he is God Himself we excuse the faithful worshipper such extravagances. But when he goes so far as the fourth Evangelist, and puts the utterances of his own pious enthusiasm into the mouth of Jesus, in the form of Jesus's utterances about himself, he does him a very perilous service.
I admit it; a very perilous service if Jesus be no more than man. Assuredly, in that case, we cannot admire him as a faultless man. We must regard him, to speak the plain truth, as one who, however excellent, disfigured his real merits by his own exaggerated pretensions, who habitually used inflated if not blasphemous language respecting the dignity of his own person: such language, in short, as naturally led to the consequence that he, though man, came to be worshipped as God. However, the question with which we are immediately concerned is not whether Jesus possessed superhuman power and authority, but whether He claimed it. The self-assertion of Jesus in the fourth Gospel can reasonably be made a plea for discrediting the authority of the writer, only if it can be made out that such language on our Lord's part is inconsistent with what is elsewhere told of Him. And this is what is asserted. It is said that in the Synoptic Gospels Jesus is only a moral reformer, anxious to give to the commands of the law their highest spiritual meaning, and rejecting the evasions by which a compliance with their letter was made to excuse a breach of their spirit. In the fourth Gospel, on the contrary, Jesus puts forward Himself. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the only door by which man can have access to God.
We may freely own that John's Gospel gives greater prominence to this class of our Lord's utterances, but we deny that they are at all inconsistent with what is attributed to Him in the Synoptic Gospels. On the contrary, the dignity of the Saviour's person, and the duty of adhering to Him, are as strongly stated in the discourses which Matthew puts into his mouth as in any later Gospel: Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven; Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven; He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth Him that sent me (x. 32, 33, 40). "* Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest for your souls; All things are delivered unto me of my Father, and no man knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him (xi. 27, 28, 29). Again, His present glory and power is expressed in the promises: All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth; Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (xxviii. 18, 20). I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist (Luke xxi. 15). But it is a small matter to prove that our Lord promised that after His departure from the world he should continue to be to His disciples an ever-present and powerful protector. What he declared concerning His second coming more decisively marks Him out as one who claimed to stand on a different level from ordinary men. St. Matthew represents Him as telling that all the tribes of the earth shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, and that he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (xxiv. 30). He goes on to tell (xxv. 31) how all nations shall be gathered before Him while He sits on the throne of His glory and pronounces judgment upon them; and the judgment is to be determined according to the kindness they shall have shown to Himself. The Synoptic Evangelists all agree in representing Jesus as persisting in this claim to the end, and as finally incurring condemnation for blasphemy from the high-priest and the Jewish Council, because, in answer to a solemn adjuration, He professed Himself to be that Son of Man who was one day to come in the clouds of heaven, as Daniel had prophesied (Matt, xxvii. 65; Mark xiv. 62; see also Luke xxii. 66). Now, reflect for a moment what we should think of one who declared his belief that on that great day, when mankind shall stand before the judgment-seat of God, he should not stand like others, to give account of the deeds done in the body, but be seated on the throne of judgment, passing sentence on the rest of the human race. If we could think of him as, after all, no more than a man like ourselves, we must set him down as, in the words of Strauss, either a fool or an impostor. We can only avoid forming such a judgment of Jesus by believing Him to be in real truth more than man. It follows that the claims which the Synoptic Gospels represent our Lord as making for Himself are so high, and, if He was really mere man, are so extravagant, that if we accept the Synoptic Gospels as truly representing the character of our Lord's language about Himself, we certainly have no right to reject St. John's account, on the score that it puts too exalted language about Himself into the mouth of our Lord.
If it is objected that the ascription of such language to Jesus belongs to a later stage of Christian thought, and that they who had known their Master after the flesh could not have held the high views concerning His Person which this ascription implies, we can easily show that, in works of earlier date than anyone has claimed for the fourth Gospel, no lower view is expressed of the dignity of our Lord. I have already said (p. 25) that Baur acknowledged the Apocalypse to have been written by St. John; and the same view is taken by Renan and by many other critics of the same school, who draw from their acknowledgment of the Johan- nine authorship of the Apocalypse their strongest argument against that of the fourth Gospel; for they hold it to be one of the most certain conclusions of critical science that the two books could not have had the same author. But other critics of the same school have been clear-sighted enough to perceive that the acknowledgment of the Johannine author ship of the Apocalypse necessitates the abandonment of the argument we have just been considering. For the dignity ascribed to our Lord in the Book of Revelation is such that it requires some ingenuity to make out that the Gospel attributes to Him any higher. All through the Revelation Jesus plainly holds a position far above that of any created being. He is described as the beginning of the creation of God (iii. 14). He sits on the throne of the Father of all (iii. 21). He is the object of worship of every created thing which is in the heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and in the sea, and all things that are in them (v. 13). His blood has been an atonement which sufficed to purchase to God men of every tribe and tongue and people and nation (v. 9). He is King of kings and Lord of lords (xix. 16).
When I was speaking of the lofty claims which our Lord, as reported by the Synoptic Evangelists, made for Himself, I omitted to mention one illustration. Those who wished to do Him honour are related to have saluted Him as Son of David (Matt. xx. 30; xxi. 9): the Jewish rulers, who saw all that was implied by such a title, and feared the fatal consequences to their nation which would follow from an attempt to restore David's earthly kingdom, hoped that the Galilean prophet would disclaim so perilous an honour, and asked Him to rebuke His disciples (xxi. 15). He not only accepted the honours offered Him, as so plainly His due, that if His disciples were to hold their peace the very stones would cry out; but He went on to intimate that the title Son of David was less than He could rightfully claim, and He pointed out that the Messiah was described in the Book of Psalms as David's Lord (xxii. 43). I am disposed to connect with this the words ascribed to our Lord in the Apocalypse (xxii. 16): I am the root and the offspring of David. It is possible to give the word ρίζα the secondary meaning, scion (having regard to Isa. xi. 10; Rom. xv. 12; Rev. v. 5); yet I prefer to give it the meaning root, which implies existence prior to David, because the idea of priority is unmistakeably expressed in other passages. There is one passage in particular where the antecedence to all created things of Him who in the Revelation is called the Word of God is expressed in such a way as not to fall short of an ascription to Him of the titles and prerogatives of the Supreme God. Whom but the Supreme God should we imagine to be speak ing when we read (i. 8): I am the Alpha and the Omega, saith the Lord God, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty? Read on a little way (v. 17), and we find One who is unmistakeably our blessed Lord addressing the Apocalyptic seer with like words, which are again repeated (xxii. 13), I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. The fourth Gospel puts into the mouth of our Lord no claim of Godhead stronger or more express than what the glorified Saviour is represented as uttering in the Book of the Revelation. And this ascription to Him of glory not distinguished from that of the Supreme is a prevailing characteristic of the book. The Son of God sits down with His Father in His throne (iii. 21); and this throne is called, the throne of God and of the Lamb; (xxii. i, 3; cf. xx. 6). The doctrine of the Gospel (v. 23) that all should honour the Son even as they honour the Father is deeply stamped on the Apocalypse.
To some critics it has seemed incredible that one who had known Jesus, and conversed with Him as a man like himself, should pay Him divine honours such as it was natural enough for enthusiastic disciples to render, in whose eyes the Founder of their religion was but an ideal Personage. On that account they have refused to believe that the fourth Evangelist can be one who had been a personal companion of our Lord. But here we find that the Gospel presents no more exalted conception of the Saviour's dignity than that which is offered in the Book of the Revelation, the apostolic authorship of which so many critics of all schools are willing to acknowledge.4 In confirmation of the view that the Apocalypse was written by a personal hearer of our Lord, I may notice that echoes of the Gospel records of the words of Jesus are to be found more frequently in this than in any other New Testament book, except perhaps the Epistle of James.5 That preserved in the Gospels. Thus St. James (i. 12) refers to our Lord's promise of a crown of life/ and Zeller hence drew a proof (Hilgenfeld's Zeitschrift, 1863, p. 93) that the author of that Epistle used the Apocalypse, Rev. ii. 10 being the only New Testament place where such a promise is put into the mouth of our Lord. But it seems to me much more probable that we have here reminiscences by two independent hearers, James and John, of words actually spoken by our Lord, of which traces are also to be found, 2 Tim- iv. 8, 1 Pet. v. 4.
Again, when the prominence given to the doctrines of our Lord's divinity and pre-existence is made a ground for assigning a late date to the fourth Gospel, we must remember that these doctrines are taught in documents earlier than either Gospel or Apocalypse I mean St. Paul's Epistles. I refer in particular to the passage in the Epistle to the Colossians (i. 15-18), which is quite as strong as the prologue to St. John. Christ is there the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature; for by him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers; all things were created by him and for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist; and he is the head of the body, the Church; who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. Baur very consistently refuses to believe that this was written by St. Paul: but most critics, even of the sceptical school, have owned that the evidence for the genuineness of the Epistle to the Colossians is too strong to be resisted, especially connected as it is with the Epistle to Philemon, which bears an unmistakeable stamp of truth, and which is utterly beyond the invention of any forger.
In this connexion I have pleasure in referring to an excel lent comparison of the theology of St. John with that of St. Paul by Mr. J. J. Murphy (Scientific Bases of Faith, p. 365), where he founds an argument for the truth of their doctrine on the coincidence of two independent witnesses. Both are found to express the same doctrines, but in quite different language; whereas if the fourth Gospel had been indebted to St. Paul we should have found there some of St. Paul's expressions as well as his doctrine.6
I have devoted so much time to the objection brought against the fourth Gospel from the character of its Christology, because, though not really the strongest, it is, I believe, the most influential; and the reason why other arguments have been sought for is the fear that the reception of the fourth Gospel would give apostolic authority to a view of our Lord's person which the objectors are determined to reject. I consider that I have shown that this view was at least that accepted among Christians several years before the date claimed either for Gospel or Apocalypse; and that I have shown also that though the fourth Gospel may give greater prominence than do the preceding three to those utterances of our Lord in which He asserts His own super human character, there is nothing in such utterances unlike what is found in every report of the language which He habitually used.7
1) The language of Irenaeus suggests that he read the Second Epistle as if it were part of the First. In the passage here referred to, he introduces his quotation with the words Johannes in epistola sua, as if he knew but one. A little further on he quotes a passage from the Second Epistle with the words in praedicta epistola. He had also quoted the Second Epistle, I. xvi.
2) The form of quotation ἐν τῇ μείζονι ἐπιστολῇ, implies also an acknowledgment of the Second Epistle.
3) On the attestation borne by the First Epistle to the Gospel, it is- particularly worth while to consult Hug's Introduction, II. 245.
4) See, for example, the passages cited from Baur and Zeller by Arch deacon Lee, in the Speaker's Commentary, p. 406.
5) For example: i. 7, Matt. xxiv. 30; ii. 7, Matt. xi. 15, &c.: ii. 23, Matt. xvi. 27; ii. 26, Matt. xxiv. 13; iii. 3, Matt. xxiv. 42; iii. 5, Matt. x. 32
6) Compare the teaching of each of the Apostles on the Deity of Christ (John i. i, iii. 13, xx. 28; Rom. ix. 5, Phil. ii. 6); his pre-existence (John vi. 62, viii. 58, xvii. 5; Col. i. 17); his work of creation (John i. 3; 1 Cor. viii. 6, Col. i. 16); the association of his name with that of God on terms of equality (John v. 18, 23, xiv, 10, 23, xvii. 3, 10; 2 Cor. xiii. 14; Gal. i. I; Eph. v. 5, 1 Thess. iii. n); the voluntariness of his humiliation (John x. 17; 2 Cor. viii. 9, Phil. ii. 7); his present power and glory (John iii. 35, xiv. 14; Rom. xiv. 9, 1 Cor. xv. 25, Eph. i. 20, Phil. ii. 10); that by him only access is had to the Father (John xiv. 6; Eph. ii. 18, I Tim. ii. 5); that by faith in him we are justified (John iii. 15, vi. 47, xi. 25, xx. 31; Rom. iii. 22, v. i, Gal. ii. 16, Eph. ii. 8); that atonement has been made by him (John i. 29, vi. 51, 1 John i. 7, ii. 2, iii. 5; Rom. iii. 24, v. 9, 1 Cor. v. 7, Gal. iii. 13, Eph. i. 7); that his life is the source of his people's life (John vi. 53; Rom. v. 10); that they are united with him (John xv. 5: 1 John ii. 5, iii. 6, iv. 13; Rom. viii. 17, 2 Cor. xiii. 5, Gal. ii. 20, iii. 27); that our relation to him is like his relation to the Father (John x. 14, 15, xiv. 20, xv. 9: i Cor. iii. 22): on all these points you will find a wonderful similarity of substantial doctrine with great variety of expression. The two witnesses are clearly independent, and their teaching is the same: see also Lias's Doctrinal System of St. John.
7) At the very time when the first edition of these lectures was published, the Hibbert Lectures were delivered in London, by Dr. Pfleiderer, Professor of Theology at Berlin, a pupil of Baur's, but who has retired from some of his master's extreme positions. Pfleiderer still maintains the anti-Paulinism of the Apocalypse, but he is in perfect agreement with what I had said as to the identity of the Christology of the book with that of Paul; and as to the impossibility of denying the Johannine origin of the Gospel, on account of its Christology, without on the same ground denying that of the Apocalypse. I cannot forbear quoting at length:
Like the Pauline Christology, that of the author of the Apocalypse hinges on the one hand on the expiatory death, and on the other on the celestial glory of Christ, whilst the earthly life of Jesus is referred to only so far that Christ is called the " Offspring of David" and the " Lion of Juda;" just as Paul in the Epistle to the Romans had connected Christ's descent from David with his Divine Sonship. As Paul denominated Christ the Passover slain for us, so our author likes to describe him as " the Lamb slain for us," and finds in his violent death a proof of his love for us and an expiation to purify us from the guilt of sin, a ransom to redeem us to God. Again, as Paul calls Christ the first fruits of them that slept, so in the Apocalypse we find him termed the first-born from the dead. As, according to Paul, Christ has been exalted to the regal dignity of divine dominion over all, so, according to our author, he has taken his seat on the throne by the side of his Father, participating therefore in his divine dominion and power; he is the Lord of the churches, holds their stars, or guardian angels, in his hand, and is also Ruler of nations and King of kings, the all-wise and almighty Judge of the nations; indeed, to him is due a worship similar to that of God himself. As the author of the Apocalypse in his apotheosis of Christ as an object of worship thus almost outstrips Paul, neither does he in his dogmatic definitions of Christ's nature at all fall behind the Apostle. Like Paul, he calls Christ the " Son of God" in the metaphysical sense of a god-like spiritual being, and far beyond the merely theocratic significance of the title. As Paul had said, The Lord is the Spirit, so our author identifies Christ with the Spirit, or celestial principle of revelation which speaks to the Churches and rules in them. As Paul had had a vision of Christ as the Man from heaven in celestial light and glory, so the author of the Apocalypse likewise beholds Him in a super-mundane form like unto a son of man, his face shining as the sun. As Paul had described the celestial Son of Man as at the same time the image of God, the agent of creation, the head of every man, and finally even God over all, so the Christ of the Apocalypse introduces Himself with the predicates of Divine majesty, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, saith the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the All-powerful;" and He is accordingly called also " the Head of creation, * and " the Word of God," that is, the mediating instrument of all Divine revelation from the creation of the world to the final judgment.
It appears from this that the similarity of the Christology of the Apocalypse to that of Paul is complete; this Christ occupies the same exalted position as the Pauline Christ above the terrestrial Son of Man. Would such a view of Christ be conceivable in the case of a man who had lived in personal intercourse with Jesus? I think we have in this another proof that the author of the Apocalypse was not the Apostle John. Pfleiderer, Hibbert Lectures, pp. 158-161.